NBA Daily Roundup
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NBA DAILY FOR WEDNESDAY, APR. 16
Recaps of NBA games played Tuesday
Knicks pound Nets despite Carmelo Anthony's absence
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- At least the New York Knicks can say they won a city championship.
Only the Brooklyn Nets have a chance to compete for a real one -- though they'd better play a lot better than this.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and the Knicks, playing without the injured Carmelo Anthony, beat the Nets 109-98 on Tuesday night to win the season series between city rivals.
And in an otherwise massively disappointing season, apparently local bragging rights do matter.
"Hell yeah," Knicks guard J.R. Smith said... Anthony had an MRI exam Tuesday that revealed a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He won't play Wednesday against Toronto, the final game of the first season in his 11-year career that won't end with a playoff berth -- and potentially his last as a member of the Knicks. He has said he will become a free agent in July.
Marcus Thornton scored 24 points for the Nets, who weren't sharp despite playing starters Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson. The other starter, Shaun Livingston, remained sidelined with a sprained right big toe... Plumlee finished with 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds.
ESPN.com reports: That was ... a glorified exhibition: The Nets' effort level left something to be desired, and the Knicks' played like a team that had nothing to lose. There were a slew of highlight-reel dunks and 30-plus-foot 3s, but it was probably the least hard-fought of all of the 2013-14 battles of the boroughs.
Blake Griffin, Clips cruise past Nuggets for franchise-record 57th win
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin won't be playing in Portland, regardless of whether his 16th technical of the season is rescinded.
Griffin will stay home to rest, along with J.J. Redick, while the rest of the Los Angeles Clippers close out the regular season against the Trail Blazers.
They recorded their franchise-record 57th victory with a 117-105 win over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, when Griffin scored 24 points.
"I'm very happy that we're doing this stuff, but it's not what we want," Clippers coach Doc Rivers said.
Chris Paul had 21 points and 10 assists, and Redick added 18 points in the Clippers' finale at home, where they went 34-7 for another franchise mark. DeAndre Jordan had 13 points and 16 rebounds... Griffin's 16th tech triggered a league-mandated one-game suspension. But he said he thinks the league might rescind it... Kenneth Faried led the Nuggets with 21 points and Aaron Brooks added 19. Mozgov had 18 points and 11 rebounds as Denver's three-game winning streak ended.
ESPN.com reports: The Clippers outscored the Nuggets 21-6 from the 3-point line in the first half. It was enough to build a 17-point halftime lead that allowed them to coast to a victory in the second half.
NBA DAILY FOR TUESDAY, APR. 15
Recaps of NBA games played Monday
Carter-Williams leads 76ers past Celtics, 113-108
The AP reports: PHILADELPHIA -- Chris Johnson stepped back, heaved up a desperation 3-pointer and watched it fall in to tie the game with 0.9 seconds on the clock.
Or so he thought.
As it turned out, Johnson stepped back a little too far, and the shot was discounted immediately when officials ruled he stepped out of bounds. The 76ers were awarded possession, and James Anderson made a pair of free throws a half-second later to seal Philadelphia's 113-108 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.
"That's that," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "His foot was out of bounds."
Philadelphia led by 19 points in the second quarter, but Johnson hit 3-pointers on consecutive Boston possessions to trim the deficit to two as part of a 14-3 run to close the third quarter.
Raptors drop Bucks, win franchise-best 48th of season
The AP reports: TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors keep piling up accomplishments.
But they realize they have more to do this season.
Greivis Vasquez scored 25 points, Kyle Lowry had 24 and the Raptors set a franchise record with their 48th win, beating the Milwaukee Bucks 110-100 on Monday night.
"This is probably the best team I've ever been on," Vasquez said.
It may well be, but the true measure of Toronto's success will come in their postseason performance.
"We can't just be happy," Vasquez said. "We've got to continue to get better and make a run in the playoffs."
Pacers get top seed in East as short-handed Heat fall to Wizards
The AP reports: WASHINGTON -- LeBron James' only visible significant role was that of postgame heckler, interrupting Michael Beasley's interview amid a loose, upbeat locker room that normally wouldn't jibe with a 21-point loss -- or throwing in a towel in the race for a No. 1 seed.
James and Chris Bosh took the night off Monday, and the Heat were beaten 114-93 by the Washington Wizards in a no-contest game that guaranteed the Eastern Conference's top seed for the Indiana Pacers.
So, no disappointment at all? "There would be no disappointment," said Dwyane Wade, who played because he needed some minutes after his recent nine-game layoff with a hamstring injury. "When the playoffs start, we have a new season and we will be looking forward to it."
Chris Douglas-Roberts' shot at buzzer lifts Bobcats past Hawks
The AP reports: ATLANTA -- One team was motivated by the goal of dodging the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs. The other team's goal was resting its starters.
The result was predictable.
Chris Douglas-Roberts dribbled into the lane and sank a short jumper as time expired, and the Charlotte Bobcats overcame a 15-point deficit in the final period to beat the Atlanta Hawks 95-93 on Monday night.
Al Jefferson had 27 points and 15 rebounds for Charlotte, which remained one game behind Washington in the race for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Gary Neal had 17.
"Great shot," said Jefferson of Douglas-Robert's game-winner. "Great play. Great finish. Great win."
Mike Dunleavy's 22 points lead Bulls to win over Magic
The AP reports: CHICAGO -- There's just one game remaining in the regular season and the NBA playoffs begin on Saturday.
The Chicago Bulls still don't know their first-round opponent, but that's fine with Joakim Noah.
"Whatever happens, happens," Noah said after the Bulls' 108-95 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday. "Our mentality is just getting ready for the next game, getting ready for Charlotte. We're going to focus on out next opponent and everything will take care of itself."
Noah had 18 points and 10 rebounds and eight assists, Mike Dunleavy scored 22 points and the Bulls pulled away late.
Rockets down Spurs to claim home-court advantage vs. Blazers
The AP reports: HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets needed one win in their last two games or a loss by Portland on Wednesday to secure home-court advantage in their first-round playoff series against the Trail Blazers.
They were certainly happy to wrap it up Monday night instead of waiting until Wednesday to learn their fate.
Chandler Parsons scored 21 points and Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones added 20 apiece to lift the Rockets to a 104-98 win over the San Antonio Spurs.
The victory gave No. 4 seed Houston home-court advantage in their first-round playoff series with Portland.
"We fought hard for it," coach Kevin McHale said. "It took a little longer than I hoped, but we knew we had to get 54 wins and we got there with one to spare. I'm glad we didn't have to wait until Wednesday to try and get it."
Tyreke Evans scores career-high 41 as Pelicans dump Thunder
The AP reports: NEW ORLEANS -- Not long after Pelicans coach Monty Williams said he expected Tyreke Evans to take the night off to rest his sore right knee, Evans surprised his team by suiting up.
Then he stunned the Oklahoma City Thunder with one of the best performances of his career.
Evans scored a career-high 41 points to go with nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals, and the New Orleans Pelicans snapped an eight-game skid by topping the playoff-bound Thunder 101-89 on Monday night.
"It was one of those, man, where I felt like nobody could guard me out there," Evans said. "The knee was sore but I was just fighting through it. ... It was just one of those games where I wanted to win, no matter what it took."
Nick Young scores 41 to lead Lakers past host Jazz
The AP reports: SALT LAKE CITY -- Nick Young gave the Lakers a reason to smile near the end of this gloomy season.
Young scored a season-high 41 points and helped Los Angeles snap a seven-game losing streak with a 119-104 victory against the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
The mercurial guard bounced around the court, playing full-throttle... Jodie Meeks had 23 points and Jordan Hill added 21 for Lakers, who had only eight healthy players.
Alec Burks scored 22 points and Gordon Hayward had 21 points for Utah. Enes Kanter had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Trey Burke chipped in 17 for the Jazz, who have lost 10 of 11 games.
Zach Randolph scores 32 as Grizzlies claim NBA's final playoff berth
The AP reports: PHOENIX -- The Memphis Grizzlies are back in the playoffs and the upstart Phoenix Suns are staying home.
Mike Conley and Zach Randolph made the critical plays in the final 68 seconds and the Grizzlies pulled out a 97-91 victory over Phoenix that clinched the last playoff spot in the West and eliminated the Suns from postseason competition.
Randolph scored 32 points to lead the inside power game that was just enough for Memphis to beat the Suns for the fourth time in four games this season.
There were 15 lead changes in an intense fourth quarter, with Memphis scoring the final seven after Phoenix took a 91-90 lead on Miles Plumlee's tip-in with 1:27 to play.
Stephen Curry, Warriors hit 50-win plateau, wrap up sixth seed
The AP reports: OAKLAND, Calif. -- As the buzzer sounded at the end of the final home game of the regular season, players surrounded Golden State Warriors coach Mark Jackson for a group hug -- then began jumping and dancing around him.
Most had never felt what winning 50 games is like.
Stephen Curry had 32 points and 15 assists, rallying the Warriors from 19 points down in the first half to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 130-120 on Monday night to touch off the celebration.
"Fifty is a special number," Jackson said. "Some of them never hit 50, and I don't want to be prophetic, but some of them, there's a chance they won't ever hit 50 again."
NBA DAILY FOR MONDAY, APR. 14
Recaps of NBA games played Sunday
Pacers top Thunder, move win away from clinching East's top seed
The AP reports: INDIANAPOLIS -- The Pacers were back to being themselves Sunday.
They made shots. They defended hard for 48 minutes. Lance Stephenson regained his swagger and, yes, the reeling Pacers even looked like a playoff-ready team.
David West made three free throws in the final 15 seconds and Stephenson produced his league-leading fifth triple-double to give Indiana a 102-97 win over Oklahoma City, putting the Pacers on the cusp of clinching the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference... Paul George finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds and C.J. Watson scored a season high 20 points. The Pacers didn't even need much from Roy Hibbert, who had six rebounds, no points and was 0 for 9 from the field.
The Thunder (58-22) shot 42.9 percent from the field, were 7 of 28 on 3-pointers and were outrebounded 46-32.
Raptors blow lead but still beat Pistons 116-107
The AP reports: AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Kyle Lowry picked up his fifth foul at around the midway point of the fourth quarter -- then was called for his sixth 20 seconds later.
It was the type of mistake that could prove costly for Toronto in the playoffs, but this time the Raptors were able to overcome it.
DeMar DeRozan scored 14 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter, and the Raptors tied a franchise record for victories with a 116-107 win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday. Lowry scored 28 points before fouling out with 5:51 remaining... Andre Drummond had 14 points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons in the final home game of their dismal season. Detroit's Josh Smith missed a fourth straight game with tendinitis in his left knee.
Teletovic scores 20 as Nets beat Magic, 97-88
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- Going into their second straight appearance in the postseason, Nets coach Jason Kidd was looking to see how his players would respond in certain situations.
Kidd used a bigger starting lineup after having gone smaller for most of the season since center Brook Lopez was hurt in December.
Then with a 12-point fourth-quarter lead down to six with 5:27 left, the rookie coach inserted most of his starters back into the game on Sunday night.
Mirza Teletovic scored a team-high 20 points, Joe Johnson and Mason Plumlee each added 17 and the Nets beat the Orlando Magic 97-88... Deron Williams had 16 points, five assists and four steals for the Nets, who have a two-game lead for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race over the idle Washington Wizards.
Bulls sent to 3rd-place tie as Knicks end Chicago's 7-game win streak
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- In nearly 800 NBA regular-games, Carmelo Anthony had never played in one like this.
It didn't matter.
Eliminated from postseason contention for the first time in his 11-year career, Anthony said it was tough even coming to the arena on Sunday night.
"But mentally, you just had to put yourself in that mindset. Although you're not playing for nothing, if you suit up, you've still got to go out there and play ball," Anthony said.
He and the Knicks did it well, getting 20 points from Tim Hardaway Jr. and beating the Chicago Bulls 100-89.
No longer with any hopes of their own, the Knicks snapped the Bulls' seven-game winning streak and dropped them back into a tie with Toronto for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference with two to play.
Blazers edge Warriors in OT despite Stephen Curry's 47-point night
The AP reports: PORTLAND, Ore. -- LaMarcus Aldridge said an overtime thriller over Golden State was good preparation for the looming postseason.
"It definitely shows what we're going to see in the playoffs," Portland's All-Star forward said, "where every possession counts and every basket counts."
Aldridge had 26 points, including the go-ahead basket in the waning moments of overtime, and the Trail Blazers emerged with a 119-117 victory over the Warriors on Sunday night.
The win, which featured 16 lead changes and nine ties, assured the Blazers of no less than the fifth seed in the playoffs.
It also assured a postseason matchup against Houston, sitting in fourth in the Western Conference. With a win in one of their two remaining games, the Rockets can clinch home-court advantage.
McCallum, Cousins rally Kings past Timberwolves
The AP reports: SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Barring a change of heart from the league offices, Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins has played his last game of the season.
He definitely went out with a bang.
Cousins recorded his eighth straight double-double with 35 points and 15 rebounds but picked up his 16th technical foul of the season late in the fourth quarter of the Kings' 106-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.
By NBA rules, Cousins must sit out Sacramento's final regular season game at home against Phoenix on Wednesday.
"I'm not going to talk about it," said Cousins, who had sat for several minutes in front of his locker with his head hung low.
Grizzlies move full game ahead of Suns with victory over Lakers
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- After a rough start to the season, Mike Conley was thinking of winning some games, not making the playoffs.
What a difference a few months has made.
The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Lakers 102-90 on Sunday night to move a game ahead of idle Phoenix in the race for the final Western Conference playoff berth.
"It's amazing we're in this position," said Conley, who scored 24 points.
Marc Gasol added 18 points and 15 rebounds and Mike Miller had 13 points for the Grizzlies, who head to Phoenix for a showdown with the Suns on Monday night.
"They're playing very well," Conley said of the Suns. "These are the games we get up for."
NBA DAILY FOR SUNDAY, APR. 13
Recaps of NBA games played Saturday
Clippers beat Kings for team record-tying 56th victory
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers tuned up for the playoffs with a clinic on scoring in transition, whether it was going coast-to-coast for layups or ferocious dunks.
The display produced a 117-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Saturday, giving the Clippers their franchise record-tying 56th win of the regular season. Blake Griffin had 27 points and nine assists, DeAndre Jordan had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Chris Paul added 17 points and 10 assists... J.J. Redick had 13 points and Matt Barnes scored 12 in helping the Clippers improve to 33-7 at Staples Center, breaking the franchise record for home victories in a season... DeMarcus Cousins had his seventh straight double-double with 32 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Kings, who lost their fifth in a row in their last road game of the season. Rudy Gay scored 16 points, and former Clipper Reggie Evans had 14 points and 14 rebounds.
