Kristaps Porzingis suggested Thursday's defeat to the New York Knicks could be just what the Boston Celtics needed ahead of the playoffs.

The Celtics went down 118-109 to the Knicks, as New York hunt down the No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Boston have long since had their playoff berth secured, but have now lost their last two games.

Porzingis, though, is taking the positives.

"It stings to have this loss, but maybe we need this before heading into the postseason with a killer mentality," Porzingis said.

"It's not who we are. This is not the team our fans love. That wasn't on display.

"You best believe we'll show up when we have to. We know what the goal is and make no mistake about it."

Jaylen Brown chipped in with 15 points for the Celtics, and like Porzingis, recognises Boston have not been up to scratch as of late.

"We got out-toughed the last two games and haven't played to our standard," Brown said.

"The game has shifted and it's going to shift even more in the playoffs."

Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 39 points, and New York are now just one game behind the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the No.2 seed.

"We made shots and made the right plays," Brunson said.

"Obviously, we know they're the top dog in the East. Whenever you play against them, it's always a good measuring stick to see where you're at.

"We played pretty well, but we know what they’re capable of doing. We just had their number tonight."

Kristaps Porzingis suggested Thursday's defeat to the New York Knicks could be just what the Boston Celtics needed ahead of the playoffs.

The Celtics went down 118-109 to the Knicks, as New York hunt down the No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Boston have long since had their playoff berth secured, but have now lost their last two games.

Porzingis, though, is taking the positives.

"It stings to have this loss, but maybe we need this before heading into the postseason with a killer mentality," Porzingis said.

"It's not who we are. This is not the team our fans love. That wasn't on display.

"You best believe we'll show up when we have to. We know what the goal is and make no mistake about it."

Jaylen Brown chipped in with 15 points for the Celtics, and like Porzingis, recognises Boston have not been up to scratch as of late.

"We got out-toughed the last two games and haven't played to our standard," Brown said.

"The game has shifted and it's going to shift even more in the playoffs."

Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 39 points, and New York are now just one game behind the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the No.2 seed.

"We made shots and made the right plays," Brunson said.

"Obviously, we know they're the top dog in the East. Whenever you play against them, it's always a good measuring stick to see where you're at.

"We played pretty well, but we know what they’re capable of doing. We just had their number tonight."


Jalen Brunson needed only three quarters to score 39 points and the New York Knicks continued their push for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 118-109 win over the league-leading Boston Celtics on Thursday.

Brunson was 15 of 23 from the field and 6 for 11 from long range, while Donte DiVincenzo added 17 points and Josh Hart had 16 points and 16 rebounds.

New York won its third straight and pulled within a game of Milwaukee for second in the East, with each team having two games left. The Knicks would need to win both and have the Bucks lose their games at Oklahoma City and Orlando, because Milwaukee has the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Knicks dominated on the glass, 52-36, and had 22 second-chance points compared to 12 for the Celtics.

Boston got 18 points from Jayson Tatum and lost its second in a row.

Surging Warriors handle Trail Blazers

Stephen Curry scored 22 points and Jonathan Kuminga added 22 to propel the Golden State Warriors to their ninth win in 10 games, 100-92 over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Golden State, which played without Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, has already clinched a play-in spot but can potentially improve its playoff seeding in the final two games.

With their 45th victory, the Warriors surpassed their win total from last season, when they advanced to the conference semifinals.

Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 11 rebounds and Scoot Henderson tallied 18 and 12 assists for the Trail Blazers, who have won just two of their past 15 games.

Pelicans complete season sweep of Kings

CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson scored 31 points apiece and the New Orleans Pelicans completed a five-game season sweep of the Sacramento Kings with a 135-123 win.

McCollum matched a season high with nine 3-pointers in 12 tries and added seven assists for the Pelicans, who improved to 27-14 on the road, a franchise record for wins and tied with Boston for the best mark in the NBA.

New Orleans is sixth in the Western Conference, one game ahead of Phoenix with two games remaining.

