Basketball / NBA

Celtics' Kemba Walker sustains head injury in loss to Nuggets


Jamal Murray’s strong finish helped the Denver Nuggets work their way through a stretch of ragged play. His thoughts after the game turned to an injured opponent.

Murray scored 22 points, including two clutch free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining, and the Nuggets hung on to beat the Celtics 96-92 on Friday night in a game overshadowed by a head injury to Boston guard Kemba Walker.

“That’s not something you want to mess around with,” Murray said. “Prayers out to him and hopefully he’s fine.”

Nikola Jokic added 18 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for Denver, which improved to 8-0 this season when holding an opponent to fewer than 100 points.

Jaylen Brown had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead Boston. Jayson Tatum added 16 points and Marcus Smart had 15.

Walker collided with teammate Semi Ojeleye late in the second quarter, striking Ojeleye’s abdomen area head-first and going down on to the court in a heap.

Walker grimaced in pain as he went down and play was stopped as medical personnel from both teams tended to the star guard who was prone on the floor for several minutes. His teammates gathered around him as did Nuggets players, plainly concerned about Walker. A brace was placed around his neck to stabilize the area and he was strapped to a backboard before being placed onto a gurney and wheeled off the court in front of a hushed crowd.

“I saw him in the ambulance at halftime,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “He had his wherewithal about him. He was in decent spirits, which is good.”

In a tweet, the Celtics said Walker has been diagnosed with concussion-like symptoms and was transported to a hospital for further evaluation.

Walker, the Boston’s leading scorer, had three assists and a pair of steals before leaving the game.

“Our prayers and our energy are with him,” Brown said. “He’s probably the smallest dude on the floor every time he steps out, but he’s probably got the biggest heart. We definitely lean on him and we’ll welcome him back when he rests up and everything is taken care of.”

Lakers 130, Thunder 127

In Oklahoma City, Anthony Davis scored 24 of his 33 points in the second half to help Los Angeles defeat the hosts.

Davis also had 11 rebounds and seven assists, and LeBron James added 23 points and 14 assists. The Lakers have won six in a row to improve the best record in the NBA to 13-2.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points and Steven Adams added 22 for the Thunder. They have lost five of six.

Los Angeles guard Rajon Rondo was ejected early in the fourth quarter after a kick to Dennis Schroder’s groin area.

Wizards 125, Hornets 118

In Washington, Bradley Beal had 30 points and 12 assists, Thomas Bryant added 21 points and 11 rebounds and the Wizards ovrcame a 13-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Charlotte.

Davis Bertans had 20 points, hitting six 3-pointers to help the Wizards win two in a row for the first time this season. Rookie forward Rui Hachimura added 15 points, two rebounds and two steals in 21-plus minutes. It was Hachimura’s second straight game with 15 points. Miles Bridges scored a career-high 31 points for the Hornets.

Mavericks 143, Cavaliers 101

In Dallas, Luka Doncic had 30 points and 14 assists with former Mavericks teammate Dirk Nowitzki watching as a retiree for the first time.

Nowitzki stayed away for the first eight Dallas home games after setting an NBA record of 21 seasons with the same franchise while finishing last season as the highest-scoring foreign-born player in league history. The big German got a standing ovation when shown on the video board in the first quarter from his courtside seat next to owner Mark Cuban.

Rookie Darius Garland scored a career-high 23 points for Cleveland.

Clippers 122, Rockets 119

In Los Angeles, Kawhi Leonard hit the game-winning jumper with 15 seconds remaining to finish with 24 points, as the Clippers edged Houston.

The Rockets’ Russell Westbrook missed at the other end and Paul George got the rebound while getting fouled. He made both free throws with 1 second left to complete a wild finish and help Los Angeles improve to 10-1 at home with its fourth win in a row overall.

George scored 19 points in his second game playing with Leonard. Lou Williams led the Clippers with 26 — all in the second half. Montrezl Harrell added 18 points.

James Harden had 37 points and 12 assists for the Rockets. Westbrook added 22 points before fouling out late and Clint Capela had 17 points and 19 rebounds. Those three plus P.J. Tucker had at least four fouls.

76ers 115, Spurs 104

In Philadelphia, Tobias Harris scored 26 points, Joel Embiid had 21 points and 14 rebounds and the hosts handed San Antonio its eighth straight loss — the Spurs’ longest under longtime coach Gregg Popovich.

Ben Simmons had a triple-double with 10 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds for the 76ers.

San Antonio last dropped eight in a row in November 1996 under coach Bob Hill. Popovich was the team’s general manager at the time. He fired Hill later that season and began his long run of success.

DeMar DeRozan had 29 points for the Spurs.

Jazz 113, Warriors 109

In Salt Lake City, Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points and Mike Conley had 27 to help Utah beat undermanned Golden State.

Minutes after the end of an NBA game, the arena was evacuated because of a suspicious package. Most fans had already left the building when players, coaches and reporters were instructed to leave.

Bojan Bogdanovic added 17 points for the Jazz, and Rudy Gobert had 19 rebounds and seven blocks.

Alec Burks scored 20 points for the Warriors.

Pistons 128, Hawks 103

In Detroit, Andre Drummond had 23 points and 15 rebounds and the Pistons had their highest-scoring first half since 1983.

Detroit led 76-57 at halftime, and the Pistons reached 100 points with over 5 minutes remaining in the third quarter. It was the most points in the first half for Detroit since it scored 77 on Dec. 2, 1983, also against the Hawks.

Atlanta has dropped five straight, and the Hawks allowed at least 120 points for the eighth game in a row.

Blake Griffin scored 24 points. DeAndre’ Bembry led Atlanta with 22 points.

Heat 116, Bulls 108

In Chicago, Jimmy Butler had 27 points against his former team and Miami beat the Bulls for its fifth straight victory.

Butler played for Chicago from 2011 to 2017. He was 7 of 10 from the field and had seven assists and five rebounds. Bam Adebayo added 16 points and 14 rebounds. Kendrick Nunn scored 13 of his 21 points in the first quarter to help the Heat improve to 11-3.

Zach Lavine led the Bulls with 15 points.

Nets 116, Kings 97

In New York, Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points and Joe Harris added 22 in Brooklyn’s victory over Sacramento.

Harrison Barnes led the Kings with 18 points. Buddy Hield had 16.