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Pierce sparks Celtics to OT victory
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The Boston Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors for the second time in two days on Monday, but this time they needed overtime to secure a 115-109 win.

Paul Pierce scored a season-high 39 points despite a sore right knee for the Celtics, who held off the Raptors 94-88 in Toronto on Sunday to end a four-game losing streak.

"There's players who play the game; there's players who absolutely love the game. Paul's one of those 'love' guys," Celtics coach Doc Rivers told reporters after Pierce was on the court for more than 49 minutes.

"He's tough as nails... (and) he's able to play through pain because of the love for the game."

Pierce nailed a three-pointer for the first points of the overtime session and the Celtics never trailed again.

"Doc's been around me long enough to know that it takes a lot to keep me off the court," Pierce told reporters.

"I was a little ginger but I was able to get some much-needed rest last night."

Kevin Garnett added 20 points and 12 rebounds to help secure the 19th victory in 21 home games for the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics, who trailed by 10 points in the third quarter before rallying.

Andrea Bargnani, who paced the Raptors with 23 points, forced overtime on a three-pointer with a second to play but was held scoreless in the extra session.

"We shot ourselves in the foot tonight," the Raptors' Chris Bosh, who added 18 points and 11 rebounds, told reporters.

Bucks 97, Wizards 91

At Washington, Michael Redd scored 29 points, a healthy Andrew Bogut added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Washington blew another fourth-quarter lead.

Trading baskets down the stretch with Wizards guard Nick Young - who scored a career-high 30 - Redd helped Milwaukee overcome a deficit that was 13 points in the second quarter, 11 at halftime and five entering the final period.

After Young made a 16-foot fadeaway jumper to pull Washington within 90-89, Redd answered with a 3-pointer with less than 1 1/2 minutes left. Young missed a 3 as the shot-clock expired on Washington's next possession, and that was that.

It's the 12th time this season the Eastern Conference-worst Wizards lost a game after leading in the fourth quarter.

Trail Blazers 109, Bulls 95

At Chicago, Travis Outlaw scored a season-high 33 points and Greg Oden had 17 points and 13 rebounds as Portland beat Chicago.

It was a good start to the week for the Trail Blazers, who were coming off a rather chaotic one. They found themselves in an old, familiar spot - the center of controversy - for sending an email to teams threatening legal action if they signed former forward Darius Miles, but the current players are doing a good job ignoring any distractions.

Drew Gooden led Chicago with 22 points and nine rebounds, and Ben Gordon scored 17 points. Deng added 14 points in 22 minutes off the bench but was 3-for-10 from the field after missing eight games with a sprained left ankle.

Jazz 120, Pacers 113

At Salt Lake City, Mehmet Okur scored a career-high 43 points and Utah held off a late rally to down Indiana.

Andrei Kirilenko scored 23 points and pulled down 12 rebounds and Deron Williams added 11 assists and 23 points, including a late 3-pointer to help the Jazz finally put away the Pacers.

Indiana had trailed by 20 late in the third quarter, but would not let the Jazz clinch it until the final minute.

Danny Granger had 30 points and seven assists, one night after tying his career high with 42 points in a loss at Golden State.

Nets 103, Thunder 99, OT

At East Rutherford, New Jersey, rookie Brook Lopez scored a career-high 31 points and pulled down 13 rebounds as New Jersey edged Oklahoma City.

Vince Carter had 21 while Devin Harris, back after missing three of the previous four games with a hamstring injury, had 17. Keyon Dooling had 14, most coming early in the fourth quarter as the Nets earned a fourth straight home win after starting the season 5-12 in New Jersey.

Kevin Durant had 26 points for the Thunder, who fell to 6-33, and 2-17 on the road.

Russell Westbrook had 17 points, Jeff Green finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds, former Net Nenad Krstic had 12 points and Earl Watson scored 11 points.

(Agencies via China Daily January 14, 2009)

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