Red-hot Hayward powers Celtics past Mavericks

Sunday, January 06, 2019

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LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) — Gordon Hayward flirted with a triple-double as the Boston Celtics defeated the Dallas Mavericks 114-93 in what might have been Dirk Nowitzki's final appearance at the Boston Garden.

Hayward had 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists before heading to the bench halfway through the fourth quarter with the Celtics ahead by a comfortable 22 points. Hayward was coming off a season-high 35 points against Minnesota on Wednesday.

“It was fun,” said Hayward. “I think when we have good spacing, we have talented players and it just makes the game easier. If you make the right read, everybody gets involved and it's fun.”

Jaylen Brown scored 21 points, Jayson Tatum added 18 points, and Al Horford had 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists in the win.

The Celtics won easily despite playing their second straight game with star guard Kyrie Irving sidelined by a scratched cornea.

Luka Doncic had 19 points and nine assists for Dallas. Harrison Barnes scored 20 points, and DeAndre Jordan had 12 points and 15 rebounds in front of the crowd of 18,600.

Germany's Nowitzki received two standing ovations and Boston fans chanted “Dirk, Dirk” in the final minute. He finished with two rebounds and no points as he considers retiring at the end of the season.

Nowitzki said he hasn't officially made up his mind about a 22nd season, but was grateful to Boston's fans for their support.

“They're great sports fans. It's a great sports town. They know the game and they appreciate the game,” Nowitzki said.

The Mavericks trimmed an 18-point first-half deficit to a point early in the third quarter, but could get no closer.

Elsewhere, Victor Oladipo made a long three-pointer with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to give the Indiana Pacers a 119-116 win over the Chicago Bulls.

“It felt great coming out of my hands, and it banked in,” Oladipo said. “It felt like I didn't bank it, it would have been a swish. I work on that shot all the time.”

Oladipo had 36 points and seven rebounds, and Domantas Sabonis added 23 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers who won their sixth consecutive game. This was the first game of a five-game trip.

Chicago's Zach LaVine hit a three-pointer, but after time had expired in the overtime.

Indiana's Thaddeus Young had 16 points to help the Pacers overcome an early 12-point deficit.

Lauri Markkanen had 27 points, and Kris Dunn had 16 points and 17 assists in the loss for the Bulls.

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