Jaylen Brown tossed in 41 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Boston Celtics moved closer to the NBA’s best record by earning a 137-93 home victory against the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday night.
The Celtics (52-23) entered Sunday’s game as the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference standings, two games behind idle Milwaukee. The Bucks own the best record in the league (53-21).
Malcolm Brogdon added 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the Celtics, who also received 19 points and eight rebounds from Derrick White.
Zach Collins led San Antonio with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Malaki Branham finished with 15 points for the Spurs.
San Antonio trailed 72-66 early in the third, but Boston had a 96-77 advantage after three quarters and led by 31 midway through the fourth.
The Spurs (19-56) dropped to 6-31 in road games and are battling Houston to stay out of the Western Conference cellar. San Antonio has lost four in a row and six of its last seven.
Each team was without its top scorer. Boston’s Jayson Tatum was scratched about an hour before Sunday’s tip-off because of a left hip contusion. Tatum is averaging 30.1 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.7 assists. It’s the sixth game he has missed this season.
San Antonio was missing Keldon Johnson because of a foot injury. Johnson scored 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds during Friday night’s 136-124 loss to Washington. It was the eighth time he’s scored at least 30 points in a game this season, and his fifth double-double.
Johnson, who sat out two games earlier in the week because of a neck strain, is averaging 22 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
The Spurs led 32-30 after one quarter, but the Celtics had a 68-58 lead at halftime. Brown had 26 points in the first half.
The Celtics beat the Spurs 121-116 on Jan.7, the only other meeting between the teams this season.