NBA Scores And More: Ray Allen Breaks Record, But Kobe Bryant Breaks Celtics

Ray Allen broke the all-time three-point record, but the Lakers won the game behind a strong second half from Kobe. In other action, Arron Afflalo sunk the Mavericks at the buzzer.

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Lakers Vs. Celtics: Ray Allen Breaks Record, But Kobe Bryant Breaks Boston

Ray Allen indeed broke Reggie Miller's record for most career three-pointers late in the first quarter of the Boston Celtics' game against the L.A. Lakers on Thursday -- with Miller broadcasting the game for TNT, no less -- but the Celtics had trouble scoring much else. Allen hit for 20 points, but no other Celtic hit for more than 15 as the Lakers came back from a 15-point first-half deficit to win 94-86.

Kobe Bryant did the job on Boston, exploding for 20 of his 23 points in the second half and knocking Allen to the bench with foul trouble. Kobe took just three field goal attempts in the first half, instead deferring to his teammates like Ron Artest (six FGAs), Andrew Bynum (six) and, of course, Pau Gasol (nine). Bryant's performance was more familiar in the second half -- he took 14 of the Lakers' 37 shots, playing 17 of the 24 minutes. That's Kobe.

He made the most of it, hitting eight of those 14 shots on his way to 20 in the second half. But, oddly enough, Lakers coach Phil Jackson had some success relying on his bench, too. Bryant and Gasol rested to start the fourth quarter with L.A. holding a small lead. The hybrid bench unit that included starters Bynum and Artest and reserves Steve Blake, Shannon Brown and Lamar Odom held the Lakers' lead for seven minutes to start the fourth. Once Kobe came in with five minutes left and L.A. up three, he was well-rested and nailed three straight shots to put the Lakers up by nine.

Jackson can't often rely on much beyond Odom off the bench; to see the unit hold a lead against such a strong team has to make him a bit more comfortable.

Boston shot just 40 percent. Whether that's a function of L.A.'s defense or just some bad shooting on the Celtics' part remains to be seen; Boston, you'll remember, had no problems scoring at will in the teams' last match-up.

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Mavericks Vs. Nuggets: Arron Afflalo Nails Buzzer Beater, Ends Dallas' 10-Game Winning Streak

If you're the Denver Nuggets and you're trailing the Dallas Mavericks, winners of 10 straight, by a point, and you're at home, and you have just seconds to get off a shot, you want defensive specialist Arron Afflalo taking a leaning 21-footer at the buzzer. That's a play you have to call.

Afflalo nailed the deep jumper to slay the mighty-again Mavericks 121-120 and give the Nuggets a huge and deeply needed win. The Nuggets had lost two straight to non-playoff teams (Houston, Golden State). With the Utah Jazz neck-and-neck, and the Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns charging hard, Denver needs win as frequently as possible. (Captain Obvious, to the rescue!) If the Nuggets are indeed willing to keep Carmelo Anthony past the trade deadline, they need to prove to themselves they can compete. Beating the Mavericks? That qualifies, even if it happened on a prayer.

Denver got huge scoring output from 'Melo (42 points in 42 minutes before fouling out), Chauncey Billups (30 points, 15 of them from behind the arc) and Afflalo (24 in all, including four three-pointers). Dallas' vaunted defense was completely invisible, except perhaps in the paint, where Tyson Chandler did a good job limiting Nene. But no one Dallas threw at 'Melo or Billups had any luck whatsoever. As it turns out, Peja Stojakovic isn't the solution at small forward!

The Mavericks, of course, scored at will, too. The points didn't come from Dirk Nowitzki, who had 16. Jason Terry was the top Dallas scorer with 25 off the bench, and Chandler scored 20, Shawn Marion added 19 and Jose Barea continued his hot streak with 17.

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Warriors Vs. Suns: Steve Nash, Defense Lift Phoenix Over Golden State

The Phoenix Suns are playing defense, which indicates a coming run on canned goods and flashlight batteries due to the end of the world, so prepare accordingly. En route to a 112-88 win, Phoenix held the Golden State Warriors to 40 percent shooting from the floor and just six three-pointers. The Suns, meanwhile, lashed out for 52 percent shooting and 12 threes.

Steve Nash led the way for the Suns, scoring 18 points on 6-10 shooting and adding 11 assists. He did have seven turnovers, but he's Steve Nash! Your criticism is invalid. Monta Ellis scored just eight points on 4-13 shooting, and sidekick Stephen Curry (12 points in 24 minutes) didn't play much once the Suns ran the Warriors out of the building.

Phoenix, now 25-25, reached .500 for the first time since Dec. 19. The team's defense has been playing much better of late, and now ranks No. 26 in the league. Progress!

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