Tampa Bay Times

Celtics’ 40-8 run topples Nuggets

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DENVER — Brad Stevens could sense the game slipping away. He could feel the rim-rattling dunks and the transition buckets coming.

Instead of Boston bowing to the NBA’s hottest team, though, the Celtics used an epic second-half run to halt the Nuggets’ eight-game winning streak with a stunning 105-87 win Sunday.

“We just needed something to get us going,” Stevens said after his Celtics won for the fifth time in six games.

Jayson Tatum (illness) and Jaylen Brown (knee) fueled the comeback despite being listed as questionab­le before tipoff. Tatum finished with 28 points two days after a career-best 53-point performanc­e against Minnesota, and Brown had 20.

The Nuggets looked well on their way to their ninth straight win when they took a 79-65 lead late in the third quarter on a 3-pointer by Facundo Campazzo.

That’s when Brown got hot and Kemba Walker had a rim-rattling dunk that energized the Celtics, who scored the last nine points of the quarter. The Celtics then scored the first six of the fourth quarter to grab their first lead of the game with 10:32 remaining on Romeo Langford’s free throw.

“I think we just picked up the intensity,” Tatum said. “I think we communicat­ed a lot better. We started switching a little bit more.”

The Nuggets never recovered as the Celtics outscored them 31-8 in the fourth quarter, closing out the game with a 40-8 overall run.

Michael Porter Jr. led Denver with 20 points despite missing 11-of-12 from beyond the arc. He hurt his right hand but said it had nothing to do with his poor shooting.

BUCKS 124, MAGIC 87: Khris Middleton scored 21 points and visiting Milwaukee ended a three-game losing streak. Milwaukee was again without Giannis Antetokoun­mpo because of a sore left knee, but it mattered little as Middleton shot 8-of-13 from the field and added eight rebounds and five assists. Mo Bamba scored a career-best 21 for Orlando.

HAWKS 105, HORNETS 101: Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 32 points on a career-high eight 3-pointers and the visiting Hawks battled back from a 10-point fourth quarter deficit without Trae Young. The Hawks have won six of seven to take sole possession of fourth place in the Eastern Conference. The shorthande­d Hawks won despite Young (left calf bruise) and reserve Danilo Gallinari (right foot soreness) sitting out along with John Collins, De’Andre Hunter, Cam Reddish, Tony Snell and Kris Dunn. PELICANS 116, CAVS 109:

Zion Williamson scored 38 points as New Orleans past host Cleveland. The Pelicans, who trailed by 13 points in the second quarter, went ahead for good at 108-107 on Brandon Ingram’s jumper with 2:33 remaining.

SPURS 119, MAVS 117:

DeMar DeRozan hit the tiebreakin­g jumper with 0.5 seconds left, giving him 27 of his 33 points in the second half for visiting San Antonio. The Spurs stopped a season-long five-game losing streak. Luka Doncic scored 29 points, including a basket for the 10th tie with 19 seconds left in a game that also had 12 lead changes. Kristaps Porzingis had 31 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out for Dallas.

PACERS 132, GRIZZLIES 125: Caris LeVert scored 34 points for visiting Indiana, which won its third straight. Memphis center Jonas Valanciuna­s matched his career high with 34 points and his season high with 22 rebounds.

T’WOLVES 121, BULLS 117:

Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 12 rebounds, and D’Angelo Russell scored 27 for host Minnesota beat Chicago. Two days after his first 50-point game, Zach LaVine scored 21 of his 30 points in the second half as Chicago tried to mount a comeback. IRVING OUT TONIGHT: The Nets’ Kyrie Irving will miss tonight’s game in Minnesota for personal reasons, the team said. The point guard has missed eight games this season for personal reasons, including a three-game road trip last month. Irving’s absence tonight leaves the Nets without two of their three All-Stars. The Nets already were to be without James Harden because of a right hamstring injury, and LaMarcus Aldridge will miss the game with a non-coronaviru­s illness.

 ?? DAVID ZALUBOWSKI | Associated Press ?? The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown (20 points), front left, celebrates with Carsen Edwards late in the second half.
DAVID ZALUBOWSKI | Associated Press The Celtics’ Jaylen Brown (20 points), front left, celebrates with Carsen Edwards late in the second half.

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