Checking the NBA, Paul Pierce had 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Celtics blasted the Lakers, 116-95 for their sixth straight win last night. The Celts carried a 26-point lead into the final period and ended the Lakers' three-game winning streak.
Dwight Howard started for L.A. after missing three games with a sore right shoulder, providing nine rebounds and just nine points in 28 minutes before fouling out. Kobe Bryant scored a game-high 27 points.
And the Denver Nuggets overcame the Chicago Bulls. The Nuggets improved to 22 and 3 at home with their eighth straight win, a 128-95 laugher against Chicago.
In the NHL, Thomas Vanek was Buffalo's star in a 5-4 triumph at Montreal, scoring twice in the third period and once in the shootout. Vanek's league-high 10th goal of the season tied the game with just two seconds left in regulation and allowed the Sabres to win for only the second time in nine games.
Teenage rookie J.T. Miller scored his first two NHL goals and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots as the New York Rangers handed the Islanders their third straight loss, 4-1. The Rangers have beaten the Islanders eight straight times at Madison Square Garden, outscoring them 35-11.
Elsewhere in the NHL, New Jersey doubled up Tampa Bay 4-2. Calgary finished ahead of Columbus 4-3. Florida beat Philadelphia 3-2. Pittsburgh bested Washington 5-2. Carolina 3, Ottawa 2. Detroit 5, St. Louis 1. Nashville shut out Los Angeles 3-0. Toronto slid past Winnipeg 3-2 and Vancouver defeated Phoenix 6-2.
Checking top 25- College Basketball, Illinois edged ahead of 1st ranked Indiana 74-72. 4th ranked Duke 98, NC State 85 and Colorado beat 19th ranked Oregon 48- 47.
In other College basketball news, U Albany defeated UMBC 79-56 and Hartford bested Binghamton 76-62.
Finally, the Boston Bruins have shipped goaltender Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders for a conditional second-round draft choice in 2014 or 2015, a deal that's more of a salary cap move for the B's.