J.R. Bremer scored a career-high 25 points and Antoine Walker had 22 points, 12 assists and 8 rebounds last night as the Celtics spoiled Dennis Johnson's return to Boston with a 83-72 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.

What started as a moving reunion between Johnson and the fans who saw him win two NBA titles in the 1980s turned bizarre midway through the second half when a substance caused the Celtics to bolt from their bench, unable to breathe.

Paul E. Johnson, the NBA security official assigned to Boston, said police believe four men released a canister of pepper spray as a prank and then left the building. "Immediately after they left, the complaints started," he said.

There was no odor, but players and fans reported problems with their throats and eyes.

"Everybody started coughing," center Mark Blount said. "I felt like I was going to throw up."

Even without Paul Pierce (sore back), the Celtics easily sent the Clippers to their eighth consecutive loss and their second since Johnson was promoted on Monday to replace Alvin Gentry.

Johnson played for the Celtics from 1983 to 1990. His uniform No. 3 has been retired by the team.

* KINGS 108, JAZZ 105: Peja Stojakovic scored seven of his 19 points in overtime and Chris Webber had 24 points and 15 rebounds to lead visiting Sacramento.

Mike Bibby also scored 24 points, including four straight free throws in the final 18.2 seconds that sealed it.

Karl Malone led the Jazz with 25 points.

* MAVERICKS 91, HEAT 89: In Miami, Steve Nash scored 22 points, Dirk Nowitzki added 21 and Dallas held off a late Heat rally.

A 10-2 run culminating in a layup by Caron Butler pulled the Heat within two points with 1 minute 2 seconds left. On Miami's next possession, Butler's drive to the basket was whistled dead, with referee Ken Mauer calling a blocking foul from under the basket and Bernie Fryer whistling an offensive foul from the sideline.

Fryer's call prevailed, and the Mavericks appeared ready to cruise to victory until Finley was called for fouling Mike James on a three-point attempt with 2.9 seconds remaining.

James hit all three free throws to make it a one-point game, and Nash missed his first free throw of the night after hitting his first 10.

That gave Miami a chance to go for the tie or win, but Malik Allen's 18-foot shot rimmed out as time expired.

* 76ERS 108, SUPERSONICS 99: Allen Iverson scored 40 points to lead visiting Philadelphia to its 11th win in 12 games since the all-star break.

Iverson shot 15 of 27 from the field, and the Sixers shot 51.9 percent. Keith Van Horn scored 26 points, Derrick Coleman had 14 points and 14 rebounds and Eric Snow also had a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists.

* LAKERS 106, TIMBERWOLVES 96: In Los Angeles, Shaquille O'Neal had 40 points and 14 rebounds, and Kobe Bryant added 30 points to fuel the Lakers.

With O'Neal also playing aggressive defense and getting up and down the court well, the Lakers won for the eighth time in nine games.

* KNICKS 111, MAGIC 102: Latrell Sprewell scored 13 of his 33 points in the third quarter to help New York snap a seven-game road losing skid.

Allan Houston added 25 points and a season-high nine rebounds, while Shandon Anderson came off the bench to score 20 for the Knicks, who shot 52.7 percent.

For Orlando, Tracy McGrady scored 37 points -- 14 in the second quarter.

* HORNETS 102, CAVALIERS 76: In New Orleans, Jamaal Magloire scored 20 points and Jamal Mashburn added 18 as the Hornets overpowered the Cavaliers for their eighth win in a row.

Carlos Boozer scored 16 points for Cleveland, which has lost 11 of its last 12 games.