De’Aaron Fox scored 33 points as the Kings lost for the fourth time in five games and failed in a bid to avoid the play-in tournament.

Jrue Holiday and the Boston Celtics have agreed to a four-year, $135million contract extension.

The deal was reported Wednesday by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

The 14-year veteran has been an integral part of the Celtics' success in his first season in Boston.

In 68 games, the 33-year-old is averaging 12.5 points, a career-best 5.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists for a Celtics team that has already clinched the top seed throughout the NBA play-offs.


Boston acquired Holiday in early October from the Trail Blazers, four days after he was traded from Milwaukee to Portland in the blockbuster three-team deal that saw the Bucks land eight-time All-Star Damian Lillard.

Holiday, who is a two-time All-Star, has career averages of 16.1 points per game, 6.4 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.44 steals, and is considered one of the NBA's best defenders.

He is a five-time All-Defensive selection and has been a finalist for defensive player of the year each of the last three seasons.

Giannis Antetokounmpo left late in the third quarter with a calf injury, but Patrick Beverley had 20 points and 10 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks held on for a 104-91 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday in a game that featured an NBA record-low two free-throw attempts.

Antetokounmpo grabbed his left calf and went down as he was heading up the court. The two-time MVP was helped off the floor and he was seen heading to the locker room under his own power.

The Milwaukee superstar was undergoing tests on his left calf and would also have his Achilles tendon tested.

Teammate Damian Lillard said he was encouraged to see Antetokounmpo put weight on his leg after the injury.

Antetokounmpo finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and also attempted the game’s only two free throws.

Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis each scored 15 points for Milwaukee, which snapped a season-high four-game skid.

Jayson Tatum had 22 points and Jaylen Brown added 14 with 10 rebounds for the league-leading Celtics, who had won five straight.

They became the first team in NBA history to go an entire game without attempting a free throw. The previous record for combined attempts in a game was 11.


Edwards’ big night powers Timberwolves

Anthony Edwards poured in a career-high 51 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves erased an early 21-point deficit with a dominant second half to defeat the Washington Wizards, 130-121.

Edwards, who scored 30 points in the second half, surpassed the 49 points he scored against San Antonio on April 7, 2022. His total was tied for the fifth-most points in a game by a Minnesota player.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 23 points and Rudy Gobert had 19 and 16 rebounds to help the Wolves win their eighth in 10 games. They have clinched a top-three seed in the Western Conference and face Denver on Wednesday with a potential No. 1 seed at stake.

The Wolves and Nuggets are tied atop the West, one game ahead of Oklahoma City.

Minnesota improved to 12-5 without All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns, who has been cleared for full-contact, five-on-five basketball activities in anticipation of his return, which could come as soon as Friday.


Warriors sink 26 3s to beat Lakers

Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry and Draymond Green combined to hits 16 of the Warriors’ 26 3-pointers and Golden State capitalised on Anthony Davis’ absence in a 134-120 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Thompson scored 27 points and was 5 of 10 from long range, Curry scored 23 and made all six of his 3-point attempts and Green added 15 points and 10 assists while going 5 of 7 from beyond the arc.

The Warriors have won eight of nine to move within a half-game of the ninth-place Lakers.

LeBron James had 33 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for Los Angeles, which had won eight of nine before back-to-back home losses in the past three days.

Davis sat out due to the aftereffects of being hit in the head by Minnesota’s Kyle Anderson on Sunday.


Boston Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla lauded his side after clinching NBA Playoffs home advantage following Wednesday's routine victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Celtics powered to a 135-100 triumph against the Thunder as Boston secured the best NBA record this season and home-court preference for the postseason.

Kristaps Porzingis had 27 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, while Jayson Tatum finished with 24 points and Jaylen Brown added another 23 as Boston made it 11 straight wins.

"It's very hard to do. We may never be in this position again," Mazzulla said. "We talked about it as a team. We talked about it before the game, to try to treat this game as the clincher.

