NBA Round Up: Boston Crushes Phoenix at Home, Bucks Top 76ers

Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum combined for 63 points as the Celtics crushed the Suns for the second time in a week, 127-112. Brown scored 37 points, while Tatum added 26 as the Celtics became the first team to clinch a spot in the postseason.

Al Horford had a huge game also, finishing with 24 points which included six of Boston’s season high-tying 25 3-pointers. Boston improved to an NBA-best 52-14 on the season and have now won 8 straight at home. At the moment they look like the team to beat come playoff time.

For the Suns, Devin Booker led the team with 23 points, while Bradley Beal finished with 22 points and seven assists. Kevin Durant and Grayson Allen both added 20 points. Durant had a particularly good first quarter, scoring 15 points but could only go 2/11 from the field for the rest of the game.

Boston were without big man Kristaps Porzingis, who missed his fourth straight game with a strained right hamstring. He will remain day to day for the next week based on reports from the team.

This was the second time the Celtics had beaten the Suns by a large margin. Last week they overpowered a Suns team that was playing without Booker (ankle) to win by double-digits. It should be noted that Duran had a 45-point night.

Tatum was in attack mode from the very get go, leading a Celtics rally just before halftime by scoring seven of the team’s final 10 points. This included a couple of back-to-back dagger 3s over Durant which really brought the crowd into the game. Tatum was also one of the primary defenders on Durant which slowed him down after his hot start.  

Going into the back end of the season, if the Celtics can get a similar amount of production from Al Horford they will fancy their chances to make the Finals. Horford was on fire from three-point range scoring 6 of his 10 attempts.

Jrue Holiday played facilitator, scoring only 9 points but dishing out 10 assists. He was also big on the defensive end, guarding Booker most of the game.

Next up for the Suns will be the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, a game they will be looking to win easily. The Celtics will be visited by the Wizards on Sunday, getting a much needed break.

Giannis Scores 32 To Lead Bucks 114-105 Over The 76ers

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the bucks with a 32 points and 11 rebounds effort to beat the 76ers 114-105 on Thursday night. Brook Lopez had a solid 19 points and seven rebounds and Damian Lillard had 17 points and nine assists to help out Giannis.

The 76ers had an off night except for Tyrese Maxey who scored 30 points for the. Tobias Harris added 15 points and Cam Payne had 13. They close their road trip with a 1-2 record. 

The Bucks trailed 83-80 at the start of the fourth quarter but shortly took the lead 88-87 with 8:42 left. From there however the Bucks took over, winning rather easily in the end.

The Bucks were short-handed without starting guard Malik Beasley and reserve MarJon Beauchamp who sat out with back spasms. Khris Middleton who has been out for his 16th consecutive game with a sprained left ankle was also unavailable.

It’s clear that Philadelphia are sorely missing their MVP Center Joel Embiid. The 76ers have lost 13 of 20 without Embiid, who is recovering from a meniscus injury to his left knee. If they keep going down the same path they may lose their playoff position and be forced to battle in the play-in tournament for a postseason berth.

Next up for the 76ers will be the Hornets on Saturday and the Bucks will be hosting the Suns on Sunday. Both teams are jockeying for playoff positions and will need a strong end to the season to keep a deep run in the postseason alive.