NEW YORK (AFP) — Jayson Tatum scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to power Boston to a 124-114 victory at Brooklyn on Saturday, keeping the Celtics as the National Basketball Association’s last unbeaten club.
Jaylen Brown added 23 points and Latvian forward Kristaps Porzingis had 22 as the Celtics improved to 5-0 to stay atop the Eastern Conference.
“They present different challenges. They play fast, get up a lot of threes, so this was a good test for us on the road to figure it out,” Tatum said. “I like the way we closed out the game.”
Tatum, a 25-year-old forward, became the youngest player in Celtics history to reach 10,000 career points.
“That’s special. That’s cool,” Tatum said. “I’ve just been blessed to be at a great franchise… hopefully I’ve got a lot more to go and a lot more games to win.”
Former Milwaukee guard Jrue Holiday, who arrived in Boston after two trades, contributed 18 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds.
“Everybody is shining,” Tatum said. “I love this team. We’re having fun. We’re playing hard. We’re competing.”
Keeping pace one game behind the Celtics were the Philadelphia 76ers as Joel Embiid scored 26 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead the Sixers over visiting Phoenix 112-100.
Kelly Oubre added 25 points, Tobias Harris had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Tyrese Maxey contributed 22 points, and 10 assists on his 23rd birthday to spark the 76ers (4-1).
“I was trying to be aggressive, whether I was making the right read, getting the assist or scoring the ball,” Maxey said.
“I’m trying to pick my spots when to be ultra-aggressive and when to get to the paint to get Joel a shot, get Kelly a shot, get them in the right spots. I think I’m doing a solid job of it right now.”
Maxey has shown a spark in replacing veteran James Harden, who was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Coach, Joel, Tobias, they trust me out there to see what I read out there on the court. Trust has been great and I appreciate them for that,” Maxey said.
“I know what my role is so it has been great.”
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 31 points for the Suns with eight rebounds in a losing cause.
Defending champion Denver seized the Western Conference lead, improving to 6-1 by defeating Chicago 123-101.
Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists to lead the host Nuggets while Michael Porter added 27 points and Aaron Gordon had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Denver.
German forward Franz Wagner scored 26 points and Paolo Banchero added 25 points and a career-high 10 assists to spark host Orlando over the Los Angeles Lakers 120-101.
“I’m feeling good,” Banchero said. “I’ve put in a lot of work. It was a long summer. I can’t be more happy than I am to be back.”
“You can score the ball, make the plays but making others better is what I love to do,” he said of his 10 assists. “I went out there and tried to keep the defense honest.”
Anthony Davis had 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocked shots and LeBron James added 24 points, nine rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Lakers, who began a four-game road trip.