"To kind of put that on ourselves to be able to do that. I think it was important for us to simulate that. We should enjoy it tonight, and when we wake up tomorrow – nobody cares."

The Celtics extended to 60-16 for the season, though Brown still wants more when the playoffs arrive.

"We're not skipping any steps," Brown said. "Sixty wins. I think we're on track. When the playoffs start, it's back to square one."

Porzingis added: "We deserve it. I think it's possibly going to matter if we follow through with the vision we have for ourselves."

There were some Boston concerns after Brown was questionable with a left-hand injury heading into the Thunder clash, though the Celtics man assured all is well.

"I think it's fine. It's something I'm not concerned with moving forward," he said. "But it bothered me a little bit tonight."

Mazzulla will hope Brown is available when Boston look to improve their record further when hosting the Sacramento Kings on Friday.

Kristaps Porzingis tallied 27 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks and the Boston Celtics won their 11th straight home game, 135-100 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

Jayson Tatum added 24 points and Jaylen Brown had 23 and seven rebounds as the league-leading Celtics (60-12) clinched the NBA’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Josh Giddey scored 17 points and Luguentz Dort added 15 for the Thunder, who had 14 turnovers and made just 5 of 24 from long range.

Oklahoma City lost its second straight and fell into third place in the Northwest Division, one game behind Denver and Minnesota.

The Thunder were without All-Star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the fourth time in five games due to a bruised right quadriceps.


Pistons’ Flynn drops 50 in loss

Malachi Flynn scored a career-high 50 points, but it wasn’t enough as Jalen Johnson had his first career triple-double to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 121-113 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Flynn blew past his previous career high of 27 points by shooting 18 of 25 from the field, 5 of 9 from long range and 9 of 12 on free throws in 34 minutes. The 50 points were a franchise record for a reserve.

Johnson had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists and De’Andre Hunter added 26 points as the Hawks won their sixth in seven games to clinch a berth in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.


Davis keeps Lakers surging

Anthony Davis scored 19 of his 35 points in the first quarter and grabbed 18 rebounds to propel the Los Angeles Lakers to their eighth win in nine games, 125-120 over the Washington Wizards.

LeBron James had 25 points and nine assists and Rui Hachimura added 19 points for the Lakers, who completed a 5-1 road trip and are ninth in the Western Conference, one game behind Sacramento.

Jordan Poole scored 29 points for the Wizards, who are a loss shy of matching the franchise record of 63, set in 2008-09.

Devin Booker racked up 52 points with a prolific shooting display that carried the Phoenix Suns to a 124-111 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday to tighten the Western Conference play-off race.

The win moved Phoenix within one game of New Orleans in the battle for the important No. 6 seed in the West. The top six teams in each conference are guaranteed a spot in the quarter-final round of the post-season, while teams seven through 10 will be forced to compete in the play-in tournament.

Phoenix was able to narrow the gap primarily behind Booker, who finished 19 of 28 from the field and 8 of 16 from 3-point range while adding nine assists.

The Suns also received 19 points and 19 rebounds from Jusuf Nurkic, while Kevin Durant had 20 points to help send the Pelicans to a second straight loss.

Both Booker and the Suns got off to sizzling starts, as the All-Star guard tallied 24 first-quarter points on 8-of-10 shooting during a dominant opening quarter. Seventeen of those points came during a 30-7 run that staked Phoenix to a 44-20 lead with under two minutes to go in the period.

Phoenix ended the first quarter up 46-28 and carried a 74-54 advantage into half-time with Booker amassing 37 points on 14-of-18 shooting over the first two quarters.

The Pelicans trailed by as many as 27 points in the second half but did make a belated push to get back in it, as Zion Williamson sparked an 8-0 run that CJ McCollum capped with a 3-pointer to pull New Orleans within 115-108 with 2:46 left.

That was as close as the Pelicans would get, however, as Booker scored his final two points on a layup with 1:34 to go that gave Phoenix a 119-110 lead.

Williamson paced New Orleans with 30 points and Trey Murphy recorded 21 in the loss. 

