NBA roundup: Celtics burn the Suns in blowout win, Giannis reaches another milestone
Phoenix, Arizona - The Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics made a big statement with a 125-98 blowout victory over Western Conference leaders Phoenix Suns on Wednesday.
The Celtics led by as much as 45 points and benched MVP candidate Jayson Tatum in the fourth quarter, in a game where the Suns welcomed back All-Star Chris Paul from a heel injury.
Tatum finished with 25 points with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. The 24-year-old is the first player in Celtics history to average 30 points per game in his first 25 games of any season.
Jaylen Brown also scored 25 points with seven rebounds, while Malcolm Brogdon added 16 points off the bench.
Boston led 69-42 at half-time in the blowout win, which was the Celtics' second-biggest margin this season.
Devin Booker struggled with four fouls and three field-goals made in the first half, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Paul had four points and four assists in 24 minutes on his return.
The result means the Celtics improved to an NBA-best 21-5 record after three straight wins, while the Suns fall to 16-9.
Around the league: Giannis powers Bucks to another win, Magic snap losing streak
Giannis Antetokounmpo matched Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the second-longest streak of consecutive 30-point games (eight) in franchise history as the Milwaukee Bucks downed the Sacramento Kings 126-113.
The Greek forward finished with 35 points on 12-of-19 field-goal shooting, with six rebounds and six assists as the Bucks improved to 18-6 with their third straight win. The victory extended the Bucks' win streak against the Kings to 13.
Bucks guard Jrue Holiday made an excellent contribution with 31 points, five rebounds and six assists, while Kings forward Domantas Sabonis added 23 points with 12 rebounds.
Over in Orlando, top overall NBA Draft pick Pablo Banchero showcased his potential to help the Magic snap their nine-game losing streak with a 116-111 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The 20-year-old power forward scored 23 points for the game, including making all six of his free-throws in the final seven seconds of overtime to overturn a 111-110 deficit. The Clippers gave up two turnovers down the stretch.
Paul George and Kawhi Leonard made another rare appearance together again, combining for 17 first-quarter points.
George finished with 11 for the game with seven rebounds and five assists, while Leonard added 14 points with seven rebounds and three assists.
Cover photo: Collage: USA TODAY Sports