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Magic get the better of Celtics again, Nets rally to beat Pistons

Orlando's Paolo Banchero attempts a basket against Al Horford in the Magic's 95-92 NBA victory over the Boston Celtics. ©AFP

Los Angeles (AFP) - NBA top draft pick Paolo Banchero scored 31 points to lead surging Orlando to a 95-92 victory in Boston on Sunday, the Magic's second win over the Celtics in three days.

Banchero, who scored 22 points in the first half, connected on six of his seven three-point attempts.

The Magic, whose slow season start included a nine-game losing streak, have now won six straight.

Their second consecutive win in Boston meant the Celtics, who fell to 22-9, slipped a hair behind the 21-8 Milwaukee Bucks atop the Eastern Conference.

Elsewhere there were big wins for the Brooklyn Nets and Golden State Warriors -- thanks to big nights from Kevin Durant and Jordan Poole.

Durant scored 43 points and the Nets erased a 17-point halftime deficit to beat the Pistons 124-121 in Detroit while Poole scored 43 for the reigning champion Warriors in a 126-110 victory in Toronto.

In Boston, the Celtics were without their leading scorer, Jayson Tatum, who missed the game for personal reasons.

Jaylen Brown led Boston with 24 points, Marcus Smart added 15 and Grant Williams chipped in 14.

After struggling to find shots in the first half, the Celtics put together a 16-6 scoring run in the third and took a 71-68 lead into the fourth quarter.

Boston trailed by one in the final minute when Grant Williams couldn't get an inbounds pass to Brown and Orlando scored again.Williams then missed a three-pointer as time expired.

Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said there was no need to panic, despite the fact that the Celtics have lost four of their last five games.

"We have to continue to work, we have to continue to build consistency and habits," he said."Our guys are doing a lot of good things."

Banchero, 20, said Orlando's recent focus on defensive intensity paid off down the stretch.

"It showed right there on those last two possessions," he said."We were locked in."

Brooklyn star Kevin Durant said defense was the key to the Nets' rally.Trailing 71-54 at halftime, the Nets out-scored the Pistons 44-25 in the third quarter and held on for the win.

Durant scored 26 points in the third period.Kyrie Irving added 38 points for the Nets, whose seven-point lead was cut to one by Bojan Bogdanovic's running three-pointer with 40.1 seconds to play.

Irving made two free throws to push the lead back to three, but a basket by Detroit's Alec Burks pulled the Pistons back within one before Durant made two free throws that were enough for the final margin.

"I thought they took it to us in that first half," Durant said."They were downhill, getting to the rim whenever they wanted to get into our paint.

"I just think we upped the pressure, upped the physicality and were able to get back in the game."

Road Warriors

In Toronto, Poole's 43 were a career high.The Warriors jumped on the Raptors early on the way to just their third road win of the season.

Klay Thompson and Draymond Green scored 17 points apiece as the Warriors won for the first time in five games this season without Stephen Curry -- who is sidelined indefinitely after hurting his left shoulder in a loss at Indiana.

The Warriors' 18 three-pointers included eight in the first quarter, three of those from Green.

Poole connected on five of 11 from beyond the arc and shot 14-for-23 overall.

"We needed to get a big-time win on the road against a really good team," Poole said."We were just connected and we executed from the beginning of the game.We were able to knock down shots, play team ball, we eliminated turnovers."

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