Al Jefferson's double-double powers Bobcats past 76ers
The AP reports: CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Steve Clifford isn't exactly singing his team's praises after the Bobcats won for the sixth time in seven games.
In fact, the first-year head coach said he's a little concerned about his team's focus as the playoffs approach... The Bobcats held on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 111-105 on Saturday behind 29 points and 12 rebounds from Al Jefferson, but it was far from an impressive victory... Michael Carter-Williams had 23 points and eight assists to lead the 76ers, who have lost 16 of their past 17 games on the road.
Wizards move closer to 6-seed, guarantee Bucks worst record in NBA
The AP reports: WASHINGTON -- For all their flaws, the Washington Wizards had no business whatsoever losing to the Milwaukee Bucks -- especially after Brandon Knight was scratched with a sore right hip seconds before tipoff.
Still, the Wizards waited until the third quarter to start playing serious defense against a team short on ball handlers. They pulled away by forcing 14 second-half turnovers Saturday night in a 104-91 win that moves them closer to claiming the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference... Bradley Beal scored 26 points, and Wall added 15 points and eight assists for the Wizards, who also clinched the franchise's first winning record since 2008 -- which was also the last time they made the playoffs... Khris Middleton and Ramon Sessions scored 20 points apiece to lead the Bucks, whose loss guaranteed they will finish with at least a tie for the worst record in the NBA. Milwaukee trails Philadelphia by two games with two to play at the bottom of the league.
Hawks clinch No. 8 spot while Heat fall into first-place tie with Pacers
The AP reports: ATLANTA -- Jeff Teague says he never doubted the Atlanta Hawks would be in the playoffs.
Even with Al Horford's season-ending injury in December and a 1-14 stretch in February and March, the Hawks made the Eastern Conference field with two games remaining... Atlanta's third straight victory eliminated the New York Knicks from playoff contention. Williams scored the Hawks' last 12 points.
LeBron James finished with 27 points and Dwyane Wade, in his first game since missing nine straight with a sore left hamstring, scored 24 for Miami.
Celtics cruise past Cavaliers, snap 13-game road losing streak
The AP reports: CLEVELAND -- The Boston Celtics are trying to finish the season on a high note.
The Cleveland Cavaliers are ending with another puzzling tailspin.
Rookie Kelly Olynyk matched a career high with 25 points and the short-handed Celtics dominated the Cavaliers in a 111-99 win Saturday night.
Avery Bradley also scored 25 points for the Celtics, who built a 33-point lead early in the fourth quarter despite dressing only eight players. Olynyk had a career-high 12 rebounds, and Jeff Green and Brandon Bass each scored 19 points... Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters each scored 15 points for Cleveland, but neither played in the fourth quarter that began with Boston leading 89-58. Forward Luol Deng missed his second straight game for Cleveland with a sore back.
James Harden scores 33 points as Rockets rally against Pelicans
The AP reports: HOUSTON -- James Harden wasn't concerned about overstating the importance of Houston's come-from-behind victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.
"We needed this win more than anything," he said.
Harden had 33 points and 13 assists and the Rockets rallied for a 111-104 win over the Pelicans to maintain their spot in the Western Conference standings with the postseason just days away. The Rockets had lost two in a row and needed the win to stay ahead of Portland in fourth place in the West... Luke Babbitt, who was signed by the Pelicans in February after playing 18 games in Russia this season, had a career-high 24 points as New Orleans dropped its eighth straight. Austin Rivers had a season-high 20 points with 10 rebounds and six assists, and Anthony Morrow also had 20 points.
Dirk Nowitzki, Monta Ellis fuel Mavericks past Suns and into playoffs
The AP reports: DALLAS -- Monta Ellis came to Dallas because he wanted to pair up with Dirk Nowitzki and see what kind of scoring tag team they could be.
With the Mavericks in danger of making their playoff road much more difficult, they shared their best moment of the season.
Ellis matched his season high with 37 points and Nowitzki scored 21 of his 23 during a second-half rally that carried the Mavericks back to the postseason in a 101-98 victory against the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night... Eric Bledsoe scored 29 points and Channing Frye had 21 after a hot start for the Suns, who play Memphis on Monday night in a game that figures to go a long way toward deciding the final playoff team in the West.
Kenneth Faried keys Nuggets' come-from-behind win over Jazz
The AP reports: DENVER -- Kenneth Faried scored 24 points and pulled down 21 rebounds Saturday night in the short-handed Denver Nuggets' 101-94 come-from-behind win over the Utah Jazz.
Randy Foye added 26 points and Evan Fournier 23 for the Nuggets, who trailed most of the night before sending Utah to its fourth straight loss and evening the season series with their rivals at two games each.
Foye's 3-pointer with 6:54 left gave Denver its first lead of the night at 77-76... Gordon Hayward led Utah with 23 points, and Enes Kanter added 22 points and 14 rebounds.
NBA DAILY FOR SATURDAY, APR. 12
Recaps of NBA games played Friday
Nene, Beal lead Wizards past Magic, 96-86
The AP reports: ORLANDO, Fla. -- Back in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, the Washington Wizards aren't sure if seeding matters.
Washington rallied to beat Orlando 96-86 and move a game ahead of Charlotte for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference with three games left.
If the Wizards hold on to the sixth seed, they will face either Toronto or Chicago in the first round. If they drop to No. 7, it's either Indiana or Miami.
"I think it matters where we finish, but I've never been in the playoffs so I don't really know how it goes," said Wizards guard Bradley Beal, who had 16 points against Orlando. "No matter who we get, it's going to be a tough series and we're going to have to pick it up offensively. I think defensively, we're solid, but we're going to have to start knocking down more shots."
Carmelo Anthony scores 30 as Knicks stay in playoff picture with win
The AP reports: TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors clinched the Atlantic Division title on Friday night.
But just not the way they wanted.
Carmelo Anthony scored 30 points, Amar'e Stoudemire had a season-high 24 points and 11 rebounds and the New York Knicks kept their slim playoff hopes alive by beating the Raptors 108-100.
Victory would have given Toronto its second Atlantic crown and first since 2006-07.
Instead, the Raptors got that a few minutes after walking off the court when Atlanta beat Brooklyn 93-88.
Celtics beat Bobcats to claim first win in 10 games
The AP reports: BOSTON -- Phil Pressey had a career-high 13 assists, dove for loose balls and tipped a missed shot to a teammate with three seconds left.
Not bad for Boston's 5-foot-11 undrafted rookie who learned after pregame warmups that he would start for just the ninth time.
"I started before, so it really wasn't that big a deal," he said.
It was to the Celtics, who held off a late surge and broke a season-long nine-game losing streak with a 106-103 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night.
Pressey got the call when Rajon Rondo realized his left shin was too sore for him to play.
Hawks handle Nets to close in on playoff spot
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- Jeff Teague wasn't letting anything stand in the Atlanta Hawks' way, not even his own brother.
Paul Millsap had 27 points and 10 rebounds, and the Hawks moved to the verge of a playoff spot with a 93-88 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night.
Though the Hawks couldn't clinch the final Eastern Conference berth because the Knicks won earlier in Toronto, Atlanta remained two games up with three to play. The Hawks need just one more win or New York loss, and can secure their postseason place by beating Miami at home on Saturday.
Atlanta scored the final six points after Brooklyn took an 88-87 lead with 2:22 left.
LeBron James, Heat turn back Pacers, take back East's No. 1
The AP reports: MIAMI -- For most of the season, the Miami Heat were chasing the Indiana Pacers.
On Friday, they just blew by them.
Control of the Eastern Conference again belongs to the Heat, after LeBron James scored 36 points and the two-time defending NBA champions opened the second half with a 16-0 run on the way to beating the Pacers 98-86 -- a win that vaulted Miami a half-game ahead of Indiana in the race for a No. 1 seed in the playoffs.
"This is not the biggest game we've played in our four years together," James said. "It's always great to have competitive games like this in the regular season. I mean, we've played Game 7 in the Finals before. It doesn't get no bigger than that."
True, but this had plenty of meaning.
Miami (54-25) leads the Pacers (54-26) by the slimmest of margins in the East race. The Heat play at Atlanta on Saturday, at Washington on Monday and then close at home against Philadelphia on Wednesday.
Bulls overcome 18-point deficit to Pistons, extend win streak to 7
The AP reports: CHICAGO -- They lost their star and they lost one of their best supporting players. The Chicago Bulls never lost their way, though.
Now, they have home-court advantage for at least one playoff series and the lead in the race for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
D.J. Augustin scored 24 points, Taj Gibson added 17, and the Bulls rallied from 18 down to beat the Detroit Pistons 106-98 for their seventh straight win on Friday night.
Carlos Boozer finished with 18 points. Mike Dunleavy Jr. scored all of his 14 in the second half, and the Bulls kept their longest win streak of the season going.
Grizzlies blow out 76ers, take over No. 8 spot in West from Suns
The AP reports: MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies took care of their business and grabbed a hold of the Western Conference's last playoff spot.
The Grizzlies used a third-quarter burst to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 117-95 on Friday night, then checked on the Phoenix-San Antonio game when they adjourned to the locker room.
"Before we came in the locker room they were already talking about it," Memphis guard Tony Allen, who scored 15 points, said of his teammates. "The guys had it on their phones."
By the time the postgame interviews started, the Suns had lost to the Spurs 112-104, leaving Phoenix and Memphis with 47-32 records. The Grizzlies own the tiebreaker over Phoenix, having already clinched the season series over the Suns.
Marc Gasol had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Mike Miller added 19 points to help the Grizzlies past Philadelphia. Memphis wanted to make sure that while battling for their playoff lives they didn't fall victim to the Sixers, one of league's worst team simply playing out the season.
Corey Brewer pours in career-high 51 as Wolves clip Rockets
The AP reports: MINNEAPOLIS -- Truth be told, no one believed Corey Brewer could do it. Not his teammate Ricky Rubio. Not his coach Rick Adelman. And certainly not his opponent, the Houston Rockets.
Deep down inside, Brewer didn't even believe it himself.
"I'm not even going to lie," Brewer said with a starry look in his eyes. "Fifty?!?"
Actually, he did it one better.
Brewer scored a career-high 51 points and Gorgui Dieng hit a short jumper with 4.6 seconds to play to give the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves a 112-110 victory over the Rockets on Friday night.
Thunder rout Pelicans behind Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook
The AP reports: OKLAHOMA CITY -- Not much about Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook goes unnoticed.
In the past week, while much of the NBA has focused on Kevin Durant's run at a possible first MVP award, Westbrook quietly has been the Thunder's most productive and efficient offensive player.
Westbrook turned in another gem on Friday, finishing with 24 points and seven assists in just 28 minutes to help Oklahoma City beat the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans 116-94 on Friday night.
Oklahoma City won its third straight and clinched the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Knight, Sessions help Bucks hold off Cavs, 119-116
The AP reports: MILWAUKEE -- With slim hopes of avoiding the NBA's worst record, the Milwaukee Bucks are making the most of their late-season opportunity.
Chris Wright, in the midst of his second 10-day contract, scored an energetic 14 points off the bench to help the Bucks hold off the Cleveland Cavaliers 119-116 on Friday night. The victory moved the Bucks to within two games of Philadelphia with three games remaining for each team. The 76ers lost at Memphis earlier in the night.
"I said before, Chris is a guy that I really liked on that first 10 days," said Bucks coach Larry Drew. "It was tough getting rid of him. He did some really good things. He played well. He's got a tremendous spirit about him when he's out on the floor. "
Dion Waiters had 23 points for Cleveland, while Jarrett Jack added 21 and Tristan Thompson 18. Starting guards Brandon Knight scored 24 points and Ramon Sessions added 20 for the Bucks, who also got 15 points and six rebounds from reserve forward John Henson.
Spurs clinch NBA's best record with big rally past Suns
The AP reports: SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs have said their goal this season was not to have the league's best record.
But once it was in sight, they went for it.
Danny Green had a career-high 33 points and the Spurs rallied from a 21-point deficit to beat the Phoenix Suns 112-104 on Friday and clinch home-court throughout the playoffs... Eric Bledsoe had 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to lead Phoenix (47-32), which fell into a tie with Memphis for the West's eighth seed.
Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points for the Spurs and Tony Parker added 18 points and three assists in his return from a two-game absence due to a back injury.
Green was 7 for 10 on 3-pointers in pushing San Antonio (62-18) to victory without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, who both sat out the second game of a back-to-back for rest.
Trail Blazers topple Jazz 111-99
The AP reports: SALT LAKE CITY -- Portland's Damian Lillard just needed to make one shot to get going.
Once he saw that go down, he went on a fourth-quarter scoring flurry.
"That first 3 felt real good," Lillard said. "Once that went down, I felt if I got another clean look, I'm gonna raise up again. And then it happened a couple more times."
Lillard scored 14 of his 16 points in a key run to rally the Portland Trail Blazers past the Jazz 111-99 on Friday night... Wesley Matthews had 21 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 18 points and 14 rebounds -- his 40th double-double -- and Nicolas Batum added 15 points to keep Portland in the race to host a first-round playoff series.
Derrick Favors scored 21 points and Enes Kanter had 15 points and 13 rebounds, but the Jazz have lost eight of nine.
Stephen Curry's triple-double vs. Lakers helps put Warriors in playoffs
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- Stephen Curry realizes a playoff berth is still a precious commodity for the Golden State Warriors, who have spent the majority of their existence watching the postseason from their collective couches in the Bay Area.
Curry and the Warriors celebrated their latest playoff clincher at Staples Center with not much more than handshakes.
Still, the win was sweet in so many ways for a franchise that has spent decades looking up at the once-mighty Los Angeles Lakers.
Curry had 30 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, and the Warriors secured another playoff berth with a 112-95 victory over the Lakers on Friday.
NBA DAILY FOR FRIDAY, APR. 11
Recaps of NBA games played Thursday
Patty Mills, subbing for Tony Parker, scores 26 to lead Spurs at Dallas
The AP reports: DALLAS -- Patty Mills is a shooter no matter when he goes into the game.
The San Antonio guard showed it in yet another win over the Dallas Mavericks.
Mills scored 26 points starting in place of Tony Parker and the Spurs moved to the brink of the top seed in the Western Conference while likely forcing the Mavericks into a must-win situation with their playoff hopes by beating Dallas 109-100 on Thursday night.
Making his second start of the season and seventh of his career with Parker nursing a bad back, Mills had 11 points and a pair of steals in the third quarter when the Spurs turned a two-point deficit into an 11-point lead... Tim Duncan had 20 points and 15 rebounds after leaving briefly in the first quarter because of a hyperextended right knee. Kawhi Leonard added 16 points, a career-high 16 rebounds and five assists.
