NBA roundup: The Celtics turn up the heat as the Mavericks flip a switch
Boston, Massachusetts - The Boston Celtics shot the lights out during their 139-118 NBA on Christmas Day win against the Milwaukee Bucks in a crunch clash between two of the Eastern Conference heavyweights.
Boston scored at least 36 points in three of the four quarters, including a 77-point second half as they proved unstoppable offensively.
They were led by MVP candidate Jayson Tatum with a game-high 41 points on 14-of-22 shooting, adding seven rebounds, five assists, and three steals.
His teammate Jaylen Brown was just as effective in his supporting role, scoring 29 on 11-of-19 shooting with five rebounds and four assists while reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marcus Smart set the table with eight assists and only four total field goal attempts.
As a team, the Celtics shot 58.8% from the field (50-of-85) and 48.7% from long-range (19-of-39) in a blistering performance.
Two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was not at his best for the Bucks, shooting nine-of-22 from the field for 27 points, nine rebounds, and three assists, while Jrue Holiday was more effective for his 23 points (eight-of-14), seven assists, and six rebounds.
A win for the Bucks would have seen them overtake the Celtics for the top seed in the East, but they instead fell to 22-11 and are now one-and-a-half games behind Boston at 24-10.
The Mackericks pull off a win as the Warriors defeat the Grizzlies
Meanwhile, the Dallas Mavericks were a completely different team after half-time in their 124-115 home win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Trailing 54-43 at the long break, the Mavericks came out of the locker room and put up 51 points in the third period, setting a new record for the most points scored in a quarter on Christmas Day. They won that quarter by 30 points, racing to the lead before the duo of Luka Dončić and Christian Wood put the game to bed.
Dončić, who was being consistently double-teamed all night and being forced to give off early passes, still worked his way to 32 points (nine-of-16 shooting), nine rebounds and nine assists, while Wood added 30 points (12-of-17), eight rebounds, seven assists, four steals and two blocks.
LeBron James was the lone bright spot for the Lakers, scoring a game-high 38 points (13-of-23) as his side lost their fourth in a row to fall to 13-20.
There is no place like home for the Golden State Warriors this season, improving their league-best record in their own stadium to 13-2 with a 123-109 victory over the visiting Memphis Grizzlies.
The Warriors are still below .500 overall at 16–18 thanks to their 3-15 road record, but once again shot the ball beautifully in front of the Chase Center crowd.
Behind 32 points from Jordan Poole and 24 from Klay Thompson, Golden State shot 18-of-44 from three-point range (40.9 per cent). It was a throwback game for Draymond Green as well, delivering a gritty double-double with 13 rebounds and 13 assists to go with his two points.
Ja Morant was the only Grizzlies player to shine under the bright lights, scoring a game-high 36 points on 15-of-29 shooting with eight assists and seven rebounds in his Christmas Day debut.
Cover photo: Collage: Brian Fluharty & Ron Jenkins / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP /