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Avery Bradley scores 23 for Celtics in 113-103 win over Grizzlies

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BOSTON (AP) Avery Bradley scored 23 points, Isaiah Thomas had 21 points and seven assists, and the Boston Celtics held off the Memphis Grizzlies 113-103 on Tuesday night.

Gerald Green added a season-high 19 points and Jae Crowder scored 17 for Boston, which won for the sixth time in seven games and beat the Grizzlies for the second time in a week. The Celtics needed overtime and a career-high 44 points from Thomas for a 112-109 win in Memphis last Tuesday.

Marc Gasol had 26 points and nine assists for Memphis. Zach Randolph scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help keep the Grizzlies close and pulled down 10 rebounds. Tony Allen had 17 points and eight rebounds for Memphis, which was coming off a 112-102 loss in Orlando the night before but hung with Boston until the final minute.

The Grizzlies, who fell to 8-1 in the second of back-to-back games this season, have lost five of seven.

After falling behind by 13 in the second quarter, Memphis pulled within 56-48 at halftime and cut the margin to 69-67 on Allen’s layup with 5:16 left in the third.

Boston led 84-77 after three, but the Grizzlies kept within range behind Randolph and Gasol in the fourth quarter. Randolph scored Memphis’ first six points of the period and Gasol pounded the Celtics inside and out, converting a three-point play early and adding a 3-pointer with 5 minutes remaining to cut Boston’s lead to 100-97.

The Celtics didn’t falter, getting a pair of free throws from Green and a three-point play by Thomas to make it 105-97 with 3:06 left. They put away Memphis down the stretch after the Grizzlies pulled within 105-101 on a 3-pointer by James Ennis III.

TIP-INS

Grizzlies: Fell to 9-5 in December, remaining tied for the franchise record for most wins in the month. … Mike Conley (left big toe), Chandler Parsons (rest) and Brandan Wright (left foot) did not dress. … The Grizzlies, ranked second in the NBA in points allowed (97.7 per game), have given up more than 100 points in three straight and four of five.

Celtics: Kelly Olynyk picked up his fourth foul with 5:15 left in the second quarter. … Green’s previous high for the season was nine points. He scored 10 in the second quarter alone Tuesday and Amir Johnson, the only Boston starter not to score in double figures, pulled down 10 rebounds to go with his four points.

UP NEXT

Grizzlies: Host Oklahoma City on Thursday, then open a four-game California road trip at Sacramento on New Year’s Eve.

Celtics: Visit the defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday night.

Raptors’ Patrick Patterson taunts Mavericks’ bench after three, Rick Carlisle talks back (VIDEO)

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Toronto handed Dallas its 41st loss of the season Saturday night, which means with the Mavericks’ next loss their streak of winning seasons will come to an end at 16.

Toronto was talking a lot of smack while getting that win. At least Patrick Patterson was when he was draining corner threes in front of the Mavericks’ bench. On the one above, Patterson chirps and coach Rick Carlisle goes back at him verbally. They both pick up technical fouls for their trouble.

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen a little more during games, there’s a lot of talking down there

Serge Ibaka, DeMar DeRozan lead Raptors past Mavericks, 94-86

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DALLAS (AP) — DeMar DeRozan and Serge Ibaka scored 18 points apiece, and the Toronto Raptors clinched a playoff berth after their fifth straight victory, 94-86 over the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday night.

The Raptors, who came back from 15-point deficits to win each of their last two games, made it a little easier on themselves Saturday. Toronto scored the game’s first seven points and never trailed in dealing the Mavericks’ playoff hopes a damaging blow.

Harrison Barnes scored 23 points for Dallas, which missed 18 of its first 22 3-pointers and finished just 7 of 28 from behind the arc.

Patrick Patterson added 14 points for Toronto, including a perfect 4 for 4 on 3-pointers.

The Mavericks fell four games behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the West.

Toronto led by as many as 16 points in the first half and by 15 early in the fourth quarter before a 10-0 Dallas run made things more interesting.

Dorian Finney-Smith‘s free throws with 7:57 to go brought the Mavs within 79-74, the closest they had been since 7-2 early in the game. But Ibaka made consecutive jumpers to restore a nine-point lead, and Dallas got no closer than six after that.

The Raptors had their biggest lead at 42-26 in the first half. Barnes scored Dallas’ last 11 points of the half to help cut into the lead, but Toronto led 54-44 at the break.

J.J. Barea‘s long 3 at the third-quarter buzzer again brought Dallas within 10 at 74-64.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Coach Dwane Casey said he was hopeful that guard Kyle Lowry would return from wrist surgery before the end of the regular season. “I know he’s doing a lot of conditioning, a lot of work to keep his body in shape,” Casey said. “Just let him rehab, let him do his thing and trust our medical people.” Lowry has missed the last 16 games. . Toronto was also without starting forward DeMarre Carroll due to a sore lower back. P.J. Tucker started in his place.

Mavericks: Seth Curry with 11 points and Yogi Ferrell with 10 were the only other Mavs in double figures. . Nerlens Noel started his second game in a row at center for the Mavericks, who have gone to a big lineup. They’ve moved Dirk Nowitzki to power forward, Barnes to small forward and Curry to point guard.

STREAK IN JEOPARDY

The Mavericks took their 41st loss of the season. Their next loss will end the NBA’s second-longest streak of .500 or better seasons – currently at 16 seasons. Their last sub-.500 season was 1999-00, when they finished 40-42 and Mark Cuban became owner of the team in January 2000.

San Antonio has the longest streak of .500 or better seasons with 20, including this season.

ABOUT THURSDAY NIGHT

Cuban couldn’t resist giving his opinion on Barea’s ejection from the Mavericks’ victory over the Clippers on Thursday night. Barea was called for a flagrant 2 foul for pushing Blake Griffin, a player with a 10-inch height advantage over Barea.

“I just feel bad for Blake,” Cuban said. “It’s hard to come back from a knockout like that. We sent flowers to his family, condolences. I can only guess that he’s going to be drinking through a straw for a long, long time.”

 

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.