Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (left) reaches for the loose ball with Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball during the second half of an NBA game in Massachusetts, USA. (CJ Gunther / EPA-EFE / File photo)The Charlotte Hornets overcame a 45-point display from Jayson Tatum to end the Boston Celtics’ six-game winning streak in an overtime NBA thriller on Monday, November 20.
The Celtics arrived in Charlotte as the hottest team in the league after surging to the top of the Eastern Conference with an 11-2 record.
Joe Mazzulla’s side looked to be cruising towards a seventh straight victory after opening up an 18-point lead midway through the second quarter before taking an 11-point lead into half-time.
But a resurgent Charlotte side hit back in the final two quarters, outscoring Boston, 54-43, in the second half to send a pulsating clash into overtime.
Miles Bridges then drained a 25-foot three-pointer to put Charlotte, 119-116, up with seven seconds remaining.
Tatum made three free-throws with five seconds left, but after sinking the first two, he missed the third, which would have tied the game, before Gordon Hayward made two free throws for Charlotte to seal victory.
“We just played physical,” Bridges said after the Hornets win.
“We know they’re the best team in the league. So we knew we’d have to play physically to give us a chance. It feels like this could be the start of something for us,” Bridges added, after what was only Charlotte’s fourth win of the season.
Bridges finished with 14 points, while point guard LaMelo Ball led Charlotte in scoring with 36, including five three-pointers from 11 attempts. Hayward added 20 points while Mark Williams had 18.
Tatum’s 45-point haul included seven three-pointers and came from 15-of-28 shooting from the field, with 13 rebounds and six assists.
Kristaps Porzingis added 17 for the Celtics, who remain top of the Eastern Conference at 11-3.
Jokic, Malone ejected
In other games on Monday, the Denver Nuggets overcame the ejection of two-time Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic and head coach Michael Malone to dig out a 107-103 road win over the Detroit Pistons.
Jokic was tossed in the first half after giving up two technical fouls for disputing calls in separate incidents.
Malone was ejected after arguing a call late in the first quarter.
With Jokic playing no part in the second half, it was left to Reggie Jackson to help shepherd the NBA champions to victory.
Jackson led the Nuggets scoring with 21 points, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 20 points.
Elsewhere, Giannis Antetokounmpo delivered another monster performance, scoring 42 points as the Milwaukee Bucks blew out the Washington Wizards on the road, winning 142-129.
Antetokounmpo shot 20 of 23 from the field and finished with 13 rebounds and eight assists in a virtuoso individual display which came after a 40-point performance in a win over Dallas.
Antetokounmpo averaged 29.9 points per game in November.
Damian Lillard added 22 points for Milwaukee, while Khris Middleton finished with 18. Six Milwaukee players posted double-digit points totals.
Meanwhile, in Texas, the San Antonio Spurs slumped to a ninth straight loss in a 124-99 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The defeat leaves San Antonio at the bottom of the Western Conference.
French No. 1 draft pick Victor Wembanyama was restricted to nine points, with Keldon Johnson leading San Antonio’s scoring with 22.
Paul George’s 28-point display helped the Clippers bag their second straight win. (Agence France-Presse)