Nets beat Celtics to regain Eastern Conference lead

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NEW YORK — Kyrie Irving just missed a triple-double despite an awful shooting night, Joe Harris scored 20 points and the Brooklyn Nets regained first place in the Eastern Conference with a 109-104 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.

Irving had torched his former team for 77 points in 67 minutes in a pair of victories this season, but this time shot just 4 for 19, missing all six of his 3-pointers.

But he scored 15 points, including the finishing free throws with 1.6 seconds left, and added 11 assists, nine rebounds and four steals as the Nets finished a season sweep of the Celtics, just the third in their franchise history.

Jayson Tatum had 38 points and 10 rebounds but was doing it mostly alone in the first half, when he had 25 of the Celtics’ 51 points.

Payton Pritchard (22 points) and Marcus Smart (19) got it going after halftime and each added points, but the Celtics couldn’t overcome 19 turnovers that gave Brooklyn a whopping 32-0 advantage in fast-break points.

Both teams were without two of their three best players. Kevin Durant missed a third straight game with a bruised left thigh, remaining sidelined along with James Harden (right hamstring).

Jaylen Brown missed his second straight game with left shoulder bursitis, while Kemba Walker rested his left knee on the second night of Boston’s back-to-back after beating Phoenix on Thursday.

HAWKS 118, HEAT 108

ATLANTA (AP) — Bogdan Bogdanovich scored 21 points, John Collins added 20 and injury-depleted Atlanta surprised Miami.

Atlanta played without its two best players, leading scorer Trae Young and NBA rebounding leader Clint Capela.

The Hawks, who began the game No. 5 in the Eastern Conference, improved to 33-27 after winning for the 10th time in their last 12 games against the Eastern Conference and 10th time in the last 13 overall.

Kendrick Nunn had 21 points for the Heat.

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The Associated Press