Short­handed Celtics win 10th straight con­test

In­jured Porzingis sits out Knick's loss to Magic Pis­tons stay hot by down­ing Pacers Heat beat Suns

Jerusalem Post - - SPORTS -

The Bos­ton Celtics have had to deal with ad­ver­sity in the open­ing three weeks of the sea­son with five play­ers al­ready suf­fer­ing in­juries.

Yet they have not let be­ing short­handed side­track them.

“Just pick up the pieces and keep on truck­ing,” said guard Kyrie Irv­ing.

“That’s the best way I know how and the best way we know how as an or­ga­ni­za­tion.”

Gor­don Hay­ward went out with a sea­son-end­ing in­jury less than six min­utes into the opener, and the Celtics re­sponded.

Mar­cus Mor­ris got a late start to the sea­son due to a sore knee, and the Celtics filled his spot.

Mar­cus Smart missed a pair of games, and his role was filled.

And on Wed­nes­day night, the hits kept on com­ing.

First, Al Hor­ford had to miss a game against the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers after suf­fer­ing a con­cus­sion on Mon­day night in At­lanta.

Then, mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter against the Lak­ers, rookie Jayson Ta­tum ex­ited with a sore right an­kle.

But the Celtics kept on truck­ing, hold­ing off the Lak­ers for their 10th straight vic­tory, a 107-96 re­sult be­fore a ca­pac­ity home crowd at the TD Gar­den.

It is the Celtics’ first dou­ble-digit win­ning streak since they put to­gether 14 straight vic­to­ries early in the 2010-11 sea­son.

“Just be­ing re­silient and un­der­stand­ing what our ex­pec­ta­tions are for each other in this locker room,” said Irv­ing, who over­came a tough shoot­ing night (7-for-21) to score 19 points and make key plays down the stretch.

“Tak­ing care of busi­ness in terms of our prepa­ra­tion. Never tak­ing a mo­ment for granted.”

It has all added up to a sur­pris­ing start for the Celtics, given they were stunned by the Hay­ward in­jury right off the bat.

But the Celtics are rolling with 10 wins in a row. Only three teams had a streak that long in the NBA last sea­son.

Against the Lak­ers, the Celtics turned to Aron Baynes (who tied a ca­reer high with 21 points and added eight re­bounds) and Mar­cus Mor­ris (18 points with three three-point­ers) to fill the void left by Hor­ford.

Mor­ris, who said his knee is still sore, went 25 min­utes and gave the Celtics scor­ing and de­fense.

“We’re still try­ing to man­age his min­utes ap­pro­pri­ately,” said coach Brad Stevens. “It was hard to take him out. He re­ally im­pacted the game.”

The Celtics had cruised to a 21-point lead in the first half, only to have the Lak­ers rally back and make things very in­ter­est­ing.

Bran­don In­gram and Jor­dan Clark­son had 18 points apiece and Julius Ran­dle added 16 points and 12 re­bounds for Los An­ge­les in de­feat.

“I thought that we made tim­ing plays,” said Stevens. “I didn’t think we nec­es­sar­ily played good bas­ket­ball the whole last 30 min­utes. We had a bunch of guys step up and do dif­fer­ent things. We weren’t good enough to say we played well, we can’t play like that.”

The three-game home-stand con­tin­ues when the Char­lotte Hor­nets visit Fri­day night, and the Celtics will prob­a­bly be fill­ing holes once again.

“We have to fo­cus for­ward and un­til we have only four play­ers left, I guess we’re just go­ing to keep play­ing,” said Stevens. “I don’t know what you do at four.”

(The En­ter­prise/TNS)

Magic 112, Knicks 99

Nikola Vuce­vic scored 24 points and Evan Fournier had 23 to help Or­lando halt a two-game los­ing streak with a win over New York.

The Knicks were without star for­ward Kristaps Porzingis, who is av­er­ag­ing 30 points, 7.5 re­bounds and 2.3 blocks while shoot­ing 51 per­cent from the field. Porzingis has a slight left an­kle sprain and a bruised right el­bow.

Tim Har­d­away Jr. led New York with a game-high 26 points and 11 re­bounds.

Pis­tons 114, Pacers 97

To­bias Har­ris had 23 points and eight re­bounds, and Detroit won for the sixth time in seven games, down­ing In­di­ana.

Reg­gie Jack­son sup­plied 18 points, Avery Bradley had 14, and An­dre Drum­mond con­trib­uted 14 points and 21 re­bounds for the Pis­tons.

Vic­tor Oladipo pumped in 21 points and Al Jef­fer­son scored a sea­son-high 19 points for the Pacers, who have lost four straight.

Heat 126, Suns 115

Go­ran Dragic had 29 points and nine re­bounds, and Dion Wait­ers scored five of his 16 points in the fi­nal 2:02 to give Mi­ami a win over Phoenix.

Has­san White­head added 23 points and 10 re­bounds for the Heat, who have won 17 of the last 19 meet­ings with the Suns, in­clud­ing nine of the last 10 at Talk­ing Stick Re­sort Arena.

Phoenix’s Devin Booker had nine of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quar­ter and cut a 16-point deficit to 112-106 on a 17-foot jumper with 2:53 left. How­ever, Wait­ers fol­lowed a jumper with a three-pointer to make it 117-106, and the Heat locked down the game.

(TNS)

OR­LANDO MAGIC for­ward Jonathon Sim­mons (right) scores on a tough shot over New York Knicks de­fender Kyle O’Quinn for two of his 16 points off the bench in the Magic’s 112-99 home con­quest of the Knicks on Wed­nes­day night.

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