NEW YORK (AP) Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and the New York Knicks opened the Phil Jackson era by beating the Indiana Pacers 92-86 Wednesday night for their season-high seventh straight victory.
With their new team president watching from a midcourt seat, the Knicks dominated the first half, then pulled away after the Eastern Conference leaders finally got untracked in the second half.
Fans stood to cheer Jackson in the first quarter and were on their feet again in the final minute to watch the Knicks beat the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year.
Lance Stephenson had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Pacers, who had their four-game winning streak snapped and failed to extend their three-game lead over the Miami Heat, who lost to Boston earlier Wednesday.
CELTICS 101, HEAT 96
BOSTON (AP) – Rajon Rondo hit two running baseline shots in the last two minutes and Boston capitalized on the absence of LeBron James to beat Miami.
One night after scoring 43 points in a 100-96 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, James sat out the game with back spasms and the Heat lost for the first time in their three games without him this season.
Rondo finished with nine points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds as Boston stopped a five-game losing streak. Avery Bradley led Boston with 23 points and had career highs of six 3-point baskets and nine 3-point attempts. Brandon Bass added 18 points.
The Heat, which had won their previous two games after losing five of six, were led by Wade with 17 points, Chris Andersen with 16 and Ray Allen and Udonis Haslem with 14 each.
BULLS 102, 76ERS 94
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – D.J Augustin scored 20 points, Taj Gibson had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Chicago handed Philadelphia its 22nd straight loss.
The Sixers are four losses shy of matching the NBA record for longest-single season losing streak.
The Cleveland Cavaliers set the record of 26 consecutive losses in the 2010-11 season. The Vancouver Grizzlies (1995-96), Denver Nuggets (1997-98) and Charlotte Bobcats (2011-12) each lost 23 straight.
The Sixers also lost their 17th straight home game since beating Charlotte on Jan. 15.
Thaddeus Young scored 24 points for the Sixers and Tony Wroten had 17.
SPURS 125, LAKERS 109
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Tony Parker scored 25 points, Kawhi Leonard added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and San Antonio pulled away from Los Angeles for its 11th consecutive victory.
Danny Green scored 16 points and Tim Duncan had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the NBA-leading Spurs, who haven’t lost since Feb. 21 while winning 14 of 15.
With their seventh straight victory over the Lakers dating to last season’s playoffs, the Spurs opened a 1 1/2-game lead over Indiana for the league’s best record. San Antonio leads Oklahoma City by two games atop the Western Conference.
Pau Gasol had 22 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for Los Angeles. Xavier Henry scored 24 points in the Lakers’ sixth loss in seven games.
Los Angeles has lost 20 of 26.
NETS 104, BOBCATS 99
NEW YORK (AP) – Deron Williams scored 23 points, Joe Johnson added 20 and Brooklyn overcame a late deficit to win its 10th straight at home.
Williams scored 11 of his points in the final six minutes.
Al Jefferson scored 18 points for Charlotte and Gary Neal added 17.
After Josh McRoberts’ dunk and free throw gave the Bobcats an 85-82 lead, Williams hit a driving layup with 6:00 left, then a 3-pointer on the next possession. He followed that with a steal and two free throws to give the Nets an 89-85 lead with 5:22 remaining.
Brooklyn never trailed again, but when Charlotte pulled to within 98-95 Williams hit a foul line jumper with 37 seconds left and Brooklyn closed it out from the foul line.
TIMBERWOLVES 123, MAVERICKS 122, OT
DALLAS (AP) – Kevin Love scored 35 points, including the go-ahead basket in overtime, Ricky Rubio had a triple-double and Minnesota blew several leads before hanging on to beat Dallas.
The Timberwolves broke a six-game stretch of alternating wins and losses with their second straight victory to move two games over .500 for the first time since Nov. 23.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 27 for Dallas and put the Mavericks ahead with a fadeaway over Love with 33 seconds left in overtime before Love scored on a jump hook with 17 seconds to go.
Nowitzki missed on another try over Love in the final seconds as the Mavericks saw a three-game winning streak and missed a chance to move a season-high 15 games over .500.
Rubio had 22 points, 15 assists and 10 rebounds.
RAPTORS 107, PELICANS 100
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – DeMar DeRozan scored 31 points and Greivis Vasquez victimized his former team with six points in the last two minutes to help Toronto defeat New Orleans.
Kyle Lowry scored 23, Amir Johnson added 17 and Vasquez finished with 14 to help Toronto overcome a 14-point first-half deficit and snap a two-game skid. Tyler Hansbrough, playing additional minutes with starting center Jonas Valanciunas sidelined by a sore back, grabbed 13 rebounds, seven on the offensive end.
The game was tied at 94 when Vasquez scored five straight points in a 36-second span on a running floater and a driving layup as he was fouled – the latter coming after Vasquez rebounded his missed jumper for one of Toronto’s 22 offensive rebounds.
Al-Farouq Aminu had 19 points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which was without All-Star Anthony Davis because of an illness.
GRIZZLIES 96, JAZZ 86
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Zach Randolph scored 21 points, Marc Gasol added 20 and Memphis maintained its hold on a Western Conference playoff spot with the victory over Utah.
Gasol and Randolph each had 10 rebounds for Memphis, which won its eighth straight home game and fifth straight over the Jazz. Mike Conley finished with 18 points and seven assists, and Tony Allen scored 10 points.
Gordon Hayward, Trey Burke and Alec Burks each scored 16 points for Utah, while Enes Kanter had 12 points and 12 rebounds. The Jazz lost their sixth straight and 11th of their last 12.
Memphis weathered several runs by the Jazz before six straight points in the fourth quarter provided a sufficient buffer. The Grizzlies began the night in the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
SUNS 109, MAGIC 93
PHOENIX (AP) – Goran Dragic scored 18 points to lead a balanced offense and Phoenix used a big second-half run to beat Orlando.
Gerald Green added 14 points, including three 3-pointers during a 23-3 Phoenix burst that turned a close game into a runaway.
Channing Frye and Markieff Morris added 12 apiece and Miles Plumlee had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Suns, back from a 2-1 eastern trip.
Tobias Harris scored 23 points and Arron Afflalo had 20 for the Magic, who are 1-22 on the road since mid-December.
Orlando, already without Jameer Nelson (sore left knee), lost center Nicola Vucevic when he drew two quick technical fouls and was ejected with 2:32 left in the first quarter.
NUGGETS 118, PISTONS 109
DENVER (AP) – Aaron Brooks had 27 points and a career-high 17 assists to lead Denver past Detroit for its fourth win in five games.
Randy Foye added 22 points, Kenneth Faried had 14 and J.J. Hickson had 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who were without Ty Lawson (sinus infection) and Wilson Chandler (injection to treat hip injury).
Greg Monroe scored 22 points for the Pistons and Rodney Stuckey added 18.
Trailing by seven at the half, the Nuggets used a 10-2 run to take an 85-84 lead into the fourth quarter. Denver used another 10-2 surge to increase the lead to 104-91 with 6:04 left.
After the Pistons pulled within four in the final minute, Hickson had a layup and Anthony Randolph converted a three-point play to secure the victory.