NBA

Celtics blowout Suns in statement win, Giannis dominant again as Bucks down Kings

By Sports Desk December 08, 2022

The Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics had a statement win over the Western Conference-leading Phoenix Suns with a 125-98 blowout victory on Wednesday.

The Celtics led by as much as 45 points and benched MVP candidate Jayson Tatum in the fourth quarter, in a game where the Suns welcomed back All-Star Chris Paul from a heel injury.

Tatum finished with 25 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. The 24-year-old is the first player in Celtics history to average 30 points per game in his first 25 games of any season.

Jaylen Brown also scored 25 points with seven rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points off the bench.

Boston led 69-42 at half-time in the blowout win, which was the Celtics' second-biggest margin this season.

Devin Booker struggled with four fouls and three field-goals made in the first half, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Paul had four points and four assists in 24 minutes on his return.

The result means the Celtics improved to an NBA-best 21-5 record after three straight wins, while the Suns fall to 16-9.

Giannis powers Bucks to another win

Giannis Antetokounmpo matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-longest streak of consecutive 30-point games (eight) in franchise history as the Milwaukee Bucks downed the Sacramento Kings 126-113.

The Greek forward finished with 35 points on 12-of-19 field-goal shooting, with six rebounds and six assists as the Bucks improved to 18-6 with their third straight win. The victory extended the Bucks' win streak against the Kings to 13.

Bucks guard Jrue Holiday made an excellent contribution with 31 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Kings forward Domantas Sabonis added 23 points with 12 rebounds.

Banchero clutch in Magic OT win

Top overall NBA Draft pick Pablo Banchero showcased his potential to help the Orlando Magic snap their nine-game losing streak with a 116-111 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

The 20-year-old power forward scored 23 points for the game, including making all six of his free-throws in the final seven seconds of overtime to overturn a 111-110 deficit. The Clippers gave up two turnovers down the stretch.

Paul George and Kawhi Leonard made another rare appearance together again, combining for 17 first-quarter points. George finished with 11 for the game with seven rebounds and five assists, while Leonard added 14 points with seven rebounds and three assists.

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    LeBron James scored 19 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Lakers erased a 21-point deficit in the final 12 minutes as the Los Angeles Lakers rallied for a 116-112 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

    James hit five of his season-high seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and outscored the Clippers by himself (19-16). He either scored or assisted on 11 of the Lakers’ 13 baskets in the final period.

    The Clippers held a 98-77 lead in the opening minute of the final quarter, but James led a 29-8 run over the next 7:34. Anthony Davis’ free throws tied it at 106 with four minutes left, and Jamesd found Rui Hachimura for a go-ahead 3 moments later.

    Kawhi Leonard missed a 12-footer with five seconds to go and the Clippers down two before James threw a long pass to Cam Reddish for a dunk that punctuated a stunning win for the Lakers.

    Davis finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, D’Angelo Russell added 18 points and Hachimura had 17.

    Leonard scored 26 points and James Harden added 23 with nine assists for the Clippers, who have lost consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 21 and 23.

     

    Doncic has triple-double on birthday

    Luka Dončić celebrated his 25th birthday with 30 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds for his 11th triple-double of the season in the Dallas Mavericks’ 136-125 win over the Toronto Raptors.

    Doncic was 11 for 23 from the field and missed 7 of 8 from 3-point range in his 67th career triple-double.

    He is the first player in NBA history to record a 30-point triple-double on his birthday.

    Kyrie Irving scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and P.J. Washington Jr. added 23 points for Dallas, which avoided a third straight loss.

    Scottie Barnes had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Immanuel Quickley scored a season-high 28 points as Toronto said goodbye to a season-best three-game winning streak.

    Doncic scored 11 points in the third quarter and added six assists to help the Mavs take a 106-92 lead into the fourth.

     

    Jokic extends triple-double streak in win

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    Jokic had 14 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for his 19th triple-double this season, two behind Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis for the league lead.

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 16 points and Aaron Gordon added 15 for Denver, which avoided a four-game season sweep to the Kings.

