Celtics, Bucks score big wins in NBA east

·2-min read

Instead of bowing to the NBA's hottest team, the Boston Celtics used a sensational 31-3 run to halt the Denver Nuggets' eight-game winning streak with a stunning 18-point victory.

The Nuggets looked well on their way to their ninth win in a row when they led by 14 points late in the third quarter but the visitors dominated from that point on to prevail 105-87.

"We just needed something to get us going," Boston coach Brad Stevens said after his Celtics (28-26) won for the fifth time in six games.

Jayson Tatum led all scorers with 28 points, two days after a career-best 53-point performance against Minnesota.

The Nuggets, who had won 17 of 20, looked well on their way to victory at 79-65 but that's when Jaylen Brown (20 points) got hot and Kemba Walker had a rim-rattling dunk that energised the Celtics.

They scored the next 15 points to grab their first lead of the game with 10 minutes and 32 seconds remaining and were never headed.

The Los Angeles Clippers - third in the Western Conference - moved two games clear of the Nuggets with a 131-124 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Marcus Morris Sr. led the Clippers in Kawhi Leanard's absence with 33 points, while Paul George had 32 points and nine assists.

Zion Williamson fell one point shy of his career best but his haul of 38 drove the New Orleans Pelicans past the Cleveland Cavaliers 116-109.

The San Antonio Spurs strengthened their hold on ninth in the west with DeMar DeRozan's tie-breaking jump shot with half a second to play securing their 119-117 win over the Dallas Mavericks.

The Milwaukee Bucks, Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat and New York Knicks all won to consolidate their respective places in the Eastern Conference top eight.

Khris Middleton collected 21 points and eight rebounds to lift visiting Milwaukee to a 124-87 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 32 points and Clint Capela had 20 points and 15 rebounds for Atlanta in the 105-101 success at the Charlotte Hornets.

Miami was led by Bam Adebayo with a game-high 22 points in the 107-98 success over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Julius Randle's 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists helped New York end a nine-game head-to-head losing streak against the Toronto Raptors, winning 102-96.

Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers ran out 132-125 victors over the Memphis Grizzlies and the Minnesota Timberwolves scored a 121-117 win over the Chicago Bulls.