The Boston Celtics showcased their championship pedigree by trouncing the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks in a lopsided 140-99 victory. Led by Jayson Tatum’s 40-point explosion and Jaylen Brown’s 30 points, the Celtics demonstrated their ability to compete with the best in the league.

Closing the Gap in the East

With this win, the Celtics (53-24) now trail the Bucks (55-22) by just two games in the Eastern Conference standings. Boston’s impressive performance in the season series, which they won 2-1, positions them as a potential postseason threat to Milwaukee. The Celtics ousted the Bucks in seven games during last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals, and their recent success suggests they could do it again.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks’ star player, managed to score 24 points but couldn’t prevent their most lopsided loss of the season. Milwaukee was coming off a high-scoring 149-136 victory against Indiana the night before, where they shot a season-high 62.4%.

Pelicans Capitalize on Jokic’s Absence

Meanwhile, the New Orleans Pelicans secured a 107-88 win over the Denver Nuggets, taking advantage of the reigning MVP Nikola Jokic’s absence due to calf tightness. Brandon Ingram recorded his third triple-double of the season with 31 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists, powering the Pelicans to victory.

Jonas Valanciunas contributed a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds, while CJ McCollum added 23 points to the Pelicans’ tally. New Orleans tied Minnesota for seventh place in the Western Conference with their sixth win in the last seven games.

Jamal Murray led the Nuggets with 21 points, and Bruce Brown chipped in 19. However, Denver’s lead in the Western Conference diminished to three games over Memphis with just six games remaining. The absence of Jokic proved to be a significant factor, and the Nuggets will be hoping for his swift return as they approach the playoffs.

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