Basketball: Celtics handle Timberwolves behind Hayward's 35, George replies Laker boo-boys with 37 for Thunder win


Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward dunks the ball during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at TD Garden in Boston, on Jan 2, 2019.
Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward dunks the ball during the second half against the Minnesota Timberwolves at TD Garden in Boston, on Jan 2, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - Boston's Gordon Hayward scored a season-high 35 points, and Terry Rozier got the start for an injured Kyrie Irving and scored 16 points on Wednesday (Jan 2) to lead the Celtics to a 115-102 home win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Irving sustained a right eye injury in a loss to San Antonio on New Year's Eve, and his status remains day-to-day. Minnesota also were short-handed without Jeff Teague, Derrick Rose and Robert Covington , all due to ankle injuries.

Hayward connected on 14 of 18 shots from the floor and went four of seven from three-point range, including a 27-footer from the top of the key with 4:37 left that put the Celtics up 106-92. He had gone scoreless on zero-of-six shooting on Monday in Boston's loss to the Spurs.

Andrew Wiggins led the Timberwolves with a season-high 31 points. Karl-Anthony Towns finished 28 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

76ers 132, Suns 127

Joel Embiid scored 42 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead visiting Philadelphia past Phoenix.

Ben Simmons scored a season-high 29 points and JJ Redick contributed 27 for the Sixers, who won their second straight on consecutive nights after dispatching the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Embiid also became the first player to post at least 30 points and 14 rebounds in any half since Carlos Boozer on March 26, 2007, doing so before halftime. He reached the 40-point mark for the fifth time in his career. Devin Booker led the struggling Suns with 37 points.

Thunder 107, Lakers 100

Paul George scored 37 points, including 20 in the second half, to lead visiting Oklahoma City over Los Angeles.

Russell Westbrook finished with 14 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for his NBA-leading 11th triple-double, but he shot three-for-20 from the floor. Westbrook, who shot 38.6 per cent in December, missed his first seven field-goal attempts.

The Lakers were playing their fourth game without LeBron James, who leads the team in scoring, rebounding and assists. James sustained a groin injury in a Christmas night game against the Golden State Warriors. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope topped Los Angeles with 25 points.

Pistons 101, Grizzlies 94

Luke Kennard ignited a late-game run with back-to-back three-pointers, sending Detroit to victory over host Memphis in a game in which Mike Conley went scoreless in a start for the first time since December 2015.

Blake Griffin had a team-high 26 points, including five in the critical 13-0 burst, as the Pistons beat the Grizzlies for just the fourth time in their past 18 meetings.

Conley shot zero-for-eight and did not score in 28 minutes for the Grizzlies, who at 18-19 fell below .500 for the first time since opening 0-1. His last scoreless start had been at home against Oklahoma City on Dec 8, 2015, a game in which he went zero-for-seven.

Mavericks 122, Hornets 84

Luka Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr led a balanced attack with 18 points apiece, and Dallas posted a rare road win by defeating Charlotte.

The Mavericks took control of the game early and led by as many as 25 in the first half and 47 in the second half, with the reserves playing the entire fourth quarter.

The Mavs came into the game 2-16 on the road this season. They had lost eight of their previous 10 overall. The Hornets continued on their see-saw in which they have never been more than two games over .500 or worse than two games under .500 all season.

Nets 126, Pelicans 121

D'Angelo Russell collected 22 points and 13 assists as Brooklyn held on to beat New Orleans.

Russell returned from getting a rest in Saturday in the Nets' 14-point loss at Milwaukee, and he posted his third double-double of the season. He made nine of 21 field-goal attempts as the Nets bounced back from a pair of double-digit road losses and won for the 10th time in 13 games.

New Orleans' Anthony Davis returned from being a last-minute scratch due to illness Monday and totalled 34 points and a career-high 26 rebounds.

Heat 117, Cavaliers 92

Josh Richardson scored a game-high 24 points and Dion Waiters played his first game in more than a year as Miami won its fourth straight road game.

On a night of comebacks, Waiters, a shooting guard who had not played since Dec 22, 2017, made perhaps the biggest splash. He made the first shot he attempted - a three-pointer in the second quarter - and finished with seven points in 11 minutes.

Cavs starting forward Tristan Thompson also returned after not playing since Dec 10 due to a foot injury. He finished with a team-high 14 points in 23 minutes.

Wizards 114, Hawks 98

Bradley Beal scored 24 points while Jeff Green added 22 as Washington pulled away late and defeated visiting Atlanta.

Thomas Bryant (16 points, 15 rebounds) and Tomas Satoransky (14 points, 11 rebounds) both had double-doubles. The Wizards have won two straight games since learning that guard John Wall will miss the remainder of the season due to left heel surgery.

Alex Len, a 7-foot-1 centre who played his college ball at nearby Maryland, came off the bench to post a double-double of 24 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Hawks.

Magic 112, Bulls 84

Nikola Vucevic totalled 22 points and 12 rebounds in three quarters of play as visiting Orlando pounded Chicago.

Orlando's Aaron Gordon added 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Terrence Ross scored 15 off the bench for the Magic, who have won three of their past four following a four-game losing streak.

Zach LaVine had 16 points, and Lauri Markkanen added 14 points and six rebounds for Chicago, which has lost three of its past four.