Celtics (13-2) 109; Nets (5-9) 102
After dropping the first two games of the season, the Boston Celtics have literally been unstoppable, winning 13 games in a row (and counting).
Getting off to an early 30-21 start after the first quarter, Boston’s starting five all delivered well-balanced outputs against the fast-paced Nets. Kyrie Irving (25/3/5) might have been playing with a mask to protect the facial fractures that he suffered when he took an elbow from Aron Baynes (0/2/1) to the face last week, but he wasn’t slowed down one bit, leading the Celtics in scoring. The frontcourt of Al Horford (17/11/3) and Marcus Morris (21/10/1) both recorded double-doubles and combined to shoot a ridiculous 16-for-22 from the floor on the night. Youngsters Jayson Tatum (19/4/0) and Jaylen Brown (14/4/3) were also efficient contributors. Surprisingly, Boston had just 15 assists on the night, but still came across with the win.
The Nets had 26 team assists, but simply didn’t have the defensive answers for Boston. Playing without leading scorer D’Angelo Russell due to an injury, Joe Harris (19/4/0) led Brooklyn in scoring off the bench, going 5-of-11 from three. Spencer Dinwiddie (12/4/11) got the start at point guard and posted a double-double as a result. The Nets committed 24 fouls (10 more than Boston’s 14) which resulted in the Celtics going 22-for-27 from the free throw line. The Nets shot just 10-of-16 from the line, which was one of the main reasons for their loss.
Raptors (8-5) 129; Rockets (11-4) 113
After a confusing start to the year, the Raptors pulled off a statement win on the road in Houston.
Led by the dynamic duo of DeMar DeRozan (27/6/5) and Kyle Lowry (19/5/10), who combined to go 22-for-26 from the free throw line on the night, Toronto shot 51.9 percent from the field and went 14-for-30 (46.7 percent) from three-point range in the win. CJ Miles (19/1/2) made 6-of-9 three pointers off the bench and was part of a huge second quarter for the Raptors, who outscored the Rockets 45-31 to get off to a 76-64 lead at the half.
James Harden (38/6/11) was typically productive, going 19-for-19 from the free throw line while filling the stat sheet. Trevor Ariza (20/8/2) and Clint Capela (11/11/1) had solid games for Houston, but they couldn’t mount a comeback.
The referees blew their whistles a lot in this game. The Raptors committed 30 fouls which resulted in the Rockets going 35-for-41 from the free throw line while Houston’s 27 fouls resulted in Toronto going 33-for-42 from the charity stripe.
Spurs (9-5) 97; Mavericks (2-13) 91
This game was closer than expected, but the Spurs outscored the Mavs 35-31 in the fourth quarter to earn the low-scoring victory.
LaMarcus Aldridge (32/5/4) led San Antonio in scoring yet again and went 12-of-21 shooting in the process. Just one other player — Patty Mills (19/3/2) — attempted double-digit shots for the Spurs, who shot 44.3 percent, but an abysmal 6-for-26 from three-point range in the victory. They did take care of the ball however, turning it over just 12 times. The Spurs’ first quarter (17) and third quarter (18) scoring outputs combined equaled the offensive breakthrough they had in the fourth (35).
Dennis Smith Jr. (27/6/2) led Dallas in scoring and had perhaps his best game as a pro, going 10-of-23 shooting and 5-of-11 from three-point range in the loss. Starters Harrison Barnes (16/8/2) and Yogi Ferrell (0/4/2) combined to play 71 minutes, but went just 5-of-21 shooting combined, including 0-of-6 from three-point range.