Brooklyn (United States) (AFP) – The Boston Celtics achieved a 109-98 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, to establish themselves as the team with the best record in the NBA and widen the distance over the Nets at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Celtics star Jayson Tatum put together an offensive night with 20 points and 11 rebounds. Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon each added 16 points for the Celtics.
Meanwhile, the Nets were playing their first game since superstar Kevin Durant limped off a win over Miami with a sprained ligament in his right knee, which is expected to sideline him for several weeks.
Brooklyn, led by 24 points from fellow Kyrie Irving, coped admirably through the first three quarters, leading the back-and-forth battle by as many as nine points in the first half and as many as five in the third, before Boston pulled away. .
The Celtics were 10 of 25 from the field in the fourth quarter and took defensive action, holding the Nets to 16 points in the period.
The Celtics won their fifth straight game to improve to 31-12 and extend their lead over the Nets in the East to three games.
“We played against a very good team,” Smart said. “Obviously they got exhausted as well, but, you know, that’s still a good team there with great players. We just went in there and defended ourselves and tried to make everything as difficult as possible for them.”
Celtics coach Joe Mazulla said before the game that he didn’t know how long Brown would be out, but hoped it wouldn’t be more than a couple of weeks.
The Nets stayed a half game ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks, who lost to the Heat in Miami.
Thunder stuns the Sixers
The Philadelphia 76ers fell 133-114 to the Oklahoma City Thunder to give up ground to Cleveland in the battle for fourth place in the East.
Oklahoma City’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 37 points as the Thunder avenged a 19-point New Year’s Eve loss to the Sixers.
Cameroonian Joel Embiid had 30 points and 10 rebounds and fellow star James Harden added 24 points with 15 assists for Philadelphia, but the Thunder connected on 51.2% of their field goals, including 14 3-pointers, to upset.
In Miami, Gabe Vincent scored a career-high 28 points, center Bam Adebayo added 24 points and 12 rebounds and All-Star Jimmy Butler had 17 cards and 11 sacks for the Heat in an injury-depleted clash of teams that favored the team. location 108-102.
The Bucks, whose multiple absences included two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of Greece, led by 15 in the second quarter, but the Heat had tied it at halftime.
Miami opened the fourth quarter on a 7-0 run and wasn’t far behind in the final period.
One night after they set an NBA record by making all 40 free throw attempts, the Heat made 15 of their 16 attempts from the penalty line, taking their streak to that category 55 before Butler missed one with less than 30 seconds to go.
– Results of Thursday in the NBA:
Oklahoma City and Philadelphia 133-114
Boston a Brooklyn 109-98
Miami a Milwaukee 108-102
Toronto a Charlotte 124-114
Dallas at LA Lakers 119-115 (two overtimes)
Cleveland a Portland 119-113
© 2023 AFP