NBA Wrap: Christmas cheer for LeBron, Irving shines for Nets, Bucks' blowout Warriors

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant helped Brooklyn Nets to a successful return to the NBA's Christmas Day schedule. All this and more in our NBA wrap.

Published : Dec 26, 2020 09:22 IST

Irving and Middleton starred for the Nets and Bucks as they beat the Celtics and Warriors respectively.
Irving and Middleton starred for the Nets and Bucks as they beat the Celtics and Warriors respectively.

Irving and Middleton starred for the Nets and Bucks as they beat the Celtics and Warriors respectively.

Here's a wrap of all the action from the NBA:

Brooklyn Nets 123-95 Boston Celtics

Kyrie Irving scored 37 points, Kevin Durant added 29 points, and the visiting Brooklyn Nets enjoyed a successful return to the NBA's Christmas Day schedule by pulling away in the second half for a 123-95 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday.

In his first regular-season game in Boston since joining the Nets, Irving made 13 of 21 shots, hit seven 3-pointers, and handed out eight assists. Irving scored 17 by halftime, but the Nets trailed by three before outscoring Boston 72-41 in the second half in their first Christmas Day game since facing Chicago in 2013.

Durant made 9 of 16 shots, hit 3 3-pointers, and came to life with an array of moves in the third quarter when he scored 16 points and made 6 of 7 shots.


Caris LeVert added 10 points for the Nets, who shot 54 percent and opened a season with two straight wins for the first time since 2010-11.

Jaylen Brown scored 27 points for the Celtics (1-1), who shot 33 percent in the second half and 38 percent overall. Jayson Tatum added 20 and eight rebounds while Marcus Smart contributed 13.

The Nets began securing the win when Durant and Irving rested in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. Brooklyn scored nine straight points in a span of 94 seconds and took a 95-79 lead on a 3-pointer by Landry Shamet with 9:44 left and held a 99-86 lead when the star duo returned with 7:08 to play.

Irving and Durant combined to score Brooklyn's next 12 points as the lead grew to 111-90 with 3:44 left on Irving's 3-pointer from the top of the key.

Brooklyn held the Celtics to 31 percent shooting and took a 26-22 lead after the opening quarter on a putback dunk by Jeff Green with 1.2 seconds remaining. Neither team led by more than five in the second quarter and the Celtics took a 54-51 lead at halftime on Tatum's 3-pointer with 41.5 seconds remaining.

The Nets took a 71-63 lead on Durant's 3-pointer with 6:35 remaining in the third. Following Boston's 7-2 spurt that got them within 73-70 on a free throw by Brown with 4:35 left, the Nets scored nine straight points to get an 82-70 lead on Irving's layup with 2 1/2 minutes left and took an 86-77 lead into the fourth.


Milwaukee Bucks 138-99 Golden State Warriors

Khris Middleton scored a game-high 31 points and the Milwaukee Bucks used brilliant shooting from 3-point range to gradually pull away from the visiting Golden State Warriors for a 138-99 blowout win.

Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 15 points on 4-for-14 shooting, but Middleton and four other teammates scored in double figures as the Bucks (1-1) quickly erased the bad taste of a last-second loss at Boston with their first win of the season.

Stephen Curry had a team-high 19 points and rookie James Wiseman 18 for the Warriors (0-2), who have been outscored by a combined 65 points in their first two games.

Middleton made 6-of-8 3-pointers, including two straight in a 19-7 Bucks' burst in the third period that turned a competitive 72-64 game into a 91-71 laugher.

Donte DiVincenzo and D.J. Augustin each connected on three 3-pointers in 13-point performances, while D.J. Wilson also hit three treys to account for all nine of his points for the Bucks, who were the NBA's winningest team in the regular season last year.


Jrue Holiday totaled 12 points and a team-high six assists, while Bobby Portis logged a 10-point, 12-rebound double-double for Milwaukee, which shot 54.9 percent overall and 20-for-37 (54.1 percent) from beyond the arc.

The Bucks also outrebounded the Warriors 69-43, with Antetokounmpo complementing his 15 points with a game-high 13 boards.

Andrew Wiggins (12 points), Brad Wanamaker (11) and Jordan Poole (11) also scored in double figures for the Warriors, who shot just 34.3 percent overall and 10-for-45 (22.2 percent) on 3-pointers.

