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NBA-leading Celtics cruise to 8th straight win with 116-102 victory over Knicks

NEW YORK (AP) — Jaylen Brown scored 30 points, Kristaps Porzingis had 22 and the NBA-leading Boston Celtics easily handled the New York Knicks 116-102 on Saturday night for their eighth consecutive victory.

Jayson Tatum had 19 points and Derrick White added 13 for the Celtics, who have won 10 of their last 11.

Jalen Brunson had 34 points on 12-for-25 shooting from the field and 4-for-9 from 3-point range and Josh Hart had 16 for the Knicks, who were swept by Boston in their four-game season series.

Boston opened the second half with a 4-point lead before the All-Star tandem of Brown and Tatum along with Porzingis, a 2015 first-round draft pick of the Knicks, sparked a 30-11 spurt to put the game out of reach.

After Isaiah Hartenstein hit a pair of free throws to cut the deficit for New York to 67-61, Porzingis and Tatum hit back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 73-66. That forced the Knicks to call timeout with 8:21 in the third quarter.

New York then turned the ball over on the following possession and Brown answered with a 3 before Brunson was fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three free throws that made it 76-69.

The Knicks and Celtics traded baskets before Porzingis started a 10-0 run with a 3 from the top of the key and Brown closed it with a layup to extend the lead 88-71 with 3:53 remaining in the quarter.

Hart and Brunson followed with consecutive baskets, but Boston responded with a 9-0 run capped by Tatum’s 3 that made it 97-77 with 1:30 left in the quarter and drew loud “Let’s Go Celtics!” chants from the visiting fans.

The Knicks charged back with a 13-2 run bridging the end of the third quarter and the start of fourth quarter, cutting the deficit 99-90 on Bojan Bogdanovic’s jumper with 9:17 to play in the period.

But the Celtics took advantage of three Knicks turnovers and six missed shots to go on a 10-0 run to extend the lead 109-90 with 4:43 left in regulation.

Brown had 10 points in the first quarter to help the Celtics to a 30-36 lead at the end of the opening period. He added 10 more in the second period to pace Boston to a 62-58 advantage at halftime. The Celtics shot 66.7% from the field and 42.9 percent beyond the 3-point line in the first half.

UP NEXT

Celtics: Host the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.

Knicks: Host the Detroit Pistons on Monday night.

AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA

The Associated Press