Basketball

NBA Christmas Day wrap: Nets sink Celtics, AD delivers for Lakers

NBA Christmas Day was gift-wrapped for basketball fans. Find out about another stellar performance from Kyrie Irving, and why the Bucks proved they are about more than Giannis.

By Ken Browne ·

While it was turkey and cranberry sauce for most of the United States on Christmas Day, slams and jams were on the menu for basketball fans worldwide.

FIve big games included LeBron James holding off Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving balling out against the Boston Celtics, and Khris Middleton stepping up for the Bucks with Giannis Antetokounmpo held to 15 points.

Here's how it all went down:

New Jersey Nets 123-95 Boston Celtics

Kyrie Irving was inspired on December 25th scoring 37 points, backed up by Kevin Durant's 29 as the Nets hammered the Celtics in Boston.

It was a masterclass from Irving who hit 13 of 21 shots, nailed seven three-pointers and provided eight assists.

The Nets led by just three at half-time, but outscored the Celtics 72-41 in the second half to light up their first Christmas Day game since going down in Chicago back in 2013.

Jaylen Brown was the Celtics' top scorer with 27 points but only shot 37.8 percent from the field. Jayson Tatum had 20 points and eight rebounds.

Durant got hot in the third quarter, making six shots from seven to score 16 points and put the Nets out of reach.

NBA pays respects to K.C. Jones

Before the game, the Celtics held a moment's silence for legendary player and coach K.C. Jones who died at 88.

A Hall of Fame career included nine seasons in the NBA with the Celtics, winning titles in eight of them, and an Olympic gold medal at the Melbourne 1956 Games.

Playing success carried over into a coaching career where he won three titles (one as an assistant, two as a head coach) during one of Boston's most successful period ever during the 1980s with Larry Bird starring.

Jones is just one of eight players to win Olympic gold, NBA and college basketball titles, in exalted company with Bill Russell, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Jerry Lucas, Quinn Buckner, Clyde Lovellette and Anthony Davis.

Los Angeles Lakers 138 - 115 Dallas Mavericks

The Lakers, for so long the Celtics' rivals for NBA titles, also paid tribute to K.C. Jones before tip-off.

And while the contest was billed as 'LeBron vs. Luka' it was Anthony Davis who stole the show in LA.

'AD' banked 28 points and eight rebounds with James contributing 22 points and 10 assists to secure the Lakers' first win of the season after they fell to the Clippers on Day 1.

James' 22 points put him in second place in the overall 'points scored on Christmas Day' chart above Oscar Robertson and he now has 10 Christmas wins - tied with former team-mate Dwyane Wade.

Doncic was the best of the Mavericks with 27 points but, despite six Mavs players making double figures, there was no stopping the LA tide.

Milwaukee Bucks 138 - 99 Golden State Warriors

While recently signed-up superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo was held to 15 points making only four from 14 shots, there was good news for the Bucks as it looks like MVP Giannis won't have to do it all himself this season.

Khris Middleton scored 31 points and four other team-mates reached double figures to give Milwaukee the W.

Milwaukee secured their first win of the season with the help of consistently brilliant sharp-shooting from distance.

Steph Curry was Golden State's top scorer on 19 with rookie James Wiseman netting 18, but it's been a worrying start to the campaign for Warriors' fans who have seen their team outscored by a total of 65 points in two heavy defeats.

Miami Heat 111 - 98 New Orleans Pelicans

The Heat managed to hold off New Orleans and Zion Williamson despite losing Jimmy Butler to an ankle injury in the first half.

Butler was outstanding for Miami in the play-off series with the Lakers but the team proved capable of winning without him led by Duncan Robinson with 23 points, including seven of 13 three-pointers.

Goran Dragic added 18 points and nine assists off the bench while Bam Adebayo tallied 17 points.

Williamson is showing why he was 2019 NBA No.1 Draft pick, recording his second double-double in two games with 32 points and 14 rebounds, both game highs.

Brandon Ingram scored 28 points for the Pelicans.

Los Angeles Clippers 121 - 108 Denver Nuggets

Two games, two wins for the Clippers who stunned reigning champions and city rivals the Lakers on Gameday 1.

Clippers won on the road thanks to Rio 2016 gold medallist Paul George's 23 points and Kawhi Leonard pitching in 21 before he caught an elbow in the face from team-mate Serge Ibaka with just over six minutes left on the clock.

Bleeding badly, Leonard headed to the locker room as the Clippers saw the game out.

Ibaka had 15 points, Nicolas Batum 13 and Ivica Zubac 12 points off the bench for the Clippers.

It was some small measure of revenge for the visitors who blew a 3-1 series lead against the Nuggets in last season’s Western Conference semi-finals.

Denver’s big man Nikola Jokic totalled 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds with Jamal Murray scoring 13 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough for Denver who slipped to a second defeat this campaign.

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