Celtics rout Wolves to lead East, Suns dwarf Sixers

The Boston Celtics joined the Miami Heat atop the Eastern Conference table with a 134-112 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Western Conference leader, the Phoenix Suns, defeated Philadelphia, while Kyrie Irving’s home season debut was spoiled by the Charlotte Hornets.

Jayson Tatum scored 34 points and Jaylen Brown contributed 31 points and 10 rebounds to propel the Boston Celtics to their sixth straight win, a 134-112 home win over Minnesota.

The Celtics scored their most points in a half all season to take a 72-49 halftime lead and improved to 47-28, tying Miami for the best record in the East.

“Planting is important. We definitely want to take advantage of that,” Brown said. “But at the same time, we’re going to have to play who we’re going to have to play with.

“The East is going to be a dogfight, so we’re not running from anyone.”

Defending champion Milwaukee and the Philadelphia 76ers are third at 46-28, while Chicago, Toronto and Cleveland are within five games.

Brown cited Boston’s roster recovery from a season of injury setbacks for the season-ending charge.

“We got healthy,” he said. “I missed about 15 games. My hamstring was bothering me a lot. I feel a little healthier. Our guys feel a little healthier. We just got our feet under us a little bit more and now we’re here.”

The medical report brought bad news with Celtics center Robert Williams suffering a sprained left knee. He played only 24 minutes with 13 points and 10 rebounds.

Philadelphia had risen to the top of the East but lost 114-104 to Western Conference leader Phoenix, which improved a league-best record to 61-14 with an eighth straight win.

Both teams’ NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) candidates put up virtuosic efforts with Phoenix’s Devin Booker scoring 35 points while Chris Paul added 19 points and 14 assists and Deandre Ayton added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid had 37 points and 15 rebounds, while Tyrese Maxey had 18 points and Tobias Harris had 17.

But James Harden scored just 14 points on 2-for-11 shooting, shooting just 2-for-5 from 3-point range.

In Brooklyn, unvaccinated Kyrie Irving played his first home game of the season thanks to a change in New York City’s COVID-19 safety rules that had previously barred him from playing on the court.

But Charlotte marred the debut with a 119-110 victory.

Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball fired up the Hornets with 33 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Kevin Durant led the Nets with 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, while Andre Drummond added 20 points and 17 rebounds for Brooklyn.

Irving scored 16 points on 6-for-22 shooting and contributed 11 assists.

With the win, the Hornets took a tie-breaking lead over Brooklyn and tied them at 39-36 on the season, leaving the Nets in ninth place in the East.

Lakers’ LeBron James (left) shoots for the basket against Pelicans forward Herbert Jones (right) in an NBA game, New Orleans, U.S., on March 27, 2022. (AP Photo )

LeBron gets 39 in loss

Despite LeBron James’ 39 points, nine rebounds and five assists, the Los Angeles Lakers lost 116-108 in New Orleans, which moved ahead of the Lakers for ninth place in the Western Conference, trading the last two play-off spots. in by post post. season.

Brandon Ingram, returning from a 10-game absence, scored 26 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Pelicans (32-43), who rallied from a 23-point deficit to beat the Lakers (31- 43), which fell a game ahead of San Antonio (30-44) for the final play-in spot.

Corey Kispert scored 25 points, Kristaps Porzingis added 23 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 22 to power the Washington Wizards over visiting Golden State 123-115.

Jordan Poole scored a game-high 26 points while Klay Thompson added 25 for the Warriors, whose lead over Dallas for third place in the Western Conference was cut to two games.

Luka Doncic had 32 points and 10 rebounds, Reggie Bullock had 23 points and Jalen Brunson added 22 as the Dallas Mavericks beat the visiting Utah 114-100. The fifth-place Jazz fell to 45-30, one game behind Dallas and one ahead of Denver in the West.

RJ Barrett had 21 points and nine rebounds, while Julius Randle added 20 points as the New York Knicks defeated host Detroit 104-102.

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