Pierce scores 30 as Celtics beat Raptors 93-79

Posted Jan. 02, 2011, at 8:45 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 02, 2011, at 9:15 p.m.

TORONTO — Paul Pierce scored 30 points, Ray Allen had 23 and the Boston Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 93-79 on Sunday night.

Glenn Davis added 15 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists as Boston won for the 10th time in 11 meetings with Toronto.

Pierce was disappointed with himself after scoring just 12 points and making a season-high six turnovers in Friday’s 83-81 loss to New Orleans. He made up for that by hitting 10 of 15 shots, seven of eight free throws and grabbing seven rebounds to help Boston snap a two-game losing streak.

DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points, Joey Dorsey had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Amir Johnson had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost 11 of their past 14.

Toronto trailed by nine points to start the fourth but cut it 80-75 on a reverse layup by DeRozan and a jumper from Jose Calderon with 5:05 left. The Raptors missed a chance to draw even closer when Dorsey missed two free throws.

Pierce made the Raptors pay by answering with a driving dunk, Allen made a 3-pointer and followed with a jumper in the lane as Boston pushed its lead to 87-75, its biggest of the game at that point.

Boston point guard Rajon Rondo returned to the starting lineup after missing seven games because of a sprained left ankle. He had four points and eight assists in 34 minutes.

Rondo, who came in averaging an NBA-best 13.2 assists, had to be helped off the court in the fourth quarter of a victory over the New York Knicks on Dec. 15, and had not played since.

Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, who injured his right calf in Wednesday’s loss to Detroit, missed his second straight game.

The short-handed Raptors were without center and leading scorer Andrea Bargnani, who missed his fourth straight game with a sore left calf. Guard Jerryd Bayless, who left Friday’s loss at Houston with a sprained left ankle, did not play, and guard Sonny Weems missed his seventh straight game because of back spasms.

DeRozan, who scored a career-high 37 points Friday, had 10 in the opening quarter but Pierce scored 8 as Boston led by one, 24-23, after 12 minutes.

Pierce added 12 more in the second as the Celtics maintained their narrow advantage, taking a 43-42 lead into the half.

DeRozan scored 10 points in the third, including a huge alley-oop from Jose Calderon, but Glenn Davis had nine as the Celtics took a 71-62 lead into the final quarter.

NOTES: Rondo missed three games earlier this season because of a strained left hamstring, sitting out Boston’s 102-101 loss at Toronto on Nov. 21. … Bargnani has missed six of the past eight games with knee, ankle and calf injuries. … Calderon had 10 assists for the Raptors. … Toronto outrebounded Boston 49-37.

Hawks 107, Clippers 98

LOS ANGELES — Joe Johnson scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Josh Smith added 22 and the Atlanta Hawks rallied to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-98 on Sunday.

Johnson, who returned to the lineup on Dec. 17 after missing nine games following right elbow surgery, was 7 for 20 from the field after going 18 of 51 over his previous three games. In Friday’s loss at Oklahoma City, the four-time All-Star guard missed 14 of 20 attempts — including all six from 3-point range. Smith was 5 for 14 after missing his first eight shots.

Clippers rookie Blake Griffin scored 19 of his 31 points in the first half and pulled down 15 rebounds for his 27th double-double and 21st in a row. Baron Davis had 15 points and five assists.

Atlanta trailed by as many as 16 points in the second quarter and was shooting just 31.7 percent at halftime. But the Hawks went on a 15-2 run to turn a seven-point deficit into a 91-85 lead with 4:42 left in the game.

Jamal Crawford began the rally with three free throws after getting fouled by Eric Gordon behind the arc. DeAndre Jordan was whistled for goaltending on Johnson’s short jumper with 6 minutes to play, giving the Hawks an 86-85 lead.

It was Atlanta’s first lead since Mike Bibby opened the game with a 15-foot jumper.

Smith added a 3-pointer and Johnson capped the decisive run with five points. Crawford then hit a 17-footer, Al Horford followed with a layup and Bibby added a 3-pointer to help seal the victory.

Crawford finished with 24 points. Smith also had 10 rebounds and blocked two shots.

Clippers guard Eric Gordon, who came in with a team-high 23.8 scoring average, spent the final 8:27 of the first quarter on the bench after picking up two fouls 46 seconds apart. But it didn’t faze the Clippers, whose game-opening 19-8 run included a slam dunk by Griffin off a no-look, over-the-shoulder alley-oop pass from Davis. Los Angeles led 31-18 at the end of the quarter after shooting 15 for 20.

Rookie guard Eric Bledsoe converted the Clippers’ first 3-point shot of the game with 6:03 left in the half, extending the margin to 43-27.

Smith ended his shooting drought on a 3-pointer that trimmed Los Angeles’ lead to 55-48 with 10:14 left in the third quarter, and the Hawks closed to 76-73 on a three-point play by Zaza Pachulia with 11:06 remaining.

NOTES: Michael Cage, whose record for consecutive double-doubles by a Clippers player was broken by Griffin last Wednesday, was a pregame and postgame guest commentator for Sunday’s local telecast on Fox Sports Net — an assignment that was scheduled a month earlier. Cage, who lives in Newport Beach, was sitting under the Clippers’ basket on Nov. 20 at Staples Center when Griffin scored a career-high 44 points — including that now-famous dunk he made over Knicks rookie Timofey Mozgov by balancing his non-shooting hand on Mozgov’s head before throwing it down. “My kids ‘You Tube’ him all the time. I can’t get away from it,” a smiling Cage told the Associated Press. “Every time I wake up, it’s “Dad, come here. Let me show you this Blake Griffin dunk from last night.’ And it’s really kind of neat, because it’s been a long time since the Clippers have had a fun, exciting player that appeals to the whole league.” … Atlanta outscored Los Angeles 37-24 in the final quarter.

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