Tatum, Brown too hot for Heat as Celtics roll on

MIAMI (AFP) — Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown came up big once again as the Boston Celtics maintained their perfect start to the season with a 111-104 victory over the Miami Heat on Friday, Oct. 21.

Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics shoots over Kyle Lowry #7 and Tyler Herro #14 of the Miami Heat during the third quarter at FTX Arena on October 21, 2022 in Miami, Florida. (AFP)

Tatum, who scored 35 points in Boston's season-opening defeat of Philadelphia on Tuesday, produced a 29-point salvo as the Celtics outmuscled their Eastern Conference rivals on the road in Florida.

Brown, who also scored 35 points in Tuesday's victory over the Sixers, backed Tatum with 28 points in another polished offensive performance.

Derrick White and Grand Williams were the only other players in double figures for Boston with 10 points apiece.

Friday's clash marked another meeting between the two Eastern Conference rivals, who have faced each other in the post-season in two of the past three seasons.

"I love playing against the Heat -- we've got some history the last couple of years," Tatum told ESPN afterwards.

"They make you a better team. They've got a lot of pride, a lot of great players and a great coach. They never quit. So it's always a good test to play against a team like that because you know it's going to be a battle."

Boston's latest victory was another boost for interim head coach Joe Mazzulla, who only took over last month after previous head coach Ime Udoka was banned for a season over a relationship with a female member of staff.

"I don't know if two games counts as a winning streak, but we'll take it," Tatum said. "(Mazzulla) has been terrific. He's learning as he goes. But we're all in this together -- we're trying to help him out as much as he's trying to help us out.

"I'm happy for him. It's hard to win in this league."

Tyler Herro led Miami's scorers with 25 points while Bam Adebayo added 19 and Jimmy Butler 18.

Elsewhere on Friday, Jonas Valanciunas led the scoring as New Orleans preserved their unbeaten record with a 124-112 road win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Brandon Ingram provided offensive support with a 28-point haul while CJ McCollum (21 points) and Zion Williamson (16) also posted double-digit totals.

Gordon Hayward led the Hornets' scoring with 26 points in a game that New Orleans led from start to finish.

In Brooklyn, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving combined for 57 points as the Nets bounced back from their season-opening loss with a 109-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

Durant scored 27 points while Irving led the scorers with 30 points -- including five three-pointers -- as the Nets overturned a 10-point third quarter deficit to claim victory.

Elsewhere Friday, Atlanta made it two wins out of two with a 108-98 defeat of the Orlando Magic, Trae Young leading the scoring for the Hawks with 25 points.

Orlando's scoring meanwhile included a 20-point haul from Paolo Banchero, the number one pick in this year's NBA Draft.

Washington are also unbeaten after two games following a 102-100 win against the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

Kyle Kuzma led the Wizards' scoring with 26 points, with Bradley Beal adding 19 as part of a balanced offensive performance by Washington.

Nuggets stun Warriors

Nikola Jokic posted a 26-point triple double as the Denver Nuggets held off a ferocious late fightback from the Golden State Warriors to defeat the NBA champions 128-123 on the road.

Two-time and reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Jokic led from the front as Denver bounced back from a midweek drubbing against Utah to dig in for a deserved victory at the Chase Center in San Francisco.

Serbian star Jokic led the Denver scoring and had 12 rebounds with 10 assists as seven Denver players finished in double figures.

Stephen Curry topped the scorers for Golden State with 34 points but the Warriors fell just short of completing a spectacular second-half comeback after trailing by 18 points at the break.