Jaylen Brown scored a career-high 50 points and the Boston Celtics needed all of them in a 116-111 NBA overtime victory over the Orlando Magic on Sunday.
Brown scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, helping the Celtics rally from 14 down with 4:20 left in regulation.
He opened overtime with his fifth three-pointer of the contest, adding 11 rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot.
“I was just trying to be aggressive the entire time,” said Brown, whose previous career-high was 46 against the New York Knicks on October 20. “My teammates encouraged me to take the shots. I feel like I took some good looks and they went down tonight.”
Brown’s layup with 38 seconds left in regulation knotted the score at 98-98.
He scored again to put Boston up 100-98 with 30 seconds left, but Tim Frazier scored for Orlando to force overtime.
Boston had led 45-42 at halftime after leading by as many as 14 before the break.
But the Magic surged in the second half, outscoring Boston 35-20 in the third quarter to take a 77-65 lead into the final frame.
Marcus Smart added 17 points, seven assists and seven rebounds for Boston and Dennis Schroder scored 21.
Both teams were missing their leading scorers. Orlando’s Cole Anthony was sidelined by a sprained right ankle and Boston’s Jayson Tatum missed a fourth straight game because of Covid-19 concerns.
Suns sting Hornets
The Phoenix Suns, trying to keep pace with the Golden State Warriors atop the Western Conference despite having four players and coach Monty Williams in Covid protocols, thrashed the Hornets in Charlotte 133-99.
Devin Booker scored 24 points and Jalen Smith tied his career-high with 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Suns improved to 28-8 — half a game behind the Warriors for the best record in the league.
Phoenix, who had lost three of their previous four games, drained 17 three-pointers and outrebounded the Hornets 52-35.
LeBron James cooled off a bit in Los Angeles, scoring a relatively modest 26 points in the Lakers’ 108-103 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
James’s streak of seven straight games of 30 points or more — including a 43-point outburst in a New Year’s Eve win — ended. So did Russell Westbrook’s run of four successive triple-doubles.
But Malik Monk contributed 22 points, Westbrook chipped in 20 and Avery Bradley and Carmelo Anthony scored 14 apiece to help the Lakers hold on for the win.
Naz Reid led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 11 rebounds, but Minnesota couldn’t manage a third win in as many meetings with the Lakers this season.
Doncic back for Dallas
Dallas star Luka Doncic, returning from a 10-game absence, came up just shy of a triple-double with 14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in the Mavericks’ 95-86 victory over the Thunder in Oklahoma City.
Doncic missed five games with an ankle injury, then missed five more over Covid.
“My chest was burning,” said Doncic, who played 31 minutes in his return. “It was a weird feeling, but happy. Very happy.”
Oklahoma City rookie Josh Giddey, back after three games in Covid protocols, became the youngest NBA player to post a triple-double with 17 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds.
Giddey, at 19 years, two months and 23 days old surpassed LaMelo Ball as the youngest player with a triple-double and came up with four steals as well.
Elsewhere, rookie Evan Mobley scored 24 points and All-Star Kevin Love added 20 to help the Cleveland Cavaliers end a three-game skid with a 108-104 victory over the Indiana Pacers.
“It feels good just to be back in the win column,” said Love, who noted the Cavs had felt an “emotional hangover” in losing guard Ricky Rubio to a season-ending knee injury last week.
Jarrett Allen added 18 points and Lamar Stevens chipped in 15 for the Cavs, who trailed 84-73.