Basketball / NBA

Celtics trounce Raptors in first Christmas Day game in Canada


Boston’s Jaylen Brown celebrated Christmas with something he had never enjoyed before: a road win at Toronto.

Brown scored 30 points, Kemba Walker had 22 and the Celtics beat the Raptors 118-102 Wednesday in the first Christmas Day NBA game played in Canada.

“It was good to get a win here on Christmas,” said Brown, who made five 3-pointers and shot 10-for-13 from the field.

“I’ve never won here period, so it was great to just get one.”

Enes Kanter had 12 points and 11 rebounds as Boston snapped an eight-game losing streak north of the border and became the first Atlantic Division opponent to win in Toronto in more than four years.

The Celtics have won four straight to improve to 8-2 in December.

Boston’s Gordon Hayward returned to the starting lineup after missing the past three games because of a sore left foot. He scored 14 points in 26 minutes.

“It’s still a little sore but it’s playable,” Hayward said. “It’s good, it’s good.”

Fred VanVleet scored 27 points in the Raptors’ second straight loss, while Chris Boucher had a career-high 24.

“We weren’t quite physical enough, I thought, for most stretches of the game,” Toronto coach Nick Nurse said.

The Raptors are 2-2 since losing center Marc Gasol (left hamstring), guard Norman Powell (left shoulder) and forward Pascal Siakam (groin) to injuries. Nurse had no update on the status of the trio, but acknowledged their absence is making life difficult.

“Scoring is not very easy for us right now,” Nurse said. “It’s tough.”

Toronto had gone an NBA-record 34 games between home losses to division foes. The Raptors’ last home loss to an Atlantic team was a 111-109 defeat to the New York Knicks on Nov. 10, 2015.

Kyle Lowry scored 14 points and Serge Ibaka had 12 for Toronto. The Raptors shot 8-for-23 from 3-point range.

76ers 121, Bucks 109

In Philadelphia, Joel Embiid outplayed Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Sixers’ first home Christmas game in 31 years, finishing with 31 points and 11 rebounds to help the hosts beat Milwaukee.

Tobias Harris sank five 3s, Josh Richardson and Furkan Korkmaz each had four and even Embiid hit three as part of Philly’s season-high 21 3s (on 44 attempts) against a Bucks team that had the best record in the NBA.

Harris and Al Horford hit 3s over the final 90 seconds to push back a late Milwaukee run, and the Sixers improved to 16-2 at home.

Khris Middleton scored 31 points for the Bucks, while Antetokounmpo had 18 points on 8-for-27 shooting and 14 rebounds.

Pelicans 112, Nuggets 100

In Denver, Brandon Ingram scored 31 points, Derrick Favors grabbed 13 rebounds and New Orleans surprised the hosts to halt the Nuggets’ seven-game winning streak.

The 9-23 Pelicans are now 2-0 against Denver this season. They spoiled the festive mood at the Pepsi Center as the Nuggets played at home on Christmas for the first time in 25 years.

Warriors 116, Rockets 104

In San Francisco, Draymond Green scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, Damion Lee had 22 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and Golden State downed Houston.