MIAMI -- Erick Strickland scored a season-high 23 points, including a pair of 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter, leading Boston to a 87-82 victory over Miami on Monday night.
Strickland, filling in for the injured Kenny Anderson at point guard, helped the Celtics pull away in the fourth quarter and secure a much-needed win.
Boston, which had lost three of its previous four after winning seven straight, moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Milwaukee for the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Miami lost for the third straight time and has dropped five of its last seven. The Heat, once a half-game out of the playoffs, fell four games behind Indiana for the final playoff spot.
The Heat's loss also clinched a playoff spot for New Jersey, which was idle.
Paul Pierce scored 19 points and Antoine Walker 17 for Boston.
Knicks 84, Nuggets 83
NEW YORK -- Voshon Lenard scored 16 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter and hit the winning shot. Juwan Howard added 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who trailed by as many as 13 points in the second half.
Latrell Sprewell scored 33 points for the Knicks, who led by as many as 19 in the first half. Kurt Thomas added 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks, who have lost 15 games when leading by double digits this year.
Suns 102, Cavaliers 96
PHOENIX -- Jake Tsakilidis scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Dan Majerle sank two 3-pointers in the final 3 1/2 minutes.
Shawn Marion scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Phoenix. He sank consecutive jumpers from 17 and 20 feet to put the Suns in control for good 96-89 with 1:11 to play.
Stephon Marbury had 20 points and a season-high 14 assists for the Suns.
Grizzlies 103, Trail Blazers 100
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Rodney Buford scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Grizzlies rallied from 19 points down in that period. Lorenzen Wright scored 21 points to lead the Grizzlies, who had lost six straight and 15 of 17. Memphis (18-52) began the night just a half-game ahead of Chicago for the league's worst record.
The Grizzlies trailed by as many as 25 late in the third quarter, making this the biggest comeback in the franchise's seven-year history. The previous largest was 23 points in a win over New Jersey in January 2000.
SuperSonics 106, Jazz 92
SEATTLE -- Rashard Lewis scored 11 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter in Seattle's first win over Utah in more than two years.
Lewis also grabbed seven rebounds in the final quarter. Gary Payton added 24 points and seven assists, and Brent Barry had 18 points and six assists for the Sonics, who entered with a half-game lead over the Jazz for seventh place in the Western Conference.
Karl Malone had 24 points, six steals and five rebounds for Utah. The Jazz, who had won four of five, got 17 points and nine assists from John Stockton a night before his 40th birthday.
Spurs 91, Clippers 85
LOS ANGELES -- Tim Duncan had 33 points and 13 rebounds, and David Robinson added 19 points as the Spurs ran their winning streak to 13 and clinched a playoff berth. Their victory also lifted Dallas into the playoffs in the West.
San Antonio had to rally from a 13-point third-quarter deficit to keep the NBA's longest victory string of the season going.
Michael Olowokandi had 26 points and 17 rebounds for the Clippers, who remained 2 1/2 games behind Utah for the West's final playoff berth. Elton Brand had 15 points and 10 rebounds, his 50th double-double of the season and four short of the franchise record.
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