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Lakers victorious against Celtics 113-99 during emotional evening

LOS ANGELES -- Dwight Howard had 24 points and 12 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Lakers to an emotional 113-99 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday in their first game since the death of owner Jerry Buss.

Kobe Bryant added 16 points, Steve Nash and Earl Clark had 14 each, and Metta World Peace 12 in a game that surely would have delighted Buss, who always loved to win but especially liked beating the Celtics.

The Lakers won their most recent NBA championship — and last under Buss — in 2010, defeating the Celtics 4-3 in the finals. Buss died Monday at 80 after an 18-month struggle with cancer.

Paul Pierce scored 26 points for the Celtics, who lost their third game in a row away from home. Courtney Lee added 20 points and Kevin Garnett had 12.

Indiana's Paul George scored 27 points as the Pacers powered their way closer to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a convincing 125-91 win over the New York Knicks.

David West had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Lance Stephenson added 14 points for Indiana, which pulled within a half-game of the Knicks for second place in the East.

Tyson Chandler led New York with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while Carmelo Anthony, the league's No. 2 scorer, finished with 15 points.

Houston's James Harden scored a career-high 46 points and Jeremy Lin added 29 as the Rockets mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback to down the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-119.

Houston was down by 14 points with about seven minutes left before using a 21-4 run to erase the deficit and take a 114-111 lead with 1:46 remaining.

Thabo Sefolosha led the Thunder with 28 points and had six 3-pointers, both career highs.

Westbrook also scored 28 points and added 10 rebounds and eight assists. Kevin Durant had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his second career triple-double.

Miami scored the first 13 points of the fourth quarter to erase Atlanta's 10-point lead as the Heat, led by LeBron James' 24 points, beat the Hawks 103-90 to extend their season-best winning streak to eight games.

Dwyane Wade scored 20 points and Shane Battier had 17, hitting three 3-pointers in the final period. James had 11 assists and six rebounds but could not extend his franchise-record streak of seven straight games with at least 30 points.

At Milwaukee, Deron Williams scored 23 points to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 97-94 win over the Bucks, while Zach Randolph had 17 points and 18 rebounds for the Memphis Grizzlies in an 88-82 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

The Cleveland Cavaliers defeated the New Orleans Hornets 105-100 after Kyrie Irving scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter, and Golden State's Klay Thompson had 28 points and eight rebounds to lead the Warriors over the Phoenix Suns 108-98.

In other games, the Dallas Mavericks downed the Orlando Magic 111-96, the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Philadelphia 76ers 94-87, and the Detroit Pistons were 105-99 winners over the Charlotte Bobcats.

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Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard #12 battles Boston Celtics center Jason Collins for a rebound during the first half of their NBA game in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Feb. 20. (AP)

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