NBA

Celtics obliterate Warriors 140-88, hold Curry to just four points

By Sports Desk March 04, 2024

Stephen Curry's first basket Sunday tied the score between the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics midway through the first quarter.

The next time he made a shot, the Warriors trailed by 32 points.

The Celtics annihilated Curry and the Warriors, cruising to a 140-88 drubbing to extend their season-best winning streak to 11 games.

The victory marked the third-largest winning margin in franchise history as Boston set an NBA record with its third win by 50 or more points this season.

 

After Curry's floating bank shot tied the game at 21 with 6:05 to play in the opening period, Boston went on a 22-3 run en route to a franchise-record 44-point half-time lead.

Curry's only other basket came with 4:24 remaining in the second quarter, as his four points marked his fewest since he scored just three on March 16, 2022 at Boston - a game he departed after playing just 16 minutes due to a foot injury.

The 10-time All-Star missed all nine of his 3-point attempts and didn't play after half-time.

The Celtics had no such trouble making their baskets, connecting on 51.0 per cent of their 3-point tries, hitting a season high-tying 25 shots from beyond the 3-point arc.

Jaylen Brown had a game-high 29 points in just 22 minutes, while Jayson Tatum had 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting on his 26th birthday.

Payton Pritchard added 19 points for the Celtics, who shot 60 per-cent in the first half to go into the break with an 82-38 lead, and led by as much as 56 points.

At 48-12, Boston has its best record through 60 games since 2007-08 - the last season the franchise won the NBA title.

Golden State (32-28) arrived in Boston having won 11 of 13, including eight straight on the road.

None of the Warriors starters played more than 20 minutes, as reserve Lester Quinones had a team-high 17 points in 33 minutes.

 

Thunder escape in Phoenix to move back atop West

The Oklahoma City Thunder survived a furious rally by the Phoenix Suns to pull out an impressive 118-110 road win to move atop Western Conference.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 36 points, nine rebounds and nine assists to help the Thunder bounce back from Thursday's 132-118 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

The victory marked Oklahoma City's seventh in eight games as the Thunder (42-18) moved into sole possession of first place in the West for the first time since January 27.

Oklahoma City looked like it was going to cruise to an easy win, going up by 24 points on Gilgeous-Alexander's jump shot with 6:56 left in the third quarter.

The Suns (35-26) stormed back, however, going on a 31-5 run and taking a 91-89 lead Royce O'Neale's 3-pointer just over one minute into the fourth period.

Phoenix built its lead to six points before Oklahoma City rallied once more, taking the lead for good at 105-103 on Jalen Williams' driving layup with 5:29 to play.

 

Jusuf Nurkic established a Phoenix franchise record with 31 rebounds - the most by any player in the NBA since Kevin Love also had 31 for the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 12, 2010.

Nurkic's previous career high for rebounds was 23 and he broke the Suns' record of 27 set by Tyson Chandler on January 23, 2016.

He also had 14 points and four assists for Phoenix, which was playing without Devin Booker after he sprained his right ankle in Saturday's 118-109 loss to the Houston Rockets.

Bradley Beal led the Suns with 31 points and six assists but also accounted for seven of Phoenix's 21 turnovers.

Kevin Durant, who added 20 points, turned the ball over five times, along with Nurkic.

 

Brunson exits early but Knicks get past Cavaliers

Things looked bleak early for New York when Jalen Bunson got hurt in the opening minute, but the Knicks managed to overcome the loss of their All-Star guard for a 107-98 road win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Brunson was injured on New York's first possession when his left knee hit the knee of team-mate Isaiah Hartenstein as he lifted off the ground while attempting a jump shot after coming off a screen from Hartenstein near the foul line.

He sat on the court holding his left leg and needed to be helped to the locker room.

The injury is not believed to be serious with coach Tom Thibodeau saying after the game that X-rays were negative. 

That's good news for a banged-up Knicks team already without starters Julius Randle, Mitchell Robinson and O.G. Anunoby because of injuries.

Brunson, who was diagnosed with a knee contusion, entered the game against the Cavaliers averaging 30.2 points in his last six games.

Josh Hart and Donte DiVincenzo stepped up in Brunson's absence for the Knicks (36-25), as Hart finished with 13 points, a career high-tying 19 rebounds and 10 assists, while DiVincenzo scored 28.

 

Reserve Miles McBride entered New York's lineup after Brunson was injured, and was never subbed out, finishing with 16 points and four 3-pointers - including a clutch 3 in the final minute to put the Knicks up by nine.

