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By Dwayne C. Nelson

Kobe Bryant showed why he’s the best closer in the game last night in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 92-86 victory over the Boston Celtics at TD Garden.

Bryant nailed 20 of his 23 points in the second half for the two-time defending NBA champs. The Celtics’ Ray Allen, who eclipsed Reggie Miller to become the all-time leader in 3-pointers, scored 20 in an losing effort.

Here are the rest of last night’s scores with each squad’s top performers.

Denver 121, Dallas 120.

Top performers

Denver: Carmelo Anthony, 42 points and 7 rebounds.

Dallas: Tyson Chandler, 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Phoenix 112, Golden State 88.

Top performers

Phoenix: Steve Nash, 18 points and 11 assists.

Golden State: Ekpe Udoh, 16 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals.

Jerry Sloan quits

The longest-tenured coach in the four major professional sports, Jerry Sloan, resigned yesterday after 23 seasons with the Utah Jazz. Sloan, 68, who had 1,127 wins said he simply ran out of gas. Assistant Ty Corbin was tapped interim head coach of the team, who is 31-23.

Dwayne C. Nelson is an arts & entertainment and sports blogger whose content is featured on various Web sites, including Associated Content, Yahoo! Sports, Urban Daily and News One. You can now follow him on Twitter to stay abreast of his latest posts.

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