NBA: Celtics take down Pistons for eighth straight win, Lakers claw past 76ers

AFP , Saturday 23 Mar 2024

The league-leading Boston Celtics, fueled by 33 points from Jaylen Brown, beat the depleted Detroit Pistons 129-102 to push their NBA winning streak to eight games on Friday.

NBA
Boston s Jaylen Brown drives around Cade Cunningham in the Celtics NBA victory over the Detroit Pistons. Photo: AFP

 

With teammates Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Jrue Holiday all out, Brown ably filled the void connecting on 13 of 19 shots from the field.

"(I) just tried to be aggressive coming out," Brown -- who notched his sixth game since the All-Star break of 30 or more points -- told NBC Sports Boston. "I know we had some guys out."

Brown said he tried to keep his teammates involved, and even though he ended up with zero assists Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said he was doing all the right things.

"He's getting the shots he wants, both for himself and his teammates," Mazzulla said. "He's playing very well-rounded basketball and it has been fun to watch."

Payton Pritchard added 20 points and Derrick White and Kristaps Porzingis scored 19 apiece for Boston, who improved their league-best record to 56-14.

Tatum sat out the first game of a six-game road trip to rest a troublesome ankle. Horford was sidelined by a toe injury and Holiday by an arm injury.

But against last-placed Detroit -- who were without half a dozen players after Jalen Duren was ruled out shortly before tipoff with back spasms -- the Celtics were still too strong.

James Wiseman got his first start of the season for the Pistons and scored a team-high 24 points.

The Celtics held Detroit scoring leader Cade Cunningham to 15 points on six of 17 shooting as they extended the league's longest active winning streak.

The Oklahoma City Thunder edged back ahead of the defending champion Denver Nuggets for the Western Conference lead with a 123-103 victory over the Raptors in Toronto.

Oklahoma City's Canadian point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out eight assists, and rookie center Chet Holmgren scored 18 points with 10 rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

Russell in the record book

In Los Angeles, the Lakers clamped down defensively in the second half to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 101-94.

Anthony Davis scored 23 points and grabbed 19 rebounds and LeBron James scored 11 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Lakers overcame 21 turnovers that led to 27 Sixers points.

"The second half we did a great job (defensively), despite some of our offensive mistakes -- turning the ball over, missing point blank shots," Lakers coach Darvin Ham said.

"We were able to still sustain our defensive effort."

D'Angelo Russell drilled four three-pointers on the way to 14 points, setting a Lakers franchise record for most three-pointers in a season along the way.

Russell's first trey of the night was his 184th of the season, surpassing the record of 183 set by Nick Van Exel in the 1994-95 campaign.

In San Francisco, Indiana's Tyrese Haliburton scored 26 points and handed out 11 assists as the Pacers beat the Golden State Warriors 123-111.

Pascal Siakam added 25 points and 16 rebounds for Indiana, who trailed by as many as 12 in the second quarter but they cut the deficit to one at halftime and out-scored the Warriors 36-21 in the third to seize control.

Stephen Curry led Golden State with 25 points and 10 rebounds but the Warriors couldn't recover from a disastrous third period in which two Curry three-pointers were blocked.

The Warriors, holding down the tenth spot in the West, couldn't find a way to respond in the fourth and are now just two games ahead of the Houston Rockets for the last place in the play-in tournament.

In San Antonio, the Spurs fell 99-97 to the Memphis Grizzlies despite another stellar performance for Rookie of the Year favorite Victor Wembanyama.

The towering French center scored 31 points with 16 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocked shots.

It was tied 97-97 with 18 seconds remaining, but Memphis's Jaren Jackson Jr. drilled the game-winning jump shot with just over a second remaining.

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