Playing without Donovan Mitchell for a second straight game because of left knee soreness, the Cavaliers (39-21) fell apart late, missing 5 of 6 shots while turning the ball over four times in the final four minutes.

Backup Sam Merrill led Cleveland with 21 points while making 7-of-13 3-point attempts and Darius Garland added 19 points and went 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. 

Related items

  • NBA: Thunder earn West's No. 1 seed NBA: Thunder earn West's No. 1 seed

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points in just one half of action to lead seven Oklahoma City players in double figures as the Thunder clinched the Western Conference's No. 1 seed with a 135-86 rout of the depleted Dallas Mavericks in Sunday's regular-season finale.

    The Thunder, who missed the postseason in each of the previous three seasons, earned the conference's top spot for the first time since 2012-13 after winning a tiebreaker with the defending NBA champion Denver Nuggets. Both teams finished with 57–25 records, but Oklahoma City won three of the four meetings between the clubs. 

    Oklahoma City rested most of its starting five for the entire second half after building an insurmountable 82-41 lead over Dallas, which held out stars Luka Dončić and Kyrie Irving and two other starters with its playoff seed already known.

    The Mavericks were locked into the West's No. 5 seed and will face the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers in the quarterfinals.

    Oklahoma City shot 60.7 per cent in the first quarter to own a 39-22 advantage after 12 minutes, then overwhelmed Dallas' makeshift lineup in the second to put the game already out of reach.

    The Thunder outscored the Mavericks by a 43-19 margin for the period, with reserve Aaron Wiggins leading the way with 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting.

    Wiggins finished with 14 points and Chet Holmgren had 13 along with nine rebounds before also sitting out the second half.

    Brandon Williams paced Dallas with 22 points, while rookie Olivier Maxence-Prosper had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Mavericks.

     

    Suns thump Timberwolves to avoid play-in round

    In another of the West's pivotal games on the season's final day, the Phoenix Suns secured a spot in the quarterfinals with a 125-106 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves to set up a first-round clash between the teams.

    Phoenix's win coupled with New Orleans' 124-108 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday moved the Suns ahead of the Pelicans for the West's No. 6 seed. New Orleans will now host the Lakers once again on Tuesday in the play-in round.

    Minnesota entered the day tied with Oklahoma City and Denver for the West's top record, but fell to the No. 3 seed and will face the Suns in the best-of-seven quarterfinals.

    Phoenix set up the rematch behind a big performance from Bradley Beal, who made all six of his 3-point attempts while tallying 36 points. The Suns also received 23 points and seven assists from Devin Booker and 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting from Grayson Allen.

    Beal set the tone right from the start, as he dropped in 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting in the first quarter as Phoenix took a commanding 44-22 lead into the second.

    The Suns maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way, with Minnesota never getting its deficit under 10 points over the final three quarters.

    Rudy Gobert led the Timberwolves with 21 points and seven rebounds, but All-Star Anthony Edwards was held to 13 points in 35 minutes and committed five of Minnesota's 24 turnovers, which tied a single-game high for the season.

     

    Knicks outlast Bulls in overtime to secure East's No. 2 seed

    Jalen Brunson's 40 points and some big shots from his supporting cast catapulted the New York Knicks into the Eastern Conference's No. 2 seed with a 120-119 overtime win over the Chicago Bulls.

    The Knicks leapfrogged the Milwaukee Bucks in the standings after rallying from an eight-point deficit with nine minutes left in regulation and then holding off Chicago during the final stages of overtime. Brunson added eight rebounds and seven assists, while Donte DiVincenzo recorded 25 points and Bojan Bogdanovic chipped in 13 points off the bench.

    Milwaukee finished one game back of New York following Sunday's 113-88 loss to Orlando, a result that enabled the Magic to avoid the play-in round. The Bucks would have won the tiebreaker with the Knicks had the teams ended with identical records.

    New York appeared on the verge of defeat when down 90-82 early in the fourth quarter, but the Knicks scored 14 of the game's next 20 points to draw even.

    A Bogdanovic 3-pointer with 6:48 left cut Chicago's lead to 94-93, and after DeMar DeRozan's jumper gave the Bulls some breathing room, DiVincenzo knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 96-96 with five minutes to go.

    Chicago took a 109-107 edge on Coby White's layup with 1:19 remaining in regulation, but Brunson answered with a short jumper on the ensuing possession and neither team could score in the final minute.