Krejci's perfect shooting night helps Hawks down Bulls

Vit Krejci went 6 of 6 from 3-point range for a career-high 18 points to help the surging Atlanta Hawks to a 113-101 win over the Chicago Bulls in a matchup of potential Eastern Conference play-in teams.

Krejci's flawless shooting, along with 20 points and six assists from Bogdan Bogdanović, powered the Hawks to a fifth win in six games and moved them within a half-game of ninth-place Chicago in the East standings. Dejounte Murray added 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Atlanta.

The Bulls got 31 points from DeMar DeRozan but failed to match Atlanta's accuracy from the perimeter, as they shot just 25 per cent (7 of 28) from 3-point range compared to 47.5 per cent (19 of 40) for the Hawks.

Krejci scored 15 points in the first half as Atlanta took a 61-53 lead into the break before extending the margin in the third quarter.

A DeAndre Hunter 3-pointer followed by Clint Capela's alley-oop dunk increased the Hawks' advantage to 75-62 five minutes into the third quarter, and Atlanta built a 90-74 lead entering the fourth after Garrison Mathews knocked down a triple in the final seconds of the third.

Coby White added 22 points for Chicago, which lost for the fifth time in seven games, while Andre Drummond accumulated 13 points and 18 rebounds off the bench.

Tatum, Hauser key Celtics' win over Hornets

Jayson Tatum and Sam Hauser had 25 points each as the East-leading Boston Celtics stayed hot with a 118-104 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Tatum added 10 rebounds and Hauser went 7 of 11 on 3-point attempts as the Celtics posted their 11th win in their last 13 games. Boston, which has already clinched the East's No. 1 play-off seed, also received 20 points from Kristaps Porzingis and 19 from Derrick White.

Brandon Miller and Miles Bridges each had 14 first-half points to keep the underdog Hornets close for much of the first two quarters. The teams were tied at  53-53 with under two minutes to go until half-time before the Celtics closed out the second quarter with six straight points to forge ahead.

Boston then got further separation by outscoring Charlotte by a 36-26 margin in the third quarter, which Hauser capped with a 3-pointer to extend the lead to 95-79. Porzingis recorded 11 of his points during the period.

Bridges ended with 26 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in Charlotte's eighth loss in its past nine games. Miller finished with 19 points and Grant Williams had 23 along with seven rebounds for the Hornets.


Dejounte Murray said the late Kobe Bryant would have been proud of his efforts after scoring a career-high 44 points to lead the Atalanta Hawks to another dramatic win over the Boston Celtics.

The Hawks recovered from 30 points down to clinch a memorable 120-118 win over the league-leading Celtics on Monday, and they made it a double with Thursday's last-gasp overtime success.

Murray sank 44 points, including the go-ahead jumper in the final second of overtime, to guide Atlanta to a 123-122 win – their fourth victory in as many games.

Murray's 44 points came off 44 shots, which led him to recall how Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant scored 41 points with 47 attempts against the Celtics back in 2002.

The 27-year-old was not too concerned by his wastefulness after stepping up in the big moments, though.

"I still feel like I played awful," Murray told reporters after the game. "I don't want to take that many shots. But I know Kobe would be proud of me!

"I'm just built for those moments. I'm a confident guy."

Occupying the final Play-In spot in the Eastern Conference with a 34-39 record, the Hawks are now within one game of the ninth seed, the Chicago Bulls.

Murray knows the scale of the statement they have made by beating the Celtics twice in four days, adding: "That's the best team in the league, and we competed.

"We're not tanking, we're not trying to lose. We're trying to win games and see how high we can get."

While the Celtics will surely be sick of the sight of Atlanta, they could yet be reunited with them in the first round of the playoffs, should the Hawks make the Play-In Tournament and progress. 

Boston coach Joe Mazzulla knows his team won't be able to switch off if they face the Hawks again, saying: "That's a really good team."

Dejounte Murray hit a go-ahead jumper in the final second of overtime and finished with 44 points in the Atlanta Hawks’ 123-122 win over the Boston Celtics on Thursday.

