Celtics snap losing streak to injury-hit Spurs

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LOS ANGELES: Al Horford delivered 14 points and 13 rebounds as the Boston Celtics won their fifth straight and snapped an 11-game losing skid to the San Antonio Spurs with a 108-94 win on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

Kyrie Irving played his best game for the Celtics who beat the injury-depleted Spurs for the first time in Boston since January 2011.

The Celtics have rallied from an 0-2 season start that saw them lose new signee Gordon Hayward to an injury in the opening game at Cleveland.

“We’re just really buying into what the coach wants us to do and our young guys, they’re all ears,” said Horford. “They’re all listening, trying to be better.”

Al Horford No.42 of the Boston Celtics AFP PHOTO

Irving led his new team by scoring 24 points, while Jaylen Brown scored 18 for the Celtics who improved to 5-2 on the 2017-18 NBA season. Former first overall draft pick Irving was dealt to the Celtics in the offseason after demanding a trade out of Cleveland.

Terry Rozier scored eight of his 12 points in 52 seconds to put the game away in the fourth quarter and rookie Jayson Tatum grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots.

Marcus Smart added nine points and seven rebounds in the win.

The Spurs are still without injured Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. Manu Ginobili also skipped the game to get some needed rest.

San Antonio got a career-high 18 points and five rebound performance from Brandon Paul.

Pau Gasol had 11 points and eight rebounds for the Spurs who suffered their third straight loss on a 1-3 road trip. They won at Miami to start the trip.

In New York, Kristaps Porzingis scored a career-high 38 points as the New York Knicks held on for a 116-110 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Porzingis, of Latvia, produced his fifth 30-point game of the season and eighth of his career. He made 14 of 26 shots, including four three-pointers, and surpassed his previous career best set November 16 against the Detroit Pistons.

“Some of the stuff that he does, we look at each other on the bench and go ‘man he really just did that,’” Knicks center Enes Kanter said.

Kyle O’Quinn finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

Tim Hardaway scored all 13 of his points in the fourth, while Kanter and Courtney Lee contributed 12 apiece.

Serbia’s Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 28 points. Jamal Murray added 20 for Denver, which used a 22-2 run in the third and outscored the Knicks 38-19 in the period.

After withstanding the difficult third, the Knicks took an 84-81 lead into the fourth and expanded it to 100-93 on a three-pointer by Hardaway with about seven minutes left before Porzingis finished it off.

Elsewhere, Rudy Gobert had 17 points, 12 rebounds, six blocks and a career-high six assists to lead the Utah Jazz to a 104-89 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

The Jazz improved to 4-0 at home this season.

AFP





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