    After the Bulls' Alex Caruso opened overtime with a 3-pointer, New York scored seven straight points to own a 116-112 advantage with 2:27 left.

    Chicago, which entered the contest already locked into the play-in round as the East's No. 9 seed, continued to battle back before missing out on a chance to win at the end.

    Caruso's layup with 14.4 seconds on the clock brought the Bulls within 120-119 before DiVincenzo turned the ball over on the next possession. Chicago then got the ball to DeRozan, who couldn't get a short jumper to fall with 2.8 seconds left as the Knicks held on.

    DeRozan finished with 30 points and Nikola Vucevic had 29 along with 11 rebounds for Chicago, which also received 26 points from White.

    The Bulls will host the 10th-seeded Atlanta Hawks in Wednesday's play-in round.

     

  • Wembanyama to miss Spurs' season finale due to ankle injury Wembanyama to miss Spurs' season finale due to ankle injury

    The San Antonio Spurs will be without Victor Wembanyama for their final game of the season on Sunday.

    San Antonio face the Detroit Pistons in their last fixture of the 2023-24 campaign.

    The Spurs have a 21-60 record on the season, and sit 14th in the Western Conference.

    Wembanyama has nevertheless enjoyed a fine rookie season in the NBA, having been selected as the No.1 overall pick in last year's Draft.

    The seven-foot-four French youngster will sit out against the Pistons due to an ankle injury, meaning he ends his rookie campaign with 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and an NBA-leading 3.6 blocks per game.

    Wembanyama has played 71 times for the Spurs, who he helped to overcome the Denver Nuggets on Friday, finishing with 34 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

    After that game, the 20-year-old said: "As a growing team, a young team, it's big for us.

    "We're going to need these kind of wins in the future. We're going to need any win. But big-time wins against big teams, first seeds, we're going to need those in the future.

    "We've got the potential to be great. The fact that we have the chance to live this, with the fans, I can only hope it's as incredible as it can be."

    Wembanyama became the first rookie to accumulate 1,500 points, 250 assists and 250 blocks across the season, while he is only the fourth player in the history of the NBA to do so, after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.

  • Hart highlights Madison Square Garden factor as Knicks battle Bucks for second seed Hart highlights Madison Square Garden factor as Knicks battle Bucks for second seed

    The New York Knicks are under no illusions as to the importance of securing home-court advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs, with Friday's win over the Brooklyn Nets keeping them in the hunt for the second seed.

    The Knicks drew level with the Milwaukee Bucks at 49-32 with their 111-107 win at Madison Square Garden, boosting their chances of playing at the iconic venue through the postseason.

    Jalen Brunson put up 30 points and added 11 assists as the Knicks made it four straight victories, with Josh Hart adding 16 and Mitchell Robinson tacking on 15.

    The result saw New York secure a top-four seed, with the Bucks' subsequent 125-107 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder keeping their chances of finishing second in the East alive.

    With the Bucks possessing the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Knicks must beat the Chicago Bulls in their season finale on Sunday and hope Milwaukee lose on the road against the Orlando Magic. If both teams lose, the Cleveland Cavaliers could yet usurp them.

    Asked about the importance of playing at home, Hart said: "I heard the lights are really bright at MSG during that time, so it's really big for us."

    Coach Tom Thibodeau, though, said the team cannot control anything other than their own results, saying: "We want to go through the finish line so that's the way we're looking at it. We want to improve and play our best."

    With Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined by a left calf injury and Damian Lillard missing out due to pain in his left adductor, the short-handed Bucks let the Knicks into the race with their loss at Paycom Center.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 23 points and Chet Holmgren added 22 as the Thunder eased to victory, establishing a 17-point halftime lead which they never looked likely to surrender.

    Asked about Milwaukee's failure to wrap up second place, Bucks coach Doc Rivers said: "I don't have much of a reaction. We've got to run to the finish line.

    "The good news is, no matter what, we'll be at home for game one. That we do know."

    That result was also an important one in the race to top the Western Conference, with the Thunder now locked in a three-way tie with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets.

    It's in Oklahoma City's hands going into their season finale against the Dallas Mavericks, with Mark Daigneault's team edging the three-way tiebreaker.

    "I think the big exponential jumps come from small incremental steps," Daigneault said after Friday's game. "I talk all the time about stacking and we really are trying to live that out. 

    "We just try to have a good day in the day that's in front of us, have a good possession in the possession that's in front of us, a good game in the game that's in front of us and just be very present in the process of improving and competing."

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.