Special to ESPN.com
TO BE THE BEST, YOU HAVE TO BEAT THE BEST
The Celtics defeated the Spurs, 98-90, snapping San Antonio's nine-game winning streak at TD Banknorth Garden. It was Boston's largest margin of victory over a reigning champion in nearly six years - since a 99-81 win over the Lakers in April 2002 - and it snapped what had been the NBA's longest current team-vs-team winning streak on the road.
PIERCE'S 35 POINTS ARE MOST VS. SPURS THIS SEASON
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 35 points in their victory, the highest point total against the Spurs in more than a yearsince Tracy McGrady scored 37 points in a Rockets victory at San Antonio last January. That leaves the Hornets as the only team not to allow 35 or more points to an opposing player this season.
WAKE UP, BRIAN ... BRIAN? ... BRIAN!!!
Those who like to sleep in will appreciate this. Brian Scalabrine, starting again in place of Kevin Garnett, shot 1-for-5 from the field, scoring only two points in 16 minutes. No surprise there. Sunday's game in Boston started at 1:00 p.m. Scalabrine has scored 25 points in 25 career games that started earlier than 2:00 p.m., making only nine of 55 shots from the field (16%).
HEAT SHOW SIGNS OF LIFE IN LOSS TO LAKERS
In some ways, the first game of the Shawn Marion era looked just looked the final days of the Shaquille O'Neal era, as the Heat fell, 104-94, to the Lakers. It was Miami's 22nd loss in its last 23 games. But look closer and you'll see the seeds of change:
* Mark Blount, the Heat's post-Shaq starting center, scored 22 points. Shaq himself topped the 20-point mark only once since the start of December.
* Marion scored 15 points and added 14 rebounds. It was only the third time this season that a Heat forward totaled 14 or more in both categories. (Udonis Haslem and Dorell Wright did it once each, both in December.)
PRINCE SCORES EARLY AND OFTEN AS PISTONS TOP BOBCATS
Tayshaun Prince scored 14 points in the first quarter as the Pistons built what proved to be an insurmountable early lead in a 113-87 win over the Bobcats. Detroit took a 27-7 lead with 2:48 to play in the first quarter, becoming only the third team this season to lead by 20 points within a game's first 10 minutes.
Charlotte scored 13 points in the opening period, marking only the second time in Prince's NBA career that he outscored the opposing team over an entire quarter. He previously did it against the Lakers in the first period three years ago to the day.
STOUDEMIRE OWNS HAYWOOD IN SUNS' VICTORY
Amare Stoudemire scored 31 points in the Suns' 108-107 victory over the Wizards. Only two other centers have scored more than 30 points in a game starting opposite Wizards center Brendan Haywood. One is Stoudemire's new teammate, Shaquille O'Neal, who did it in 2004 (40 points). The other is Mehmet Okur (38 points in 2007).
NETS RIDE 21-0 RUN TO VICTORY OVER MAVS
The Nets scored 21 unanswered points in a 101-82 win over the Mavericks. New Jersey's 21-0 run was one point short of the longest in the NBA this season, recorded by the Warriors against the Nets on January 24.
ANTHONY AND IVERSON LEAD NUGGETS TO BIG WIN AT CLEVELAND
Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points and Allen Iverson scored 25 in the Nuggets' 113-83 win at Cleveland. While that might seem an excellent recipe, Denver has only a 12-11 record when both Anthony and Iverson score at least 25 points.
THE RAPTORS' DOUBLE-DIGIT DISHERS
T.J. Ford recorded 13 assists and Jose Calderon 10 in the Raptors' 105-82 win over the Timberwolves. Only two other pairs of teammates reached double-figures in assists in the same game this season: Allen Iverson and Anthony Carter of the Nuggets (Jan. 11 vs. Magic) and Deron Williams and Andrei Kirilenko of the Jazz (Nov. 9 vs. Sonics).
PETERSON LEADS NFC TO PRO BOWL WIN
Adrian Peterson gained 129 rushing yards in the NFC's 42-30 victory in the Pro Bowl. The only other rookie to gain at least 100 yards rushing in an AFC-vs.-NFC Pro Bowl was Marshall Faulk (180 yards following the 1994 season). Honorable mention to Curtis McClinton, a rookie who gained 104 rushing yards in the AFL's interdivision All-Star game following the 1962 season.