Morris drills game-winner as Celtics stun Thunder
Los Angeles (AFP)
Marcus Morris drained a three-pointer with 1.2 seconds left to lift the Boston Celtics to a 100-99 NBA victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
With Celtics star Kyrie Irving still sidelined by a sore left knee, Jayson Tatum led Boston with 23 points and 11 rebounds.
Morris contributed 21 as the Celtics snapped Oklahoma City's six-game winning streak.
Russell Westbrook scored 27 points with eight rebounds and seven assists for the Thunder, but his last-gasp heave as time expired bounced off the rim.
The Thunder led by six with less than 25 seconds to play, and they were up 99-97 with 12.7 seconds left when Carmelo Anthony missed two free throws.
After a Celtics timeout, Morris drained a fadeaway three-pointer from the right wing for the win.
It was a morale boosting victory for a Celtics team also missing Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Daniel Theis, although it did little to alter the playoff-bound Celtics' hold on second place in the Eastern Conference.
For the Thunder, the defeat could prove costly in terms of playoff position in the tightly bunched West.
"They came in here with their full squad and they thought it was going to be a cakewalk," Morris said. "We've got guys that are ready to compete."
The Eastern Conference leading Toronto Raptors erased an eight-point fourth-quarter deficit to down the Magic in Orlando 93-86.
With star DeMar DeRozan sidelined by a left thigh contusion, Kyle Lowry led the Raptors with a game-high 25 points, with five rebounds and eight assists.
"It wasn't pretty, but we got it done," said Raptors coach Dwane Casey, who said that with their playoff berth secure he feared his team had lost concentration.
"Mentally, you've got to be sharp in these games," he said. "We weren't for three quarters. We found a way in the fourth quarter. Somehow, some way we've got to get our mental focus, our mental edge back."
The Minnesota Timberwolves bolstered their playoff bid with a 123-109 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Occupying the eighth and final playoff spot in the West going into the game, the Timberwolves are now two and a half games ahead of ninth-placed Denver and three games ahead of the Clippers.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 28 points and pulled down 10 rebounds and Jeff Teague added 20 points and 12 assists for the Timberwolves, who dealt the Clippers playoff hopes a devastating blow.
Wiggins and Teague combined to score 23 points in the third quarter, when Minnesota out-scored Los angeles 36-25 to build a 95-83 lead.
In New Orleans, Anthony Davis scored 37 points to lead the Pelicans to a 115-105 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
Rajon Rondo added 19 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds for the Pelicans, who took sole possession of fifth place in the West, one game behind the Thunder.
© 2018 AFP