The Boston Celtics consolidated their lead atop the NBA with a 124-95 win over the host Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.
Jayson Tatum posted a triple-double with 29 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, while Jaylen Brown scored 19 points for the NBA-leading Celtics, who bounced back from a 150-117 loss in Oklahoma City when the Thunder were missing 30-point scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Luka Doncic scored 23 points after averaging 44.5 points the previous five games. The Mavs superstar didn’t play in the fourth quarter, which started with Boston leading by 24.
Jayson Tatum posted a triple-double as the Celtics beat the Dallas Mavericks 124-95
Luka Doncic scored 23 points for the Mavs after averaging 44.5 points the previous five games
Doncic hit buzzer-beating 3-pointers for the win in Boston’s previous two Dallas visits. There was never a chance for a third, or for the Mavs to extend the longest winning streak since their lone championship season in 2010-11.
Doncic missed all six shots from long range as the Mavericks finished 7 of 32. Doncic was 7 of 23 overall and Dallas finished at 38 percent.
Tatum wasn’t much better than Doncic, going 8 of 22 from the field, but his teammates were. Boston shot 16 of 43 from 3, with eight players hitting at least one.
Jaylen Brown scored 19 points as Boston consolidated its lead at the top of the NBA
Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon each scored 15 points, with Smart going 4 of 9 from deep while Brogdon was 3 of 5.
The Celtics never trailed after the middle of the first quarter, and Dallas didn’t get closer than 13 after halftime.
Doncic had nine rebounds but was limited to three assists as Dallas tied its season low in assists with 15. Spencer Dinwiddie scored 18 points, and Christian Wood had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
LA CLIPPERS 91-122 DENVER NUGGETS
The Nuggets led by as many as 43 in cruising to a 122-91 win over the Los Angeles Clippers to tie Memphis for the top spot in the Western Conference on Thursday night.
The Nuggets picked the perfect time to turn in one of their best performances of the season. Denver was pushing the pace and showing why the team is tied with Memphis for the top spot in the Western Conference. The Nuggets shot 50.6 percent from the floor and finished with 28 assists.
It wasn’t even Nikola Jokic doing most of the damage, either. The two-time reigning NBA MVP had 12 points, six rebounds and nine assists before taking the fourth quarter off.
Jamal Murray (L) sparked Denver early as the Nuggets cruise to a 122-91 win over the Clippers
Jamal Murray sparked Denver early by scoring 13 of his 18 points in the first quarter.
Murray was one of seven Denver players to finish in double figures. He hit four of the team’s 14 3-pointers.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope helped fuel a 19-0 run in the second quarter to turn the game into a rout.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 123-115 ORLANDO MAGIC
Western Conference leaders the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Orlando Magic 123-115 on Thursday night for their fifth straight win.
Ja Morant scored 32 points, Jaren Jackson Jr. added 31 points and 10 rebounds, while Ziaire Williams came off the Memphis bench with 6-of-7 shooting and 16 points.
Paolo Banchero had 30 points and nine rebounds for Orlando. Franz Wagner added 22 points, 19 in a desperate fourth-quarter comeback attempt.
Jackson had 13 points and five rebounds in the Grizzlies’ 43-point second quarter that ended with Memphis leading 65-43.
Ja Morant (right) scored 32 points as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Orlando Magic 123-115
Banchero scored Orlando’s first 10 points of the second half, but Morant answered with 11 straight for the Grizzlies.
Banchero made three free throws to bring the Magic back within 12 late in the third, but Morant closed the period with a short jumper, and the Grizzlies regained a 21-point lead with three 3-pointers (two by Williams) early in the fourth.
Orlando rallied behind Wagner in the fourth quarter and cut the Grizzlies’ lead to six on Caleb Houstan’s 3-pointer with 1:53 remaining. But Morant drew a sixth foul on Magic center Wendell Carter Jr., with 1:21 remaining, and scored Memphis’ final three points from the foul line.
Carter finished with 18 points and seven rebounds.
UTAH JAZZ 131-114 HOUSTON ROCKETS
Lauri Markkanen scored a career-high 49 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 131-114 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday night that snapped a five-game skid.
Markkanen got out to a quick start with 18 points in the first quarter to help the Jazz to an early lead. Houston took the lead late in the third quarter, but Utah ended that quarter on a 10-0 run to go on top for good.
An 8-2 run cut Utah´s lead to five with about 5 minutes left. Jordan Clarkson hit a 3-pointer soon after that before a tip shot by Markkanen extended the lead to 117-107.
Lauri Markkanen scored a career-high 49 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a win over Houston
Jalen Green added a basket for Houston before Markkanen scored the next four points to start a 14-0 run by the Jazz that made it 131-109 and sent fans streaming for the exits.
After scoring the first four points of the run, Markkanen added consecutive 3-pointers at the end of it. Players on the Utah bench stood and cheered as he hit both of them and they were disappointed when a last 3-point attempt that would have given him 50 points was off the mark.
Green had 30 points and Kevin Porter Jr. added 23 for the Rockets, who dropped their sixth in a row.
Markkanen´s highest-scoring game entering Thursday was 38, which he had achieved twice, most recently on Dec. 20 against Detroit. He made six 3-pointers and all 13 of his free throws Thursday night to eclipse his previous best games.