Brown, Tatum combine for 63 points as Celtics overwhelm Suns for 2nd time in a week, 127-112

Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) passes the ball while covered by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Boston.
Phoenix Suns forward Kevin Durant (35) passes the ball while covered by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) and Boston Celtics forward Sam Hauser, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Thursday, March 14, 2024, in Boston.AP Photo

BOSTON — Jaylen Brown scored 37 points, Jayson Tatum added 26 and the Boston Celtics powered past the Phoenix Suns 127-112 on Thursday night.

Al Horford finished with 24 points, including six of Boston’s season high-tying 25 3-pointers to help the Celtics down the Suns for the second time in week. Boston improved to an NBA-best 52-14.

Devin Booker led the Suns with 23 points. Bradley Beal finished with 22 points and seven assists. Kevin Durant and Grayson Allen both added 20 points.

Last week, the Celtics overpowered a Suns team playing without Booker (ankle) during a double-digit win in Phoenix, despite a 45-point night by Durant.

Durant came out hot again in Thursday’s rematch. But Booker started slowly before finishing 9 of 20 from the field. Meanwhile, the All-Star duo of Tatum and Brown combined for 43 of the Celtics’ 65 first-half points.

Tatum was in attack mode for most of the opening 24 minutes, leading a Celtics flurry just before halftime by scoring seven of his team’s final 10 points. That included back-to-back 3s over Durant that sent roars throughout the home crowd. He also was one of the primary defenders on Durant, limiting him to only five points over the final three quarters.


OKLAHOMA CITY — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 31 points and nine rebounds to help the Oklahoma City defeat the short-handed Dallas.

Dallas guard Luka Doncic missed the game with a sore left hamstring. He left in the fourth quarter Wednesday against the Golden State Warriors, ending his streak of consecutive triple-doubles at seven games. Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said before the game that an MRI on the NBA scoring leader’s injury turned up “clean,” meaning it likely will be a short-term issue. Kidd said Doncic will be re-evaluated when the team returns home.

Oklahoma City took advantage. Jalen Williams had 27 points and three blocks in his return from a sprained right ankle that kept him out of Tuesday’s loss to the Indiana Pacers. Josh Giddey added 18 points for the Thunder, who moved into a tie with the idle Denver Nuggets for the best record in the Western Conference at 46-20.

Kyrie Irving had 36 points and a season-high 12 assists, Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 23 points and Daniel Gafford added 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Mavericks. Gafford missed a putback attempt in the first minute of the game, ending his streak of consecutive made field goals at 33. He ended up two short of Wilt Chamberlain’s NBA record of 35.

BUCKS 114, 76ERS 105

MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 11 rebounds to lead Milwaukee Bucks past Philadelphia.

Brook Lopez added 19 points and seven rebounds and Damian Lillard had 17 points and seven assists for the Bucks, who won at home after losing three of four on a West Coast swing, which included a 129-94 drubbing against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday.

Tyrese Maxey scored 30 points for the 76ers, who closed out a 1-2 road trip. Tobias Harris added 15 points and Cam Payne had 13.

The Bucks, who trailed 83-80 at the start of the fourth quarter, moved ahead 88-87 on a layup by Bobby Portis with 8:42 left and didn’t relinquish the lead.

The Bucks were short-handed as starting guard Malik Beasley and reserve MarJon Beauchamp sat out with back spasms. Khris Middleton missed his 16th consecutive game with a sprained left ankle.


CHICAGO — Paul George made six 3-pointers and scored 28 points, Kawhi Leonard added 27 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat Chicago.

Los Angeles regrouped after a 20-point lead late in the third quarter dwindled to eight in the fourth and stopped a two-game skid, beating Chicago for the second time in six days. Both teams were missing key players with the Clippers’ James Harden (strained left shoulder) and the Bulls’ Coby White (sore right hip) sidelined.

George was 11 of 12 from the field. He made 6 of 7 3s — one shy of a season high — and the Clippers were 20 of 40 from beyond the arc.

Leonard, who exited Tuesday’s loss to Minnesota because of back spasms, made 12 of 17 shots.

Norman Powell scored 18 points and Bones Hyland added 17 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, who are fourth in the Western Conference.

DeMar DeRozan led Chicago with 21 points after scoring a season-high 46 in Wednesday’s overtime win at Indiana. The Bulls have lost three of four.


PORTLAND, Oregon — Jalen Brunson scored 45 points and the New York Knicks rolled past Portland.

Donte DiVincenzo and OG Anunoby had 12 points apiece for the Knicks, who have won four of their last six as they jockey for playoff position in the Eastern Conference with 16 games left in the season.

Deandre Ayton had 31 points and 14 rebounds for the Blazers, playing the second of a back-to-back and the last of a six-game homestand. Portland beat the Atlanta Hawks 106-102 on Wednesday night.

The Knicks led by as many as 22 points in the fourth quarter. Portland got within 98-87 on a long jumper from Ayton with 3:54 left but the comeback bid stalled.


HOUSTON — Jalen Green scored a season-high 37 points as Houston built a big lead early and cruised to a win over Washington.

Fred VanVleet added 27 points for the Rockets, who won their fourth straight game.

All of Houston’s starters scored in double figures in the second game since Alperen Sengun injured his knee and ankle Sunday. The Rockets outrebounded Washington 46-32 despite being without the star big man.

Jordan Poole scored 25 points off the bench for the Wizards, who dropped their second game in a row after winning their previous two. Deni Avdija added 24 points and Kyle Kuzma had 23 for Washington.

The Rockets led by as many as 24 points and were up by 15 points to open the fourth quarter. (AP)


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