Tatum leads balanced Celtics over 76ers, Booker pours in 47 in Suns’ victory
Jayson Tatum bounced back with 27 points and the Boston Celtics received a balanced effort in a 114-102 road win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.
The victory gave Boston a 2-1 lead in the second-round series with Game 4 set for Sunday.
Each Celtics starter reached double figures, with Jaylen Brown scoring 23, Al Horford adding 17 and Marcus Smart contributing 15.
Malcolm Brogdon had 15 points, including a 3-pointer with 5 1/2 minutes left to give Boston a 100-92 lead. Horford hit one of his five 3s to put Boston up seven with 3:25 remaining.
James Harden's 3-pointer with just over two minutes left drew the 76ers within 105-99 but Tatum, who was limited to seven points in Game 2, responded with a 3 of his own, then sank a pair of free throws to make it 110-100 with 1:18 to play.
Joel Embiid had 30 points and 13 rebounds for Philadelphia after he received his MVP trophy in a pregame ceremony. Harden struggled with 16 points on 3-of-14 shooting and is 5 for 28 from the field in the past two games – 2 of 13 from long range - following a 45-point performance in the series opener.
Boston's Grant Williams suffered a bloody mouth late in the game when he was hit in the head by a falling Embiid.
Suns take Game 3 from Nuggets behind Booker, Durant
The Phoenix Suns were in desperate need of a win and Devin Booker and Kevin Durant made sure they got it, combining for 86 points in a 121-114 victory over the visiting Denver Nuggets on Friday.
No other Suns player scored in double digits, but Booker and Durant’s heroics were enough as Phoenix trimmed the second-round series deficit to 2-1.
Booker tied his playoff career high with 47 points on 20-of-25 shooting, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range. Durant wasn’t as efficient with his shot, connecting on 12-of-31 but still finished with 39 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Jamal Murray led Denver with 32 points and Nikola Jokic tallied his ninth career postseason triple-double with 30 points, 17 rebounds and 17 assists, one off his personal best.
Cameron Payne started for Phoenix in place of 12-time All-Star Chris Paul and was limited to seven points but hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter and added six assists.
TJ Warren only made three baskets for the Suns but two came in the final 2 ½ minutes. His 3 with 2:23 left put Phoenix up eight and he sank a driving floater less than a minute later to make it 114-107.
The Suns will try to even the series on Sunday.