Murray scored all of Atlanta’s 11 points in the extra period, answering with his winning shot six seconds after Jaylen Brown’s jumper put the Celtics on top.

Atlanta defeated league-leading Boston for the second time in four days after it rallied from a 30-point deficit for a stunning 120-118 victory on Monday.

Bogdan Bogdanović scored 24 points and De’Andre Hunter added 21 with 13 rebounds to help the Hawks match a season high with their fourth straight win.

Jayson Tatum had 31 points and 13 rebounds and Kristaps Porzingis scored 20 points for the Celtics, who have already clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference.


Williamson, McCollum power Pelicans

Zion Williamson scored 28 points and CJ McCollum added 25 and the New Orleans Pelicans fended off the Milwaukee Bucks, 107-100.

Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Trey Murphy contributed 15 and 11 boards as the Pelicans won despite misfiring on 24 of 32 from 3-point range and shooting just 39.6 percent (36 of 91) overall.

Giannis Antetokounmpo tallied 35 points and 14 rebounds for the Bucks, who dropped their second straight following Wednesday’s double-overtime loss to the Lakers.

De'Andre Hunter scored 24 points, including a game-sealing 3-pointer with 10.1 seconds left, and the Atlanta Hawks roared back from a 30-point deficit to hand the NBA-leading Boston Celtics a shocking 120-118 loss on Monday.

The Hawks trailed 68-38 with under 4 1/2 minutes left in the second quarter before Hunter, Bogdan Bogdanović and Dejounte Murray keyed an improbable second-half rally. Bogdanovic scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, while Murray recorded 11 of his 19 points after half-time and ended the night with 15 assists.

In a back-and-forth fourth quarter that saw seven lead changes, Bogdanovic buried a 3-pointer with 1:34 remaining to give Atlanta a 115-114 edge. Jaylen Brown scored on the ensuing possession to put Boston back ahead, but Murray drove the lane and scored with one minute to go for a 117–116 Hawks' lead.

After Brown misfired on a 3-point try, Hunter knocked down a 26-foot jumper with time winding down to secure Atlanta's second consecutive victory and end the Celtics' nine-game winning streak.

Jayson Tatum racked up 37 points and eight rebounds for Boston, with 23 of those points coming in the first half as the Celtics built a 74-56 advantage at the intermission.

Atlanta outscored the Celtics by a 34-22 margin in the third quarter to cut its deficit to 96-90 entering the fourth, then opened the final period on a 7-0 run to move ahead.

Brown finished with 24 points and Kristaps Porzingis totalled 17 for Boston.

Red-hot Rockets pull away from Blazers to win ninth straight

Jalen Green scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half to help the resurgent Houston Rockets extend their winning streak to nine games with a 110-92 victory over the downtrodden Portland Trail Blazers.

Houston's run is the franchise's longest sequence of consecutive wins since a nine-game streak from Feb. 23-March 11, 2019. The hot stretch has moved the Rockets, a team which has missed the play-offs in each of the last three seasons, within a half-game of the Golden State Warriors for the final spot in the Western Conference's play-in tournament.

The Rockets prevailed despite forward Jabari Smith serving a one-game suspension for fighting with Utah Jazz guard Kris Dunn on Saturday. Jock Landale made his first start of the season in Smith's place and contributed 17 points and nine rebounds.

Rebuilding Portland was dealt a seventh straight loss but did own a 64-55 lead after Scoot Henderson hit a 3-pointer with 7:32 remaining in the third quarter. The Rockets then reversed momentum by scoring 25 of the game's next 29 points and never trailed thereafter.

Green tallied 12 points during the game-changing run, which Aaron Holiday capped with a 3-pointer that gave the Rockets an 80-68 advantage near the end of the third quarter.

Dalano Banton led the Blazers with 28 points and 11 assists off the bench, while Henderson finished with 15 points. 

