DeMar DeRozan top-scored with 26 points as the red-hot San Antonio Spurs defeated the Golden State Warriors to record their ninth successive win.
Golden State Warriors 105-111 San Antonio Spurs
DeMar DeRozan scored 26 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 points and 13 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs, the NBA’s hottest team, would not be denied in a 111-105 victory over the visiting Golden State Warriors on Monday night, capturing their ninth win in a row.
The victory was San Antonio’s 11th straight at home and guaranteed the Spurs (42-29) their NBA-record 22nd consecutive winning season.
San Antonio led by four points heading into the final quarter and were never behind over the final 12 minutes, building as much as a nine-point advantage on two different occasions and repelling each of the Warriors’ attempts to take charge.
Davis Bertans’ three-pointer with 1:53 to play allowed San Antonio a 109-102 lead and all but finished off the Warriors (47-22), who fell into a tie with Denver for first place in the Western Conference standings with the loss.
Rudy Gay added 17 points for the Spurs while Derrick White and Patty Mills hit for 12 and 10 points, respectively, for San Antonio.
Stephen Curry led the Warriors with 25 points, and Kevin Durant tallied 24 in his return to the lineup after missing the past two games with a sprained ankle.
Klay Thompson added 14 and Draymond Green racked up 10 points for Golden State.
Andrew Bogut, who signed with the Warriors on March 6 after winning MVP honours this season in Australia’s National Basketball League, started for Golden State though he hadn’t even practiced with the team.
Bogut, who played for the Warriors from 2012-16 and was a key member of Golden State’s 2014-15 championship squad, was pressed into service after DeMarcus Cousins hurt his right ankle late in the Warriors’ win Saturday at Oklahoma City. He had seven points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes of play.
Denver Nuggets 114-105 Boston Celtics
Nikola Jokic had 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists as the Denver Nuggets beat the host Boston Celtics 114-105 night to clinch a playoff berth.
Will Barton had 20 points, Gary Harris added 16 and Paul Millsap had 12 points and 11 rebounds for Denver, who are back in the postseason for the first time since 2013.
The Nuggets (47-22) swept the season series from Boston and surpassed their win total from last season with 13 games to go. Denver need just 10 wins to match the franchise record for a season set in 2012-13.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with a game-high 30 points and Al Horford scored 20. Boston played without Gordon Hayward, who left Saturday’s game against Atlanta with a neck strain.
The game was tied at 80 entering the fourth quarter but Denver started to slowly pull away. Monte Morris fed Mason Plumlee for an alley-oop and hit two buckets as part of an 11-2 run to start the period.
Horford and Terry Rozier hit three-pointers to pull the Celtics within 93-90 with 7:30 left in the game. Jokic made two threes and Malik Beasley had a lay-up to give Denver a 101-92 lead.
After another jumper by Irving, Harris had a three-pointer and a short jumper to give Denver a 106-94 lead with 3:47 left.
Boston made one last push. Irving hit two free throws, Marcus Smart had a basket and Irving hit a corner 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 106-101 with 1:22 left.
Barton answered with a basket and after Horford missed a three-ball, Millsap was fouled as he was draining a triple with 31.3 seconds left. He hit the free throw to give the Nuggets a 112-101 lead.
Smart dunked and Jaylen Brown stole the inbounds pass and scored to make it 112-105, but Denver were able to close it out.
Indiana Pacers 98-106 Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard scored 30 points and dished out 15 assists as the Portland Trail Blazers downed the visiting Indiana Pacers 106-98.
Jusuf Nurkic contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who have beaten Indiana in nine of the teams’ past 10 meetings. The Pacers have lost 10 straight on the Blazers’ home court.
Al-Farouq Aminu added 16 points for Portland, who have won four of five games overall. Rodney Hood and Seth Curry had 11 points apiece, and Maurice Harkless scored 10.
Myles Turner scored a season-high 28 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who fell to 0-2 on a four-game road trip. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 15 points while Doug McDermott and Wesley Matthews had 14 each.
Portland held a 55-48 advantage at half-time and extended their lead to 88-72 at the end of the third quarter.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by McDermott cut the difference to 93-80 with 8:47 remaining then Bogdanovic’s lay-up brought the visitors within 100-91 with 2:57 to go. Turner hit a pair of free throws to trim it to 100-93 with 1:30 to play.
