For one brief quarter, the Boston Celtics were the championship team of recent years.

It didn't last.The Celtics made their first nine shots and led Phoenix 24-10 just 41/2 minutes into the game, then finished the quarter with a 39-31 advantage after 19-for-24 shooting. But Boston scored just 36 points in the next two periods, including 13 in the third, and lost to the Suns 118-102 Monday night.

"We regrouped," said Dan Majerle, who scored 20 of his 27 points in the first half to keep the Suns in the game. "I guess that's why they give you 48 minutes in basketball."

Dee Brown scored 14 of his 21 points in the first quarter for the Celtics, who shot 38 percent the last three quarters after hitting 79 percent in the first.

The loss was the sixth straight overall and the eighth in a row on the road for Boston, while Phoenix improved to 13-1 at home, best in the NBA.

"We had a great start, but when we substituted, we couldn't sustain it," coach Chris Ford said.

Elsewhere in the NBA, it was Orlando 122, Sacramento 110; Charlotte 109, Detroit 94; Washington 96, Milwaukee 87; Utah 97, Minnesota 93; and the Los Angeles Clippers 96, Philadelphia 86.

Oliver Miller scored nine of his 17 points in a 1:36 span late in the game, stifling a rally by Boston, which was outscored 29-13 in the third quarter.

A.C. Green finished with 25 points, and Kevin Johnson had 23 points and 14 assists for the Suns, who went into the fourth quarter with a 91-75 lead. The Celtics got as close as 100-91 with 6:10 left, but Miller's flurry sealed the outcome.

"Our defense self-destructed in the second half," Boston's Robert Parish said. "Our defense went south. We weren't able to contain Kevin Johnson. He created a lot of havoc on our defensive end."

Brown scored only seven more points after his 14-point first quarter as Phoenix coach Paul Westphal put Johnson on Brown.

Clippers 96, 76ers 86

Los Angeles beat visiting Philadelphia for only the fourth time in 19 meetings as Danny Manning had 21 points and a season-high 15 rebounds and Loy Vaught finished with 19 points and tied a career high with 21 rebounds.

The score was tied 73-73 after three quarters before the 76ers missed seven of their first eight shots in the fourth period, allowing the Clippers to score eight straight points for an 81-75 lead with 9:16 remaining.

Jeff Hornacek had 24 points and 11 rebounds and Clarence Weatherspoon added 11 points and a career-high 19 rebounds for the 76ers. Rookie Shawn Bradley had 16 points, 7 rebounds and 5 blocked shots.

Hornets 109, Pistons 94

Charlotte extended its homecourt winning streak to six as Larry Johnson had 29 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists and Alonzo Mourning scored 30 points against Detroit.

It was Johnson's first triple-double of the season and the third in his NBA career. Johnson was 13-for-18 from the field as the Hornets handed the Pistons their fourth straight loss.

Terry Mills led Detroit with 26 points, while Joe Dumars and Olden Polynice each scored 22.

Bullets 96, Bucks 87

Washington won for the third time in 14 road games and handed Milwaukee its ninth loss in 11 home outings.

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Rex Chapman scored seven of his 23 points in the final 3:48, Don MacLean scored 28 points and Tom Gugliotta 21 for the Bullets, who won for just the second time in 14 games.

Magic 122, Kings 110

Orlando dropped Sacramento's road record to 1-11 as Shaquille O'Neal had 32 points and 17 rebounds and reserve Dennis Scott scored 16 of his 20 points in the final nine minutes.

Scott hit four 3-pointers down the stretch, breaking open a close game against the Kings, who got 40 points from Mitch Richmond but still lost for the 19th time in 25 games.

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