Ray Allen led a balanced attack while a superb team defensive effort helped the Boston Celtics shut down the Portland Trailblazers 93-78 at home. Allen scored 19 points to lead six Celtics (19-2) in double figures as they recorded their 11th successive win and snapped the Trailblazers' own six-game winning streak.
Rajon Rondo added 16 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and Kevin Garnett contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds. "We have a defensive scheme and we know what we're going to do coming into every game," Garnett said. "We take a lot of pride in playing at home and defending our court." LaMarcus Aldridge and Travis Outlaw each scored 13 points for the Blazers, who were suffocated by the Boston defence and could manage only 15 points in each of the second and third quarters.
The Blazers (14-7) pulled to within 84-73 in the fourth quarter after trailing by 24 during the third, but it was too little too late. Garnett ripped into his team mates on the sidelines during Portland's run, leading to Boston's Glen Davis brooding at the end of the bench. "I was just trying to inspire the guys," Garnett said. "He has to understand his role. He's a little frustrated right now but he'll come out of it."
Kobe Bryant collected 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists as the Los Angeles Lakers held off a late charge from the Washington Wizards en route to a 106-104 victory. LeBron James was held to a season-low 11 points but chipped in 11 assists and eight rebounds as the Cleveland Cavaliers dominated the Indiana Pacers on both ends of the floor in a 97-73 win. Yao Ming scored 19 of his 33 points in the final period and added 14 boards and five assists as the Houston Rockets put together their biggest offensive showing of the season with a 131-112 win over the Golden State Warriors.
Donyell Marshall's three-pointer with 35 seconds remaining lifted the Philadelphia 76ers to a come-from-behind 96-91 road victory over the Detroit Pistons. Elsewhere, Dwight Howard had 21 points and 23 boards to lead the Orlando Magic to a 98-87 triumph over Oklahoma City, Michael Redd scored 25 points and Richard Jefferson added 22 to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 101-96 win over the Charlotte Bobcats and Joe Johnson scored 17 points as the Atlanta Hawks defeated the New York Knicks 98-95.
Yi Jianlian led a long-range assault with four three-pointers and 16 points in all as the New Jersey Nets claimed a 113-84 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, while Rudy Gay and OJ Mayo combined to score 45 points as the Memphis Grizzlies ended a seven-game losing streak with a 93-81 defeat of the Los Angeles Clippers. Deron Williams had 14 points and five assists, while Mehmet Okur added 21 points as the Utah Jazz cruised to a 114-87 win over Toronto in Jay Triano's first game as the Raptors' coach. Triano, who replaced the fired Sam Mitchell, could not prevent the Jazz's largest winning margin of the season.
* PA Sport