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POSTED April 10, 2012 11:28 p.m.

MIAMI (AP) — Paul Pierce scored 27 points, Kevin Garnett added 24 points and nine rebounds, and the Boston Celtics made their first eight shots of the fourth quarter to hold off the Miami Heat 115-107 on Tuesday night.

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. Brandon Bass added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Avery Bradley scored 11 for the Celtics, who shot a season-high 61 percent.

LeBron James finished with 36 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for Miami, which got 20 from Dwyane Wade and 18 from Mario Chalmers.

Boston improved to 18-7 since the All-Star break, and knocked Miami 2½ games behind Chicago, which played later Tuesday, for the No. 1 seed in the East.

WIZARDS 93, MAGIC 85

WASHINGTON (AP) — Kevin Seraphin took advantage of Dwight Howard's absence from Orlando's lineup, getting career highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead Washington.

Jordan Crawford scored 21 points, John Wall had 15 and Cartier Martin and James Singleton — both on 10-day contracts with the Wizards — added 12 points apiece. Seraphin also matched a career high with four blocks.

Jameer Nelson scored 19 points and J.J. Redick added 15 for the Magic, who shot 36.6 percent from the field.

Howard missed his second straight game due to back spasms, and fourth in Orlando's six April games. The Magic have lost three of four in his absence.

76ERS 107, NETS 88

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Spencer Hawes came off the bench for the first time and a scored a season-high 19 points to lead slumping Philadelphia.

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.

The loss eliminated the Nets (21-38) from playoff contention for the fifth straight season.

Lou Williams added 20 points and Thaddeus Young had 19 for the 76ers.

Kris Humphries had 20 points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey. Deron Williams added 14 points, six rebounds and five assists.

CAVALIERS 103, BOBCATS 90

CLEVELAND (AP) — Lester Hudson scored 25 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, and Cleveland beat league-worst Charlotte.

Anthony Parker, who missed the two previous games with a bruised sternum, scored 19 points while Antawn Jamison added 17 for Cleveland.

Gerald Henderson led Charlotte with 21 points. Rookie Kemba Walker scored 20 while D.J. Augustin, back in the starting lineup after missing three games with right knee tendinitis, added 16. The Bobcats have lost 13 in a row to fall to 7-49.

Charlotte hasn't won since beating Toronto on March 17. The Bobcats' last road victory came against New Orleans on March 12, and they are also a league-worst 3-26 away from home.

BULLS 98, KNICKS 86

CHICAGO (AP) — Richard Hamilton scored 20 points and Luol Deng added 19 for Chicago, which played without Derrick Rose again.

Hamilton had 18 points in the third quarter to help Chicago stay ahead after building a 12-point halftime lead. Kyle Korver added 14 points and three blocks, and the Bulls prevailed despite Carmelo Anthony's 29 points for New York.

Rose, meanwhile, 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.

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