NBA roundup: Celtics rout Rockets in Udoka's return to Boston


NBA roundup: Celtics rout Rockets in Udoka's return to Boston

The Celtics recorded another win
The Celtics recorded another winProfimedia
Jaylen Brown (27) scored 32 points and Jayson Tatum (25) added 27 as the Boston Celtics remained unbeaten at home, defeating Houston 145-113 on Saturday in former Celtics coach Ime Udoka's return to Boston.

The Celtics improved to an NBA-best 30-9 overall and 19-0 at home, the league's only undefeated club at home stretching its team-record home win streak to start a season.

Brown, who scored 21 points in the third quarter when the Celtics pulled away to stay, hit 11-of-15 shots from the floor, 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and added six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots.

"Being aggressive. A lot of times defense gets you going," Brown said of his third-period success. "I get it on the run and when we play like that in transition we're tough to beat."

Udoka guided the Celtics to the 2022 NBA Finals, where they lost to Golden State, but he was suspended just before the start of the 2022-23 season training camp over an improper relationship with a team staffer.

Udoka ultimately was dropped and replaced by former assistant Joe Mazzulla on a permanent basis last February.

"I'm glad to see Ime back coaching on the sidelines," Brown said. "I'm glad to see a lot of the staff we spent time with over there in Houston. I wish those guys the best of luck."

Asked how he reflected on his departure, Udoka said, "Job not finished. The relationships you build and the people you impact, so that would be the biggest thing."

When it came to his regrets, Udoka was equally matter-of-fact.

"The biggest thing I'd say overall is letting some people down, for sure," Udoka said. "But we've talked it out and I've seen a lot of these people throughout the summer and talk regularly and so we move past it."

Mazzulla played down the impact of Udoka's return with the Rockets, who hired him as head coach last April.

"The fact Ime is back is great," he said. "But I don't think that really has anything to do with winning or losing."

Both were important to the Celtics after being thumped 135-102 at Milwaukee on Thursday.

"Last game we didn't feel like we were at our best," Brown said. "We wanted to come out and make sure we stayed undefeated on the home court."

Thunder share West lead

The Oklahoma City Thunder jumped into a share of the Western Conference lead as number three NBA scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander netted 37 points to lead the host Thunder over Orlando 112-100.

The Thunder's win streak stretched to five games and with a record of 27-11 the club matched the Minnesota Timberwolves atop the West.

At Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points, Damian Lillard added 27 and Khris Middleton netted 24 with 10 assists to lead the Bucks over visiting Golden State 129-118.

Jonathan Kuminga scored 28 off the bench to lead the Warriors, who rested star guard Stephen Curry.

Rookie Jordan Hawkins scored a season-best 34 points to lead the New Orleans Pelicans over host Dallas 118-108. Hawkins hit 11-of-19 shots from the floor, 6-of-12 from 3-point range.

Kyrie Irving's 33 points led the Mavericks, who were without Luka Doncic due to an ankle injury.

Chicago's Nikola Vucevic had 24 points and 16 rebounds while DeMar DeRozan added 20 points to lead the Bulls over host San Antonio 122-116.

Tre Jones scored 30 points to lead the Spurs, who were without French rookie star Victor Wembanyama, who is playing restricted minutes due to an ankle injury.

In Atlanta, Kyle Kuzma scored 29 points and the Washington Wizards (7-31) snapped a six-game losing streak with a 127-99 victory over the host Hawks.

The Utah Jazz, fueled by 29 points, nine rebounds and five assists from Lauri Markkanen, beat the Los Angeles Lakers 132-123.

Lakers star Anthony Davis had a triple-double of 15 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists, but with LeBron James sidelined by a left ankle injury it wasn't enough.

The Jazz scored 27 fast-break points to the Lakers 14 and parlayed 12 Lakers turnovers into 23 points.


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