Basketball / NBA

Celtics outgun Wizards for ninth straight win

AP, Reuters, Staff Report

Jayson Tatum was so disappointed in his last game that he went to the team’s practice facility later that night to work on his shooting.

The Boston Celtics forward could go straight home on Wednesday.

Tatum followed up his historically bad shooting performance by scoring 23 points, and Kemba Walker had 25 to help the Celtics overcome 44 points from Bradley Beal and beat Washington 140-133 for Boston’s ninth straight victory.

Tatum was 1-for-18 in the victory over Dallas on Monday and then posted on Instagram a video of himself back at the team’s practice facility, saying, “1-18 gotta be able to laugh at ya self sometime.”

On Wednesday, he was 9-for-20, going 1-for-5 from 3-point range.

“Before the game, I’m like, ‘Every night’s not gonna be the best night. It’s all about the bounce back.’ And he bounced back tonight,” Walker said. “I love the way he works on off days to improve his game. We need that kid. We need him a lot, man.”

Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura had 21 points in 24 foul-plagued minutes. He was 9-for-12 from the field with four rebounds, two assists and a block.

“From the beginning of the season, our defense has been no good,” Hachimura said, according to NBC Sports Washington, after the game.

Jaylen Brown scored 22 and Enes Kanter had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Celtics, who have not lost since the season opener at Philadelphia; it’s their longest streak since winning 16 in a row in the 2017-18 season. Boston had its highest point total since 1992, but it also allowed 18 more points than in any other game this season.

“It was ugly, and we got it done,” Brown said. “But we’ve got to play Celtic basketball.”

Davis Bertans had nine points and 10 rebounds for Washington, which lost its third straight game and for the sixth time in seven games. Former Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, who led Boston to the 2017 Eastern Conference finals, scored 18 and had seven assists.

Boston led by two at the half and made it a six-point game after three quarters. After Bertans hit a 3 to open the fourth and make it 102-99, the Celtics ran off the next 10 points.

Boston led 137-121 with 3:39 remaining in the game before the Wizards ran off 12 in a row. Walker hit a 3-pointer with just over a minute left to preserve the victory, and Hachimura missed a 3 at the other end.

“When you score 133 points, that should win games,” Beal said. “Especially on the road.”

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward watched from the bench, two days after he had surgery on his broken left hand. He is expected to miss six weeks.

Carsen Edwards, a second-round draft choice, had a career-high 18 points for Boston.

Rockets 102, Clippers 93

In Houston, James Harden poured in a game-high 47 points and served as the closer down the stretch of the Rockets’ victory over Los Angeles.

After Kawhi Leonard provided the Clippers an 86-85 lead with a fadeaway jumper in the paint, Harden converted a driving layup and then drilled a 3-pointer as Houston reclaimed a 90-86 advantage. With just over 90 seconds to play, Harden nailed a dagger 3 for a 95-88 lead.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers was ejected immediately thereafter. Houston extended its winning streak to five games. Harden shot 7 of 13 on 3-point attempts, grabbed six boards and had seven assists.

Lakers 120, Warriors 94

In Los Angeles, LeBron James had 23 points, 12 assists and six rebounds in three quarters as the Lakers coasted past Golden State.

Los Angeles center JaVale McGee finished with 18 points, 17 rebounds, including five on the offensive end, three blocks and three steals against his former team.

Grizzlies 119, Hornets 117

In Charlotte, rookie guard Ja Morant scored on a drive to the basket with 0.7 seconds left to give Memphis a victory against the hosts.

In Other Games

Timberwolves 129, Spurs 114

Raptors 114, Trail Blazers 106

Magic 112, 76ers 97