Monta Ellis led Dallas with 24 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 19.
ESPN.com reports: Hall of Famer Tim Duncan went down in the first quarter holding his knee. During a rebound attempt his knee seemed to bend inward at an awkward angle. Duncan eventually got up, walked off the pain and returned to action, finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
Kenneth Faried's shot at end voids Stephen Curry's go-ahead finger roll
The AP reports: OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kenneth Faried watched the Golden State Warriors celebrate enough victories against the Denver Nuggets during last year's playoffs.
He wouldn't allow his team to witness another Warriors coronation this spring.
Faried hit a turnaround hook shot over Draymond Green with a half-second remaining, and the Nuggets made Golden State wait at least one more game to secure a playoff berth with a stunning 100-99 win over the Warriors on Thursday night... Stephen Curry's floater over Faried put the Warriors up 99-98 with 4.7 seconds to play, sending the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 roaring to their feet. But Faried quieted fans moments later, backing down Green in the paint for the winning shot... Timofey Mozgov tied a career high with 23 points and grabbed a career-best 29 rebounds, and Faried finished with 18 points and 17 boards to rally the Nuggets. Denver, which had lost six straight on the road, won both games at Golden State this season.
Curry had 24 points, seven rebounds and six assists, and Klay Thompson scored 21 points to highlight an otherwise disappointing performance by the Warriors -- especially down low.
NBA DAILY FOR THURSDAY, APR. 10
Recaps of NBA games played Wednesday
Waiters scores 22, Cavaliers rout Pistons 122-100
The AP reports: CLEVELAND -- Their playoff chase, which somehow lasted longer that it probably should have, is officially over.
The Cavaliers came up short.
On a night when they finally put it all together, their hopes crumbled.
Dion Waiters scored 22 points and the Cavs played one of their best games this season, routing the Detroit Pistons 122-100 on Wednesday before being eliminated from the playoff race.
Tyler Zeller scored 18 and rookie Matthew Dellavedova had 14 points and 12 assists for Cleveland, which had its slim playoff hopes ended when Atlanta defeated Boston 105-97.
Magic hold off Nets for second straight win
The AP reports: ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Orlando Magic finally are showing the patience in critical moments that coach Jacque Vaughn has been waiting for all season.
The Magic fought off repeated challenges from the Brooklyn Nets, many of them in the final two minutes, to claim a 115-111 victory over a playoff-bound team.
It was the second win a row where Orlando executed better than its opponent in the final minutes of a close game.
"We're continuing to learn at the end of games and not panic," Vaughn said. "I want these guys to enjoy what they do for a living. We come to work, we get better. That's what we do."
Arron Afflalo scored five of his 25 points in the final two minutes. Jameer Nelson was 4 of 4 from the free throw line in the final 13 seconds and Kyle O'Quinn had a key assist and block as Orlando made every play it needed to stop the Nets.
Reserve E'Twaun Moore made all six shots, five of them 3-pointers, to tie his season high of 17 points. Tobias Harris added 16 points and eight rebounds.
Raptors surge past 76ers 125-114
The AP reports: TORONTO -- Jonas Valanciunas cherished the chance to focus on basketball on Wednesday night.
The Raptors center scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in Toronto's 125-114 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers -- less than three days after he was charged with drunk driving... Kyle Lowry topped Toronto with 29 points in his first game back after missing three with a bruised kneecap. Patrick Patterson finished with 17 in the Raptors' fourth straight victory and seventh in eight games.
DeMar DeRozan added 17 points before leaving the game with a minute to play with a gash over his left eye that required three stitches.
Bobcats win in OT for 5th straight while John Wall defends trip, Wiz
The AP reports: WASHINGTON -- The Charlotte Bobcats have leapfrogged another team, increasing the odds that their return to the playoffs won't be a token appearance.
The Washington Wizards have dropped a spot and are having issues. Or, as center Marcin Gortat put it: "The way we play right now, we ain't going to beat anybody, including Milwaukee."
The Bobcats blew a 20-point, first-half lead to the Wizards on Wednesday night before winning 94-88 in overtime, moving Charlotte into position for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.
"To go from basically the worst team going to the 6-seed, I mean, it shows a lot," said guard Kemba Walker, who scored the only field goal in overtime for either team.
Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver help Hawks improve playoff chances
The AP reports: ATLANTA -- Kyle Korver was concerned that the Atlanta Hawks were about to squander another chance to beat a struggling opponent.
"We easily could've hung our heads there, but we kept fighting, got some good looks and we knocked them down," he said. "The momentum switched our way, and we could just feel it. The game turned really quickly."
Jeff Teague scored 19 points, Korver added 17 and the Hawks helped their playoff chances with a 105-97 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
With four games remaining in the regular season, Atlanta increased its lead to two games over the New York Knicks for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Avery Bradley finished with 24 points and Rajon Rondo had 19 points with 12 assists for Boston, which has lost nine straight.
Grizzlies' Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol take down LeBron James, Heat
The AP reports: MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The intensity of the Memphis Grizzlies returned, and so did the character of a team that has struggled the past two weeks.
The result was a 107-102 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night, keeping the Grizzlies in the hunt for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Zach Randolph had 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Marc Gasol added 20 points and 14 rebounds as Memphis stayed within a game of the Phoenix Suns, who hold the eighth spot. The Suns defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 94-88 on Wednesday night... LeBron James led the Heat with 37 points, connecting on 14 of 23 shots, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Rashard Lewis scored 17, and Chris Bosh finished with 13 points. Mario Chalmers scored 12 points for the Heat.
Pacers edge Bucks, creep back into 1st with starters benched
The AP reports: MILWAUKEE -- When Indiana Pacers coach Frank Vogel benched his starters for the entire game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night, it meant extended playing time for the team's reserves.
Chris Copeland made sure to take advantage.
Copeland scored a season-high 18 points and made a difficult driving layup with 1.2 seconds remaining, giving the Pacers a hard-fought 104-102 win that moved them back into first place in the Eastern Conference... Luis Scola also recorded a season high with 24 points and Evan Turner added 23 for Indiana.
Joakim Noah records 4th triple-double as Bulls roll past Wolves
The AP reports: MINNEAPOLIS -- D.J. Augustin's career was swirling down the drain when the Toronto Raptors waived him in December, and the former No. 9 overall pick seemed destined to join the long list of promising prospects that just never made it in the NBA.
Four days later, the Chicago Bulls signed him in an attempt to add some scoring punch to a defense-first team. Augustin has flourished in Chicago, one of the big reasons the surprising Bulls have been able to weather Derrick Rose's injury and the trade of Luol Deng to stay in the hunt in the Eastern Conference... Joakim Noah added 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for his fourth triple-double, moving into a tie with Indiana's Lance Stephenson for the most in the NBA this season. Kirk Hinrich scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and the Bulls hit 11 of 21 3-pointers to stay right on Toronto's heels for the third seed in the Eastern Conference... Kevin Love had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves. But he hyperextended his right elbow in the first half and only made 7 of 20 shots, including 2 of 8 3-pointers. Ricky Rubio added 15 points and six assists, but the Wolves were just 4 for 17 from long distance.
Green, Dragic lead Suns past Pelicans, 94-88
The AP reports: NEW ORLEANS -- Disgusted by his turnover that sent the Pelicans off on a fast break, Eric Bledsoe chased the play vigorously, darting into a passing lane just in time to intercept Austin Rivers' pass toward the left wing.
Beldsoe then made a quick about-face and dribbled back to mid-court, where he tossed a long lob to Gordon Dragic for a short baseline jumper that tied the game at 87 with 2:38 left... Gerald Green scored 21 points, while Dragic had 20 points and nine assists for the Suns, who needed the victory to stay one game ahead of Memphis -- a 107-102 winner over Miami -- for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
P.J. Tucker had 15 for the Suns, who handed the Pelicans their sixth straight loss.
Foye leads Nuggets past Rockets, 123-116
The AP reports: DENVER -- Dishing the ball to the open man in the first half opened the door to Randy Foye's offensive surge in the second half.
Foye scored 24 of his 30 points in the last 24 minutes, going 7 for 7 from the field in the third quarter, and the Denver Nuggets hung on to beat the Houston Rockets 123-116 on Wednesday night.
Kenneth Faried had 23 points and Timofey Mozgov added 22 for the Nuggets, who beat the Rockets for the first time in three tries this season. Foye also had 15 assists, 11 of them coming in the first half... Jeremy Lin led eight Houston players in double figures with 18 points.
Both teams were missing key players heading into the game and the Rockets got a scare when James Harden, leading a fast break, banged his left shin in a collision with Aaron Brooks midway through the third quarter. Fouled on the play, Harden made both free throws and left the game briefly to have the leg tended to before returning to action, though he only played sparingly after the injury.
Wright's 3 gives Blazers 100-99 win over Kings
The AP reports: PORTLAND, Ore. -- Dorell Wright hadn't hit a game-winner since high school, and certainly he'd never had a winner that was his only basket of the game.
But on Wednesday night, Wright hit a 3-pointer with 7.9 seconds left and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the late-charging Sacramento Kings 100-99.
The three points amounted to his final total... LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points to lead the Blazers, who have won six of their past seven games... DeMarcus Cousins had 30 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings, who were without injured guard Rudy Gay. Sacramento has lost four straight and sit near the bottom of the conference in front of the Los Angeles Lakers and Utah.
Russell Westbrook scores 30 to help Thunder ward off Clippers
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- Oklahoma City has its starting five back together just in time for the playoffs. Their weeks apart didn't hurt their defense at all.
Russell Westbrook scored 30 points in his return to the lineup, Kevin Durant added 27, and the Thunder held off the Los Angeles Clippers 107-101 Wednesday night in a possible playoff preview.
Serge Ibaka came up with a big block of J.J. Redick's 3-pointer with 10 seconds left and added 15 points for the Thunder, who had their starting lineup together for just the second time since Christmas Day... Blake Griffin had 30 points and 12 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 25 points and eight assists for the Clippers, who could have owned the tiebreaker over the Thunder if they had won. Instead, the teams split their season series 2-2.
NBA DAILY FOR WEDNESDAY, APR. 9
Recaps of NBA games played Tuesday
Stuckey, Monroe, Drummond lead Pistons past Hawks
The AP reports: ATLANTA -- Jeff Teague was in no mood to talk after the Atlanta Hawks missed a chance to win their third straight game.
"There was a letdown," he said. "We lost. We should've taken care of business."
Rodney Stuckey scored 29 points, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond each had a double-double and the Detroit Pistons snapped a 10-game skid in Atlanta with a 102-95 victory over the Hawks on Tuesday night.
Atlanta has five games left in the regular season and a 1 1/2-game advantage over New York for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. Paul Millsap had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks.
Monroe finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds and Drummond had 19 points and 17 rebounds for the Pistons, who were eliminated from playoff contention when the Hawks won Sunday at Indiana.
LeBron James' dunk denied at end as Nets complete season sweep
The AP reports: MIAMI -- A debated block at the buzzer. A season sweep of the NBA champions.
Hello, Brooklyn -- the only NBA team this season to go unbeaten against the Miami Heat.
Mason Plumlee denied LeBron James' dunk attempt at the rim with 2 seconds left, and the Nets finished off a four-game sweep of Miami by beating the Heat 88-87 on Tuesday night.
With Miami down by one and time running out, Rashard Lewis somehow got a pass from underneath the basket to James, who rose as Plumlee jumped to contest the play. Replays showed Joe Johnson made some contact with James as he started his move and that Plumlee hit the four-time MVP's hand on the dunk try, but the Heat never got the call they wanted... Johnson scored 19 points, reserve Marcus Thornton had 16 and Paul Pierce scored 14 for the Nets. Plumlee had two of his three blocks in the last 2 minutes, the first of them on a short try by Chris Bosh that Miami felt should have been whistled for goaltending.
Ricky Rubio, Gorgui Dieng help Wolves ease past Spurs
The AP reports: MINNEAPOLIS -- Throughout the San Antonio Spurs' 19-game winning streak, coach Gregg Popovich was practically begging for his team to lose to help them re-focus as the playoffs approached.
Well it's happened twice in the last three games now, and the latest was a thumping by the lottery-bound Minnesota Timberwolves.
Ricky Rubio scored 23 points and Gorgui Dieng had 12 points and 15 rebounds, leading the Timberwolves to a 110-91 victory over the Spurs on Tuesday night... Kevin Love had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Corey Brewer scored 14 for the Timberwolves, who have beaten Miami and San Antonio in two of their last three games... Kawhi Leonard had 11 points and six rebounds for the Spurs, who were playing without Tony Parker. The point guard has a back injury, but Popovich said before the game he didn't believe it was that serious.
Dirk Nowitzki, sizzling Mavs shoot past Jazz for 5th straight win
The AP reports: SALT LAKE CITY -- When Dirk Nowitzki was shipped to Dallas in a surprise trade before his rookie season, it seemed like a major gamble for a franchise that had endured a stretch of several rough seasons.
That little deal worked out in a big way for the Mavericks.
Nowitzki had 21 points Tuesday night to pass Oscar Robertson for 10th on the NBA's career scoring list, leading the Mavs to a 95-83 victory over the Utah Jazz.
Dallas (48-31) shot 56 percent from the field and had six players score in double figures en route to recording a fifth consecutive victory. Monta Ellis scored 16 points and reserve Vince Carter added 13 for the Mavericks to help them complete the series sweep of Utah.
The 35-year-old Nowitzki went 9 for 11 from the field in Dallas' fifth straight win. The 7-footer now has 26,714 career points, four more than Robertson.
Kevin Durant's streak ends at 41 as Caron Butler leads OKC to win
The AP reports: SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- With Kevin Durant on the bench to start the fourth quarter, his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates put together a run that helped end one of the most impressive scoring streaks in NBA history.
And Durant says nobody is happier it's over than him.
Caron Butler made all six of his 3-point attempts to finish with 23 points, and the Thunder began the fourth quarter on a 16-0 spurt to pull away for a 107-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.
Durant finished with 23 points but was never needed in the final quarter, stopping his streak of scoring at least 25 points in 41 consecutive games.
Only Oscar Robertson (46 straight games in 1963-64) and Wilt Chamberlain (all 80 regular-season games in the 1961-62 season) have longer such streaks.
James Harden, Terrence Jones combine for 66 as Rockets drop Lakers
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- When the nets finally cooled down at Staples Center, the Houston Rockets had a choice. They could be excited about their highest-scoring game of the year, or dismayed at their worst defensive effort in more than five months.
James Harden and the Rockets chose to draw motivation from both sources for their playoff push after a prolific night against the Los Angeles Lakers.
