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Celtics beat Knicks 102-96 in Atlantic Division

NEW YORK -- Paul Pierce scored 23 points, and the Boston Celtics beat the New York Knicks 102-96 on Monday night in a heated first meeting of the season between the Atlantic Division rivals.

Kevin Garnett added 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who even without the suspended Rajon Rondo won their third straight and finally are playing like the team that has ruled the division for the last half-decade.

The Knicks want that title now, but Carmelo Anthony and his teammates were reminded how tough the Celtics can make it.

Anthony had 20 points but shot 6 of 26 while battling his temper, Garnett and foul trouble. J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 24 points.

Bulls 118, Cavaliers 92 In Chicago, Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Bulls to a rout of the Cavaliers.

It was the third straight game that Boozer has eclipsed 20 points. This time he did it against the team that drafted him in 2002.

Joakim Noah added 11 points and 11 rebounds while Luol Deng had 19 points and seven assists for the Bulls, who beat the Cavaliers for an 11th straight time.

Chicago (19-13), which posted a season-high in points, moved to 11-1 when Boozer and Noah have double-doubles.

Dion Waiters led Cleveland (8-28) with 18 points. C.J. Miles and Kyrie Irving had 15 points apiece.

Wizards 101, Thunder 99 In Washington, Bradley Beal made a jumper with 0.3 seconds left after using a pump fake to get open, and the short-handed Wizards beat the Thunder.

Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City (26-8) with 29 points.

The Wizards (5-28), playing without their top two scorers, had lost 13 of their previous 14, but they also beat the Miami Heat earlier in the season. Beal and Martell Webster led the Washington with 22 points each.

Kevin Seraphin added 19 points, and Emeka Okafor had 12 points and 12 rebounds.

The Thunder missed 16 straight shots from midway through the third quarter to midway through the fourth quarter.

Hornets 95, Spurs 88 In New Orleans, Eric Gordon scored six straight points in a fourth quarter spurt and had 24 overall to lead the Hornets to a victory over San Antonio.

Anthony Davis added 17 points, Greivis Vasquez 14 and Ryan Anderson 13 for the Hornets, who have won two consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 2-3.

Manu Ginobili scored 21 points to lead the Spurs, who had won eight of their previous nine, dating to a 99-94 victory over the Hornets in San Antonio on Dec. 21.

Tony Parker had 16 points, Tim Duncan 13 and Kawhi Leonard 10 for San Antonio. Duncan was 5 of 14, at one point missing five consecutive shots in the third quarter.

The Spurs committed 19 turnovers, leading to 23 points for New Orleans.

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Kevin Durant left, of the Oklahoma City Thunder, drives to the basket against Kevin Seraphin, of the Washington Wizards, during the first half at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Jan. 7. (AFP)

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