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Celtics rout Hawks for 8th straight win

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

BOSTON (AP) Kyrie Irving credits Boston's defense for an offensive resurgence that has the Celtics riding the longest winning streak in the NBA.

Irving scored 24 points in just three quarters, then rested in the fourth as the Celtics finished off a 129-108 rout of Atlanta on Friday night for their eighth straight victory.

"We're just pushing the pace," said Irving, who also had five assists, five rebounds and four steals. "I think our identity is on the defensive end. We just try to pressure them and use that to our advantage and create opportunities on the offensive end."

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Westbrook, Murray tussle in Nuggets' win

DENVER (AP) For all his offensive contributions and rebounding, Nikola Jokic's most important role in the end was peacemaker.

Jokic scored 24 points, Jamal Murray had 19 and the Denver Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 109-98 on Friday night after Murray and Russell Westbrook had a heated exchange.

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Giannis' 44 lift short-handed Bucks

CLEVELAND (AP) Giannis Antetokounmpo played as if he had a point to prove.

The Milwaukee star rebounded from his worst game of the season to match his career high with 44 points and the Bucks beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-102 on Friday night despite missing two starters.

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Pacers overcome Embiid's 40-21 in win

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Bojan Bogdanovic excitedly slammed the ball to the floor as the final second ticked off and a stunned crowd headed for the exits.

For the entire night, 76ers center Joel Embiid electrified Philadelphia fans with one of the best individual performances of the season. In the end, it was the Indiana Pacers who made the most emphatic statement.

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Leonard returns but Blazers beat Raptors

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) A struggling Trail Blazers bench finally got rolling Friday night, setting a season high for points in a confidence-boosting win over the NBA-leading Toronto Raptors.

Zach Collins scored 16 points and Seth Curry added a season-best 13, including three key 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter, as Portland held off the league's top team for a 128-122 victory.

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Thompson hits key 3, Warriors top Kings

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) Golden State coach Steve Kerr praised his team's smothering defense for providing the spark it needed to bounce back from a disappointing loss. He also chided the Warriors' offense for a lack of focus that made the a late run necessary.

Not much is coming easy for the two-time defending NBA champs this season, not even on a night when they got another big night from the All-Star trio of Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.

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Richardson, Olynyk lead Heat by Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Miami Heat didn't let a bad loss in their last game linger to the point of making a six-game road trip more troublesome.

Relying on 3-point shooting during a 13-2 run in the middle stages of the fourth quarter, the Heat went on to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 100-97 on Friday night, snapping a two-game skid.

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Dinwiddie scores 27, Nets win 4th in row

NEW YORK (AP) Spencer Dinwiddie and the Brooklyn Nets keep adding to a big week.

The Washington Wizards sounded like a team that may be breaking up.

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Mudiay has 14 of 34 in 4th, Knicks rally

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Emmanuel Mudiay dug his shoulder in, turned and floated a jumper with 27.2 seconds left.

Mudiay knocked down the shot to help force overtime and finished with a career-high 34 points and eight assists to help the short-handed New York Knicks erase a 21-point deficit and beat the Charlotte Hornets 126-124 on Friday night.

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Dinwiddie caps climb with big extension

NEW YORK (AP) There was no big celebration for Spencer Dinwiddie when he signed a contract extension with Brooklyn that guarantees a paycheck in an NBA where he once couldn't even hold a job.

Outside of the satisfaction of knowing his parents can retire, Dinwiddie said nothing really changed.

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