LeBron James quieted a Celtics crowd that came to celebrate Paul Pierce on Sunday, finishing with 24 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to give new-look Cleveland a 121-99 victory over Boston in an individual performance reminiscent of the rivalry’s heyday.
And this time, Pierce was sitting courtside in street clothes, unable to do anything about it.
James shook off a first-quarter leg injury to score 13 in the second quarter – eight of them during a 13-2 run that turned a one-point deficit into a double-digit lead. The Celtics made it 64-55 on the first basket of the third quarter but never got within 10 again.
As the Cavaliers opened a 27-point lead midway through the fourth, the crowd began chanting “We want Paul Pierce!” But he remained in his baseline seat, awaiting the postgame ceremony that would raise his No. 34 to the TD Garden rafters.
Terry Rozier had 21 points and nine assists, and Kyrie Irving had 18 points against his former team before sitting out the fourth quarter.
Thunder 110, Grizzlies 92: Paul George scored 33 points and host Oklahoma City beat Memphis without fellow stars Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony.
Westbrook missed the game with a sprained left ankle and Carmelo Anthony sat out with a sprained right ankle. George responded by making 10 of 24 shots and adding eight assists.
Alex Abrines scored 16 points and Raymond Felton, Jerami Grant and Patrick Patterson each added 14 for the Thunder.Marc Gasol scored 18 points for the Grizzlies.
Pacers 121, Knicks 113: Victor Oladipo had 30 points, nine assists and eight rebounds to help Indiana beat New York in Indianapolis.
Bojan Bogdanovic made four 3-pointers and finished with 20 points and Thaddeus Young added 18 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. The Pacerso have won six of eight.
Enes Kanter and Tim Hardaway, Jr. each scored 17 points, and Michael Beasley had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Knicks. They have lost six in a row.
Timberwolves 111, Kings 106: Karl-Anthony Towns scored 29 points, Jeff Teague added 12 points and 10 assists and Minnesota overcame an uncharacteristic sloppy performance at home to beat Sacramento in Minneapolis.
Minnesota had 17 turnovers and allowed Sacramento 22 second-chance points, but prevailed after back-to-back road losses. Jimmy Butler scored 18 points, 15 in the second half, for the Timberwolves in their 13th straight home win. De’Aaron Fox had 23 points for Sacramento.
Rockets 104, Mavericks 97: James Harden scored 27 points, Chris Paul added 25 and Houston routed visiting Dallas.
The Rockets have won eight straight and 12 of 13.
Yogi Ferrell scored 20 points for the Mavericks. They have lost eight of 10.
Raptors 123, Hornets 103: DeMar DeRozan had 25 points and eight assists, C.J. Miles added 24 points and Toronto routed Charlotte in Charlotte, North Carolina, for its fifth straight victory.
Jonas Valanciunas added 21 points and nine rebounds for Toronto, sparking the Raptors’ pivotal run in the third quarter. Dwane Casey earned his 300th victory as head coach of the team.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 23 points and nine assists.
Hawks 118, Pistons 115: Dewayne Dedmon gave Atlanta the lead with a three-point play and then padded the margin with a 3-pointer, lifting the Hawks past visiting Detroit.
Dedmon matched his career high with 20 points and had 13 rebounds in his matchup with Andre Drummond, who had 25 points and 15 rebounds for Detroit. Dennis Schroder had 23 points, including six free throws in the final 20 seconds, for Atlanta.
Blake Griffin had 23 points for Detroit. The Pistons have lost two straight after winning five in a row, including four with the newly acquired Griffin.
Jazz 115, Trail Blazers 96: Donovan Mitchell scored 27 points and newcomer Jae Crowder had 15 in his Utah debut to help Utah beat host Portland for its 10th consecutive win.
Joe Ingles added 24 points for the Jazz, who were playing without Ricky Rubio because of a sore hip. It is Utah’s longest winning streak since stringing together nine in 2010.
Damian Lillard, coming off a 50-point game against Sacramento on Friday night, had 39 points for Portland. The Blazers had won nine in a row at home.
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