June 18, 2018
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Dallas beats up sluggish Celtics

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

DALLAS — The Boston Celtics still haven’t recovered from their draining home defeat against the Miami Heat earlier this week and dropped their second consecutive road game, 104-94 to the Dallas Mavericks Friday night.

The Mavs never trailed as they bounced back from a double-digit home loss two nights earlier to the Brooklyn Nets. Dallas built a 30-19 lead in the first quarter against the sluggish Celtics and led by as many as 14 in the third quarter, buoyed by big games from Dirk Nowitzki (22 points), Brandan Wright (23 points) and Vince Carter (17 points).

A late spurt got Boston within 97-92, but the rally was thwarted when Mavs guard O.J. Mayo buried a 3-pointer for a 100-92 cushion with 1:21 remaining.

Boston (36-32), which has lost three in a row and five of seven with a game at Memphis Saturday night, had little going offensively outside of Kevin Garnett, who had 14 of his 16 points through the first three quarters, and Brandon Bass, who finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Veteran guard Jason Terry, in his first game back in Dallas since leaving the franchise he spent eight seasons with and won the 2011 championship, managed just six points off the bench on 2-of-8 shooting.

But Paul Pierce also had a quiet night with 16 points, just seven through three quarters, on 5-of-9 shooting attempts. Jordan Crawford scored five of his nine points on consecutive possessions for a quick spark to start the fourth quarter to make it 81-75, but Dallas ran its lead back to a dozen with five minutes to go.

The Celtics, 5-of-17 from beyond the 3-point arc, trailed 79-68 after three quarters with Garnett and Bass being the only Boston players having scored in double figures and combining for 30 points.

Dallas (33-36) used an 8-1 finishing kick to end the first half and head to the locker room with a 55-44 lead. Nowitzki, Wright and Carter combined for 38 of the Mavs’ first-half points.

The Mavs led 30-21 after the first quarter on 52.2 percent shooting. The Celtics, having lost two in a row and four of six entering the game, came out sluggish, falling behind 11-4 and then 30-19 with less than a minute to go in the opening period and shot just 37.1 percent in the first half.

Shawn Marion recorded a double-double for Dallas with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Mayo finished with 10 points and nine assists.

Boston forward Jeff Green, who scored 43 points against Miami, had 10 against Dallas and has 23 in Boston’s two road losses since losing to the Heat.

NOTES: Celtics guard Courtney Lee was helped off the floor late in the fourth quarter with an apparent ankle injury. … Celtics guard Jason Terry played his first game back in Dallas since leaving the franchise last summer as a free agent after eight seasons. He wore his 2011 championship ring to the arena. He received a standing ovation from the sellout crowd upon checking in at the 3:57 mark of the first quarter. … Mavs forward Shawn Marion started after missing eight consecutive games with a calf strain. … Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki was injured for the first meeting in Boston, a double-overtime victory for the Celtics. In his previous 26 career games against Boston, Nowitzki has a 26.9 scoring average, his highest against any opponent. … Three of the four active players among the top 20 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list were in the starting lineups: No. 15 Kevin Garnett, No. 18 Dirk Nowitzki and No. 20 Paul Pierce. Kobe Bryant is No. 5.

Heat 103, Pistons 89

LeBron James had 29 points, eight rebounds and eight assists as the Miami Heat defeated the Detroit Pistons 103-89 Friday night in Miami, extending their win streak to 25 games, the second-longest run in NBA history.

Miami is closing in on the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers’ NBA record win streak of 33. Miami’s 25 wins have come in a span of 48 days.

The Pistons, meanwhile, have lost 10 games in a row, the longest active skid in the league. Detroit was led by center Greg Monroe, who had 23 points and 16 rebounds.

Detroit led by as many as 11 points in the second quarter, but that was nothing to a Heat team that this week rallied from 17 down to beat Boston and from 27 down to subdue Cleveland.

The Heat trailed Detroit 54-51 at halftime but surged ahead by outscoring the Pistons 22-14 in the third quarter.

The Heat improved to 31-3 at home. That ties the Heat with the Denver Nuggets for the best home record in the league.

Miami is 32-2 this season when shooting at least 50 percent from the floor. The Heat also had its 20th consecutive game of at least 20 assists.

The Heat overcame a poor game by forward Chris Bosh and a couple of injury scares. Bosh scored 2 points on 1 of 7 shooting.

Spurs 104, Jazz 97 (OT)

Tony Parker scored 22 points in his return from an ankle injury and Tim Duncan had 19 points and 16 rebounds as host San Antonio slid past Utah to make Gregg Popovich the 11th coach in NBA history to record 900 regular-season victories.

Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points and Manu Ginobili drained the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:58 left in overtime as the Spurs won their fourth straight game and remained 2 1/2 games ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder for the top spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

Mo Williams had 23 points and eight assists and Al Jefferson had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost for the 11th time in 14 games. Utah has lost eight straight road games for the first time since the 2004-05 campaign.

The Spurs had a three-point lead late in regulation play but Utah’s Marvin Williams drained a 3-pointer from the left corner as time expired to knot the score at 90 and force the extra season. Parker scored six of San Antonio’s 14 overtime points after missing the previous eight games.

