Nets beat Celtics, top Eastern Conference

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Kyrie Irving just missed a triple-double despite an awful shooting night while Joe Harris scored 20 points as the Brooklyn Nets regained first place in the Eastern Conference with a 109-104 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Irving shot just four of 19, missing all six of his three-pointers on Friday at Barclays Center, New York.

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 (40-20) finished a season sweep of the Celtics.

"He (Irving) didn't have his typical scoring night, but it's few and far between that he doesn't score the ball at a prolific rate," Nets coach Steve Nash said.

"He didn't, but he definitely disrupted the basketball defensively and overall he draws a lot of attention, so I thought he was great in a lot of different ways than we're accustomed to."

Both teams were without two of their best players. Brooklyn had Kevin Durant (thigh) and James Harden (hamstring) missing while Boston's Jaylen Brown (shoulder) and Kemba Walker (knee) were unavailable.

For the beaten visitors, Jayson Tatum had 38 points and 10 rebounds, while Payton Pritchard chipped in with 22 points and Marcus Smart 19.

In Houston, the visiting Los Angeles Clippers shook off an 11-point third quarter to beat the Rockets 109-104 for their fourth straight win.

Paul George had 33 points and 14 rebounds for the Clippers who improved to 43-19 for the season and consolidated third place in the Western Conference standings.

John Wall had 27 points and 13 assists for Houston. Christian Wood had 24 points and 19 rebounds, and Kelly Olynyk 23 points and 10 rebounds.

The Rockets have lost eight of their last nine and 13 of their last 15 to remain the NBA's worst team.

Russell Westbrook had another triple-double as the Washington Wizards won their seventh straight with a 129-109 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Westbrook had 37 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists - his fourth straight triple-double and his 14th in 16 games.

When he visited as a Houston Rocket last season, the OKC crowd cheered him loudly but the Thunder aren't allowing fans this season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"That was different, especially for me. Coming here, being so silent ... I'm pretty sure it's probably different for those guys too," Westbrook said.

Westbrook has 28 triple-doubles this season and 174 in his career - seven behind Oscar Robertson's record.

In Atlanta, the Hawks surprised the Miami Heat 118-108 with Bogdan Bogdanovich scoring 21 points.

The Charlotte Hornets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 108-102 while the Golden State Warriors proved too strong for the Denver Nuggets, winning 118-97.

The visiting Memphis eked out a 130-128 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, with a game-high 33 points from the Grizzlies' Ja Morant.