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Celtics hand Heat another home defeat

Celtics Kevin Garnett, left, and Rajon Rondo celebrate with a chest thump after whipping the Miami Heat 115-107. (Associated Press)
Celtics Kevin Garnett, left, and Rajon Rondo celebrate with a chest thump after whipping the Miami Heat 115-107. (Associated Press)

NBA: That homecourt dominance? As shaky now as the road woes.

Losing at home for the second time in three games, the Miami Heat rallied within a point from 18 down early only to fall, 115-107, on Tuesday night to the Boston Celtics.

“That’s a tough loss and none of us were expecting that,” coach Erik Spoelstra said.

“To give up 115 points on our court, that’s not our style.”

With Kevin Garnett continuing his late-career revival in his new role as a center by making four consecutive fourth-quarter jumpers, the Celtics held on after the Heat closed within 89-88.

The Heat had extended their home winning streak to 17, one off the franchise record, with last week’s victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, but since were blown out by the Memphis Grizzlies and now suffered this loss, with an uninspiring victory over the Detroit Pistons in between.

LeBron James led the Heat with 36 points. Paul Pierce scored 27 points, and Garnett added 24 points and nine rebounds for Boston.

Rajon Rondo posted double-digit assists for the 18th straight game, extending the NBA’s longest such streak in 20 years with an 18-point, 15-assist effort.

Bulls win without Rose: Richard Hamilton scored 20 points, Luol Deng added 19 and the Chicago Bulls, playing without Derrick Rose again, beat the visiting New York Knicks 98-86.

Rose was in an all-too-familiar spot for the Bulls, nursing yet another injury. This time, it was a sprained right ankle.

The league’s reigning MVP was injured in the first half of Sunday’s overtime loss at New York, after he returned from a 12-game absence because of a groin problem.

Hawes helps Sixers end skid: Center Spencer Hawes came off the bench for the first time and a scored a season-high 19 points to lead the slumping Philadelphia 76ers to a 107-88 victory over the New Jersey Nets at Newark, N.J. The win snapped a four-game losing streak and was only the fifth in 15 games for Philadelphia (30-27), giving it a half-game lead over the Knicks (29-27) for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.

• Cuban says Odom wasn’t committed: Mark Cuban says Lamar Odom wasn’t committed to the Dallas Mavericks.

Cuban acknowledged the end came after Odom’s four uninspired minutes Saturday night at Memphis. At halftime, Cuban asked Odom like he had several times previously if the player was “in or out” with the Mavs.

In what became an angry exchange, Cuban said Odom told him to quit playing games. That response gave the owner his answer.

Watford, Zeller staying Hoosiers

Men’s basketball: Christian Watford and Cody Zeller helped Indiana’s basketball program turn things around this past season and the two players said they would return to school next season, putting off the NBA and making the Hoosiers one of the Big Ten favorites.

Indiana could be as good as any team in the country, too.

With Zeller and Watford both in the lineup, the Hoosiers will return all five starters – including their top two scorers – from a team that reached the regional semifinals before losing 102-90 to eventual national champion Kentucky.

Lamb leaves for NBA: Connecticut sophomore guard Jeremy Lamb announced that he has declared for the NBA draft. Lamb led the Huskies in scoring last season at 17.7 points per game, and was a key part of the team that won the NCAA championship in 2011.

Duquesne hires Ferry: Jim Ferry, who led Long Island University to consecutive appearances in the NCAA tournament, is the new men’s basketball coach at Duquesne.

Ferry, 44, replaces Ron Everhart, who was fired last month after six seasons at the Atlantic-10 school. Ferry agreed to a seven-year deal with an annual base of $600,000.

In the last four years at the Brooklyn, N.Y., school, Ferry was 55-17.

Oilers have first pick again in NHL draft

MISCELLANY: The Edmonton Oilers have won the NHL’s draft lottery, and own the No. 1 selection for the third straight year.

After choosing center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins last year, and fellow forward Taylor Hall No. 1 in 2010, the Oilers will now be in line to take Sarnia Sting forward Nail Yakupov.

Football coach found dead: Authorities say South Alabama associate head football coach Kurt Crain was found dead at his Mobile, Ala., home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Baldwin County Coroner Sam Vinson said that while the case was still under