Randle, Brunson lead Knicks against Celtics, Doncic retires injured

Two missed free throws by Jaylen Brown condemned the Boston Celtics to a 120-117 loss to the New York Knicks on Thursday’s NBA day, in which Luka Doncic withdrew with a sprain in the Mavericks’ win over the Suns.

Power forward Julius Randle, with 37 points and 9 rebounds, and point guard Jalen Brunson, with 29 points and 7 assists, were again the leaders of the Knicks in an exciting victory that they scratched in overtime at the TD Garden in Boston.

Jayson Tatum, the local star, scored 35 points and was key for the Celtics to force overtime in a game that the Knicks seemed to have on track when they dominated by 12 points (106-94) with less than four minutes remaining.

At that point Tatum went into combustion scoring 11 points that put the still leaders of the Eastern Conference ahead.

The young forward enjoyed the last possession with a tie at 110 but missed a midrange shot almost at the buzzer.

In overtime, trailing by just one point (118-117), Jaylen Brown missed two free throws with just seven seconds left and RJ Barrett did not forgive after from the line to apply the third straight loss to the Celtics.

"We’ve been to these kinds of parties before"Randle later stated. "All year we have been in matches with ups and downs. We have lost some of them and won others so we know how to be comfortable and execute in these positions".

Boston maintains a distance of 2.5 victories over the Philadelphia 76ers in the East lead, while the Knicks remain in seventh place and approach the direct access places to the playoffs.

For the Celtics, Dominican Al Horford had six points, four rebounds and four assists in 36 minutes.

Mavericks Face Victory
The Dallas Mavericks took a creditable 99-95 victory at the Phoenix Suns court despite losing their leader Luka Doncic with just three minutes to play due to a sprained left ankle.

The point guard, chosen this Thursday as the starter for his fourth All-Star, is one of the candidates for the MVP award and top scorer of the season with an average of 33.8 points.

Without the Slovenian phenomenon, Spencer Dinwiddie took the reins of the Texan team with 36 points and 9 assists, seconded by center Dwight Powell, who had 15 points with key free throws and rebounds to prevent Phoenix’s final comeback attempt.

The Suns, who snapped their four-game winning streak, had veteran Chris Paul leading the scorer with 22 points and 10 assists.

Irving shines in Nets stumble
The other surprise of the day occurred in Brooklyn with the loss of the Nets 130-122 against the Detroit Pistons, last classified in the East.

The Nets, who are still waiting for the return of their figure Kevin Durant, could not capitalize on the spectacular night of Kyrie Irving, who gave another game recital by finishing with 40 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks.

Irving chains five games in a row exceeding thirty points, the longest streak of his career.

The 30-year-old point guard experienced a convulsive start to the season in which he was suspended by his own team for promoting anti-Semitic material but his great performance since then led him to be selected this Thursday, like Durant, as a starter in the All -Star of February 12.

On the other hand, the Australian Ben Simmons, one day after the exhausting defeat against his former teammates from the Philadelphia 76ers, was shipwrecked again against the Pistons when he was left without scoring in the 20 minutes he was on the track before retiring in the third quarter due to discomfort in the left knee.

Led by rookie point guard Jaden Ivey, who scored Detroit’s first 12 points, the Pistons signed one of their best performances of the season with forward Saddiq Bey as the best offensive weapon with 25 points.

Hornets 111, Bulls 96

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Terry Rozier scored 28 points, Mason Plumlee added 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Charlotte Hornets beat the Chicago Bulls 111-96 on Thursday night.

Gordon Hayward added 17 points, and LaMelo Ball—returning from a three-game absence with an ankle and wrist injury—had 15 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists to overcome a terrible shooting from the field. , making just 2 of 15 attempts.

DeMar DeRozan had 28 points for the Bulls, while Zach LaVine had 18 points and nine rebounds, though he trailed off in the second half. Patrick Williams had 15 points, but Chicago’s three-game winning streak came to an end.

Cavaliers 113, Rockets 95

HOUSTON (AP) — Darius Garland had 26 points and Evan Mobley added 21 for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who routed the Houston Rockets 113-95 on Thursday night without Donovan Mitchell.

Garland, the fifth overall pick in the 2019 draft and who turned 23 on Thursday, also had nine assists and four rebounds for Cleveland.

The Cavs led by 26 points at halftime, after scoring 74 in the first two quarters.

Houston got within 22 on rookie Jabari Smith Jr.’s layup with 9 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter. However, Cleveland got the next 10 points, including 3s by Garland and Wade, to extend the lead to 89-57, halfway through that quarter.

The Rockets, who have the worst record in the NBA at 11-38, turned over 22 turnovers and made just 5 of 21 3-pointers.

LA Clippers 138, Spurs 100

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George scored 35 points, Kawhi Leonard added 27 and the Los Angeles Clippers routed the San Antonio Spurs 138-100 on Thursday night to extend their winning streak to a season-best four games.

It was the fifth time this course that George has finished with at least 35 units. The forward is averaging 22.4 points per game after missing five earlier this month with a strained right hamstring.

George was 14-of-19 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, in the Clippers’ biggest win since 2021. It’s the 11th time they’ve won by at least 38-point margin.

Keldon Johnson finished with 19 points for San Antonio, while Isaiah Roby had 14 and Keita Bates-Diop had 13. The Spurs have lost nine of their last 10 games and 12 of 14.

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