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Tatum leads Celtics rally past Knicks, Bucks pip Bulls

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics (centre) celebrates scoring against the New York Knicks. Photo: Brian Babineau / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP

Jayson Tatum and Kristaps Porzingis led a second-half fightback as the Boston Celtics overpowered the New York Knicks 114-98 in the NBA on Monday.

Tatum finished with 35 points – including 17 in the fourth quarter – while Porzingis added 21 to fire the Celtics to their eighth win of the season.

“First half, they were scoring at will, but second half we started making stops,” Tatum said after the Celtics bagged their third straight victory. 

“We’ve had three games in four days, now we go out on the road for a week and play some good teams – hopefully we can keep it going,” Tatum added.

New York caused Boston problems in the first half, edging into an eight-point lead in the second quarter with Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle both influential at Boston’s TD Garden.

But Jaylen Brown drained a superb three-pointer from 25 feet on the stroke of half-time to cut the Knicks’ lead to just one point at 53-52 heading into the break.

That parting shot from Brown was to herald a third quarter rally from Boston that ultimately took the game away from the Knicks, who had been chasing a fourth straight victory.

Porzingis led the third quarter onslaught with 11 points from 3-of-3 shooting, including two from outside the arc, along with 3-of-3 from the free throw line.

Tatum then turned it on in the fourth quarter with his 17-point display as the Celtics outscored the Knicks 30-22 in the final frame to complete victory.

Tatum finished with five three-pointers throughout the game from 13-of-23 shooting, with six rebounds and seven assists. Porzingis’s 21-point haul included three from three-point range, while Brown had 22 points, five rebounds and six assists.

Brunson led the Knicks scorers with 26 points while Randle finished with 25. Josh Hart added 16 points with Quentin Grimes chipping in 12 points.

“I like that we’re finding different ways to win,” Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said afterward. “We have to understand that it’s not always going to be easy, but it’s how we respond that’s important.”

The Celtics improved to 8-2 to remain second in the Eastern Conference behind the Philadelphia 76ers (8-1).

Elsewhere Monday, the Toronto Raptors pulled off a remarkable comeback to snatch victory over the Washington Wizards, overturning a 23-point second-half deficit to win 111-107.

The Wizards looked to be cruising to victory after roaring into a 64-45 half-time lead against a misfiring Toronto offense. But the Raptors flipped the script after half-time, outscoring Washington 66-43 in the final two quarters to take the win.

Pascal Siakam inspired the Toronto fightback with 39 points, while Scottie Barnes added 19 and Jakob Poeltl 13. Kyle Kuzma led Washington’s scoring with 34 points.

In Milwaukee, 35 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo helped the Bucks bounce back from consecutive defeats on the road to clinch a 118-109 win over the Chicago Bulls.

Milwaukee jumped on Chicago early, opening up a 17-point lead at the end of the first quarter before the Bulls rallied in the second and third quarters.

Chicago went briefly in front in the third but Milwaukee pulled clear to open up a double-digit lead in the fourth before coasting to victory.

Bobby Portis supported Antetokounmpo with 19 points from the bench while Khris Middleton added 13 and Damian Lillard 12.

Nikola Vucevic led the Chicago scoring with 26 points.

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