BOSTON – Al Horford captured the attention of Boston sports fans even on Super Bowl Sunday.
Horford made a 15-foot (4½-meter) fadeaway jumper at the buzzer and the Celtics finished off the Portland Trail Blazers 97-96 Sunday, giving New England fans a few hours to get home before the Patriots played for the NFL championship.
“Wanted to end the game so we could go watch the Super Bowl,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.
Stevens spoke while wearing a Patriots hat. He was joined by Eagles fan and Celtics player Marcus Morris, who sported an Eagles jersey.
“I called game when Al hit the turnaround, just so you know,” Morris said.
Stevens smiled, adding: “Al feels a lot like Tom Brady today, right?”
Several jerseys for Brady and fellow Patriots star Rob Gronkowski were in the crowd at TD Garden. An Eagles fan shown on the Jumbotron repeatedly got booed.
Horford wound up with 22 points and 10 rebounds, helping Boston win its fourth in a row.
“He (Stevens) had called a play for Jaylen (Brown) but they were ready for it so he kept yelling keep the ball, keep the ball,” Horford said. “It’s a shot I work on a lot and it felt good when it left my hands.”
Horford hit a game-winning shot with 3.7 seconds left against Houston earlier this season and also hit a buzzer-beater for Atlanta against Washington during the 2013-14 season
Damian Lillard shot just 6 for 19, but scored Portland’s final eight points, including a 3-point play with 7.2 seconds remaining to give the Blazers a 96-95 lead.
C.J. McCollum led the Blazers with 22 points and Lillard added 21.
“They executed well down the stretch, made some tough shots,” McCollum said. “Credit them for battling back and then down the stretch they seemed to match every basket.”
Lakers 108, Thunder 104
In Oklahoma City, Brook Lopez scored 20 points, Julius Randle added 19 and the Los Angeles handed the Thunder their fourth straight loss.
Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points and Brandon Ingram added 16 for the Lakers, who have won six of eight.
Russell Westbrook scored 36 points and Paul George added 26 for Oklahoma City. The Thunder had won eight in a row before their current skid.
Raptors 101, Grizzlies 86
In Toronto, Delon Wright scored 15 points, and the Raptors pulled away in the fourth quarter.
DeMar DeRozan and Fred VanVleet each scored 13 points as Toronto improved to 21-4 at home. Jonas Valanciunas had 12 points, and Kyle Lowry finished with 11.
Hawks 99, Knicks 96
In New York, Kent Bazemore’s 3-pointer with 6.7 seconds left lifted Atlanta to the victory.
The Hawks rallied from a 93-87 deficit in the final 2:16.
Bucks 109, Nets 94
In New York, Eric Bledsoe scored 28 points, John Henson had 19 points and 18 rebounds, and Milwaukee easily extended its winning streak over the Nets to 10 games.
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo departed after twisting his right ankle with about 7½ minutes left. He finished with 16 points and eight rebounds.
Hornets 115, Suns 110
In Phoenix, Nicolas Batum scored 22 points and Charlotte rallied from a 21-point deficit in the second half.
Kemba Walker and Dwight Howard added 18 apiece for the Hornets, who staged their biggest comeback of the season and matched their season best with three straight wins.