NBA: Relentless defense keys Celtics victory

Defense dominated as Boston went back-and-forth with visiting Minnesota for three quarters.

The fourth belonged to the Celtics, who pulled away early in the final period and held off the Timberwolves 91-84 on Friday night.

“We just stuck with it and the defense came and gave us a victory,” said Marcus Smart, who led Boston with 18 points. “Tonight was one of those games where every last one of us from the starters to the guys coming in off the bench were ready.”

Smart scored 16 in the second half and fellow reserve Terry Rozier finished with 14 points for the Celtics, whose bench out-scored Minnesota’s 42-20.

Toronto 129, at Milwaukee 110: Jonas Valanciunas scored all of his 20 points in the decisive third quarter for the Raptors, who won their fourth straight.


at Miami 107, New York 103 (OT): The Heat set a team record by attempting 42 three-pointers in their overtime victory. Wayne Ellington attempted 16 of them and finished with 24 points.

at Philadelphia 114, Detroit 78: Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid almost outproduced the Pistons in the first half and kept pouring it on. Embiid had 23 points and nine rebounds and Simmons had 19 points and nine assists as the 76ers won their fourth straight game.

at Denver 99, Utah 91: Trey Lyles did his best to show the Jazz it was a mistake to let him go, scoring a career-high 26 points and grabbing seven rebounds for the Nuggets.

Washington 102, at Memphis 100: Markieff Morris, who had 12 points and matched his career high with 17 rebounds, converted a pair of free throws with three seconds left to provide the winning margin for tthe Wizards.

at San Antonio 103, Phoenix 89: Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili each scored 21 points as the Spurs beat Suns for ther ninth straight time at home. Ginobili joined Vince Carter as the only 40-year-old players to score 20 points off the bench. He shot seven for 10 from the field in setting a season high for points.

at Portland: 110, Atlanta 89: Seven players scored in double figures for the Trail Blazers, who snapped a three-game losing streak to the Hawks.

Chicago 127, at Dallas 124: Kris Dunn scored a career-high 32 points for the Bulls, who held off a frantic Mavericks rally.

Hornets 108 at Lakers 94