LOS ANGELES: Julius Randle scored 37 points to lead the New York Knicks to a 120-117 overtime victory over the NBA-leading Boston Celtics on Thursday as the Dallas Mavericks held off Phoenix despite an injury to star guard Luka Doncic.
Randle added nine rebounds and Jalen Brunson scored 29 points with four rebounds, seven assists and a crucial block as time expired as the Knicks thwarted Boston’s comeback bid.
They handed the Celtics a third straight defeat on the heels of their nine-game winning streak.
Boston’s Jayson Tatum celebrated his selection as an All-Star starter with 35 points and 14 rebounds. Jaylen Brown scored 22 points with nine rebounds.
But Boston’s star duo also combined for six key turnovers, and Brown missed two free throws with 7.6 seconds remaining to hurt Boston’s cause.
“I’m a better basketball player than I played today,” a dejected Brown said. “Those two missed free throws kind of embodied the whole game for me — didn’t get it going, didn’t give my team enough energy to win.”
Randle, meanwhile, drained a pair of clutch free throws with 21.2 seconds left and RJ Barrett added another two foul shots before Brunson swatted away a potential game-tying three-pointer by Malcolm Brogdon as time ticked off in overtime.
“We’ve been in these games before,” Randle told broadcaster TNT after the Knicks squandered a late 12-point lead but managed to hang on.
“All year we’ve been in up and down games. We’ve lost those games at the end, we’ve won them at the end, so there’s a sense of being comfortable in those positions and knowing how to execute whether you’re up or down.”
Tatum scored 11 points in the fourth quarter, but he missed a potential game-winner and when teammate Robert Williams grabbed the rebound Boston’s Jericho Sims blocked his put-back attempt.
In Phoenix, Doncic — who came into the night leading the league in scoring — limped out with a sprained left ankle less than four minutes into the contest.
X-rays were negative, but he didn’t return, with Spencer Dinwiddie stepping up to fill the void with 36 points and nine assists.
The Mavs led the entire second half, but two driving layups from Chris Paul pulled the Suns within 96-95 with 19.7 seconds remaining.
Dwight Powell came up with a key rebound off teammate Reggie Bullock’s missed free throw and then made two free throws of his own as the Mavs put it away.
“No one ever panicked and we found a way to win a game,” said Mavs coach Jason Kidd, who did not have an immediate update on the severity of Doncic’s injury after the game.
The Detroit Pistons, owners of the worst record in the Eastern Conference, sprung a surprise in Brooklyn, where Kyrie Irving’s 40 points weren’t enough for the Nets in a 130-122 defeat.
Saddiq Bey scored 25 points to lead eight Pistons players in double figures — despite the absence of star guard Cade Cunningham, backup point guard Cory Joseph and center Marvin Bagley.
Alec Burks scored 20 points for the Pistons, who ended a four-game losing streak as they rebounded from an embarrassing loss to Milwaukee on Monday in which they gave up 150 points.
“We just knew we had to start off better than that and just play better throughout the four quarters,” Bey said. “I think we were very eager just to nip that one in the bud and just keep going.”
The Pistons capitalized on their size advantage against the short-handed Nets, who were again without star Kevin Durant and saw Ben Simmons depart early with a sore left knee.
In Charlotte, the Hornets celebrated LaMelo Ball’s return from a three-game injury absence with a 111-96 come-from-behind victory over the Chicago Bulls.
In Los Angeles, Paul George scored 35 points and Kawhi Leonard added 27 for the Clippers in a 138-100 wire-to-wire rout of the San Antonio Spurs.