UNDATED (AP) — Make it four wins in a row for the Celtics since All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo (RAH'-zhahn RAHN'-doh) suffered a season-ending knee injury. Boston held off a late comeback by the L.A. Clippers and beat the struggling Pacific Division leaders 106-104. Paul Pierce was high man for the winners with 22 points.

The Clippers were playing without their All-Star point guard for a seventh straight game. They are 2-5 during Chris Paul's current absence.

Also in the NBA:

— All-Star center Dwight Howard missed a second straight game due to a sore shoulder and the Lakers won their second straight game, holding on to beat the Pistons 98-97 in Detroit. Pau Gasol (pow gah-SOHL') led the way with 23 points and 10 rebounds. Gasol also contested a last-second alley-oop attempt by the Pistons that helped L.A. hang on for their fifth win in six games. The Lakers trail eighth-place Houston by 3½ games in the Western Conference playoff race.

— Miami opens a half-game lead over idle New York at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with a 100-85 win over at Toronto. LeBron James led the way with a game-high 30 points. Chris Bosh had 28 and Dwyane (dwayn) Wade contributed 23. The Heat improve to 30-14 with their 10th straight win over the Raptors. Rudy Gay led Toronto with 29 points.