Celtics snap losing streak to injury-hit Spurs

AFP
The Celtics have rallied from an 0-2 season start that saw them lose new signee Gordon Hayward to an injury in the opening game at Cleveland.
AFP
AFP

Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics drives to the basket against the San Antonio Spurs during their NBA game at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, on October 30, 2017. The Celtics won 108-94.

Al Horford delivered 14 points and 13 rebounds as the Boston Celtics won their fifth straight and snapped an 11-game losing skid to the San Antonio Spurs with a 108-94 win on Monday.

Kyrie Irving played his best game for the Celtics who beat the injury-depleted Spurs for the first time in Boston since January 2011.

The Celtics have rallied from an 0-2 season start that saw them lose new signee Gordon Hayward to an injury in the opening game at Cleveland.

"We're just really buying into what the coach wants us to do and our young guys, they're all ears," said Horford. "They're all listening, trying to be better."

Irving led his new team by scoring 24 points, while Jaylen Brown scored 18 for the Celtics who improved to 5-2 on the 2017-18 National Basketball Association season. Former first overall draft pick Irving was dealt to the Celtics in the offseason after demanding a trade out of Cleveland.

Terry Rozier scored 8 of his 12 points in 52 seconds to put the game away in the fourth quarter and rookie Jayson Tatum grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots.

Marcus Smart added nine points and seven rebounds in the win.

The Spurs are still without injured Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker. Manu Ginobili also skipped the game to get some needed rest.

San Antonio got a career-high 18 points and 5 rebounds from Brandon Paul.

Pau Gasol had 11 points and 8 rebounds for the Spurs who suffered their third straight loss on a 1-3 road trip, leaving coach Gregg Popovich waiting for career victory No. 1,155, which would tie him with Phil Jackson at sixth on the NBA's all-time list. They won in Miami to start the trip.

In New York, Kristaps Porzingis scored a career-high 38 points as the New York Knicks held on for a 116-110 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Porzingis, of Latvia, produced his fifth 30-point game of the season and eighth of his career. He made 14 of 26 shots, including 4 three-pointers, and surpassed his previous career best set November 16 against the Detroit Pistons.

"Some of the stuff that he does, we look at each other on the bench and go 'man he really just did that'," Knicks center Enes Kanter said.

Kyle O'Quinn finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.

Tim Hardaway scored all 13 of his points in the fourth, while Kanter and Courtney Lee contributed 12 apiece. 

Serbia's Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets with 28 points. Jamal Murray added 20 for Denver, which used a 22-2 run in the third and outscored the Knicks 38-19 in the period.

After withstanding the difficult third, the Knicks took an 84-81 lead into the fourth and expanded it to 100-93 on a three-pointer by Hardaway with about 7 minutes left before Porzingis finished it off.

Elsewhere on Monday, it was: Jazz 104, Mavericks 89; Timberwolves 125, Heat 122; Hornets 104, Grizzlies 99; Magic 115, Pelicans 99; 76ers 115, Rockets 107; Raptors 99, Trail Blazers 85; and Warriors 141, Clippers 113.

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