Harden and Terrence Jones scored 33 points apiece, and the Rockets beat the Lakers 145-130 on Tuesday night for their third straight victory.
Chandler Parsons scored 19 points for the Rockets, who used a 49-point third quarter to solidify their hold on fourth place in the Western Conference standings despite their second-worst defensive performance of the year.
Still, Houston won the opener of a three-game road trip without injured Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley, scoring with stunning ease against the Lakers' laughable defense.
NBA DAILY FOR MONDAY, APR. 7
Recaps of NBA games played Sunday
LeBron James, Heat outlast J.R. Smith's 3-point barrage
The AP reports: MIAMI -- LeBron James couldn't wake up Sunday. He was sluggish when his alarm went off at 8 a.m. and still in a funk when the Miami Heat and New York Knicks tipped off five hours later.
He eventually got into form, just in time to perhaps doom the Knicks' playoff chances.
James scored 38 points and the Heat survived an NBA-record 22 3-point attempts from New York's J.R. Smith in a 102-91 victory that kept Miami atop the Eastern Conference standings... Chris Bosh added 14 points and Ray Allen had 12 for the Heat (53-23), who are a full game ahead of Indiana (53-25) and two up in the loss column in the East race. The Pacers lost at home to Atlanta later Sunday night.
Smith was 11 for 28 from the floor, 10 for 22 from beyond the arc, and took 10 3s in the fourth quarter alone while Carmelo Anthony didn't attempt a single shot in the period... Smith finished with 32 for the Knicks, who got 14 from Raymond Felton and 13 from Anthony on 4 for 17 shooting. Anthony has been bothered by a sore right shoulder, but played 44 minutes.
Clippers run over Lakers to take 3 of 4 from in-house rivals
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- With four games left before the playoffs, including one against second-place Oklahoma City, the Los Angeles Clippers are focused on fine-tuning themselves.
Sure, they will take another victory over the Lakers, but as Blake Griffin said, "It doesn't mean that much to us."
Griffin and Chris Paul scored 23 points apiece, and the Clippers hung their third consecutive rout on the Lakers, 120-97 Sunday to take three of four games this season from their beleaguered Staples Center co-tenants... J.J. Redick added 15 points in his second game back from injury and DeAndre Jordan had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacific Division-winning Clippers, who improved to 32-6 at home while shooting 57 percent... The injury-plagued Lakers were down to just eight players after guard Kent Bazemore got hurt in the second quarter. Jordan Hill led them with 22 points and Nick Young added 18 points off the bench, where there were plenty of empty seats. Jodie Meeks had 17 points.
Mavs win 3rd straight to keep pace in playoff race
The AP reports: SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- With go-to scorer Dirk Nowitzki having an off night, the Dallas Mavericks relied on other offensive options to hold off the Sacramento Kings.
Monta Ellis scored eight of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Mavericks kept their playoff position with their third straight win, a 93-91 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Sunday.
The Mavericks won for the fourth time in five games to maintain seventh place in the Western Conference. It was the fifth straight road win for Dallas, which concludes its four-game road trip Tuesday in Utah... Rudy Gay had 32 points and tied a career high with eight assists for the Kings, DeMarcus Cousins added 28 points and 10 rebounds, and rookie point guard Ray McCallum had eight points and nine rebounds... Vince Carter scored 17 points and Jose Calderon hit four 3-pointers and added 14 points for the Mavericks, who made 13 threes.
Hawks hold Pacers to 23 first-half points en route to easy win
The AP reports: INDIANAPOLIS -- Atlanta got Indiana at exactly the right time.
The Pacers couldn't shoot early, couldn't defend most of the night, couldn't protect their home court and kept All-Star center Roy Hibbert on the bench for the final 30 minutes -- all against a team that still hasn't clinched a playoff spot.
Jeff Teague scored 25 points in his hometown, Pero Antic finished with 18 and the Hawks handed the NBA's best home team an embarrassing 107-88 loss Sunday that could have a major impact on playoff seeding in the East... Since losing six straight and falling temporarily out of the top eight, Atlanta has won three of its last four to take firm control of the No. 8 slot. If it holds that slot, Atlanta would make the playoffs for an Eastern Conference-best seventh straight season and get a probable first-round matchup with either the two-time defending champion Heat or the suddenly reeling Pacers.
Rockets rally for 130-125 OT win over Denver
The AP reports: HOUSTON -- Houston's Chandler Parsons was having a tough night and it seemed as if his shots would never fall.
Fortunately for him and the Rockets, he was able to turn things around when it mattered most.
James Harden had 32 points and Parsons scored eight points in overtime to lift the Rockets to a 130-125 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday night... Evan Fournier scored 26 points and Aaron Brooks added 24 points and 15 assists against his former team. Brooks, who was traded to Denver on Feb. 20 for Jordan Hamilton, started for Ty Lawson, who was out with a left ankle sprain.
Spurs handle Grizzlies despite Tony Parker's exit due to back spasms
The AP reports: SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs have maintained that records and winning streaks do not matter as much as staying healthy and becoming consistent on offense and defense.
The consistency has been there, but the Spurs are once again dealing with an injury.
Kawhi Leonard matched his career high with 26 points, Manu Ginobili had a season-high 26 and San Antonio eased to a 112-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday after losing Tony Parker to injury... Tim Duncan added 13 points for San Antonio (60-17), which bounced back after its franchise-record, 19-game winning streak was snapped Thursday in Oklahoma City... Johnson had 20 points and Conley added 18 points for Memphis (45-32), which is chasing a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol shot a combined 6 for 16, finishing with eight and six points, respectively.
Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry power Warriors' rout of Jazz
The AP reports: OAKLAND, Calif. -- After another weird week in a season full of drama, the Golden State Warriors figured winning was the best way to quiet the growing chatter surrounding coach Mark Jackson's job.
Klay Thompson scored 33 points, Stephen Curry played through an illness to finish with 31 points and 16 assists, and the Warriors rolled past the Utah Jazz 130-102 Sunday night to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race... Trey Burke had 24 points and 15 assists, and Alec Burks added 24 points and five assists in the latest lopsided loss for the Jazz (24-53), who are just trying to finish out the season on a positive note. Instead, they let two of the league's streakiest shooters get loose.
Suns hold off Thunder to take 1-game lead for West's 8th spot
The AP reports: PHOENIX -- Kevin Durant scored 38 points, surpassing Michael Jordan with his 41st consecutive game of 25 or more, but the Phoenix Suns got 26 points from Goran Dragic and 24 from Gerald Green to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-115 Sunday night.
Durant has the third-longest such streak in NBA history and longest since Oscar Robertson did it for 46 in a row in the 1963-64 season. P.J. Tucker scored a career-high 22 points, including a career-best four 3-pointers, Eric Bledsoe added 18 points, and the Suns pulled a game ahead of Memphis for the No. 8 playoff spot in the West. Phoenix is a half-game behind No. 7 Dallas.
Russell Westbrook had 33 points and eight assists for the Thunder, who are a game up on the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 2 spot in the West.
LaMarcus Aldridge has 25 and 18 as Blazers clinch playoff spot
The AP reports: PORTLAND, Ore. -- Given an opportunity to clinch a postseason berth, the Trail Blazers made the most if it.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 18 rebounds and Portland earned a playoff spot for the first time in three seasons with a 100-94 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night.
Wesley Matthews added 21 points, Damian Lillard 20 and Nicolas Batum had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Portland (50-28). The Blazers are in fifth place in the Western Conference with four games remaining... Reserve Anthony Morrow scored 17 for New Orleans and Anthony Davis had 15 points on 6-of-18 shooting.
NBA DAILY FOR SUNDAY, APR. 6
Recaps of NBA games played Saturday
Afflalo helps rally Magic past Timberwolves 100-92
The AP reports: ORLANDO, Fla. -- In a season-long search for success, the Orlando Magic found a few things to celebrate in their victory over the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves.
Arron Afflalo broke out of a six-game shooting slump and Kyle O'Quinn rebounded from a dreadful game the night before to help the Magic rally from a 13-point second-half deficit and defeat the Timberwolves 100-92 Saturday night.
Afflalo, who hadn't scored in double figures his last three games and was 14 of 47 (29 percent) from the field in his last five, hit 8 of 15 from the field and scored 18 points against Minnesota, which played without injured starters Kevin Love, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic and lost replacement starter Chase Budinger in the first minute of the game with an ankle injury.
O'Quinn, who was just 5 of 20 and got exploited by Al Jefferson in a loss to Charlotte Friday night, came back with 14 points and 13 rebounds against the Timberwolves.
Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless added 17 points apiece for the Magic. Rookie Victor Oladipo contributed 16 points and six assists, plus good defense in the fourth quarter against Timberwolves playmaker Ricky Rubio to help Orlando end a three-game losing streak.
D.J. Augustin, Joakim Noah lead Bulls to rout, fifth straight win
The AP reports: WASHINGTON -- If the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards meet in the first round of the playoffs, the Bulls will have a nice little blueprint to follow.
The Bulls dominated from the get-go Saturday night and never trailed in a 96-78 win over the Wizards, avenging two losses from earlier in the season and providing perhaps a psychological edge if these teams are cranking up for a seven-game series in a couple of weeks... D.J. Augustin found plenty that he liked, as long as he was behind the arc. He led Chicago with 25 points, making 6 of 11 3-pointers but only 2 of 8 2-pointers. Joakim Noah had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Carlos Boozer added 16 points for the Bulls, who have won five straight and are tied with the Toronto Raptors for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference. Augustin has averaged 19.8 points during the winning streak... John Wall scored 20 points, and Marcin Gortat had 19 for the Wizards, who sit in sixth place in the East. If they hold that spot, they would face the third-seeded team.
Bobcats top Cavs in OT, into playoffs for first time since 2010
The AP reports: CLEVELAND -- No one will fault the Charlotte Bobcats for taking a moment to savor their second postseason appearance in franchise history.
They've come a long way in a short period of time.
Al Jefferson scored 24 points, including seven in overtime, and the Bobcats clinched a playoff spot with a 96-94 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.
Charlotte is in the postseason for the second time in its 10-year history and the first time since 2010. The Bobcats (39-38) are over .500 for the second time this season and hold seventh place in the Eastern Conference... While the Bobcats were celebrating, the Cavaliers' slim playoff hopes suffered yet another damaging loss despite a career-high 44 points from Kyrie Irving. Cleveland (31-47) trails eighth-place Atlanta by 3 1/2 games for the final playoff spot in the East.
Stuckey has 26, Pistons rally past Celtics 115-111
The AP reports: AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Rodney Stuckey pulled the Pistons out of trouble.
Stuckey came off the bench to score 26 points and the Detroit reserves helped wipe out a 19-point deficit as the Pistons topped Boston 115-111. Stuckey's free throws with 57 seconds left broke a 111-all tie and gave Detroit the lead for good... Boston's Jerryd Bayless tried for a go-ahead shot in the final seconds but his 3-point try rimmed out.
Greg Monroe had 21 points and Brandon Jennings added 20 for Detroit, which also got 19 and 20 rebounds from Andre Drummond, who tied the game at 111 on a tip with 1:52 to play. Thirteen of his caroms were on the offensive glass, giving him 402 this season and making him the most prolific single-season offensive rebounder since 2000.
Kevin Garnett solid in return as Nets down 76ers
The AP reports: PHILADELPHIA -- Kevin Garnett finished an alley-oop with the ease of a rookie, not an aging veteran.
"Fresh legs," a smiling Deron Williams said.
More like, healthy back.
Garnett scored 10 points in his first game in more than five weeks to help the Brooklyn Nets beat the Philadelphia 76ers 105-101 Saturday night.
The 37-year-old Garnett missed 19 straight games since Feb. 27 because of back spasms. The Nets went 14-5 over that span.
"I'm just glad I didn't mess anything up," Garnett said. "The guys have been playing great without me."
DeRozan scores 23, Raptors top Bucks 102-98
The AP reports: MILWAUKEE -- The playoff-bound Toronto Raptors found themselves trailing the hapless Milwaukee Bucks by nine points at halftime.
DeMar DeRozan made sure the Raptors recovered to continue their push for postseason position.
The Toronto guard scored 15 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Raptors beat the Milwaukee Bucks 102-98 Saturday night to keep pace with the Chicago Bulls for the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
"We can't look at a team's record, come in here and think this is going to be a cakewalk," DeRozan said. "That team came out here and played extremely hard. They kind of blindsided us and we had to fight the whole game."
NBA DAILY FOR SATURDAY, APR. 5
Recaps of NBA games played Friday
Short-handed Raptors upend Pacers for fifth win in 6 games
The AP reports: TORONTO -- Late in the third quarter Friday night, some jostling between John Salmons and Paul George turned into a shoving match.
The dust-up brought the cheering crowd at the Air Canada Centre to its feet and earned both players matching technical fouls.
But even more, said Salmons, it showed that the Toronto Raptors won't be pushed around.
Terrence Ross led the way with 24 points as the short-handed Raptors defeated the Indiana Pacers 102-94... Jonas Valanciunas added 22 points and nine rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points and added nine assists for the Raptors, who earned their fifth win in six starts despite missing starters Lowry and Amir Johnson.
Marc Gasol, Mike Conley lead playoff-hopeful Grizzlies past Nuggets
The AP reports: MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Early in the second half the Memphis Grizzlies found a way to change the momentum and ended up with a key win.
Memphis turned up the defensive intensity, overtook Denver in the third quarter and stayed in postseason contention with a 100-92 victory over the Nuggets on Friday night.
"I thought we did a much better job coming out of the locker room in the third quarter," said Memphis center Marc Gasol, who led the Grizzlies with 24 points.
"We were more us, especially defensively. Offensively things may go well; may not. But defensively, we feed off that. We need that energy defensively."
Bobcats hold off Magic, get back to .500
The AP reports: CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats finally have a happy locker room, the result of winning games and contending for a berth in the NBA playoffs.
The Bobcats took a step closer to a postseason spot Friday, holding off a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Orlando Magic 91-80 for their third straight win.
"It shows how hard they've really worked, and how they've fought to get back to this point," Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said. "Now we'd like to get over .500, which would be a nice thing for our team."
Al Jefferson had 29 points and 16 rebounds, and Kemba Walker added 13 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Bobcats, who at 38-38 are back at .500 for the first time since Nov. 23, when they were 7-7.
Mike Scott scores 26 as Hawks hurt Cavaliers' playoff hopes
The AP reports: ATLANTA -- A hot-shooting night has the Atlanta Hawks back in sole possession of a playoff spot.
Poor shooting cost the Cleveland Cavaliers in a game they desperately needed.
Mike Scott ended a scoring slump with 26 points and the Hawks beat Cleveland 117-98 on Friday night in a costly setback for the Cavaliers' late-season playoff push.