Wiseman, the No. 2 overall pick in the draft, had a team-high eight rebounds and three blocks.

Antetokounmpo struggled in the first half, missing five of his six shots and seven of his 11 free throws, but the Bucks nonetheless managed a 66-56 lead at the break. Middleton was the driving force with 21 points.

Milwaukee's biggest lead of the half was 13, held on three occasions.

James passed Oscar Robertson (377 points) for second place in total points scored on Christmas Day. James has 383 points in 15 games, trailing Lakers legend and the late Kobe Bryant at 395 points in 16 games.

Another big Christmas for James as Lakers defeat Mavericks

Anthony Davis had 28 points and eight rebounds, and the host Los Angeles Lakers coasted to a 138-115 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

Davis converted 10 of 16 shots and 3 of 5 3-pointers. LeBron James had 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, while Montrezl Harrell contributed 22 points and seven rebounds for the Lakers.

James passed Oscar Robertson (377 points) for second place in total points scored on Christmas Day. James has 383 points in 15 games, trailing Lakers legend and the late Kobe Bryant at 395 points in 16 games. James also tied former teammate Dwyane Wade for career Christmas wins at 10.

Dennis Schroder scored 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting with six assists and Kyle Kuzma had 13 points and six rebounds for Los Angeles.

Luka Doncic had 27 points and seven assists for the Mavericks. Six Mavericks scored in double figures, including Josh Richardson (17), Trey Burke (17), Dwight Powell (11), Dorian Finney-Smith (10) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (10).

The Lakers seized command in the third quarter. They went up 80-63 after a James 3-pointer less than three minutes into the quarter. Los Angeles owned a 99-85 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Dallas sliced the gap to 106-97 after a 3-pointer by Richardson with 7:59 remaining but it got no closer as Los Angeles pulled away.

A 3-pointer by Davis gave the Lakers a 54-41 advantage, their biggest lead in the first half, with 5:25 left in the second quarter. But the Mavericks rallied, using a 9-1 surge to cut the deficit to 55-50 almost two minutes later.

However, the Lakers pushed the margin to 69-57 on a 3-pointer by Kuzma to end the first half.

Los Angeles outshot Dallas 56.0 percent to 49.4 percent for the game.

The Lakers also outrebounded the Mavericks 53-27. The Lakers prevailed despite committing 16 turnovers to only nine for the Mavericks.

DENVER, COLORADO - DECEMBER 25: Kawhi Leonard #2 of the Los Angeles Clippers is attended to after being injured against the Denver Nuggets in the fourth quarter at Ball Arena on December 25, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Leonard leaves bloodied, but Clippers beat Nuggets 121-108

Kawhi Leonard had 21 points before taking an elbow to the face in the fourth quarter, Paul George scored 23 points and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Denver Nuggets 121-108.

The Clippers led by 11 with 6:11 left when Serge Ibaka went up for a rebound and caught the side of his teammate's face with his right elbow. Leonard lay bleeding on the court before walking to the locker room.

Leonard was ruled out shortly thereafter, but the Clippers didn’t need him to close out a Nuggets team that upset them in the second round of the Western Conference semifinals last season.

Nikola Jokic finished with 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for Denver, which has dropped its first two games of the season. Jamal Murray added 23 points, 13 coming in the fourth.

The Nuggets rallied from double-digit second-half deficits in Games 5, 6 and 7 of the second-round series in September, winning all three and wiping out LA’s 3-1 lead to advance to the Western Conference finals.

Denver wasn’t able to do it again but made a run after trailing by 24 late in the third quarter. The Nuggets used an 11-0 run into early in the fourth, and two 3-pointers by Murray sliced a 98-74 deficit to 106-95 with 7:35 left.

Leonard went out soon after but Denver never got the deficit under 10.


Clippers: F Marcus Morris (sore right knee) missed his second straight game, but coach Tyronn Lue said he is day-to-day. “He’s been doing his own rehab with the sports science team and he’s progressing,” Lue said.

Nuggets: F JaMychal Green sat out with a left calf strain. Green, who played for the Clippers last season, has yet to play in the regular season after signing with Denver in the short offseason.

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