Siakam helps Pacers extend Clippers' slump

Pascal Siakam scored 31 points and the Indiana Pacers dominated the early stages of the fourth quarter to hand the struggling Los Angeles Clippers a 133-116 loss.

Indiana also received 24 points from Myles Turner and 21 from Tyrese Haliburton, who added nine assists to help the Pacers move to 6-1 over their last seven road games.

Los Angeles, meanwhile, has now lost five straight at home and suffered its sixth defeat in its last nine overall outings despite Russell Westbrook's return from a 12-game absence caused by a broken hand.

Westbrook tallied 14 points and seven assists in just 18 minutes, while Kawhi Leonard and Paul George each had 26 points for the Clippers.

Haliburton's 3-pointer in the final minute of the first half staked Indiana to a 65-62 lead at the break, and the Pacers later extended their margin to double digits before Leonard's jumper near the end of the third quarter brought the Clippers within 97-89 entering the fourth.

The Pacers were on fire during the final period, however, as they shot 68.2 per cent from the field for the quarter. Indiana began the fourth with eight straight points to take a 105-89 lead, and Siakam had the final five points of a 15-5 run later on that stretched the Pacers' advantage to 122-99 with six minutes to play.

There is no danger of the Boston Celtics taking their foot off the pedal as the business end of the season approaches, said Sam Hauser after the NBA's best team made it nine straight wins.

Hauser joined Al Horford in scoring 23 points in support of Jayson Tatum (26) as the Celtics improved to 57-14 with a 124-113 road win over the Chicago Bulls at United Center on Saturday.

Tatum returned after missing Thursday's win over the Detroit Pistons to lead a short-handed Boston side to victory, with Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis absent after picking up minor injuries.

The Bulls led 92-91 in the closing minute of the third quarter only to run out of steam, failing to respond when Payton Pritchard scored six straight points for Boston and Hauser made a 3-pointer to extend their lead early in the fourth.

While the Celtics' focus is now firmly on the playoffs as they target a first NBA championship since 2008, Hauser says they will not ease up in the closing weeks of the regular season.

"We're just hungry for more," Hauser said. "It's not in our character to just mail it in for the rest of the season."

Horford, meanwhile, was most impressed by the way other players stepped up in the absence of Brown and Porzingis, with the Celtics making light of a gruelling run of five games in seven days.

"Different people, different guys, are ready to step up when their number is called," Horford said. 

"We all understand what we're trying to do, how we're trying to play. Guys are just staying ready and taking advantage of the opportunities."

The Celtics face back-to-back away games against the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday and Wednesday as they continue their six-game road stretch.

The 34-37 Bulls, meanwhile, will look to strengthen their grasp on a Play-In spot when they host the Washington Wizards on Monday.

Jaylen Brown scored 33 points to lead the NBA-leading Boston Celtics to their eighth straight victory, 129-102 over the short-handed Detroit Pistons on Friday.

Payton Pritchard had 20 points and Derrick White added 19 with 11 assists for Boston, which has won 18 of 20 games to continue cruising toward the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Leading scorer Jayson Tatum sat out to rest an ankle for the second time in five days.

James Wiseman scored a season-high 24 points for the Pistons, who have lost five in a row overall and the last nine meetings with the Celtics.

Detroit was missing its top post players in Jalen Duren (back), Stanley Umude (ankle), Simone Fontecchio (toe), Isaiah Stewart (hamstring) and Ausar Thompson (illness).

Pelicans roll over Heat

CJ McCollum scored 30 points and the New Orleans Pelicans exacted a measure of revenge on the Miami Heat with a 111-88 rout.

Jose Alvarado added 17 points and Trey Murphy had 14 with eight rebounds as the Pelicans had no trouble in the first meeting between the teams since four players were ejected in the most recent matchup in New Orleans last month.

Zion Williamson was limited to only four points in 25 minutes, but the Pelicans won their eighth in 10 games.

Jimmy Butler scored 17 points as the Heat dropped to 17-16 at home, the 19th-best mark in the league. Miami dropped four games behind Southeast Division-leading Orlando.