Lillard sank two free throws to give Portland a 102-93 lead with 1:08 remaining. Bogdanovic replicated that to cut it to 102-95 with one minute left.
Matthews’ lay-up got the Pacers within 102-97 with 26.5 ticks on the clock, but Aminu knocked down two foul shots to wrap things up for the Blazers.
New Orleans Pelicans 129-125 Dallas Mavericks (OT)
Dirk Nowitzki reached a career milestone on Monday night, but his team-mates failed to make it a celebratory evening, blowing a four-point lead in the final 19.1 seconds of regulation as the visiting New Orleans Pelicans pulled out a 129-125 overtime victory.
Nowitzki made his first two shots, both trademark jumpers, in the opening four minutes to surpass Wilt Chamberlain as the NBA’s sixth-leading all-time scorer.
Nowitzki’s second 20-footer of the game with 8:35 to go in the first quarter pushed him ahead of Chamberlain’s 31,419 points. Nowitzki, in his 21st season all with Dallas, finished the game with eight points in 12 minutes to give the league’s highest-scoring European-born player 31,424 career points.
Dallas native Julius Randle finished with a game-high 30 points for New Orleans, and Elfrid Payton recorded his fifth consecutive triple-double with 19 points (11 coming in the fourth quarter and overtime), 11 assists and 10 rebounds.
Pelicans star Anthony Davis scored 20 points in just 21 minutes. He produced 14 points in 15 minutes in the first half. He didn’t play at all in the fourth quarter until there was 5.1 seconds left.
Frank Jackson drilled consecutive baskets in the final minute of overtime to secure the seesaw battle for New Orleans.
Dallas, who led by 10 at half-time, then trailed by nine early in the fourth quarter, reclaimed the lead 101-94 with a 14-0 run.
The Mavs made it 109-105 with 19.1 seconds left in regulation on two free throws by Luca Doncic. Payton hit a three-pointer followed by Mavs guard Tim Hardaway Jr lobbing an errant inbound pass that led to a Julius Randle dunk and a 110-109 Pelicans lead with 5.1 seconds to play.
Then Doncic, fouled by a falling Kenrich Williams with 1.9 seconds to go, failed to win it when he missed his first throw. He got the second one to tie the game. Randle had a good look on a baseline jumper for the win, but it banged off the side iron for overtime.
Doncic, despite the big missed free throw, notched his own triple-double with 29 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. Hardaway had 21 points but missed two big three-point attempts on the same possession in overtime.
Miami Heat 116-107 Oklahoma City Thunder
Goran Dragic scored 26 points off the bench to lead the visiting Miami Heat to a 116-107 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road.
The Heat’s reserves were extremely productive, not only with Dragic hitting six three-pointers but with Dwyane Wade scoring 25 in his final game at Oklahoma City. Wade helped the Heat win the 2012 NBA Finals over the Thunder.
James Johnson also added 14 off the bench as Miami’s reserves outscored Oklahoma City’s 67-10. Dragic also added 11 assists. Kelly Olynyk had 18 points and nine rebounds to help Miami win for the seventh time in nine games.
Oklahoma City was playing without Russell Westbrook, who was suspended after picking up his 16th technical foul of the season in a Saturday night loss to the Golden State Warriors.
Paul George led the Thunder with 31 points, and he grabbed nine rebounds. Jeremi Grant added a career-high 27 points and 10 boards, Dennis Schroder scored 20 points, and Steven Adams had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Schroder, starting in Westbrook’s spot, had four assists in the first 5:17 of the game. But when Schroder left the floor, things quickly crumbled for Oklahoma City, and they could never quite recover.
Miami missed their first eight shots before hitting seven of their next nine to kick-start a 17-2 run that put the Heat up front by the time the first quarter was over. They led by 12 early in the second quarter.
The Thunder lost for the third consecutive game and for the ninth time in their past 13.
Detroit Pistons 119-126 Cleveland Cavaliers
Rookie guard Collin Sexton poured in 27 points, including a go-ahead three-pointer with less than two minutes left, as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the visiting Detroit Pistons 126-119.
Cedi Osman supplied 21 points and six assists for the Cavaliers, who had seven players in double-figure points.
