WASHINGTON – National Basketball Association overall leader Boston delivered a devastating and historic performance in routing the Golden State Warriors 140-88 on March 3, stretching the Celtics’ winning streak to 11 games and prompting Jaylen Brown to proclaim: “We feel like it’s our time now”.

It was the third-largest blowout victory in Celtics history, a legacy dating to 1946.

Boston’s Brown scored 25 of his 29 points in a record-shattering first half, while Jayson Tatum celebrated his 26th birthday by scoring 22 of his 27 points during the first two quarters of domination.

“It’s up there. Great birthday. Got to do what I love in front of the best fans in the world and get a win,” Tatum said.

The Celtics became the first club in NBA history to win three games in the same season by 50 or more points. The Celtics routed the Indiana Pacers 155-104 in November and in February blasted the Brooklyn Nets 136-86, taking both in Boston.

Despite Latvian big man Kristaps Porzingis being sidelined by a left quad bruise, the host Celtics seized an 82-38 lead after the second quarter, their largest half-time edge in team history and the Warriors’ largest-ever half-time deficit.

“It was a lot of fun,” Boston’s Derrick White said. “It was a good start. You never expect something like that to happen.”

The Celtics made 10 three-pointers in the first quarter, their most in any quarter this season, and closed the period on a 23-1 run over six minutes to seize command at 44-22.

The Warriors shot 34.9 per cent (15-of-43) in the first half, three-of-18 from three-point range, and made eight turnovers while the Celtics shot 60 per cent (30-of-50) in the first half, 15-of-24 from beyond the arc, and made only one turnover.

Top players saw little of the court in the second half. Boston stretched the lead to 115-62 after three quarters and reserves cruised to the finish as the Celtics improved to 29-3 at home this season.

Eastern Conference leader Boston improved the league’s best record to 48-12 while Golden State slid to 32-28, ninth in the Western Conference.

“We have a lot of experience. We’ve grown, we’ve matured,” Brown said. “We’re primed and we’re ready.

“There’s a lot of respect for the Golden State Warriors, but we feel like it’s our time now.”

Warriors guard Stephen Curry added: “The way that they’ve been playing, they seem very sure of themselves in their identity and who they are.

“Give them credit. They came out and whooped us tonight from the jump.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves (42-19) fell from the West lead after losing at home 89-88 to the Los Angeles Clippers while the Oklahoma City Thunder (42-18) secured the top spot by winning at the Phoenix Suns 118-110.

Kawhi Leonard’s two free throws with 13 seconds remaining gave the Clippers an 89-86 lead. Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards drove to the basket for a dunk with three seconds remaining but the Timberwolves never got the ball back.

Leonard led the Clippers with 32 points, while Edwards led Minnesota with 27.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 35 points to lead Oklahoma City while Bradley Beal paced the Suns with 31 points and Jusuf Nurkic grabbed a club-record 31 rebounds for Phoenix.

In Dallas, Mavericks star Luka Doncic posted a triple-double in a losing cause as the Philadelphia 76ers took a 120-116 triumph.

Tobias Harris scored 28 points, Tyrese Maxey added 24 and Kelly Oubre Jr had 21 off the bench for the Sixers (35-25), who remain without injured reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid.

Slovenian Doncic finished with 38 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists while Kyrie Irving added 28 points for Dallas, who fell to 34-27, eighth in the West.

At Cleveland, Donte DiVincenzo scored 28 points and Josh Hart had a triple double with 13 points, 19 rebounds and 10 assists to spark the New York Knicks’ 107-98 victory over the host Cavaliers.

New York’s Jalen Brunson was hurt in the game’s opening seconds, holding his left knee before limping off the court – adding to injury issues that have benched three top forwards.

The Cavaliers were without Donovan Mitchell due to a sore left knee.

French rookie Victor Wembanyama scored 31 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and added six assists and six blocked shots to spark the San Antonio Spurs over visiting Indiana 117-105.

R.J. Barrett scored 23 points while Immanuel Quickley added 22 points and 11 assists to lead the Toronto Raptors over visiting Charlotte Hornets 111-106.

Paolo Banchero scored 29 points to lead the Orlando Magic in a 113-91 home triumph over the Detroit Pistons.

AFP



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