WASHINGTON: Boston’s Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum turned a matchup of NBA conference leaders into a rout on Wednesday while Ja Morant’s triple double sparked the Memphis Grizzlies over Oklahoma City.
Tatum and Brown each scored 25 points as the Celtics improved the NBA’s best record to 21-5 with a 125-98 blowout victory at Western Conference leader Phoenix.
Boston stayed two games atop Milwaukee in the Eastern Conference while Phoenix fell to 16-9 and a half-game behind New Orleans (16-8) in the West.
The Suns trailed 69-42 at halftime, their largest deficit of the season to that point, and by as many as 45 points in the third quarter.
“We were just really connected,” Tatum said. “We’re just making the right plays. We hit a lot of shots tonight.”
The Celtics, who lost to Golden State in last season’s NBA Finals, improved to 10-3 on the road.
“We’re happy with the way we’re playing,” Tatum said. “But we’re far from satisfied. This doesn’t mean anything if we don’t get back to where we want to get to (the NBA Finals) and get over that hump.
“It’s a long process but we’re trending in the right direction.”
Phoenix welcomed back guard Chris Paul, who missed a month with a heel injury. He had four points, four rebounds and four assists.
Morant, meanwhile, delivered a triple double with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists to lead host Memphis over the Thunder 123-102.
It was a club-record sixth career triple double for the 23-year-old US guard.
“It means a lot,” Morant said. “A lot of credit goes to my teammates and my coaches putting me in positions to excel at a high level.
“We knew rebounding was important. I took it upon myself early on, I think I had seven early. Every other stat was from my teammates. Them knocking down shots opened up shots for me on the floor as well.”
Memphis allowed only 15 points in the fourth quarter.
“It was pretty much just locking in, getting stops and rebounds,” Morant said. “We’ve got to continue fighting and play hard.”
Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 35 points and added six rebounds and seven assists while Jrue Holiday contributed 31 points in Milwaukee’s 126-113 victory over visiting Sacramento. The Bucks improved the NBA’s second-best record to 18-6.
Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 33 points with nine assists, five rebounds and four blocked shots while Kevin Durant added 29 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in Brooklyn’s 122-116 home victory over Charlotte.
Simone Fontecchio made the winning basket with 1.4 seconds remaining to give Utah a 124-123 home victory over the Golden State Warriors.
Golden State’s Jordan Poole scored a game-high 36 points but his bad pass set up the Italian forward’s decisive inside shot.
Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 22 points while Fontecchio added 18 off the bench.
Zion Williamson scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to spark New Orleans over Detroit 104-98. The host Pelicans took the West lead with their fifth consecutive victory.
D’Angelo Russell scored a game-high 28 points and Frenchman Rudy Gobert added 16 points and 21 rebounds to power Minnesota’s 121-115 home win over Indiana.
Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each scored 25 points to lead the Toronto Raptors over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 126-113.
The Lakers, without Anthony Davis due to illness and LeBron James with a sore ankle, were led by German guard Dennis Schroder’s 18 points.
Orlando’s Paolo Banchero made six free throws in the last seven seconds of overtime to give the Magic a 116-111 home triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers.
Italian-American Banchero scored a game-high 23 points and went 13-of-14 from the free throw line.
Chicago defeated visiting Washington 115-111 behind 27 points from DeMar DeRozan while Julius Randle had 34 points and 17 rebounds to lead New York over visiting Atlanta 113-89.