The Los Angeles Lakers had a surprisingly easy time staying undefeated. Only a ``Super'' effort kept the Atlanta Hawks from joining them.
Paul Pierce made a jumper with 0.5 seconds left to give the Boston Celtics a 103-102 victory over Atlanta on Wednesday night, handing the Hawks their first loss of the season.
The Hawks (6-1) provided another tough test for the Celtics, just as they did in going the distance against the eventual champions in the first round of last season's playoffs.
``The last play was drawn up: Get the ball to Pierce; get the hell out the way,'' Boston's Kevin Garnett said. ``Superman's in the booth. Let's go home. That was the play, and if you don't believe that ask Doc Rivers and he'll say the same exact thing.''
A night that featured a skirmish in Phoenix, Greg Oden's first NBA points and Dwight Howard's first triple-double - a 30-point, 19-rebound, 10-block masterpiece - ended with the Lakers as the last unbeaten team.
``If at the end of the season it's like this, then it would mean a lot,'' Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. ``There have been a lot of teams that have gotten off to good starts and it doesn't mean they have a great finish, but this is what we want to do and we're doing the right thing.''
In other NBA games Wednesday night, it was: Philadelphia 106, Toronto 96; Indiana 98, New Jersey 87; Washington 95, Utah 87; New York 132, Memphis 103; Orlando 109, Oklahoma City 92; Milwaukee 82, San Antonio 78; Portland 104, Miami 96; Houston 94, Phoenix 82; and Sacramento 103, the Los Angeles Clippers 98.
Kobe Bryant and Derek Fisher each scored 20 points for the Lakers, who got a clutch 3-pointer from Bryant in James Posey's face after the Hornets had trimmed the lead to three with a little more than a minute left.
``I'm never surprised to see him do anything,'' Fisher said. ``He's one of those rare guys in the history of the game that I think can actually make the ball go in. ... Mentally, he's able to lock in on that rim and get the ball in the basket. That's what separates him from some of the best to ever play.''
Pierce did it, too, faking out a pair of defenders before his bucket. He finished with 34 points, Garnett had 25 with 12 rebounds and Rajon Rondo had 10 assists for the Celtics.
like that. That game was played beautifully on both ends of the floor, by both teams, and they made a great play at the end.''
Joe Johnson scored 28 for Atlanta, finding an open Marvin Williams for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 7.4 seconds left before Pierce answered. The Hawks couldn't get off a final shot, but didn't let the loss damage their confidence much.
``Our team swagger is really high right now,'' Al Horford said. ``We just want to play the game the right way, let people know we're serious.''
Rockets 94, Suns 82
At Phoenix, Tracy McGrady snapped out of a slump to score 22 of his 27 points in the second half, and the Rockets won a game that featured a scoring landmark for Shaquille O'Neal and a skirmish that drew ejections for Rafer Alston and Matt Barnes, and seven technical fouls.
The Suns center scored 18 points to move past John Havlicek into 10th on the NBA career scoring list. O'Neal also grabbed 13 rebounds and picked up a technical, along with McGrady and Steve Nash.
Trail Blazers 104, Heat 96
At Miami, Rudy Fernandez scored 25 points in Greg Oden's return to Portland's lineup.
Oden, the 2007 No. 1 overall pick who missed all of last season, finished with three points and two rebounds in 16 minutes in his first action since spraining his right foot in Portland's season opener.
straight game of 30 or better.
Magic 109, Thunder 92
At Oklahoma City, Dwight Howard recorded his first career triple-double with 30 points, 19 rebounds and 10 blocks. It was the first time a player had at least 30 points and 10 blocks in a game since Hakeem Olajuwon against Dallas on April 13, 1996, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Jeff Green had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, who were without Kevin Durant (sore left ankle).
Wizards 95, Jazz 87
At Washington, Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison got a boost from rookie JaVale McGee as the Wizards avoided the first 0-6 start in franchise history.
Butler finished with 27 points and nine rebounds, while Jamison had 21 points and eight rebounds. First-round draft pick McGee set personal NBA bests with 13 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks.
Knicks 132, Grizzlies 103
At Memphis, Tenn., Wilson Chandler scored a career-high 27 points, missing only one of his 12 shots, and the Knicks made a franchise-record 19 3-pointers.
Rudy Gay led Memphis with 20 points, while O.J. Mayo, who had surpassed 30 points in his last two games, scored 17.
76ers 106, Raptors 96
At Toronto, Elton Brand scored a season-high 25 points and the 76ers snapped a three-game losing streak.
Chris Bosh had 30 points and 12 rebounds, but Toronto still lost for the fourth time in five games after opening 3-0.
Bucks 82, Spurs 78
At Milwaukee, Richard Jefferson scored 16 of his 19 points in the second half, Andrew Bogut grabbed 17 rebounds, and the Bucks held on after a 21-2 Spurs run in the third and fourth quarters.
Tim Duncan scored 24 points, including 14 of the Spurs' 19 in the fourth quarter, but missed a 5-footer that would've tied it with 5 seconds to play.
San Antonio (2-5), missing Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, is off to its worst start since going 2-13 in 1996-97.
Pacers 98, Nets 87
At East Rutherford, N.J., T.J. Ford had 18 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, and the banged-up Pacers won their third straight game.
Vince Carter scored 28 points for the Nets, who lost their third straight with point guard Devin Harris sidelined with a sprained ankle.
Kings 103, Clippers 98
At Los Angeles, Beno Udrih had a career-high 30 points and seven assists, and the short-handed Kings never trailed in their fourth win in five games.
Al Thornton led the Clippers with 20 points.

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