Brandon Knight contributed 16 points, four rebounds and five assists, while Nik Stauskas led the bench with 17 points. Jordan Clarkson added 14 points while Marquese Chriss added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Wayne Ellington scored 25 points to lead the Pistons, while Andre Drummond had 21 points and 21 rebounds. Reggie Jackson added 15 points and four assists.
Pistons All-Star forward Blake Griffin sat out for just the third time this season. Coach Dwane Casey opted to rest Griffin on the second part of a back-to-back. The Cavaliers were missing their best player, Kevin Love, who was sidelined by a back injury.
Detroit took an 88-87 lead into the fourth. The Cavs scored 14 points in the first 3:33 of the quarter, capped by two Chriss free throws, to gain a 101-97 lead.
Ellington’s corner three with 6:35 remaining gave Detroit a 106-103 lead but Sexton’s three-pointer less than a minute later put the Cavs back on top 108-106.
Detroit regained the lead but Sexton’s three-pointer with 1:54 left made it 115-114 in Cleveland’s favour. Osman and Sexton made shots from beyond the arc on the Cavs’ next two possessions to stretch the lead to seven and seal the win.
Utah Jazz 116-95 Washington Wizards
Rudy Gobert had 14 points and 14 rebounds as the visiting Utah Jazz beat the Washington Wizards 116-95.
Gobert, named Western Conference Player of the Week on Monday evening, was 6-of-6 from the field and made 2-of-3 free throws.
Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points and Jae Crowder added 18 for the Jazz, who began the night in seventh place, one-half game behind San Antonio. Ricky Rubio had 10 assists.
Jabari Parker led Washington with 19 points and Bradley Beal, the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, added 15 on 4-of-12 shooting.
The Jazz shot 53.8 per cent from the field while the Wizards converted 42 per cent.
Having led 57-45 at half-time, the Jazz extended the lead to 17 points midway through the third quarter on baskets by Gobert and Crowder. Utah led by as many as 24 points in the third quarter before taking a 91-71 lead into the fourth.
The Wizards cut the deficit to 17 points early in the fourth quarter, but an 8-0 run capped by Gobert’s dunk with 7:29 left pushed the Jazz lead up to 25 points.
New York Knicks 92-128 Toronto Raptors
Jeremy Lin scored 20 points off the bench while Pascal Siakam added 19 points and eight rebounds as the Toronto Raptors defeated the visiting New York Knicks 128-92.
Kyle Lowry added 15 points and eight assists for the Raptors before leaving the game with an ankle injury during the third quarter. He did not return to action.
Lowry left the court in pain with 5:15 remaining in the third quarter with a right ankle injury after gathering a rebound and being tangled with a Knicks player as he started to run up the court. He Lowry missed the previous two games with a sprained left ankle.
Fred VanVleet scored 13 points and handed out 12 assists for the Raptors, who have won all three meetings with the Knicks so far this season.
OG Anunoby had 14 points as the Raptors reached 50 wins for the fourth straight season. Danny Green chipped in with 13 points for Toronto, Marc Gasol contributed 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Norman Powell had 10 points. The Raptors matched a season best with 36 assists.
Allonzo Trier scored 22 points for the Knicks while Kevin Knox added 12 points and Damyean Dotson added 11. New York lost for the ninth time in 10 games.
The Raptors led by 34 points during the third quarter and were up by 32 entering the fourth. They were without Kawhi Leonard (load management) and Serge Ibaka (suspension).
Chicago Bulls 116-101 Phoenix Suns
Robin Lopez scored 24 points on 11-of-14 shooting to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 116-101 road win over the Phoenix Suns.
Zach LaVine contributed 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as Chicago snapped a five-game losing streak and won for just the second time in the past nine games. Lauri Markkanen added 17 points and nine rebounds, Kris Dunn scored 14 points and Cristiano Felicio had 10.
Deandre Ayton scored 25 points on 12-of-17 shooting and also collected 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocked shots for Phoenix.
Devin Booker recorded 25 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Suns. Josh Jackson scored 18 points, Mikal Bridges added 12 and Troy Daniels tallied 10.
Phoenix trailed 86-73 entering the final stanza but pulled within nine early in the fourth quarter. Chicago countered and their lead reached 98-83 on Ryan Arcidiacono’s 11-foot jumper with 7:04 left.
Dunn’s three-point play and Shaquille Harrison’s basket pushed the lead to 105-86 with 4:15 remaining and the Bulls cruised to the finish.