Utah led 41-38 at halftime and still possessed a two-point lead entering the final stanza. The Jazz led 79-74 after Paul Millsap’s basket with 5:20 to play before the Spurs scored the next five to tie the game.

Rockets 116, Cavaliers 78

James Harden scored 20 points and Omer Asik had 13 points and 11 rebounds as host Houston routed Cleveland.

Thomas Robinson scored 15 points, Chandler Parsons added 13 points and the Rockets shot 57.1 percent from the field while moving within a half-game of the sixth-place Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference playoff race.

Shaun Livingston scored 14 points and Wayne Ellington added 13 for the Cavaliers, who have lost five straight and nine of 11.

The Rockets led by 15 at halftime and dominated the third quarter with Patrick Beverley’s last-second 3-pointer giving Houston an 87-61 lead. The onslaught continued in the fourth quarter as the Rockets outscored the Cavaliers by 23 points in the second half.

Houston led by three points after one quarter and began opening up its lead in the second with a 12-4 run. The Rockets shot 56.4 percent and led 58-43 at the break.

Portland Trail Blazers 104, Hawks 93

Wesley Matthews scored 28 points and Damian Lillard added 22 as host Portland rallied for its second road win in as many nights.

LaMarcus Aldridge had 20 points and 13 rebounds and J.J. Hickson added 15 and 10 as the Trail Blazers beat Atlanta for only the second time in the last nine meetings.

Josh Smith scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Al Horford had 15 points and 17 boards for the Hawks, who lost for the second time in six games. Jeff Teague scored 21 for Atlanta.

Matthews had a big third quarter, scoring 14 points and hitting all four of his 3-point attempts in the frame as Portland trimmed an 11-point deficit to 76-73 entering the fourth.

Nicolas Batum and Lillard knocked down 3-pointers in a 9-0 burst to put the Trail Blazers ahead to stay at 82-78. Atlanta was within one before Lillard drilled another 3-pointer in a 12-2 spurt to break the game open.

Thunder 97, Magic 89

Kevin Durant scored 11 of his 25 points in the final six minutes as visiting Oklahoma City staved off Orlando’s upset bid.

Russell Westbrook added 19 points, nine assists and six rebounds and Serge Ibaka had 14 points and 13 points as the Thunder halted a two-game losing streak with its second win over the Magic in eight days.

Rookie Moe Harkless scored a season-high 25 points to lead five players in double figures for Orlando, which erased a 13-point halftime deficit before tumbling to its sixth consecutive defeat

Despite losing leading scorer Arron Afflalo to injury and playing without center Nikola Vucevic, the Magic rallied in the second half behind Harkless and Jameer Nelson, who combined for 26 of their 32 points in the third quarter to cut the deficit to 70-66.

The Thunder briefly lost the lead in the fourth and were deadlocked at 86-86 when Durant buried a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:44 to play. Durant and Westbrook put the game away by hitting 8-of-10 free throws down the stretch.

Knicks 99, Raptors 94

Carmelo Anthony scored 37 points as visiting New York clinched a playoff berth for the third straight season.

Kenyon Martin, making his fifth straight start with All-Star center Tyson Chandler still sidelined, shot 9-for-10 en route to 19 points. J.R. Smith added 14 off the bench for the Knicks, who have won three straight since a four-game slide.

Alan Anderson scored 20 of his career-high 35 points in the third quarter to lead Toronto. Raptors leading scorer Rudy Gay had just four points in 14 minutes before leaving with a back injury in the second quarter.

New York took the lead for good less than five minutes in on a Pablo Prigioni basket, and led by as many as 15 in the first half. Anderson’s eruption in the third included a four-point play and a three-point play in a span of 39 seconds that cut Toronto’s deficit to 73-69 with 1:15 left.

The Raptors got as close as two points on a DeMar DeRozan three-point play midway through the fourth, but Anthony answered with one of his own to spark an 11-0 burst that made it 95-84 with 2:53 remaining. Anderson scored eight more points down the stretch

Hornets 90, Grizzlies 83

Robin Lopez had 23 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots as host New Orleans survived a late rally to top Memphis.

Anthony Davis added 18 points and 15 boards as as the Hornets won their second straight game for the first time since Feb. 11 and 13. Greivis Vasquez contributed 12 points and nine assists.

Mike Conley scored 10 of his 20 points in the final five-plus minutes for the Grizzlies, who fell from third to fifth in the Western Conference standings. Marc Gasol had 16 points and Zach Randolph scored 14.

The Hornets, who trailed by as many as 11 points early, scored the final eight points of the first half and first four of the second to go ahead 52-43. Randolph pulled the visitors within a point at 56-55 midway through the third, but Lopez had eight straight New Orleans points to spark a 17-3 run that lasted nearly three minutes into the fourth quarter.

Between Randolph’s basket and a layup by Jerryd Bayless with 9:38 left in the game, the Grizzlies missed 14 straight shots and trailed by 16 when Ryan Anderson hit a 3-pointer with 9:17 left. Conley hit all three of Memphis’ 3-pointers down the stretch, the last to get his team within 83-81, but Vasquez answered with a 3 to start a game-ending 7-2 run.

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