    Keegan Murray had 21 points and Chris Duarte contributed 18 off the bench as Sacramento had a three-game winning streak snapped.

  • Chris Paul adds to 'crazy' Warriors depth in winning return Chris Paul adds to 'crazy' Warriors depth in winning return

    Steve Kerr revelled in the "crazy" luxury of being able to bring Chris Paul and Klay Thompson off the bench as the Golden State Warriors continued their fine form on Tuesday.

    Golden State have hit their stride in February to move back into playoff contention in the West, despite missing veteran point guard Paul.

    The 38-year-old was traded to the Warriors by the Washington Wizards at the start of the season, having previously been moved on by the Phoenix Suns, but had been restricted to 32 games and 11 starts prior to returning against the Wizards.

    Paul made his comeback from the bench following his recovery from surgery on a left hand fracture, and he was joined in the second unit by Klay Thompson.

    Those options in reserve were especially useful to Kerr in this 123-112 win as superstar starter Stephen Curry was held scoreless through the first half.

    Curry finished with 18 points, but he was outshone by Thompson, who had 25, while Paul played a key role in the decisive third quarter in which the Warriors outscored the Wizards 38-17.

    "What a luxury to come off the bench with Chris Paul and Klay Thompson," coach Kerr said. "That's crazy."

    "You've got two Hall of Famers in the backcourt coming off the bench," Thompson added. "That's such a rare feat, so we take pride in that.

    "[Paul] makes my life much easier, much easier. Just his ability to read the game, hit me in stride, on time, on target, he's probably one of the best in history at doing that."

    Kerr continued: "We've been playing pretty well over the last month or so, but we've really been looking forward to getting Chris back.

    "You could see why tonight. He's a plus-17 in 21 minutes, always in control of the game. The way we closed the third quarter was really important, and he was at the helm."

    Paul is not getting carried away just yet but acknowledged that strength in depth and affirmed his commitment to taking on whatever role Kerr asks of him.

    "It's one game, one game," Paul said. "We've still got a lot of work to do as a team, as a unit.

    "We have so much depth, so many different ways that we can play, that it's going to take us a little while to figure it out. But obviously, you want to figure it out and win at the same time.

    "We've got a really good group of guys on this team, and [Kerr is] going to need different things every night.

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    Max Strus connected on a 59-foot heave at the buzzer, lifting the Cleveland Cavaliers to a wild 121-119 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday.

    Strus made five 3-pointers in the final 3:42 of the game and capped a back-and-forth ending, giving the Cavs their 20th win in their last 24 games.

    Dallas’ PJ Washington made a contested layup with 2.6 seconds remaining to put the Mavs up 119-118.

    Without any timeouts to advance the ball, Strus inbounded to Evan Mobley, who quickly returned the ball. Strus took one dribble before launching from behind the half-court line and swishing the game-winning bucket.

    Strus finished with 21 points. Donovan Mitchell also made seven 3’s and led the way for the Cavs with 31 points.

    With the win, Cleveland (38-19) remained alone in second place in the Eastern Conference.

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    Celtics extend season-best winning streak

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    The Celtics, who lead the NBA in both 3-point makes and attempts this season, shot just 5 of 22 from beyond the arc, both season lows.

    Boston compensated for their cold shooting by attacking the rim and shooting 34 of 37 from the free throw line. Tatum – who finished with 29 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists – was 10 of 11 from the line, while Kristaps Porzingis made all 12 of his free throws.

    The Celtics (46-12) improved to 25-0 at home against Eastern Conference opponents.

    Tyrese Maxey was the high-point man for Philadelphia with 32, but the rest of the 76ers’ starters combined for just 22 points.

     

    SGA powers Thunder to 6th straight win

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    Gilgeous-Alexander finished with 31 points and has scored at least 30 in every game during the Thunder’s winning streak.

    The win kept Oklahoma City (41-17) in a tie with the Minnesota Timberwolves for the best record in the Western Conference.

    Alperen Sengun had a team-high 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Rockets, who are just 6-14 in their last 20 games.

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