Thunder down reeling Raptors

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 23 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in his only regular-season trip to his native Canada and the Oklahoma City Thunder pulled away to defeat the Toronto Raptors, 123-103.

Jalen Williams added 20 points and Kenrich Williams and Cason Wallace scored 12 apiece as the Thunder won their fourth straight and remained on top of the Western Conference.

Rookie Gradey Dick scored 21 points for the Raptors, who lost their ninth straight game. Toronto was without seven players, including five regular starters.

Joe Mazzulla is taking nothing for granted despite seeing his Boston Celtics team overcome the Milwaukee Bucks in what could be a prelude to a playoff game.

The Celtics won 122-119 on Wednesday, with the Bucks - who sit second in the Eastern Conference, but 11 games behind runaway leaders Boston - unable to get over the line in the absence of Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Jayson Tatum scored 31 points for the Celtics, who have now won seven games on the bounce.

Mazzulla, however, does not necessarily see the win as a preview of what could come in the postseason.

He said: "Nothing's guaranteed in life.

"We may see them; they may see us; we may not. You never know what's going to happen.

"I know both teams are developing an identity and there's obviously a DNA there that both teams have. But you don't want to overthink things. And you don't take anything for granted."

Payton Pritchard chipped in with 19 points for the Celtics, while Derrick White had 23 and Jaylen Brown finished with 21.

"Everybody always had talked about his shooting," Mazzulla said of Pritchard.

"But I think this year, in particular, he’s been impacting by his rebounding, impacting by his defense, his pace.

"He's just becoming a really well-rounded player who knows he can have a positive impact on the game in many different ways, and it's a huge asset for us."

Pritchard, meanwhile, said he was motivated by an insult dished out to teammate Luke Kornet by the Bucks' Patrick Beverley, who seemingly mocked the Boston man for his height.

"It kind of lit a fire under me," said Pritchard.

"He's trying to clown one of our teammates. So I definitely took it a little personally."

Jayson Tatum scored 31 points and the Boston Celtics held on for their seventh straight victory, 122-119 over a Milwaukee Bucks team missing two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on Wednesday.

Derrick White had 23 points and eight assists and Jaylen Brown added 21 with eight rebounds for the league-leading Celtics, who improved to 32-3 at home and are cruising to the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Damian Lillard led the Bucks with 32 points and Bobby Portis had 24 points and 15 boards for Milwaukee, which dropped to 3-2 this season without Antetokounmpo and remained one game up on Cleveland for the Central Division lead.

Boston led by as many as 21 points but Milwaukee got the deficit down to 116-114 on Portis’ jumper with 32 seconds left.

Brown and Tatum each sank two free throws around a missed layup by Lillard and two more free throws by Tatum with seven seconds to play sealed it.


Rozier sparks Heat past Cavaliers

Terry Rozier scored nine of his 24 points in the final 84 seconds, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 14.5 left on the clock, to lift the Miami Heat to a 107-104 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Rozier converted a 4-point play before sinking a 26-footer that gave the Heat a 105-102 lead. Two free throws by Georges Niang made it a one-point game before Rozier followed with two of his own with 2.8 seconds remaining.

Darius Garland’s off-balance 3 at the buzzer failed to fall and Cleveland dropped its third straight home game despite getting 25 points and 20 rebounds from Jarrett Allen.

Jimmy Butler scored 30 points for Miami, which has won three of four following a four-game skid.


Holmgren’s big game powers Thunder

Chet Holmgren scored 35 points and matched a career high with 14 rebounds to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 119-107 win over the Utah Jazz.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 31 points to become the 13th player in NBA history to score 30 points or more in 50 games.

Jalen Williams chipped in 18 points for the Thunder, who moved into the top spot in the Western Conference, one-half game ahead of Denver.

Collin Sexton scored 25 points for Utah, which played without Lauri Markkanen and Jordan Clarkson – two of the team’s top three scorers. The Jazz have lost three straight and six of seven.

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