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#SportsReport: Celtics Down Raptors; 76ers Beat Bucks

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In Toronto, the Boston Celtics have ended the Raptors' string of 34 straight home wins versus Atlantic Division teams, a league record for a single division. Jaylen Brown delivered 30 points and Kemba Walker added 22 as the Celtics dumped the Raptors, 118-102.

Enes Kanter had 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Celtics snapped an eight-game losing streak north of the border. Kanter was in action after getting clearance from the Canadian government to travel to Toronto. The Turkish native has been a vocal critic of Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government for its treatment of residents and had his passport revoked by his home country two years ago. Fred VanVleet scored 27 points and Chris Boucher had a career-high 24 for the Raptors, who hadn't lost to a division rival at home since Nov. 10, 2015. The outcome keeps the Celtics a half-game ahead of second-place Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division and drops the Raptors 1 ½ games off the pace.

Joel Embiid got the better of Giannis Antetokounmpo in a matchup pitting two of the NBA's best big men. Embiid poured in 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers cruised to a 121-109 win over the league-leading Milwaukee Bucks. Embiid also hit three 3-pointers, and teammate Tobias Harris shot 5-for-7 from beyond the arc as Philadelphia nailed 21 of its 44 attempts from downtown. Harris finished with 22 points and Josh Richardson added 18 to help the Sixers improve to 16-2 at home. Antetokounmpo had 18 points and 14 rebounds but shot just 8-for-27 as the Bucks lost for just the second time in their last 23 games. Khris Middleton had a team-high 31 points for Milwaukee, which trailed by 29 at one point before falling to 27-5.

In an all-Los Angeles battle, the Lakers suffered their fourth straight loss since climbing to the top of the NBA's overall standings at 27-3. Kawhi Leonard scored 11 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and had 12 rebounds in the Clippers' second win in two meetings with the Lakers this season, 111-106. Leonard hit a 3 to cap a 7-0 run that tied it at 101 5:14 remaining. He later added four free throws to help the Clippers get within two games of the Pacific Division-leading Lakers. Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 25 points, Anthony Davis added 24 and LeBron James had 23 with 10 assists and nine rebounds. James was gunning for his 10th Christmas Day victory, which would have tied former Heat teammate Dwyane Wade for the most all-time.

The struggling Warriors looked like contenders by pulling away in the second half of a 116-104 stunner against the Houston Rockets. Golden State trailed by four before holding the Rockets to 36 points after intermission. Guard Damion Lee was the catalyst for Golden State with team highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds. Draymond Green provided 16 of his 20 points in the second half and finished with 11 boards. D'Angelo Russell contributed 20 points as the Warriors improved to 8-24. The Rockets shot just 37 percent from the field, with Russell Westbrook going 11 of 32 while scoring a team-best 30 points. James Harden added 24 points and had 11 assists for Houston, which ended a four-game winning streak and fell to a Southwest Division-leading 21-10.

The Nuggets hosted a Christmas Day game for the first time in a quarter-century and saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end, 112-100 against the Pelicans. Brandon Ingram scored 31 points and Derrick Favors grabbed 13 rebounds for New Orleans, which is 2-0 versus Denver this season and 7-23 against the rest of the league. Jrue Holiday had 20 points to help the Pelicans complete a 3-1 road trip. JJ Redick scored 13 of his 15 points in the second quarter, including a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from near half-court to give the Pelicans a 58-55 lead. Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Denver.


The Chicago White Sox have continued their somewhat pricey makeover. A person familiar with the negotiations tells The Associated Press that veteran slugger Edwin Encarnación has accepted a one-year, $12 million contract with the White Sox. Encarnación is due $11 million in salary next season and a $1 million signing bonus, with the White Sox holding an option for the 2021 season. Encarnación hit 34 home runs in 109 games for Seattle and the Yankees last season. Encarnación joins former AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel and catcher Yasmani Grandal as big-money additions this offseason.


Unranked Houston has come away with the Diamond Head Classic championship. The Cougars are 10-3 after rallying from a 14-point, first-half deficit to beat No. 21 Washington, 75-71. Fabian White Jr. shot 7 of 13 from the field and hit all five of his free throws to finish with a career-high 19 points and earn the tournament's most outstanding player honors. Caleb Mills also had 19 points and hit three of Houston's eight 3-pointers.


ESPN college football reporter Edward Aschoff has died on his 34th birthday. The network announced Aschoff died on Tuesday following a brief illness. Aschoff recently posted on Instagram that he had contracted pneumonia. Aschoff joined ESPN in 2011 and spent the past three seasons reporting from college campuses across the U.S. for ESPN.com, SportsCenter, SEC Network and ESPN radio.


Another sports marriage could be forthcoming. Former world champion skier Lindsay Vonn has asked New Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban to marry her on their two-year dating anniversary. Vonn linked a picture of herself and Subban with his ring, with the couple wearing matching striped pajamas in front of a Christmas tree with three dogs in the foreground.

© The Associated Press 2019. All Rights Reserved.