Celtics claim 8th straight win, beat Hawks 126-101

  • Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela (15) is fouled by Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams (12) as he drives to the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2022 in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

ATLANTA — The Boston Celtics were missing two key members of their rotation.

There was no shortage of players to fill the void.

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Jaylen Brown scored 22 points to lead a balanced attack and the East-leading Celtics stretched their winning streak to eight with a 126-101 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.

The Celtics were missing injured guards Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon. It hardly mattered.

Led by Brown, the Celtics put seven players in double figures. Jayson Tatum had 19, Grant Williams 18, Derrick White 16, Sam Hauser and Luke Kornet 15 apiece, and Payton Pritchard 14.

White also had 10 assists, Kornet went 7 of 7 from the field, and Hauser did all his scoring on a 5-of-6 performance from 3-point range.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who can do a lot of things to help us win games,” White said. “We trust every person on this roster. When they come in, they do good things for us. It’s a long season, there’s gonna be injuries, people out. We’re gonna need everybody.”

The Hawks were coming off a big win at Milwaukee and eager to show they could challenge the best in the conference.

Not on this night.

Boston took control in the first quarter against the cold-shooting Hawks, whose occasional spurts were quickly snuffed out by the Celtics’ stifling defense.

Trae Young led the Hawks with 27 points, but was held to 10-of-23 shooting, including a mere 2 of 7 from beyond the arc.

Shooting has been a problem for the Hawks early in the season — quite a change from their high-scoring offense of a year ago.

“We thinking about it too much,” Young said. “It’s just a matter of going out there and playing, playing free, getting back to playing with confidence.”

Even without two key members of their rotation, the Celtics shot 54.5% from the field and knocked down 21 3-pointers.

Since a loss to Golden State in last season’s NBA Finals, Boston’s backups have been eager to make up for a poor showing by the bench and a perceived lack of depth.

“It gets a little fire going,” Hauser said. “Everyone has kind of taken it personal a little bit.”

The Hawks got a glimpse of what this game would be like in the very first quarter. They connected on just 8 of 24 shots, missing all six of their attempts beyond the 3-point stripe, and quickly fell into a double-digit hole.

The Celtics led by as many as 16 points before the Hawks shaved into the deficit, trailing 62-53 at halftime. But Boston regained control in the third quarter and turned it into a total blowout down the stretch.

Curry scores 50 points, but Suns beat Warriors 130-119

PHOENIX (AP) — Cameron Payne scored a career-high 29 points, Devin Booker added 27 and the Phoenix Suns easily overcame Stephen Curry’s 50-point night to beat the Golden State Warriors 130-119 on Wednesday.

The Suns controlled most of the game despite Curry’s scoring. The eight-time All-Star made 17 of 28 shots, going 7 of 11 from 3-point range.

The problem for the Warriors was nobody else was helping. Klay Thompson finished with 19 points but shot just 6 of 17. The Warriors — defending NBA champs — fell to 6-9.

Curry’s scoring prowess is expected, but it was countered by one of the best games of Payne’s career. Starting in place of the injured Chris Paul, the 6-foot-3 guard made 9 of 17 shots, including 6 of 10 from beyond the arc.

The Suns led 103-89 going into the fourth quarter. The Warriors quickly cut into that margin but couldn’t get closer than eight points. Damion Lee hit back-to-back 3-pointers against his former team to keep the Suns comfortably ahead.

The Suns shot 21 of 40 (52.5%) from 3-point range. Mikal Bridges had 23 points, making 5 of 8 3-pointers.

It was a frenetic first half with both teams shooting very well — particularly behind the arc. The Suns led 72-65 at the break, with Curry scoring 31 points. Payne had 18 for the Suns and Booker had 16.

Curry was at his best in the first half, making 10 of 13 shots from the field, including 4 of 5 3-pointers.

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