NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 25:  Isaiah Thomas #4 of the Boston Celtics reacts after hitting a three pointer against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on December 25, 2016 in New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
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Celtics hold off Knicks in high-scoring Christmas opener


Already awakened from Christmas slumber by a high-scoring game, the Madison Square Garden crowd was rocking. “Defense! Defense!” Knicks fans chanted after New York tied the game with a 16-3 run.

Then, Marcus Smart hit a 3-pointer out of a Boston timeout. Avery Bradley poked the ball away from Carmelo Anthony on the other end.


The Celtics beat the Knicks, 119-114, in the highest-scoring Christmas opener since the NBA expanded to a five-game Christmas schedule in 2008. The previous high-water mark in the early game, known for lethargic and sloppy performances, was New York’s 106-104 win over Boston in 2011. That was the only other time teams combined to score 200 in the first of five Christmas games.

“We got the win, so it was everything that I dreamed of,” said Thomas, who led Boston with 25 points in his first Christmas game.

The isolation-heavy Knicks just couldn’t keep up with the Celtics’ humming offense. Boston had 25 assists and eight turnovers. New York? Eleven assists and 17 turnovers.

Anthony scored 29, but hassled by Jae Crowder, he shot just 9-for-24 and fell short of 30 points for the first time in five Christmas games. Nice individual scoring by Derrick Rose (25 points) and Kristaps Porzingis (22 points) kept the Knicks in it.

New York (16-14) would’ve passed Boston (18-13) in the standings with a win, but the Celtics – who’ve won four straight and eight of nine against the Knicks – maintain the upper hand. Now, Boston moves onto challenging bigger fish – like the Cavaliers and Raptors.

“With that starting five healthy, we know we can be scary in the East,” Thomas said.

On the other hand, the Knicks – as competitive as they’ve been in years – must seek another source of validation after coming up short in this high-profile game.

Baron Davis figured out why Russell Westbrook isn’t starting All-Star Game: Russian hackers

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When the starters for next month’s All-Star Game in New Orleans were announced this week, there was a mini-uproar on Twitter because Russell Westbrook — the guy averaging a triple-double this season — wasn’t picked. It’s hard for me to get worked up over two-time MVP Stephen Curry getting the nod, but if you want someone to blame it was the fans’ call — they voted Curry first overall, James Harden second, Westbrook third. The players and media had Westbrook first, Harden second, but the tie is broken by the fan vote.

Enter Baron Davis with the timely joke.

We just need to tie in a Zaza Pachulia joke and it will be perfect.

Report: Bucks brought Jabari Parker off bench for discussing with media team’s meeting

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker, center, looks for an open teammate as he is surrounded by Miami Heat players during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Miami. The Heat defeated the Bucks 109-97. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
Associated Press
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The Milwaukee Bucks had lost four in a row and had slid out of a playoff slot in the East. It’s not one end of the court — in their last five games, the Bucks had the second-worst defense and fourth-worst offense in the NBA. After that fourth loss, the team held a players’ only meeting, one where Jabari Parker reportedly ripped his teammates for a lack of togetherness.

In the postgame media sessions that followed, Parker told the press he confirmed there was a meeting and said he had been “thrashed” by his teammates for what he said.

It was that speaking to the media that got him benched for a game — as decided by his teammates — reports Chris Haynes of ESPN.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker did not start in Saturday’s road loss to the Miami Heat for violating a team rule that prohibits disclosing locker room discourse to the media, league sources told ESPN…

Parker’s teammates deliberated and decided the appropriate punishment for the violation was to bring him off the bench against the Heat, league sources told ESPN. It was the first time this season that he did not start.

The meeting and the benching didn’t help, the Bucks fell to the lowly Heat 109-97. (Team/players meetings are overrated in how often they help teams turn things around.)

The good news for the Bucks is that in a tight East they remain just a game out of the playoffs and three games out of the five seed. It’s going to be a tough week to turn that around with the Rockets, resurgent Sixers, Raptors, and Celtics on the schedule.


Denver’s Kenneth Faried gets up, blocks DeAndre Jordan dunk attempt (VIDEO)

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Without Chris Paul and Blake Griffin in the lineup, the Clippers don’t have much going for them offensively. However, there is one thing: DeAndre Jordan can still run to the rim and dunk with authority.

Denver’s Kenneth Faried took that away Saturday.

Faried hustled back in transition, showed he still had some hops and swatted away a Jordan dunk attempt.

The Nuggets went on to win the game comfortably, 123-98, behind 19 points and 10 boards from Nikola Jokic.

Suns’ Devin Booker sinks three that defeats Knicks (VIDEO)


The Knicks last three losses have come by a total of six points. The team is not good, a little banged up, and doesn’t play any defense, but New York also has just had a run of bad luck.

The latest example: Phoenix’s Devin Booker draining a three to knock off New York, 107-105. It was a mistake by Derrick Rose, who sagged down to the free throw line watching Eric Bledsoe with the ball coming off the pick, which led to the open pass. Also, notice that Booker set up three feet back of the three-point line — this is a trend a lot of teams and good shooters are following (watch a Rockets’ game) because it makes the closeout harder. Rose would have contested a shot at the arc, but Booker gets a clean look from where he spotted up, and drills it.

Carmelo Anthony got a shot to win it for the Knicks, but his rimmed out.