ORLANDO, Fla — Brandon Bass had 16 points, including a pair of free-throws in the closing seconds to help the Boston Celtics hang on for a 91-89 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night.
Trailing by three, the Magic had a chance to tie the game in the final minute, but Arron Afflalo’s jumper came from just a step inside the 3-point line.
Avery Bradley added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Celtics.
The win is the Celtics’ second straight and extends their win streak over Orlando to nine games. They will try to make it three straight Saturday at Miami.
Afflalo led the Magic with 23 points. Nik Vucevic added 14 points and 13 rebounds.
The loss ends the Magic’s three-game win streak.
Boston slipped out at a seven-point lead to begin the fourth quarter, but the Magic fought back to tie it at 75.
The cushion grew again when Bradley stripped Victor Oladipo at midcourt and sprinted ahead for a dunk and eventual three-point play to put the Celtics back up 81-77 with under 6 minutes to play.
Afflalo knocked down a 3-pointer and was fouled by Bradley with 1:38 left. He promptly completed the four-point play to pull the Magic within 86-84.
Kelly Olynyk responded with a jumper on Boston’s next possession, but after rebounding a Magic miss on the other end, a floater by Jeff Green caromed off the rim and landed out of bounds.
The Magic weren’t done, though, as Afflalo saved a shaky possession with a driving layup and three-point play to cut the Celtics’ lead back to 88-87 with 26.5 remaining.
Boston tried to run down the clock and Bass was eventually fouled and was able to connect on both of free-throws.
Following a timeout, Afflalo got loose and banked in a jumper from the wing, but a review confirmed it he was inside the 3-point line.
Bradley was fouled and connected on 1 of his 2 attempts. Oladipo then missed a desperation 3-pointer off the backboard at the buzzer.
Orlando held Boston to 35 percent shooting in the first half, but led only 49-46 at the break after being slowed by 10 turnovers.
Both teams started sluggish on offense before the Magic picked up the pace with 12-0 run on their way to building as much as a 12-point advantage in the opening 24 minutes.
The Celtics closed the gap thanks to Courtney Lee’s one-man, 9-0 run late in the half.
Pacers 91, Raptors 84
INDIANAPOLIS — Paul George scored 17 of his 23 points in the third quarter and the Indiana Pacers beat the Toronto Raptors 91-84 Friday night to improve to 6-0 and match the best start in franchise history.
Roy Hibbert added a season-high 20 points and seven rebounds as the Pacers remained the NBA’s lone undefeated team.
Rudy Gay scored a season-high 30 points on 12-of-26 shooting for the Raptors, who lost their third straight to fall to 2-4. Amir Johnson added 12 points and 10 rebounds. The Raptors shot 39.5 percent from the field, becoming the sixth consecutive opponent Indiana has held to 40 percent shooting or worse.
The Pacers improved to 6-0 for the first time since the 1970-71, when the club played in the ABA. They rallied from a halftime deficit for the fifth time this season. Indiana overcame 16 turnovers to shoot 46.2 percent.
Sixers 94, Cavs 79
PHILADELPHIA — Evan Turner scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Tony Wroten added 18 points and the Philadelphia 76ers cruised to a 94-79 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night to overshadow the return of Andrew Bynum.
Thaddeus Young added 16 points, while James Anderson and Michael Carter-Williams had 11 each for the Sixers, who snapped a two-game losing streak and improved to 4-2. Spencer Hawes scored 10 points.
The buzz leading into the game was the return of Bynum, who signed a two-year, $24 million contract with the Cavaliers in July.
Bynum had been acquired by the Sixers in a four-team, 12-player trade in the summer of 2012. But the two-time All-Star center never played for the Sixers because of bilateral bone bruises in both knees. Bynum had season-ending arthroscopic surgery in March and wound up signing the incentive-laden deal with the Cavaliers as a free agent.
He played 18 minutes off the bench and finished with four points and five rebounds as the fans cascaded boos toward him every time he touched the ball.
