So sad: 128-114 victory over Phoenix….

Luka Doncic scored 50 points to reach the 10,000-point plateau to propel the Dallas Mavericks to a 128-114 victory over Phoenix on Monday as Boston defeated the Lakers in a Christmas clash between legendary NBA rivals. Doncic hit eight 3-pointers, his long 3-pointer with 4:52 left in the first quarter pushing him past 10,000 career points. The 24-year-old Serbian is the sixth-fastest to reach 10,000 points by age and ranks seventh in games played with 358. Doncic’s milestone put the Mavs ahead 21-11. But he and the Mavericks had much more work to do against a determined Suns team that rallied from a 15-point deficit to a six-point lead early in the fourth quarter.

A 17-4 win midway through the final quarter gave Dallas a 115-106 lead, and Dallas held on from there, with Doncic gloating about the victory in front of hostile Suns fans. “I enjoy it,” said Doncic, who contributed six rebounds, 15 assists, four steals and three blocked shots. “When you hit a shot, the whole gym is silent. So it’s the best feeling in the world.Grayson Allen scored 19 of his 32 points in the third quarter for Phoenix. Devin Booker added 20 points and 10 assists and Kevin Durant scored 16, but the night belonged to Doncic. He made all 12 of his free throws, becoming the fourth player to score 50 or more points on Christmas, which the NBA traditionally celebrates with a series of festivals. On Monday, that included the Celtics and Lakers – the two teams with 17 NBA titles each. Kristaps Porzingis scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Jayson Tatum added 25 points for the Celtics, who held off a 40-point effort from Lakers star Anthony Davis in their 126-115 victory. Lakers star LeBron James scored just 16 points on five of 14 shooting. The Celtics jumped out to a 12-0 lead and even led by 18 before the Lakers began to tighten up and cut the gap to one point by halftime. Both teams gave each other a scare late in the second period when James and Jaylen Brown collided. Both went down, with James holding his left knee and Brown holding his back, but both returned to the match. Tatum said what he liked most about the win was how Boston responded after the Lakers closed the gap and took a two-point lead early in the third period on a dunk by Jarred Vanderbilt . “And that’s a big victory, isn’t it? It’s Christmas Day and it’s tough to win on the road,” Tatum said after the Celtics raced to a league-best 23-6 record. The day began with the New York Knicks’ 129-122 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks at Madison Square Garden, where Jalen Brunson scored 38 points and the Knicks ended Milwaukee’s seven-game winning streak. The Knicks had lost their last nine games against Milwaukee, including a 130-111 decision on Saturday. Kerr criticizes administrationThe defending champion Denver Nuggets beat Golden State 120-114 in a matchup between the last two title winners, leaving Warriors coach Steve Kerr fuming at management. Jamal Murray scored 28 points and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nikola Jokic overcame a bad day by hitting 18 of 18 on free throws as the Nuggets extended their winning streak to five games. Despite making just four of 12 shots from the field, Jokic finished with 26 points and added 14 rebounds and eight assists to help the Nuggets stay ahead in an up-and-down battle. The Warriors entered the game on a five-game winning streak. But superstar Stephen Curry was limited to 18 points on 7-of-21 shooting, while Andrew Wiggins led Golden State with 22 points off the bench. In Miami, rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored. A career-high 31 points and 10 rebounds led the Heat to a 119-113 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers, who were without NBA Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid. Bam Adebayo scored 26 points with 15 rebounds and Tyler Herro added 22 points for Miami, whose coach Erik Spoelstra improved to 9-0 in Christmas games.

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