Celtics spark memories with 30th win
The Boston Celtics rang in the new year yesterday morning (Singapore time) with a 108-105 victory over the Brooklyn Nets that recalled glorious years gone by.
The hard-fought victory over a determined Nets team saw the Celtics improve to 30-10 - the earliest date since the 1964-65 season that Boston have piled up 30 victories.
It was the third-earliest arrival at 30 victories in Celtics history. The 1959-60 team got there on Dec 28, the 1964-65 squad on Dec 30.
Both of those teams went on to win the NBA title.
The Eastern Conference-leading Celtics had to work for win No. 30.
Brooklyn, trailing by 14 points with 5:59 left, trimmed the deficit to three and had the ball after a timeout with 14.5 seconds to play.
But Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie let loose a long-range effort off the inbounds pass that missed by a mile.
"I think it was open, I think he could've gotten closer," Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. "I think if he curled it tighter, that was the play for him to come off that screen..."
Boston guard Kyrie Irving chased down the rebound and called timeout.
He was fouled on the inbounds play and sealed Boston's seventh straight win over the Nets with two free-throws as chants of "M-V-P" rained on him.
Irving posted his 11th straight 20-point game, scoring 28 and pulling down eight rebounds.
The Celtics appeared to be in control of the contest after two second-half spurts, but Brooklyn wouldn't go away.
The Nets twice got as close as five in the last two minutes. Boston had no shots from the floor over the final 4:27, but made seven of 10 free-throws.
"You've got to give credit to just how talented that team is. They play extremely hard for all 48 minutes," Irving said. "We had to take the challenge on every single possession.
"A few great takeaways from this game," he added. "Especially down the stretch - we've just got to close out better."
Next up for the Celtics is a marquee match-up with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday morning (Singapore time).
The Cavs traded Irving to the Celtics prior to the season in a deal that brought point guard Isaiah Thomas to Cleveland.
Celtics coach Brad Stevens said the Cavs team led by four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James will be a formidable test.
He said: "They've had everybody's number in the East for a couple of years now, and we're among that list. So we'll see." - AFP
- Washington 114 Chicago 110
- Indiana 90 Minnesota 107
- Houston 148 LA Lakers 142 (OT)
- LA Clippers 106 Charlotte 98
- Oklahoma 113 Dallas 116
- Sacramento 96 Memphis 114
- Phoenix 110 Philadelphia 123