Dion Waiters led the Cavaliers with 18 points while Jarrett Jack and C.J. Miles added 13 each. Tristan Thompson had 13 points and 16 rebounds and Kyrie Irving contributed 10 points on 4-for-17 shooting for Cleveland, which fell to 2-4 with all four losses coming on the road.
Knicks 101, Bobcats 91
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carmelo Anthony had 28 points and eight rebounds, Andrea Bargnani added 25 points and the New York Knicks spoiled Patrick Ewing’s NBA head coaching debut Friday night with a 101-91 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.
Ewing, who spent 15 seasons with the Knicks as a star center, filled in as Charlotte’s coach after Steve Clifford underwent a successful procedure earlier in the day to have two stents placed in his heart. Clifford checked himself into the hospital late Thursday night with chest pain.
The Knicks shot 75 percent from the field in the third quarter — including six of seven 3-point attempts — to blow open a tight game and snap a three-game losing skid.
Raymond Felton had 15 points for the Knicks (2-3).
Kemba Walker scored 25 points for the Bobcats.
Wizards 112, Nets 108
WASHINGTON — Nene scored 12 of his 20 points in the final 4˝ minutes of the fourth quarter, including a putback with 1.2 seconds to play that sent the game to overtime, and Trevor Ariza hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the extra period Friday night as the Washington Wizards topped the Brooklyn Nets 112-108.
Bradley Beal scored 29 points, John Wall had 17 points and 14 assists, and Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards, who nearly held Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce scoreless for the first time since they were rookies in the 1990s.
Garnett didn’t score until his 18-footer with 3:40 to play in regulation, and Pierce waited until overtime before hitting a jumper that nearly spurred the Nets to victory.
Pierce, who was a game-time decision to play after missing the morning shootaround with an illness, quickly added a steal and an assist that put Brooklyn ahead by one with 2:15 remaining.
But Ariza’s 3-pointer put Washington back in front, 108-106, with 40 seconds left. Wall and Beal each made a pair of free throws in the final 30 seconds to preserve the win for the Wizards, who have won two straight after an 0-3 start.
Brook Lopez scored 23 points, and Joe Johnson had 16 for the Nets, who are 2-0 at home and 0-3 on the road. Ex-Wizards forward Andray Blatche, booed every time he touched the ball, added 10 points and 13 rebounds.
Brooklyn committed 23 turnovers, including nine in the third quarter, and blew an 11-point lead in the fourth.
But it was all the more remarkable that the Nets nearly won without a single point from Pierce or Garnett, who finished a combined 3 for 16 from the field. Garnett was 2 for 11 and had a dunk attempt emphatically stuffed by Nene in the third quarter.
The Nets led 92-81 with 4:46 to play, but Nene rallied the Wizards with seven straight points, including back-to-back three-point plays that gave Washington a 97-96 lead with 1:31 remaining.
Lopez made 1 of 2 free throws to tie the game with 1:19 left, and Garnett’s 19-footer gave the Nets the lead with 37 seconds to play.
Garnett came up empty on his next attempt, a 20-footer with 15 seconds to play, giving the Wizards a final chance to tie or win.
Garnett blocked Wall’s layup with 9 seconds remaining, but the Wizards kept the ball and tied the game when Nene put in the rebound on another missed layup by Wall.
The Wizards started 3 for 13 from the field, but they got back into the game with 3-pointers. They didn’t get their first offensive rebound until the 6:38 mark of the second quarter — and it was grabbed by the shortest player on the roster, 6-foot-3 backup point guard Eric Maynor, who was following up his own shot. The Nets had a 17-0 domination in second-chance points at halftime.
Beal’s jumper early in third quarter gave the Wizards their first lead of the game, part of a 18-4 run to open the second half that included turnovers on four consecutive Nets possessions. Despite the stumbles, the Nets managed to tie the game at 73 going into the fourth quarter, ending the third on an 11-2 run.
NOTES: Pierce has been held without a point only once in the NBA career — on March 9, 1999 with the Boston Celtics against the Charlotte Hornets. ... Garnett’s only scoreless games were also in his rookie year, three times with the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 1995-96 season.MORE IN Sports WireA grand jury will decide whether NASCAR driver Tony Stewart will be charged in the August death... Full Story
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