Atlanta moved one game ahead of the New York Knicks, who lost to Washington 90-89, in the race for the eighth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Hawks had lost seven of eight but recovered with strong games by Scott and Jeff Teague, who had 20 points and 12 assists.
Henry Sims sets career highs in points, rebounds as Sixers win again
The AP reports: BOSTON -- After a two-month stretch between victories, the Philadelphia 76ers celebrated for the second time in less than a week.
Michael Carter-Williams and Henry Sims scored 24 points apiece and led the Sixers on a late surge that was too much for Boston to overcome in Philadelphia's 111-102 win over the Celtics on Friday night.
"We really wanted this win. I think it's a great win for us," said Carter-Williams, who scored seven points during an 11-4 run for the Sixers late in the fourth quarter.
Thaddeus Young and Elliot Williams added 15 points apiece for the Sixers, who have won two of four since tying an NBA record with 26 straight losses.
Mirza Teletovic, Nets use 3-point attack to beat Pistons, up home streak
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- Lately, it seems as though the Brooklyn Nets just can't get enough home cooking.
"You feel comfortable when you have dinner at your house, rather than when you go to someone else's house and don't know what they're going to cook," Nets forward Paul Pierce said.
Shaun Livingston scored 23 points, Mirza Teletovic made six 3-pointers and added 20 off the bench, and the Nets beat the Detroit Pistons 116-104 on Friday night for their 15th straight victory at Barclays Center.
The Nets went 15 for 31 from behind the arc.
Corey Brewer steady at line as Wolves win wild 2OT affair in Miami
The AP reports: MIAMI -- Making one free throw at the end of regulation wasn't enough for the Miami Heat, nor was making just one again at the end of the first overtime.
In the second extra session, one made all the difference for Minnesota.
Corey Brewer hit one of two free throws with 1.8 seconds left after getting a call on an awkward-looking play, and that was enough to help the Timberwolves escape a three-hour thriller with a 122-121 victory over the Heat on Friday night.
Kevin Love scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Minnesota, which got 24 from Chase Budinger, 15 from Gorgui Dieng and 13 apiece from J.J. Barea and Ricky Rubio, who also added 14 assists. Referee Ken Mauer called the last foul on Miami's Norris Cole, who was guarding Brewer near the basket as a pass was coming his way.
Wiz clip Knicks on Bradley Beal's jumper, Carmelo Anthony's miscues
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony kept losing the ball all night long, and now the New York Knicks have lost their hold on eighth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Anthony committed nine turnovers and Bradley Beal made another big shot at Madison Square Garden, a go-ahead jumper over Tyson Chandler with 6.9 seconds left as the Washington Wizards beat the Knicks 90-89 on Friday night.
Beal's jumper quieted the Garden crowd just as he did back on Dec. 16, when he beat the Knicks for a go-ahead layup.
"It's pretty cool, I guess", Washington's second-year guard said. "For them to go silent, that's kind of, `Wow'."
John Wall, who added 19 points, combined with Beal for Washington's final 12 to dampen New York's playoffs hopes.
Bulls spread scoring load, cruise past Bucks for 4th straight win
The AP reports: CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls have experienced such a turnaround this season that their wins are now being rated.
According to some observers, the 102-90 victory over the hapless, short-handed Milwaukee Bucks didn't rate because the expected lopsided blowout didn't materialize... Jimmy Butler and Kirk Hinrich had 17 points apiece to lead seven players in double figures, and the Bulls, despite some occasional lapses in the fourth quarter, cruised.
Carlos Boozer and D.J. Augustin scored 14 points apiece. Gibson added 13, Mike Dunleavy 12 and Joakim Noah had 11 points and 13 rebounds.
Jazz handle Pelicans with Anthony Davis (back) still ailing
The AP reports: SALT LAKE CITY -- Gordon Hayward knows the Utah Jazz have their best chance to win when they play together and share the ball.
Victories haven't come easy for the Jazz during this rebuilding season.
"We realize we're not there yet individually, where we can just play for ourselves and still win. We need to play as a team," Hayward said.
Alec Burks and Hayward each scored 21 points and the Jazz held off the New Orleans Pelicans 100-96 on Friday night to snap a five-game skid.
Rockets sink OKC to clinch playoff spot; Kevin Durant ties MJ mark
The AP reports: HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets are heading to the playoffs for the second straight year and believe wins like the one they picked up Friday night will help them when they get there.
James Harden scored 39 points and the Rockets ended a three-game skid and clinched a playoff berth with a 111-107 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder
"It was a great win for us ... just to give ourselves confidence, especially going into the playoffs," Harden said. "We might see them. It was a big win for us. It shows the resilience we have."
Kevin Durant scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 40th straight game with at least 25 points, the longest streak since Michael Jordan also did it 40 consecutive times in 1986-87. But he was in no mood to talk about matching the feat after the game.
Suns' rally denies Trail Blazers a playoff spot for now
The AP reports: PORTLAND, Ore. -- Once Gerald Green gets going, he doesn't think he can be stopped.
Green scored 18 of his 32 points in the second half and the Phoenix Suns rallied for a 109-93 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night.
"That's what Gerald does," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said of Green, who made 12 of 20 shots from the field, including 4 of 7 from 3-point range. "When he gets going, you just kind of let him go... Eric Bledsoe finished with 30 points and Goran Dragic added 19 for the Suns (45-31), who denied the Blazers (49-28) a chance to clinch a Western Conference playoff berth while beating Portland for the third time in four games.
Warriors blow by Kings to sweep season series
The AP reports: OAKLAND, Calif. -- After reserve Marreese Speights finished a one-handed dunk over Travis Outlaw in the fourth quarter, teammates Andre Iguodala and Stephen Curry jumped off the Golden State Warriors' bench and ran onto the floor in celebration.
Speights stood at half court and encouraged the announced sellout crowd of 19,596 -- or what was left of it, anyway -- by waving his arms in the air. His teammates laughed, and so did almost everybody in the arena.
Everybody, that is, except the Sacramento Kings.
Klay Thompson scored 21 points, Curry had 13 points and five assists and the Warriors moved closer to securing a playoff berth by routing the Kings 102-69 on Friday night.
Dirk Nowitzki's 27 help Mavs beat 2nd L.A. team in as many nights
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- On the night Dirk Nowitzki overtook Dominique Wilkins on the career scoring list, Brandan Wright was a human highlight film all by himself.
Wright made all 10 of his shots to finish with a season-high 23 points off the bench, and the Dallas Mavericks strengthened their hold on a playoff berth with a 107-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday... Nowitzki's 27 points increased his career total to 26,778, putting him in 11th place and within 32 of Oscar Robertson... Jodie Meeks had 25 points for the Lakers, who have dropped 13 of their last 17 and are 25-51 -- their most losses since finishing a franchise-worst 30-52 in 1974-75.
NBA DAILY FOR FRIDAY, APR. 4
Recaps of NBA games played Thursday
Kevin Durant extends streak as Thunder halt Spurs' at 19 straight wins
The AP reports: OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant's rare streak of games with least 25 points continued, and San Antonio's run of 19 straight wins came to a halt.
Another streak might mean more than both of them -- Oklahoma City's season sweep. Durant scored 28 points and Russell Westbrook scored 27 to help the Thunder defeat San Antonio 106-94 on Thursday night in a showdown of the top two teams in the Western Conference.
Oklahoma City won all four games against the Spurs this season, and this was the most lopsided result... Serge Ibaka added 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Thunder, who trail San Antonio by three games with eight remaining. Durant scored at least 25 points for the 39th consecutive game, the longest streak since Michael Jordan did it 40 consecutive times during the 1986-87 season. He reached 25 on a free throw with 3:31 remaining, drawing a roar from the crowd... Patty Mills scored 21 points and Kawhi Leonard and Tim Duncan each added 17 for the Spurs, who hadn't lost since Feb. 21.
ESPN.com reports: The Thunder scored more than twice as many transition points as the Spurs Thursday night. Russell Westbrook outscored San Antonio in transition by himself (18-17). *The 35 transition points allowed was the most by the Spurs in their last 20 games.
ESPN.com reports: If San Antonio and Oklahoma City are 1-2 in the standings entering the postseason, they wouldn't meet again until the Conference Finals. In NBA history, three teams swept the regular season series (min. 4 games) against one opponent and played that same team in the Conference Finals. The team that swept also went on to win the postseason matchup. The Pistons in 1989 and Celtics in 1986 went on to win the title.
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks end 3-game series slide vs. Clippers
The AP reports: The Mavericks built a 12-point lead with 2:50 to play, gave away all but two points of it, and still managed to hang on.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 26 points and Jose Calderon added 19 in the 113-107 win over the Clippers on Thursday night, the Mavericks' first against Los Angeles this season.
Blake Griffin had 25 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in his first triple-double of the season for the Clippers, who had won 17 of their previous 19, including four straight. They beat the Mavs in their first three meetings of the season, coming from behind each time... Samuel Dalembert and Monta Ellis added 12 points each, and Vince Carter had 16 for the Mavs, who won their third straight on a road while battling Memphis for the eighth and last Western Conference playoff spot... DeAndre Jordan added 21 points and 15 rebounds, and Collison had 22 points for the Clippers.
ESPN.com reports: The hot outside shooting from Dallas was the defining factor in a close game. The Mavericks hit 14 of 29 shots from behind the arc compared to the Clippers' cold 6-of-27 performance.
NBA DAILY FOR THURSDAY, APR. 3
Recaps of NBA games played Wednesday
Paul George's 27 points, 13 boards put Pacers back in business
The AP reports: INDIANAPOLIS -- The hard part for the Indiana Pacers isn't over. It takes time to climb out of a slump.
"Once you're not playing well and you finally get a win, the hardest part is maintaining that consistency," Paul George said. "You have to understand that it's going to be different every night, but you got to find a way to build off the first win."
George had 27 points and 13 rebounds, David West scored 15 points and the Pacers snapped a three-game skid with a 101-94 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night... Josh Smith scored 15 of his 24 points in the first quarter and finished with five rebounds, and Greg Monroe added 16 points for the Pistons, who have lost four of their last five games.
J.R. Smith, Carmelo Anthony lead Knicks' romp of Nets
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- New York's once faint, nearly unrealistic playoff hopes have become a real possibility. The Knicks intend to seize the opportunity and run with it.
"We know what we want," Carmelo Anthony said.
J.R. Smith had 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Anthony added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and the Knicks beat the city rival Brooklyn Nets 110-81 Wednesday night to move percentage points ahead of Atlanta for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot... Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points a game after spraining his right ankle to help the Knicks win for the 12th time in 15 games, dominating a team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference since the new year. New York won its third straight.
Waiters scores 26 as Cavs beat Magic 119-98
The AP reports: ORLANDO, Fla. -- At this point in the season, the Cleveland Cavaliers are hoping to make one last run at the playoffs and the Orlando Magic are looking for luck in the NBA draft lottery.
Both improved their chances of reaching those goals Wednesday night as the Cavaliers beat the Magic 119-98 behind 26 points from Dion Waiters and 20 each from Spencer Hawes and Tristan Thompson.
The easy win moved the Cavaliers within two games of New York and Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Cavs play at Atlanta Friday night.
Jefferson leads Bobcats past 76ers, 123-93
The AP reports: PHILADELPHIA -- Al Jefferson tried to explain how hitting his jumper forces defenses to change their approach.
"It keeps them on their toes, in my opinion," Jefferson said before being cut off.
"It don't change nothing," reserve Jannero Pargo chimed in from two lockers down, "he ain't going to pass the ball."
Much like his first-half shooting, Jefferson's retort was nearly flawless.
"Well if I pass it to you, I'll get a turnover, because you'll be on the bench," he said.
With a one-liner about as sharp as his stat line, Jefferson had his Bobcats teammates howling. Jefferson had every reason to feel loose, with 25 points and 10 rebounds in Charlotte's 123-93 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
DeRozan leads Raptors past Rockets 107-103
The AP reports: TORONTO -- Kevin McHale was talking about the challenges of re-engineering an offense missing three starters, but he might as well have summed up the state of the struggling Houston Rockets.
"We're all jumbled up right now," McHale said.
DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, Jonas Valanciunas and Greivis Vasquez each had 15 and the Toronto Raptors won their seventh straight home meeting with Houston, beating the Rockets 107-103 on Wednesday night... James Harden scored 26 points and Chandler Parsons had 20 for the Rockets, whose slide has come on the heels of a five-game winning streak.
Wizards clinch first playoff berth since 2008
The AP reports: WASHINGTON -- John Wall was waving his towel as time expired. He joined his teammates at center court and did a little dance in the middle of a celebratory huddle. He gave Bradley Beal a bear hug from behind and also hugged and thanked coach Randy Wittman.
Wall will soon be making his playoff debut, and the Washington Wizards will be there for the first time since 2008, having clinched an Eastern Conference berth Wednesday night with a 118-92 win over the Boston Celtics... Wall had 13 points and 10 assists in one of the Wizards' easiest wins in recent history. It was their biggest margin of victory this season, and their 62.5 shooting percentage was their best in a game since 2001... Marcin Gortat scored 22 points on 10-for-13 shooting, and Beal went 7 for 8 to finish with 19 points. All five Wizards starters scored in double figures, rendering superfluous the customary off-the-bench burst from Wittman's "AARP group" of Al Harrington, Andre Miller and Drew Gooden.
Jared Sullinger had 25 points, and Rajon Rondo had 13 to lead the Celtics, who have lost six in a row and 11 of 12 -- and also 11 straight on the road.
D.J. Augustin guides Bulls past slumping Hawks
The AP reports: ATLANTA -- The Chicago Bulls strengthened their hold on home-court advantage in the playoffs, and made it a little tougher for the Atlanta Hawks to extend their season.
For that, the Bulls can thank D.J. Augustin.
Keeping up his inspired play, Augustin scored 23 points as Chicago held off slumping Atlanta for a 105-92 victory Wednesday night, bumping the Hawks out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two weeks left in the season.
LeBron James delivers as Heat turn away Bucks, stay atop East
The AP reports: MIAMI -- LeBron James is dealing with a few aches and pains, which obviously is not the best news for the Miami Heat with two weeks left in the regular season.
Come game time, though, nothing seems to be ailing him.
Bringing the crowd out of its seats with a pair of highlight-reel dunks in the first half, then drilling a deep 3-pointer to end the third quarter, James was his typical effective self on Wednesday night. He led Miami with 17 points, and the Heat stayed atop the Eastern Conference with a wire-to-wire 96-77 win over the Milwaukee Bucks... Ramon Sessions scored 19 points for Milwaukee, which got 14 from Jeff Adrien, 11 from Brandon Knight and 10 from John Henson. Zaza Pachulia grabbed 16 rebounds in 26 minutes for the NBA-worst Bucks, who have now had 11 games this season in which they never led.
