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NBA: O'Neal  Leads Lakers to Win Over Celtics - 2003-03-22


Los Angeles Lakers' superstar Shaquille O'Neal scored 48 points to lead the three-time defending National Basketball Association champions to a 104-96 win over the Boston Celtics.

O'Neal also had 20 rebounds in Friday's contest in Los Angeles. The Lakers beat the Celtics for the first time in their last four meetings.

Meanwhile, the Seattle SuperSonics edged the Denver Nuggets, 101-99, in overtime, on a free throw by Ray Allen with just two seconds left in the five-minute extra session. The win in Seattle keeps the Sonics' slim playoff hopes alive.

The league's top scorer, Tracy McGrady, scored 39 points over three quarters as his Orlando Magic crushed the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers, 109-85. McGrady has scored 30 or more points 42 games this season, and tied a team record with his eighth straight game of at least 30 points.

Washington's Michael Jordan left Phoenix a loser in his final visit there after the Wizards lost 109-83 to the Suns. Washington is struggling to clinch the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. It opened a grueling six-game road trip with its fourth straight road loss.

In other NBA action Friday, the host Indiana Pacers erased a 19-point deficit to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies, 101-92. The Minnesota Timberwolves beat the San Antonio Spurs in overtime, 101-94.

The New Orleans Hornets rolled to a 113-98 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Houston Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors, 117-107, the Atlanta Hawks defeated the Philadelphia 76ers, 114-105, and the Toronto Raptors fell 107-98 to the Miami Heat. Also in New York, the Knicks edged the Detroit Pistons, 97-93.

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