MINNEAPOLIS -- Nikola Pekovic bruised and battered the overmatched Boston front line for 29 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 110-100 victory over the Celtics on Monday night.
Andrei Kirilenko had 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists, and Dante Cunningham scored 19 points off the bench for the Wolves, who delivered coach Rick Adelman his 998th career victory.
Avery Bradley scored 19 points for Boston, which was playing without Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Celtics, who started the day 2 1/2 games ahead of eight-seeded Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference playoff race, have lost seven of their last nine games (see full recap).
Magic lose despite Harkless' career night
HOUSTON -- Omer Asik matched his career high with 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets beat the Orlando Magic 111-103 on Monday night without James Harden and Chandler Parsons.
Jeremy Lin had 19 points and 11 assists, and Francisco Garcia had 14 points, five assists and three blocks for the Rockets, who hardly missed their top two scorers until Orlando made a late run. Harden sat out for the second straight game with a sore right foot and Parsons missed the game with an illness.
Rookie Maurice Harkless scored a career-high 28 points and Beno Udrih had 17 points and 10 assists for the Magic.
The Rockets won for the eighth time in 10 home games and inched closer to their first playoff berth since the 2008-09 season. Houston holds the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference (see full recap).
Bucks' offense erupts in win over Bobcats
MILWAUKEE -- Larry Sanders had a career-high 24 points and 13 rebounds as Milwaukee cruised to a 131-102 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night for the Bucks' highest scoring total in more than four years.
Monta Ellis had 19 points, a career-high 14 assists and six steals to help Milwaukee pull 1 1/2 games behind seventh-place Boston in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Celtics lost to Minnesota on Monday. Ersan Ilyasova added 22 points for the Bucks, J.J. Redick scored 20, and Brandon Jennings 19.
Milwaukee, which had lost five of six, remained solidly in the eighth position in the East, with a six-game lead over idle Philadelphia.
Kemba Walker scored 27 points to lead the Bobcats, and Gerald Henderson had 17 (see full recap).