Kevin Love's triple-double deals Grizzlies tough loss
The AP reports: MINNEAPOLIS -- With bags under their eyes as big as the ones they had to pack for a rugged five-game road trip, the weary Memphis Grizzlies trudged into Target Center knowing they had one more fight before they could get back to the comforts of home.
The Minnesota Timberwolves gave them all of that and more and sent the Grizzlies packing with a costly defeat.
Kevin Love had 24 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists for his third career triple-double in Minnesota's 102-88 victory over Memphis on Wednesday night... Ricky Rubio had 14 points, seven assists and three steals and Kevin Martin scored 21 points for the Timberwolves, who are trying to play spoiler down the stretch of what has been a disappointing season.
Spurs cruise past Warriors as win streak hits 19
The AP reports: SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs continue to win big and to rest players, and the limited minutes are starting to show in the revival of Tim Duncan's game.
Tony Parker had 18 points and eight assists and Duncan had 15 points and eight rebounds as San Antonio rolled to a 111-90 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, extending the Spurs' franchise-record winning streak to 19 games... Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills scored 13 points apiece, Marco Belinelli had 12, and Kawhi Leonard 11.
Kenneth Faried scores career-best 34 as Nuggets scoot past Pelicans
The AP reports: DENVER -- Kenneth Faried was all smiles in Denver's locker room. And with good reason.
The Nuggets' forward scored a career-high 34 points and added 13 rebounds to lead Denver to a 137-107 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night... Reserve Aaron Brooks scored 24 points for Denver, going 6 of 8 from beyond the arc.
Darren Collison, Blake Griffin propel Clippers' big rally past Suns
The AP reports: PHOENIX -- A 17-point third-quarter lead was not enough for the Phoenix Suns, not the way the Los Angeles Clippers are playing these days.
Darren Collison and Blake Griffin scored 23 points apiece and the Clippers beat the Suns 112-108 Wednesday night, their fourth win in a row and 17th in the last 19 games.
Chris Paul added 20 points, including a 32-foot 3-pointer just before the shot clock expired to put the Clippers up for good 108-106 with 1:48 to play.
Los Angeles, winning the last four on a five-game trip, clinched the Pacific Division title with the win.
Rudy Gay, Ray McCallum combine for 58, lead Kings past Lakers
The AP reports: SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- An anonymous rookie several weeks ago, Ray McCallum is making opponents take note of his game.
Rudy Gay scored nine of his 31 points in the fourth quarter and McCallum had a career-high 27 points to help the Sacramento Kings beat the Los Angeles Lakers 107-102 on Wednesday night.
McCallum, the 36th overall pick in the 2013 draft, spent the majority of his rookie season with little court time, other than some strong performances in the D-League.
But McCallum, who has started the last five games due to the deep quadriceps injury to Isaiah Thomas, has played like a savvy veteran point guard of late. Against the Lakers, McCallum made 12 of 22 shots and added five assists and four rebounds in 46 minutes.
NBA DAILY FOR WEDNESDAY, APR. 2
Recaps of NBA games played Tuesday
Joe Johnson scores 32 as Nets clinch playoff berth
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- The Brooklyn Nets are so good at home now that even the Houston Rockets can't beat them.
The Nets clinched a playoff berth by beating the Rockets at home for the first time in 11 years, getting 32 points from Joe Johnson in a 105-96 victory on Tuesday night.
Shaun Livingston added 17 points for the Nets, who extended their home winning streak to 14 games, longest in their NBA history and tops in the league this season. They finished 18-12 overall against the Western Conference... James Harden scored 26 points for Houston, which lost its second straight following a five-game winning streak. Still without Dwight Howard because of a sore left ankle, the Rockets shot just 38 percent from the field... Harden was 16 of 16 from the free-throw line. Omer Asik had 12 points and a career-high 23 rebounds while starting for Howard, while Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons each added 16 points.
Stephen Curry sinks last-second OT winner as Warriors down Mavs
The AP reports: DALLAS -- Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for a couple of clutch jumpers, and Jermaine O'Neal stepped up on both sides of the floor.
It was that kind of night for the Golden State Warriors.
Curry made a tiebreaking jumper in the final second of overtime, lifting Golden State to a 122-120 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday... Curry had 23 points and 10 rebounds. Thompson led the Warriors with 27 points, and O'Neal finished with 20 points and eight boards.
O'Neal blocked a Dallas shot with the game tied at 120, setting the stage for Curry's winning move. He dribbled the ball to the left side of the court and hit from 20 feet... Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 33 points and 11 rebounds. He had 16 in the Mavericks' 41-point second quarter.
Damian Lillard, LaMarcus Aldridge combine for 65 in Blazers' win
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- The Portland Trail Blazers are hoping they've put all the bad habits behind them with the playoffs on the horizon.
And with a healthy LaMarcus Aldridge providing his usual numbers, they are confident that they can make some noise in the postseason -- with or without home-court advantage.
Damian Lillard scored 34 points, Aldridge had 31 points and 15 rebounds, and the Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers 124-112 Tuesday night... Nick Young, the fifth and last player off the Los Angeles bench, made his first eight shots and finished 15 for 26 with a season-high 40 points. But it wasn't enough to prevent the Lakers' 10th defeat in 14 games. They slipped to 25-49 -- the most losses by the club since finishing 33-49 in 1993-94. The franchise hasn't lost 50 games in a season since 1974-75 (30-52)... Nash, who turned 40 on Feb. 7, had 10 points and 10 assists in 22 minutes.
NBA DAILY FOR TUESDAY, APR. 1
Recaps of NBA games played Monday
Bobcats battle back to top Wizards 100-94
The AP reports: CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Al Jefferson laughed when told he finished three stitches shy of a triple-double.
"I have to call my agent because I'm done with my modeling career," Jefferson said.
Jefferson had seven stitches in the first half to repair a gash above his right eye, but returned to finish with 19 points and 11 rebounds, helping the Bobcats overcome an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit and defeat Washington 100-94 Monday night. The win prevented the Wizards from clinching their first playoff berth since 2008.
Jefferson's put back off an offensive rebound with 3:30 left in the game helped the Bobcats take the lead for good at 93-92.
Kemba Walker had a big second half, finishing with 21 points and 10 assists, and rookie Cody Zeller scored a career-high 15 points on 4-of-4 shooting and added eight rebounds for Charlotte.
Spurs beat Pacers for franchise-record 18th straight win
The AP reports: INDIANAPOLIS -- San Antonio is steamrolling its way into the playoffs. Indiana can't even figure out what's wrong.
And a game that might have been billed as an NBA Finals preview just a week or two ago demonstrated just how wide the disparity is now. Tony Parker scored 22 points, Boris Diaw added 14 and the Spurs broke the franchise record with their 18th consecutive victory, 103-77 over the Pacers on Monday night... On a night Duncan went 3 of 10 from the field and Manu Ginobili managed only six points and two assists in 16 minutes, San Antonio's Big Three added one more line to its already impressive resume by breaking the franchise record on the 18th anniversary of the only previous 17-game winning streak in Spurs' history.
Paul Millsap, Lou Williams help Hawks snap 6-game losing skid
The AP reports: ATLANTA -- Lou Williams is out of the doghouse. Good thing, because the Atlanta Hawks really needed him Monday night.
Williams scored 22 points off the bench to give some help to one-man show Paul Millsap, rallying Atlanta to a 103-95 victory that denied the Philadelphia 76ers their first winning streak in nearly three months.
The Hawks, clinging to the final playoff spot in the East, snapped a six-game losing streak and won for only the seventh time in 27 games. They came into the night one game ahead of the New York Knicks... Thaddeus Young led Philadelphia with 23 points, while James Anderson chipped in with 19.
Monroe, Pistons rally past Bucks 116-111
The AP reports: AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Josh Smith saved his only 3-pointers for when the Detroit Pistons needed them most.
His first started a 12-0 run midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Pistons the lead for good and the next gave Detroit breathing room in its 116-111 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday night.
Greg Monroe matched his season-best with 28 points and had 14 rebounds to help Detroit end a three-game skid in a matchup of the NBA Central Division's worst two teams. Smith scored eight of his 26 during the decisive run... Brandon Knight had 25 points and Ramon Sessions added 20 and 11 assists for Milwaukee, which lost its 10th consecutive road game and dropped the season series with the Pistons 3-1... Andre Drummond had 10 points and 16 boards and Brandon Jennings added 20 points and 13 assists for Detroit, which won despite going to the line 21 times to Milwaukee's 36.
LeBron James, Heat move past Pacers for top spot in East
The AP reports: MIAMI -- For the first time all season, the Miami Heat are alone atop the Eastern Conference.
And that's quite a turnaround from how things seemed less than a week ago.
LeBron James fought through a sore back to score 32 points, Chris Bosh added 18 and the Heat used another strong defensive effort to beat the Toronto Raptors 93-83 on Monday night. The win pushed the two-time defending NBA champions percentage points ahead of the struggling Indiana Pacers in the race for the No. 1 seed in the East... Chris Andersen scored 13 points on 5-for-5 shooting and Mario Chalmers added 12 for Miami (51-22), which was again without Dwyane Wade (hamstring), Greg Oden (back) and Ray Allen (flu).
Mike Dunleavy, Bulls pull away from Celtics in 4th quarter
The AP reports: CHICAGO -- Having been burned by D.J. Augustin the previous night, the Boston Celtics clamped down on the Bulls' guard in the second game of their home-and-home series.
Boston succeeded in limiting Augustin to four points on 1-of-9 shooting, but that didn't affect the final outcome.
Mike Dunleavy had 22 points on 7-for-12 shooting and Augustin handed out 11 assists to help five Bulls score in double figures for a 94-80 win over the Celtics on Monday night... Joakim Noah added 19 points, 11 rebounds and five assists, Jimmy Butler scored 18 points, Carlos Boozer 16 and Taj Gibson had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Chicago, which pulled away with a 13-0 run at the start of the fourth quarter.
Blake Griffin-less Clippers knock off Timberwolves
The AP reports: MINNEAPOLIS -- The excuses came ready made for the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night. Blake Griffin and Jamal Crawford were out with injuries. They were playing their fourth game of a five-game road trip.
Chris Paul would have none of that.
"I said, 'Fellas, let's be who we are. We got who we got, let's keep the train moving,'" Paul told them. "We said, 'No excuses.'"
And no mercy on a Minnesota Timberwolves team that just wants this massively disappointing season to end.
Darren Collison had 28 points and seven assists, and the Clippers didn't miss a beat with Griffin out with a back injury in a 114-104 victory.
DeMarcus Cousins scores 35 points, leads Kings past Pelicans
The AP reports: NEW ORLEANS -- When DeMarcus Cousins drilled a 16-foot jump shot on the Sacramento Kings' first possession of the second half, he had the look of a player who was ready to take over a game.
Next came a layup, then a follow shot as he was fouled for a three-point play, then a layup as he was fouled for another three-point play.
Cousins made all seven of his shots in the third quarter on his way to a 35-point, 14-rebound performance, and the Kings snapped a three-game skid with a 102-97 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday night... Ray McCallum, starting at point guard because of Isaiah Thomas' right thigh injury, had 22 points and 10 assists. He also committed only one turnover in nearly 44 minutes... Rudy Gay also scored 22, including a momentum-swinging 3-pointer after the Pelicans had pulled within a point in the fourth quarter.
Reggie Evans grabbed 12 rebounds before his ejection for an elbow to Anthony Davis' face on a collision that occurred as Evans went up for a close-range shot.
Grizzlies hold on to beat Nuggets, 94-92
The AP reports: DENVER -- The Memphis Grizzlies had a bumpy ride into Denver early Monday. They had a hard landing Monday night and still managed to keep themselves in the thick of the postseason hunt.
Zach Randolph had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Mike Conley added 19 points and the Grizzlies kept pace in the playoff race with a 94-92 win over the Denver Nuggets.
The Grizzlies moved into a three-way tie with Dallas and Phoenix for seventh in the Western Conference. Memphis plays both teams once more -- at the Suns on April 14 and home against the Mavericks in the regular-season finale two days later.
Knicks beat Jazz, remain one game back of Hawks in race for No. 8 seed
The AP reports: SALT LAKE CITY -- Momentum on defense is a powerful thing. Force an opponent into a dry spell and a team can seize an opportunity to win big games.
That's the message the New York Knicks have been receiving in the locker room. Judging by what they did to the Utah Jazz, it appears they are getting the message.
Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points on 11-of-19 shooting, and the Knicks pulled away for a 92-83 victory on Monday night that kept them one game back of the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.
Tyson Chandler added 15 points and nine rebounds, while J.R. Smith scored 13 points and Raymond Felton chipped in 12 points and six assists to help New York (32-43) finish 3-2 on its western trip.
NBA DAILY FOR MONDAY, MAR. 31
Recaps of NBA games played Sunday
Kevin Durant's points streak hits 38 games as Thunder blast Jazz
The AP reports: OKLAHOMA CITY -- The drama was sapped early from Oklahoma City's blowout win over Utah, except for one detail.
Thunder forward Kevin Durant is nearing Michael Jordan's mark for consecutive games with at least 25 points.
With the crowd buzzing late in the third quarter, Durant reached the mark for the 38th consecutive time, leaving him two games short of Jordan's accomplishment, which is the most in the past 50 years.
He finished with 31 points and nine assists to help Oklahoma City defeat the Jazz 116-96 on Sunday afternoon.
Jordan did it for 40 straight games for the Chicago Bulls during the 1986-87 season. Durant is aware of the mark, but the NBA's leading scorer left worrying about it to the crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Surging Cavaliers push Pacers' road skid to 5 straight
The AP reports: CLEVELAND -- Sitting in the last chair on Indiana's bench, David West stared straight ahead, unable to look at the court.
As the final seconds ticked off the clock on another disheartening loss, West seemed dazed.
The Pacers' promising season is unraveling
Dion Waiters scored 19 points, Luol Deng added 15 and the Cleveland Cavaliers kept their playoff push going with a 90-76 win Sunday over the skidding Pacers, who are losing their grip on the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Tristan Thompson had 16 rebounds as the Cavs snapped a nine-game losing streak against Indiana. Cleveland came in three games behind slumping, idle Atlanta for the conference's final playoff spot. With seven games left -- six against teams with losing records -- the Cavs still have a chance.
Nets win franchise record-tying 13th straight at home, top Timberwolves
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- They have gone from disappointment to dominant, a team that was booed on its home floor and now rarely loses there.
And pretty soon, the Brooklyn Nets will also be a playoff team.
