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NBA-best Celtics rout Wemby’s Spurs for sixth win in a row

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics shoots over Malaki Branham (left) and Jeremy Sochan of the San Antonio Spurs. Photo: Ronald Cortes / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Jayson Tatum scored 25 points and Jaylen Brown added 24 to lead the NBA-best Boston Celtics over San Antonio 134-101 on Sunday, stretching their win streak to six games.

Kristaps Porzingis added 14 points and a game-high nine rebounds for the Celtics, who improved to 26-6.

Boston also got 17 points from Derrick White, who spent five seasons with San Antonio before joining the Celtics in a 2022 trade. He heard chants of “White’s an All-Star” from the Texas fans.

“I’ve got a lot of respect for the fans here, great memories here,” White said. “I’m just thankful.”

Boston outscored the Spurs 40-23 in the third quarter to pull away for good.

“Just had that mindset of third quarter is important and coming out ready to go,” White said. “We finished the first half well and kept it going from there.”

Tatum made 10-of-17 shots from the floor, 5-of-10 from 3-point range, while Brown went 9-of-13 from the floor, hitting both 3-point attempts, and 4-of-6 from the free throw line.

French 19-year-old rookie star center Victor Wembanyama, the 7-foot-4 (2.24m) top pick of the 2023 NBA Draft, scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the host Spurs, who fell to 5-27.

Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram each scored 26 points and the host New Orleans Pelicans avenged an In-Season Tournament (IST) semi-final loss by ripping the Los Angeles Lakers 129-109.

Ingram also contributed eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocked shots while Williamson added six assists and four rebounds for the Pelicans, who improved to 19-14 with all five starters scoring in double figures.

A day after his 39th birthday, LeBron James led the Lakers with 34 points while adding eight assists and five rebounds. Anthony Davis netted 20 points with 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who humbled the Pelicans 133-89 on their way to the IST crown earlier this month.

Japan’s Rui Hachimura was sidelined by a calf injury after starting for the Lakers, playing only eight minutes.

Thunder win streak at 4

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored a game-high 24 points to lead Oklahoma City over visiting Brooklyn 124-108 for a fourth consecutive triumph.

The Canadian guard hit 7-of-15 from the floor and all nine free throws to pace five starters scoring in double figures for the Thunder, who at 22-9 pulled two games back of Western Conference leader Minnesota.

Phoenix’s Kevin Durant scored 31 points while Bradley Beal added 25 and Devin Booker had 21 to spark the host Suns over Orlando 112-107.

The Magic, paced by Paolo Banchero’s 28 points, used a 21-8 rally in the third quarter to erase a Suns lead, but shot only 3-for-13 in the final 7:30 to fall.

“They made us work a little bit harder than we wanted to but that’s what we need right now,” Beal said after his highest-scoring game since arriving in a deal with Washington.

“I’m just trying to figure out my way with the guys. I’m not here to step on any toes but at the same time I’m here for a reason. I’ve got to be aggressive. I’ve got to be me. I came out tonight being aggressive and thankfully we got a great win out of it.

“We’ve got to be better on defense, got to clean that up, but we’ve got some good mojo, some good juices going into the new year.”

Trae Young scored 40 points and passed off 13 assists to spark Atlanta’s 130-126 triumph at Washington. The Wizards (6-26) had 38 points from Kyle Kuzma in a losing cause. Dejounte Murray had 32 for the Hawks (13-19).

Domantas Sabonis had a triple double with 13 points, 21 rebounds and 12 assists while Malik Monk came off the Sacramento bench to score a game-high 27 points as the Kings won 123-92 at Memphis.

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