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Irving, Horford maintain Celtics streak in Bucks win

Kyrie Irving and Al Horford propelled the Boston Celtics to their third straight victory on Thursday with a 96-89 win over the Milwaukee Bucks. Horford scored 27 points while Irving chipped in with 24 as Boston improved to 3-2 in the Eastern Conference to climb to sixth place.

Together Horford and Irving went 21-for-32 from the floor but their efforts masked another poor display overall by the Celtics’ offense. Milwaukee talisman Giannis Antetokounmpo meanwhile was held to fewer than 30 points for the first time this season, but still weighed in with 28 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and three steals.

Khris Middleton and Malcolm Brogdon scored 15 points each as Milwaukee 45 percent at the Milwaukee Arena. Elsewhere Thursday, center Marc Gasol was the star as the Memphis Grizzlies held off a rally by the Dallas Mavericks to win 96-91 at FedExForum. Gasol scored 25 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lay the foundation for a nail-biting win in Memphis.

Point guard Mike Conley added 22 points and four assists as the Grizzlies improved to 4-1. Forward Harrison Barnes top-scored for Dallas with 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavericks threatened to claim back-to-back wins over the Grizzlies following their win in Dallas on Wednesday.

The Grizzlies looked to be cruising to a straightforward win on Thursday after building a 19-point lead at half-time. But the Mavericks gradually clawed their way back into the contest and sneaked into the lead in the fourth quarter at 86-84 following J.J. Barea’s three free throws.

Conley however scored a crucial three-pointer to reclaim the lead and then produced a driving lay-up to give the Grizzlies a three-point cushion that ultimately proved decisive.

In Chicago, the Bulls edged the Atlanta Hawks 91-86 after double digit contributions from Robin Lopez and David Nwaba. Lopez scored 16 points while Nwaba came off the bench to 15 points with 11 rebounds.-AFP

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