Celtics lose top spot in NBA to Bucks

The surging New York Knick have knocked the Boston Celtics out of top spot in the NBA, triumphing 109-94 at home over the longtime leaders for a sixth straight win.

The Celtics (44-18) slipped percentage points behind the Milwaukee Bucks (43-17), who have won 14 straight games and now own the NBA's best record.

Julius Randle and Immanuel Quickley each scored 23 points and Jalen Brunson added 17 for the Knicks (36-27), who inched ahead of Brooklyn into fifth place in the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics were missing Jaylen Brown in Monday night's match due to personal reasons while fellow All-Star Jayson Tatum struggled through a six-for-18 shooting performance and was ejected in the fourth quarter after picking up his second technical foul.

He finished with 14 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.

Malcolm Brogdon scored 22 for the Celtics and Marcus Smart added 19 points but Boston missed 20 of their first 22 attempts from 3-point range and had their three-game winning streak snapped.

Fellow Eastern Conference heavyweights Philadelphia suffered a painful 101-99 home loss to the Miami Heat.

Jimmy Butler hit an acrobatic reverse layup in the final minutes and finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for Miami.

Joel Embiid had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers while Harden finished with 20 points and 12 assists but missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer that could have won the match.

It was the 76ers' final home game before a five-game trip and they face an incredibly daunting March schedule.

They will play 17 games in 31 days and 12 of the first 15 will be on the road. That includes four sets of games on consecutive nights, with all eight contests on the road in eight different cities.

Meanwhile, LaMelo Ball's frustrating season appears to be over after he suffered a broken ankle while helping the Charlotte Hornets to a 117-106 home win over the lowly Detroit Pistons.

A former NBL rookie of the season as part of the Next Star program in 2019-20, point guard Ball was hurt on a non-contact play in the third quarter.

The Hornets announced after the game that X-rays revealed a fracture to his right ankle.

Ball's other ankle has been bothersome this season - he's sprained his left ankle three times, limiting him to 36 games.

Charlotte have 19 games left and aren't in playoff contention, so it would be hard to imagine the team rushing him back.