BOSTON – Larry Hughes had 21 points, six assists and five steals to help the Cleveland Cavaliers overcome the absence of LeBron James and beat the Boston Celtics 93-88 on Monday night.
Anderson Varejao added 14 points and Damon Jones had 12 points for the Cavaliers, who swept the Celtics for the first time in franchise history.
Both teams were playing without their best players. James was a late scratch with a sprained left ankle, while Boston forward Paul Pierce missed his second consecutive game with a sore left elbow.
Tony Allen scored a career-high 23 points, but was 3-of-11 from the free-throw line for Boston, which lost its fifth straight game.
Gerald Green, making his second career start, scored 17 for the Celtics in place of Pierce. Orien Greene scored a career-high 14 points and Ryan Gomes added 13 for the Celtics, whose 22 turnovers led to 30 Cleveland points.
Bulls 116, Magic 112
ORLANDO, Fla. – Kirk Hinrich had 26 points and 10 assists and Andres Nocioni scored 24 to help the Chicago Bulls beat the Orlando Magic 116-112 in overtime.
Chicago has won five straight and with a little bit of help can move up to the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls (40-41) are currently tied for sixth with Indiana and Milwaukee, a half-game behind Washington. Chicago finishes hosts Toronto on Wednesday in its regular season finale.
Pacers 120, Raptors 95
TORONTO – Peja Stojakovic scored 27 points and the Indiana Pacers ended a nine-game road losing streak with a 120-95 rout over the Toronto Raptors.
Stojakovic was one of four Indiana players to have at least 20 points before the start of the fourth quarter.Anthony Johnson added 22, Stephen Jackson had 21 and Jermaine O’Neal 20 for the Pacers
Bobcats 98, Knicks 91
NEW YORK – Raymond Felton had 16 points and a season-high 14 assists to lead the Charlotte Bobcats to a 98-91 victory over the New York Knicks, who tied a franchise record with their 59th loss.
In a matchup of the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference, both clubs were without key players – and the Knicks were without their coach. Larry Brown missed his third straight game with a stomach ailment, leaving Herb Williams to run the team.
Bucks 113, Pistons 93
MILWAUKEE – Michael Redd and Bobby Simmons each scored 19 points and the Milwaukee Bucks beat Detroit 113-93 as the Pistons rested two of their top three scorers.
The victory temporarily vaults the Bucks into the No. 6 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference, and gives them a shot at the fifth seed in their regular-season finale at Washington on Tuesday night.
Spurs 115, Jazz 82
SAN ANTONIO – Manu Ginobili scored 18 points and Tim Duncan added 16 to help the Spurs clinch the Southwest Division title and the best record in the Western Conference.
The Spurs earned the No. 1 seed and homecourt advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs.
Rockets 86, Nuggets 83
DENVER – Juwan Howard scored a season-high 31 points and the Houston Rockets handed the playoff-bound Denver Nuggets their third straight loss by scoring the final 11 points in an 86-83 victory.
Chuck Hayes had a steal and dunk for the go-ahead score with 13.4 seconds left as the Rockets, a team going nowhere, won for only the second time in nine games.