BOSTON – Marcus Smart had the ball bounce right for him and the Boston Celtics this time.
Jaylen Brown scored 24 points, Jayson Tatum had 20 and the Celtics held off the Sacramento Kings 103-102 despite a career-high 41 points from Buddy Hield on Monday night.
Smart had 17 points, including two key baskets, and seven assists. Enes Kanter added 13 points and nine rebounds for Boston, which had lost the final two games of a 2-3 trip to the West.
Smart sandwiched his baskets around a 3-pointer by Bogdan Bogdanovic, the second a spinning shot with 31 seconds to go that pushed the Celtics ahead 103-102. The first bounced off the front of the rim and fell in — a similar look to one that went the other way as time expired when the teams met in Sacramento.
“Yeah, it was a good feeling,” he said, smiling, of the friendly roll. “When I shot it, I saw it on the front of the rim again and I was like: ‘Not again. I’ve got to get it this time.’ It felt good to see the ball finally go in. It’s just ironic it happened to bounce like that again this time.”
In the team’s first meeting on Nov. 17 — a 100-99 Kings victory that snapped Boston’s 10-game winning streak — Smart drove and had his shot roll off the front rim as time expired.
Harrison Barnes added 20 points for Sacramento, which had won seven of 10. Hield was 15 of 26 from the floor and went 11-for- 21 on 3-point attempts.
“They’re (defenders) locked into Buddy, and to win in this league it takes a team. So we’re going to keep looking for him, but we need everyone to step up and make plays, and I thought we did it tonight,” Kings coach Luke Walton said. “We didn’t score the last one, but we gave ourselves a chance.”
Boston picked up the victory despite missing three starters. Kemba Walker was sidelined with a neck strain after a scary collision with a teammate last week. Gordon Hayward has a fractured hand and Daniel Theis was sick.
“It’s one game. We’ve just got to find ways to win. We’ll welcome Kemba back when he’s healthy. Let him rest up,” Brown said. “We’re just holding it down for him and Gordon until they make their return. It’s great to find ways to win, even with injuries. We’ve got to continue to do that, and I’m looking forward to it.”
Bucks 122, Jazz 118
In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a season-high 50 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for his 17th consecutive double-double to help the Bucks rally past Utah for their eighth consecutive victory.
Bojan Bogdanovic had 24 points and Donovan Mitchell scored 20 for the Jazz.
Lakers 114, Spurs 104
In San Antonio, LeBron James had 33 points and 13 assists and Los Angeles won in San Antonio for the second time this season.
Anthony Davis added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Lakers (15-2) in his final game before returning to New Orleans on Wednesday.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and DeMar DeRozan added 22 for the Spurs.
Trail Blazers 117, Bulls 94
In Chicago, Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points in just his fourth game of the season, CJ McCollum added 21 and Portland routed the Bulls.
Damian Lillard had 13 points and 12 assists as the Trail Blazers snapped a four-game losing streak.
Anthony was 10-for-20 from the field, including 4 of 7 on 3-pointers. He now has 25,615 career points to move ahead of Alex English (26,613) into 18th place on the NBA’s career scoring list.
In Other Games
Raptors 101, 76ers 96
Heat 117, Hornets 100
Nets 108, Cavaliers 106
Pacers 126, Grizzlies 114
Timberwolves 125, Hawks 113
Pistons 103, Magic 88
Thunder 100, Warriors 97