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Celtics beat Clippers after Leonard is scratched late

March 3, 2021 GMT
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Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) blocks a shot attempt by Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
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Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) blocks a shot attempt by Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 2, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

BOSTON (AP) — Kemba Walker had 25 points and six assists, and the Boston Celtics took advantage of a late scratch of All-Star Kawhi Leonard and held off the Los Angeles Clippers 117-112 on Tuesday night.

Jaylen Brown finished with 18 points. Jayson Tatum and Payton Pritchard each added 14 as the Celtics posted three straight victories for the first time since January.

The Clippers, who have lost five of eight, played without Leonard after he was ruled out shortly before the game due to back spasms.

Paul George led Los Angeles with 32 points. Reggie Jackson took Leonard’s place in the starting lineup and finished with 25 points and seven assists.

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Leonard was listed as a starter before the game, but never took the floor during warmups. The team announced late in the first quarter that he had been ruled out.

SUNS 114, LAKERS

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dario Šarić scored 10 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, Mikal Bridges added 19 and Phoenix overcame Devin Booker’s ejection for a victory over Los Angeles.

Booker scored 17 points before getting ejected for arguing with 7:10 left in the third quarter. The Suns (23-11) still took charge down the stretch and cruised to their 15th victory in 18 games while also moving past the defending champions (24-12) into second place in the Western Conference by winning percentage.

LeBron James scored 38 points for Los Angeles, which has lost five of seven with mounting injury problems. Dennis Schröder added 17 points, but the Lakers couldn’t keep up without regulars Anthony Davis, Kyle Kuzma and Marc Gasol.

Kuzma was a late scratch with a bruised right heel, while Gasol missed his first game under the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

HAWKS 94, HEAT 80

MIAMI (AP) — Trae Young scored 18 points, including 13 straight for his team in the fourth quarter, and Atlanta snapped Miami’s six-game winning streak.

John Collins scored 17 for Atlanta, which lost at Miami on Sunday and fired coach Lloyd Pierce on Monday. Kevin Huerter scored 16 for the Hawks and Clint Capela had 10 points and 17 rebounds.

Duncan Robinson and Goran Dragic each scored 14 for Miami, which missed a chance to get over .500 for the first time this season. Bam Adebayo scored 11 for the Heat, who shot 37% — their fourth-worst showing of the season.

Miami was outrebounded 47-26, by far its worst margin of the season, and was held to a season-low in points. The Heat were again without Jimmy Butler, who missed his second consecutive game with right knee inflammation.

NUGGETS 128, BUCKS 97

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 37 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his ninth triple-double of the season and 50th of his career, and Denver trounced Milwaukee to snap the Bucks’ five-game winning streak.

Jamal Murray added 24 points as the Nuggets earned their third straight victory and showed no signs of wear one night after winning 118-112 at Chicago. Denver handed Milwaukee its most lopsided loss of the year and shot 55.8%, the highest field-goal percentage by any Bucks opponent this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points and eight rebounds for Milwaukee as the Bucks finished an eight-game homestand in which they went 5-3. Khris Middleton added 20 points.

Antetokounmpo had his string of four straight games with at least 35 points end. The reigning two-time MVP was one off the team record owned by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who scored at least 35 points in five straight games on two separate occasions during the 1972-73 season.

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GRIZZLIES 125, WIZARDS 111

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ja Morant had 35 points and 10 assists, De’Anthony Melton and Dillon Brooks each added 20 points, and Memphis beat Washington.

Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 16 rebounds for Memphis, which has won back-to-back road games for the first time since winning four in a row away as part of a seven-game win streak from Jan. 8 to Feb. 1.

Russell Westbrook had 23 points and 15 assists for the Wizards, but also committed eight of Washington’s 22 turnovers.

Bradley Beal also scored 23 points for Washington, which has lost two in a row after winning seven of eight. Robin Lopez added 14 while hitting all six of his field goal attempts.

SPURS 119, KNICKS 83

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Trey Lyles scored a season-high 18 points, Dejounte Murray added 17 and San Antonio used a balanced effort to end New York’s three-game winning streak.

San Antonio had eight players score at least eight points, with Patty Mills and Luka Samanic each adding 14 points in the Spurs’ seventh straight home victory over New York.

Immanuel Quickley led New York with 26 points. RJ Barrett added 15 and All-Star Julius Randle had 14.

The Knicks had won seven of nine entering Tuesday’s game, but were never able to find a consistent rhythm against the Spurs.