Pierce scored 22 points after another sensational start, and the Nets moved to the brink of a postseason spot by beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-99 on Sunday for their franchise record-tying 13th straight home victory... Pierce scored 16 in the first quarter, two nights after putting up 17 in the period, and didn't miss a shot in either. He couldn't keep it going after asking for a rest so he would stay fresh to defend Kevin Love, but the Nets had to plenty more to pull away.
Joe Johnson added 19 points for the Nets, who were 10-21 when they reached the new year but will clinch a playoff spot with either another win or a loss by the New York Knicks.
Raptors escape with a 98-93 win over Magic
The AP reports: ORLANDO, Fla. -- After Toronto locked up its first postseason berth since 2008 last week, coach Dwane Casey cautioned the Raptors to not get complacent down the stretch with teams still vying for playoff position.
He's hoping that a nearly disastrous letdown against Orlando will send a stronger message.
DeMar DeRozan had 28 points, Jonas Valanciunas added 20 points and nine rebounds, and the Raptors escaped with a 98-93 victory over the Magic on Sunday night... Kyle Lowry added 16 points.
D.J. Augustin's career-high 33 points lead Bulls over Celtics
The AP reports: BOSTON -- Chicago's D.J. Augustin put an end to a series of pesky rallies by the Boston Celtics.
Augustin hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2:01 remaining, then continued a perfect night from the foul line while scoring a career-high 33 points for the Bulls in a 107-102 win over Boston.
Augustin scored 15 in the fourth, including six points from the foul line as the Bulls held off the slumping Celtics... Joakim Noah finished with 13 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for Chicago two nights after it was routed at home by Portland.
Knicks get road win at Warriors, eye final playoff spot
The AP reports: OAKLAND, Calif. -- One game.
After a season featuring more losses than wins, that's all that separates the New York Knicks and the final postseason spot in the weak Eastern Conference standings.
J.R. Smith scored 21 points, Carmelo Anthony added 19 points and nine rebounds and the Knicks moved closer to a playoff seed by beating the undermanned Golden State Warriors 89-84 on Sunday night... [Stephen] Curry scored 32 points, including a tying 3-pointer with 2:42 remaining. But he missed his last two shots from long range and also had a pass stolen on Golden State's final possession... [Klay] Thompson finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Iguodala added 12 points and five rebounds for the Warriors (45-28), who are in sixth place in the tight Western Conference race. Golden State is two games behind fifth-place Portland, but only two games ahead of ninth-place Dallas -- and being out of the playoff picture entirely.
LaMarcus Aldridge's 28 lead Blazers past Grizzlies
The AP reports: PORTLAND, Ore. -- A healthy LaMarcus Aldridge makes a world of difference for the Portland Trail Blazers.
Aldridge scored 28 points in his third game back from injury and the Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to three games with a 105-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night.
"Whether he's scoring or not, just getting him touches has a big effect on the game, has a big effect on how the defense reads our offense," Blazers center Robin Lopez said of Aldridge... Reserve Mo Williams added 17 points and Wesley Mathews had 15 for the Blazers, who avoided a three-game sweep in the season series... Zach Randolph scored 21 points and Marc Gasol had 20 for the Grizzlies, who lost back-to-back games for the first time since Feb. 3-5 and dropped a half-game behind idle Dallas for the West's eighth and final playoff berth.
Chris Kaman scores 28 as Lakers surprise Suns
The AP reports: LOS ANGELES -- The Lakers have been giving playoff-contending teams more trouble over the past week than clubs that are way out of contention -- like themselves.
Chris Kaman had a season-high 28 points along with 17 rebounds while starting at center for the vertigo-stricken Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks scored 22 points, and Los Angeles snapped the Phoenix' Suns' six-game winning streak with a 115-99 victory Sunday night.
It came just five days after the Lakers put a crimp in the New York Knicks' postseason plans with a 31-point drubbing at Staples Center. In between that game and this one were a pair of road losses to the league-worst Milwaukee Bucks and the Minnesota Timberwolves, who beat the Lakers by 36 points Friday night."We're trying to be the player-haters of the year. That's definitely what we're trying to do, and we embrace it," said point guard Kendall Marshall, who had 13 points and 11 assists... Gerald Green scored 22 points off the bench and Goran Dragic added 17 for the Suns, who missed their first 11 shots from 3-point range and finished 8-for-36 from behind the arc against a defense that came in having allowed an average of 119.1 in their previous 16 games and 108.9 overall -- second-worst in the league behind Philadelphia. The Suns shot 38.5 percent overall.
NBA DAILY FOR SUNDAY, MAR. 30
Recaps of NBA games played Saturday
76ers pound Pistons to halt losing streak one game shy of record
The AP reports: PHILADELPHIA -- Desperate to see a victory again, Philadelphia fans wouldn't even wait for the end, standing to cheer as time was running out in the third quarter.
By then it was clear: The 76ers were going to win for the first time in two months, and they were going to do it with ease.
The 76ers snapped their NBA record-tying, 26-game losing streak, routing the Detroit Pistons 123-98 on Saturday night to avoid establishing the longest skid in U.S. major pro sports history... Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young each scored 21 points for the 76ers, who won for the first time since beating Boston exactly two months ago and did it impressively, leading by as many as 32 points. They also ended an 18-game home losing streak, which was one shy of another NBA record... Greg Monroe had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost for the 11th time in 13 games. Blown out a night earlier by Miami, they made the 76ers look as good as the Heat with a sloppy effort that included 18 turnovers, many after starting point guard Brandon Jennings was ejected in the first quarter.
Clips top Rockets to lock up playoff bid, despite injury to Blake Griffin
The AP reports: HOUSTON -- Things did not look good for the Los Angeles Clippers early in Saturday night's game against Houston.
All-Star Blake Griffin went down with back spasms in the first quarter and when Glen Davis threw a temper tantrum early in the second, they were trailing by 13 points.
But instead of crumbling, the Clippers rose to the challenge as Chris Paul got hot and helped Los Angeles erase the deficit by halftime and hold on for the 118-107 win. Paul had 30 points and 12 assists and Jamal Crawford added 22 points to help the Clippers clinch their franchise-record third straight playoff appearance... James Harden led the Rockets with 32 points, and Parsons had 28. DeAndre Jordan added 20 points, 12 rebounds and six blocks for the Clippers, who swept Houston this season and are third in the Western Conference.
Wall, Wizards beat Hawks 101-97
The AP reports: WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards are inching closer to their first playoff spot since 2008 and can earn a postseason berth Sunday if the Golden State Warriors beat the New York Knicks.
After the Wizards' sloppy 101-97 win over the free-falling Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night, they insisted they're not looking ahead -- at least not publicly.
"If the Knicks lose, I'll be more excited. I'd know I'd be playing in the playoffs," John Wall said.
Wall scored 25 points and Drew Gooden added 16 for Washington, which is sixth in the Eastern Conference... Jeff Teague scored 19 points and Paul Millsap 17 for Atlanta.
Mavs extend Kings' Dallas skid with 103-100 win
The AP reports: DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki and the Dallas Mavericks can't seem to turn comfortable leads into easy wins, even with their playoff fate on the line against teams going nowhere.
They avoided what would have been a damaging letdown against Sacramento on Saturday night.
Nowitzki scored 19 points, including eight in the fourth quarter when the Mavericks wiped out a five-point deficit after leading by 17 in the first half and held on to beat the Kings 103-100... Rudy Gay scored 30 for the Kings.
Monta Ellis had 17 points and six assists and Sam Dalembert added 15 as Dallas avoided a second loss to a West also-ran on a franchise-record eight-game homestand that ends Tuesday night against Golden State, the fourth likely playoff-bound opponent in five games.
Heat bully Bucks to wrap up 3-game road swing
The AP reports: MILWAUKEE -- Short-handed and a little disheveled with the ball, the Miami Heat finished off their three-game swing through the Midwest with a sterling performance on the other end of the floor.
The Heat shut down the Bucks with defense Saturday night as Chris Bosh scored 14 points, LeBron James had 13 and Miami throttled Milwaukee 88-67, holding an opponent to a season low in points.
"In the playoffs, we're going to have to rely on our defense," Bosh said.
James Jones added 10 for Miami in place of star guard Dwyane Wade, sidelined a second straight game with a sore hamstring. The Heat also played without Ray Allen and Mario Chalmers... John Henson had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Milwaukee, while Ramon Sessions had a game-high 15 points.
Spurs pummel Pelicans to collect 17th straight victory
The AP reports: SAN ANTONIO -- Spurs coach Gregg Popovich admitted he is getting antsy for a loss. He'll have to wait.
Marco Belinelli scored 18 points and San Antonio never trailed after its opening possession, extending its winning streak to 17 games with a 96-80 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night.
The Spurs once again used fluid passing and tireless player movement to overwhelm an opponent. San Antonio finished with 24 assists while going 37 for 78 from the field in snapping New Orleans' five-game winning streak... [Brian] Roberts scored 18 points, Austin Rivers added 16 points, Tyreke Evans had 11 points and Al-Farouq Aminu had eight points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans (32-41).
Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili scored 15 points each, Patty Mills added 13 and Tim Duncan had 12 points and eight rebounds.
NBA DAILY FOR SATURDAY, MAR. 29
Recaps of NBA games played Friday
Magic edge Bobcats 110-105 in OT
The AP reports: ORLANDO, Fla. -- A big early deficit and an opponent's hot shooting hand didn't faze Nikola Vucevic or the rest of the Orlando Magic.
Vucevic scored 24 points and grabbed 23 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson had five points in overtime as the Magic edged the Charlotte Bobcats 110-105 on Friday night.
Aaron Afflalo, who finished with 17 points, sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer with 7.6 seconds remaining as Orlando won its second straight. In overtime, Nelson's 3-pointer with 2:26 left put Orlando ahead for good.
"I knew it would turn around," Vucevic said. "I kept my confidence high. I had all good looks," said Vucevic, who was 11-for 22 from the field. "A 15-16 point lead in this league is nothing. You have to keep fighting, grinding and that's what we did tonight."
Raptors close out Celtics with dramatic shot, clinch playoff berth
The AP reports: TORONTO -- Amir Johnson was finishing up a phone call as a crowd of reporters gathered around his locker.
"My grandmother called and she said she's proud," a smiling Johnson said as he put the phone down.
She should be. Thanks to a timely bucket by her grandson, the Toronto Raptors are headed back to the NBA playoffs... DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points as the Raptors won for the 18th time in 24 home games. Terrence Ross had 17 points, Greivis Vasquez scored 15 and Jonas Valanciunas finished with 13.
Pacers enter riding high, but pose no problem for Wiz this time
The AP reports: WASHINGTON -- Just when it appeared that the intensity of a run to the playoffs was getting to be too much for the Washington Wizards, they pulled off a solid win over the Indiana Pacers.
And the Pacers? They played so poorly that it made this week's win over the Miami Heat look more like an aberration in some late-season doldrums.
John Wall scored 20 points, and Marcin Gortat added 17 points and 12 rebounds Friday night as the Wizards avenged two of their biggest losses of the season, never trailing in a 91-78 win over the cold-shooting, turnover-prone Pacers... Paul George scored 19 points, and Lance Stephenson had 13 points and matched a career-high with 14 rebounds for the Pacers, who have lost a season-high four straight road games. Indiana committed five turnovers in the first four minutes Friday and shot 35 percent overall.
Paul Pierce-led Nets jump out fast; Cavs can't catch up
The AP reports: NEW YORK -- After three long games on the road, the Brooklyn Nets made quick work of Cleveland back at home.
Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 22 points in a flawless first quarter, and the Nets pulled away in the second on the way to their 12th straight home victory, 108-97 over the Cavaliers on Friday night.
"It was great for him to come out and get us started and get us going, and then that second group kind of finished it off," Nets guard Deron Williams said.
Joe Johnson added 14 points for the Nets, who played three straight overtime games on their road trip, losing the last two of them. But things were much easier inside Barclays Center, where they won for the 19th time in their last 21 games.
LeBron James' triple-double helps Heat blow out Pistons
The AP reports: AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- LeBron James took a look at the stat sheet after three quarters and liked what he saw.
There was a lot to like.
James had 17 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to help the Miami Heat build a big lead, and then rested in the fourth quarter of a 110-78 victory against the Detroit Pistons on Friday night.
It was James' first triple-double of the season and No. 37 for his career... Udonis Haslem scored 12 of his 17 points in the first quarter, when James already had seven assists. Chris Bosh scored 15, Chris Andersen had 13 points, Norris Cole scored 12 and James Jones added 10 for Miami.
Trail Blazers cruise in Chicago with 5 in double figures
The AP reports: CHICAGO -- The Portland Trail Blazers had dropped three straight games and appeared in danger of losing considerable playoff ground in the tough Western Conference before LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the lineup on Thursday.
Two games later, the Blazers seemed to have turned things following a pair of comfortable wins, the latest a 91-74 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night.
Is the turnaround as easily explained as the return of an All-Star performer? Well, yeah, the Blazers say... Mo Williams scored 18 points to lead five Blazers in double figures. Lillard had 16 points, Nicolas Batum and Robin Lopez each had 13, Wesley Matthews had 11 and Thomas Robinson added 10.
Kevin Love posts second career triple-double as Timberwolves roll
The AP reports: MINNEAPOLIS -- In a rare season of losing in Los Angeles, discombobulated Lakers fans have taken to dreaming about Kevin Love in purple and gold. They see him as the savior, the young star they need to carry the franchise forward and help Kobe Bryant restore the team's pride.
Is it a pipe dream or a real possibility? It's unlikely anyone will know until 2015, when Love can become a free agent and the Lakers will have money to throw at him. In the meantime, Love gave those suffering Lakers fans another performance to drool over.
Love had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his second career triple-double and the Minnesota Timberwolves set a franchise record for points with a 143-107 victory over the Lakers on Friday night... Nikola Pekovic scored 26 points on 9-for-10 shooting in his first game back from an ankle injury and Love hit 3-of-5 3-pointers in just three quarters of work. Kevin Martin scored 17 points for the Wolves, who led by 19 points in the first quarter, 37 in the second and 40 in the third.
Tyreke Evans leads Pelicans over Jazz 102-95
The AP reports: NEW ORLEANS -- By necessity, the Pelicans keep heaping more responsibility in Tyreke Evans' lap -- and he keeps coming through.
Evans had 22 points and a career-high 15 assists, and the short-handed Pelicans overcame the loss of Anthony Davis to extend their winning streak to a season-high five games, 102-95 victory over Utah on Friday night.
