NBA: Celtics hand Grizzlies demoralising loss, Lillard nets career-high 61pts while Giannis is ejected for head-butt

ORLANDO (REUTERS, AFP) – Jayson Tatum scored 29 points, Kemba Walker added 19 and the Boston Celtics handed the Memphis Grizzlies a devastating 122-107 defeat on Tuesday (Aug 11) night near Orlando in the National Basketball Association (NBA) league.

Tatum and Walker combined to shoot 17-of-23 from the floor as the Celtics (48-23) won their fourth straight game. Walker's 19 points were the most he has had in six games since the season restart. Gordon Hayward also scored 19.

Ja Morant had 26 points and 13 assists, and Jonas Valanciunas (14 points, 10 rebounds) also had a double-double for the Grizzlies (33-39), who lost their secured grip on the eighth seed in the Western Conference with their sixth defeat in seven seeding games.

Meanwhile, Damian Lillard exploded for 61 points as the Portland Trail Blazers roared towards a place in the NBA play-offs with a thrilling 134-131 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

Lillard – who had scored 51 points in a victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday – once again led from the front for Portland, who are now within touching distance of a postseason berth.

The Trail Blazers talisman nailed a clutch three-pointer in the closing stages to level the score at 130-130 and then provided the assist that saw Portland take a 132-130 lead with just under a minute remaining.

In another game, Giannis Antetokounmpo was ejected in the second quarter for head-butting Moritz Wagner but the Milwaukee Bucks still posted a 126-113 victory over the Washington Wizards.

The incident occurred near the Milwaukee hoop after the "Greek freak" was whistled for a charging foul for running into the Washington centre. The two jawed briefly before Antetokounmpo lowered his head and somewhat gently drove his forehead into Wagner's left temple.

Neither player was injured, and Antetokounmpo was ejected immediately. The run-in occurred with 8:50 remaining in the first half and Milwaukee leading 35-25.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer challenged the charging call on Antetokounmpo, but a replay confirmed the infraction. Antetokounmpo finished with 12 points and a game-high nine rebounds in just 10 minutes.

The Bucks (56-16) scored the game's first six points, holding the Wizards point-less for almost the first four minutes en route to just their third win in seven games in central Florida.

Rui Hachimura had 20 points to pace Washington (24-47), who lost their seventh straight since the restart.

With their setback, Memphis dropped to a three-way tie for eighth in the West along with the Blazers and Phoenix Suns (33-39) with one game remaining, while the San Antonio Spurs (32-38) are just one percentage point behind in a virtual tie with the trio.

The eighth and ninth teams in the conference will face each other in a guaranteed play-in series this weekend to deterRead More – Source