NEW YORK, USA – Kyrie Irving scored 30 points and passed out 11 assists on Sunday, February 3 (Monday, February 4, Philippine time) as the Boston Celtics snapped Oklahoma City’s seven-game NBA win streak with a 134-129 home triumph.
Marcus Morris added 19 points and Marcus Smart netted 18 as 8 of 9 players taking the court for Boston scored in double figures and the Celtics improved to 34-19, matching Philadelphia for 3rd in the Eastern Conference.
“We have great continuity, great rhythm,” Irving said. “Playing the best we can every single day.”
The Thunder fell to 33-19, 4 games adrift of Western Conference leaders Denver and Golden State, despite a sixth consecutive triple-double from Russell Westbrook, who had 22 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds.
Westbrook hit a three-pointer, made a steal and sank two free throws to pull the visitors within 121-119 in the final minutes.
Jerami Grant’s three-pointer pulled the Thunder within 129-128. Boston’s Jayson Tatum hit only 1-of-2 free throws but Irving forced a Westbrook turnover and Tatum added two more from the line to give the Celtics a 132-128 edge with 7.4 seconds to play.
OKC needed a bucket and Russ took it himself vs. three defenders.— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 3, 2019
Game over. pic.twitter.com/wYDiGSUNms
Westbrook sank a free throw but missed the rim on his second attempt trying to set up a Thunder rebound and the Celtics took the ball, Smart hitting two final free throws to seal the victory.
“Down the stretch it’s winning time. Just like that,” Irving said. “That’s a great team over there. It was a great challenge.”
Paul George led the Thunder with 37 points and New Zealand’s Steven Adams added 16 points and 9 rebounds for Oklahoma City.
The Thunder reeled off 11 points in a row in just over two minutes for a 76-73 lead in the 3rd quarter but Morris answered with a corner three-pointer to begin a 12-2 Boston run and the Celtics bounced back to lead 99-93 entering the 4th quarter.
“We played with more aggressiveness on offense and we moved better on defense,” said Celtics coach Brad Stevens, whose club improved to 20-0 at home when leading after 3 quarters.
The Celtics hit a season-best 59% of their shots from the floor.
Raptors, Grizzlies win
At Toronto, the host Raptors ripped the Los Angeles Clippers, 121-103, behind 18 points from Kawhi Leonard plus 16 points and 12 rebounds from Congo-born Spaniard Serge Ibaka.
Canada’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, a 20-year-old guard playing in his homeland, led the Clippers with 19 points.
The Raptors improved to 38-16, 2nd in the East by 1.5 games to Milwaukee, while the Clippers fell to 29-25, clinging to the last Western Conference playoff spot by one game over Sacramento.
Memphis guard Mike Conley scored 25 points and Spanish big man Marc Gasol added 24 to spark the Grizzlies over the NBA-worst New York Knicks, 96-84, at the Madison Square Garden.
Conley added 8 rebounds and 7 assists while Gasol contributed 9 rebounds and 5 assists for Memphis, which also had 19 points from Justin Holiday.
New York’s league-worst record slid to 10-42 after a 13th consecutive loss while the Grizzlies, second worst in the Western Conference, improved to 21-33.
Kevin Knox led the Knicks with 17 points while DeAndre Jordan, in his first game after arriving in a deal with Dallas, contributed 12 points and 12 rebounds. – Rappler.com