The performance came with Evans starting at point guard, a role Evans occupied in stints with Sacramento earlier in his career, but not with New Orleans until this week, beginning with an upset victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday... Anthony Morrow scored 20 points, Al-Farouq Aminu added 13, and Austin Rivers and Darius Miller each had 12. Alexis Ajinca, playing 28 minutes in Davis' absence, had 10 rebounds, nine points and three blocks.
Derrick Favors had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who lost their third straight. Gordon Hayward added 21 points.
Kevin Durant scores 29 in win to pull within 3 of Jordan's streak
The AP reports: OKLAHOMA CITY -- Kevin Durant displayed his usual dominance as a scorer, and the Thunder supported him with one of their best defensive performances of the season.
Durant scored 29 points to help Oklahoma City beat the Sacramento Kings 94-81 on Friday night.
Durant's high-scoring ways have been wasted at times by the Thunder, who lost 128-119 at Dallas on Tuesday despite 43 points by the NBA's leading scorer.
This time, the Thunder held Sacramento to 51 points and 30 percent shooting through the first three quarters. Durant could have done more damage, but he sat for good with 1:25 left in the third and the Thunder firmly in control... Durant has scored at least 25 points in 37 consecutive games, the longest streak since Michael Jordan's 40-game run for the Chicago Bulls during the 1986-87 season.
Russell Westbrook had 18 points and six assists and Jeremy Lamb added 13 points for the Thunder, who have won five of six. The Thunder have held their opponent to 96 or fewer points in four of the five wins.
Spurs smoke Nuggets, extend streak to 16 as Marco Belinelli stars
The AP reports: DENVER -- As the winning streak climbs, so does the stress level for San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich.
At least, that was Tim Duncan's assessment after the Spurs ran their streak to 16 straight by beating the Denver Nuggets 133-102 on Friday night.
This is their longest regular-season win streak since reeling off 17 in a row from Feb. 29 to March 31, 1996. And Popovich seems to be growing more antsy with every victory... Foye scored 20 for a banged-up Nuggets squad that lost for the fourth time in five games. Wilson Chandler was out with a strained groin, while Timofey Mozgov and Kenneth Faried were hampered by an illness. Faried still finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds.
Goran Dragic scores 32 as Suns breeze by Knicks, win 6th straight
The AP reports: PHOENIX -- After a laugher over the New York Knicks, the Phoenix Suns are on their longest winning streak in four years.
Goran Dragic scored 32 points in 32 minutes and the Suns routed the Knicks 112-88 on Friday night for their season-high sixth victory in a row.
Eric Bledsoe added 16 points, seven rebounds and six assists, Markieff Morris scored 16 and Miles Plumlee had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, who led by 22 at halftime and 32 in the third quarter.
Carmelo Anthony scored 21, seven below his season average, and Amar'e Stoudemire 19 for the Knicks, blown out for the second time in three games on their five-game western trip.
Warriors shut down Grizzlies late as Stephen Curry provides punch
The AP reports: OAKLAND, Calif. -- Stephen Curry stepped up again and hit another key shot for Golden State in the closing minutes.
The role fits him comfortably.
Curry scored 33 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer, and the Warriors ended a five-game home losing streak against the Memphis Grizzlies with a 100-93 victory Friday night... Klay Thompson added 14 points, with a pair of free throws late to clinch it, and Marreese Speights had 15 points in his first start as a member of the Warriors... Zach Randolph scored 21 points to lead the Grizzlies, who had won eight of their previous 10 games. Mike Conley added 20, Marc Gasol had 17 and Courtney Lee 11.
NBA DAILY FOR FRIDAY, MAR. 28
Recaps of NBA games played Thursday
LaMarcus Aldridge paces Blazers to victory over Hawks in return
The AP reports: ATLANTA -- Portland coach Terry Stotts and his staff were having an informal meeting in the hallway outside their locker room when LaMarcus Aldridge returned from a postgame TV interview.
The assistants greeted Aldridge with compliments and high fives. Stotts had only one word for his high-scoring forward: "Thanks."
Aldridge had 25 points and 16 rebounds in his return after missing seven games with a lower back contusion, and the Trail Blazers beat the Atlanta Hawks 100-85 on Thursday night to end a three-game losing streak... Damian Lillard added 21 points for the Trail Blazers, who had lost seven of 10 and were in danger of falling out of the fifth spot in the Western Conference playoff standings... Jeff Teague, who was scoreless in Wednesday night's loss at Minnesota, led the Hawks with 22 points. Lou Williams had 16 points, including 13 in the final period when Atlanta closed the deficit to six points.
Rockets send Sixers to 26th straight loss, tying NBA record
The AP reports: HOUSTON -- After the Philadelphia 76ers tied an NBA record with their 26th consecutive loss, one of their youngest voices spoke loudest.
Michael Carter-Williams, one of six rookies on the NBA's youngest team, delivered a pep talk after James Harden's triple-double led the Houston Rockets to a 120-98 victory on Thursday night. "During the game a couple of guys had long faces ... and I found myself a little bit down," said Carter-Williams, who had 10 assists... Harden had 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in three quarters for his second career triple-double as Houston picked up its fifth straight victory... James Anderson led the Sixers with 30 points and made six 3-pointers.
Bucks end 8-game skid, complete season sweep of Lakers
The AP reports: MILWAUKEE -- Struggling through one of the worst seasons in franchise history, Brandon Knight and the Milwaukee Bucks wish they could play the Los Angeles Lakers every night.
Knight scored 30 points and Ramon Sessions added 22 to lead the Bucks to a 108-105 victory over the Lakers on Thursday to break an eight-game losing streak.
The Bucks swept the season series for the first time since 2006-07, as Milwaukee beat Los Angeles 94-79 on Dec. 31. Knight scored a career-high 37 points in the first meeting... Khris Middleton added 14 points for the Milwaukee, which won for only the 14th time this season. The Bucks hit 55.7 percent from the field, just the eighth time this season the Bucks have shot better than 50 percent... Jordan Hill had 28 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers, while Young added 17 points.
Chris Paul, Clippers rally from 10 points down in fourth to beat Mavs
The AP reports: DALLAS -- The Los Angeles Clippers have not tired of inflicting fourth-quarter pain on the Dallas Mavericks.
The Clippers rallied from a 10-point deficit in the final period to beat the Mavericks 109-103 on Thursday night. Los Angeles has won all three meetings thus far, with second-half rallies in each game.
Each meeting has also featured plenty of emotion. On Thursday, the teams combined for six technical fouls charged to players on the floor, three on each team.
"We need to start playing like that more often, to tell you the truth," Chris Paul said after leading Los Angeles with 31 points, a night after going 0 for 12 in a two-point loss in New Orleans... The Clippers got double-doubles from Blake Griffin (18 points, 13 rebounds) and DeAndre Jordan (16 points, 15 rebounds)... Vince Carter scored 23 points off the bench for the Mavericks, going 4 for 5 on 3-pointers. Dirk Nowitzki had 21 points but only two in the fourth quarter.
NBA DAILY FOR THURSDAY, MAR. 27
Recaps of NBA games played Wednesday
Al Jefferson powers Bobcats past Nets in OT
The AP reports: CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Bobcats can't help but sneak a peek at the Eastern Conference standings every now and again.
"I would be great to get in that sixth spot," Jefferson said.
The reasoning if obvious: It would help the Bobcats avoid a potential first-round playoff series with Indiana or Miami.
For now, the Bobcats are the seventh seed in the East, but they're gaining ground. Charlotte took a big step on Wednesday night with Jefferson scoring 35 points and Kemba Walker adding a double-double in a 116-111 overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets... Walker had 20 points and 12 assists, and Chris Douglas-Roberts added 16 points, including two big jump shots in overtime.
Deron Williams finished with 29 points for Brooklyn after scoring 18 in the first quarter. Joe Johnson had 18.
Dragic, Bledsoe help Suns top Wizards 99-93
The AP reports: WASHINGTON -- With the NBA regular season in the final stretch, Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic are pushing the Phoenix Suns in the right direction, with a five-game winning streak keeping them in the Western Conference playoff chase.
John Wall's Washington Wizards, meanwhile, are headed the opposite way, losing four of their last five games to let teams behind them in the East inch closer.
After letting a 25-point lead dwindle to three Wednesday night, Bledsoe and Dragic got back to business and combined to finish with 48 points, 13 assists and 13 rebounds in Phoenix's 99-93 victory over Washington.
"I'm glad," Dragic said, "that we didn't panic."
Raptors top Celts to edge closer to playoffs
The AP reports: BOSTON -- DeMar DeRozan understands that a playoff berth for the Raptors has meaning beyond Toronto's locker room.
Terrence Ross scored 24 points, Kyle Lowry 23 and the Raptors edged closer to their first playoff spot since 2008 with a 99-90 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
"Not just the franchise, the whole city of Toronto and Canada," said DeRozan, sitting at his locker with his left foot in a bucket of ice. "I've been here five years and see how passionate the fans are. It definitely means a lot. We feed off them, the energy they bring every single night. That would be great for the city and we have to take advantage of the opportunity."
DeRozan added 20 points for Toronto, which increased its Atlantic Division lead to 2 1/2 games over Brooklyn. The Raptors can clinch a playoff spot if the New York Knicks lose at Sacramento later Wednesday.
Waiters lifts Cavs over Pistons at buzzer, 97-96
The AP reports: AUBURN HILLS -- The Cleveland Cavaliers aren't ready to throw in the towel.
With only 10 healthy players, the Cavaliers overcame a 16-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Detroit Pistons on Dion Waiters' baseline jumper as time expired. With nine games left, Cleveland remains in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, three games behind No. 8 Atlanta and a half-game behind the Knicks.
The Pistons led 82-66 going into the fourth quarter, but the NBA's worst fourth-quarter team collapsed once again down the stretch.
Jarrett Jack hit a 3-pointer to pull the Cavaliers within 96-90 with 2:49 left, and his short jumper made it a four-point game with 90 seconds to play. After a bad Brandon Jennings miss, Jack drove the lane and hit a floater while being fouled. His free throw made it 96-95 with 53.8 seconds left and completed a personal 8-0 run.
Dieng leads Timberwolves over Hawks
The AP reports: MINNEAPOLIS -- Gorgui Dieng had 15 points and 15 rebounds to continue his out-of-nowhere emergence and the Minnesota Timberwolves dealt the slumping Atlanta Hawks another costly loss with a 107-83 victory.
Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin each scored 18 points and Kevin Love had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves. Minnesota scored 32 points off 26 Hawks turnovers and blew the game open in the second half.
Paul Millsap had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which has lost four straight and has the New York Knicks right in their rearview mirror for the eighth and final playoff spot. Jeff Teague, who had averaged more than 23 points over the previous four games, went scoreless for the first time this season on 0-for-5 shooting.
Anthony Davis, Pelicans edge Clippers as Chris Paul goes 0-for-12
The AP reports: NEW ORLEANS -- Injuries and illness across New Orleans' roster provided Darius Miller a chance to play extended minutes with his old Kentucky teammate Anthony Davis.
They did a lot of winning together in college, and Wednesday night's game against an NBA playoff contender was no different.
Davis had 16 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks while Miller capped a 16-point outing with a pair of clutch jumpers, and the undermanned Pelicans won their fourth straight, 98-96 over the Los Angeles Clippers... Anthony Morrow, also playing extended minutes, scored 27 points, while reserve center Alexis Ajinca added 14 points and 11 rebounds... Jamal Crawford scored 31 for the Clippers but narrowly missed a couple of late 3-point attempts, including one as time expired that could have won it.
Pacers finish rally to withstand LeBron James' 38, upend Heat
The AP reports: INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana took every shot Miami could muster Wednesday night.
Then the Pacers threw a couple of their own punches -- and put the two-time defending champs on the mat.
Paul George scored 23 points, Roy Hibbert added 21 and Indiana rallied from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat the Heat 84-83, taking a three-game lead over Miami in the chase of the Eastern Conference's top seed... Before the game, the teams chided one another with dueling comments. Afterward, nobody was ready to make up. And in between, the action got downright nasty.
LeBron James needed a cotton swab in his nose to keep playing in the fourth quarter after getting whacked in the face. Dwyane Wade spent the final minute of the game icing his right hamstring... The four-time MVP finished with 38 points, eight rebounds, five assists, was 9 of 15 from the field and 14 of 15 from the free throw line.
The problem: James also had six turnovers, Wade had six more turnovers and Miami managed only one basket over the final 3 minutes, 23 seconds. James and Bosh both missed late jumpers that would have given Miami the lead, the last an airball by Bosh from just right of the top of the key as time expired.
Tim Duncan's double-double leads Spurs to 15th straight win
The AP reports: SAN ANTONIO -- The San Antonio Spurs didn't dwell on nearly blowing a 24-point lead in the second half. They won, and that's all that mattered to the veteran club.
Tim Duncan had 29 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and San Antonio overcame a fourth-quarter collapse to beat the Denver Nuggets 108-103 Wednesday night for its 15th straight victory.
Tiago Splitter, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili had 10 points apiece for the Spurs (55-16), who have the league's best record... Danny Green's 3-pointer at the buzzer was his fifth of the half, giving San Antonio its largest lead of opening 24 minutes at 63-43.
Green scored 16 points, all in the first half, before leaving with a foot injury early in the second. His status is unknown, but he wore a walking boot as a precaution after the game and will have an MRI on Thursday morning.
Carmelo Anthony scores 36, J.R. Smith 29 as Knicks hold off Kings
The AP reports: SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Even against the Western Conference's worst teams, nothing is coming easy for the New York Knicks right now.
Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points, J.R. Smith tied a franchise-record with nine 3-pointers and the Knicks held off a furious rally to beat the Sacramento Kings 107-99 Wednesday night and move a game closer to the final playoff seed... DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists to carry the Kings, who played without injured point guard Isaiah Thomas (bruised right quadriceps). Ray McCallum made his first start in Thomas' place alongside fellow rookie Ben McLemore, and the two shook off a slow start to bring the Kings back.
McCallum had 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. McLemore scored 16. But New York outshot Sacramento 54.8 percent to 47.8 percent and finished 15 for 26 from 3-point range.
Zach Randolph lifts Grizzlies to road win over Jazz
The AP reports: SALT LAKE CITY -- Zach Randolph had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and his two free throws with 11 seconds clinched the Memphis Grizzlies' 91-87 come-from-behind win over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night.
Mike Conley scored 19 points and Marc Gasol added 18 for the Grizzlies, who won for the fifth time in six games and are a season-best 15 games over .500.
Derrick Favors had 22 points and 10 rebounds, Gordon Hayward scored 18 points and Richard Jefferson added 15 for the Jazz, who are 1-5 in their last six home games.
Though Memphis is the team in a tight playoff race, the Jazz made the extra effort for steals and dove for loose balls and led for most the contest while playing their starters extended minutes.