Clippers win 126-122 to keep Blazers waiting for title
PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — Los Angeles’ Chris Paul had a season-high 41 points and 17 assists to lead the Clippers to a come-from-behind 126-122 win at Portland on Wednesday, denying the Trail Blazers a win that would have clinched the NBA’s Northwest Division title.
Portland, which had won its previous four games, will have to wait to clinch their first division title in five years. The Blazers remained 6-1/2 games clear of Oklahoma City, which failed to make up ground after suffering a home defeat against Dallas in an even higher-scoring game.
Among other key results, Milwaukee ended its long run of home losses against Chicago by beating the Bulls, and Houston’s James Harden scored a career-high 51 points to power Houston to victory over Sacramento.
The Clippers trailed by 19 points in the first half but were led back by Paul and J.J. Redick, who added 25 points, including five 3-pointers, and eight rebounds. They then held off a furious Portland rally at the end.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 29 points.
Dallas withstood a triple-double from Russell Westbrook and won 135-131 at Oklahoma City.
Westbrook finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. It was his 10th triple-double of the season, the 17th of his career and his eighth since the All-Star break.
Dallas’ Monta Ellis scored 26 points and Chandler Parson added 22 for the Mavericks, who had seven players in double figures.
The Thunder lost despite having three players score at least 30 points. Anthony Morrow scored 32 and Enes Kanter added a career-high 30.
Milwaukee snapped a run of nine-straight home losses against Chicago by beating the Bulls 95-91.
Michael Carter-Williams had 21 points and 10 rebounds while Ersan Ilyasova added 16 for the Bucks, who maintained a 2-1/2 game lead over Miami and Brooklyn for sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago’s seven-game winning streak against Milwaukee ended despite 25 points and seven rebounds from Jimmy Butler.
Houston’s James Harden strengthened his case for the MVP award with a career-high 51 points and the Rockets needed just about all of them as they hung on for a 115-111 win over Sacramento.
Wednesday’s performance surpassed Harden’s previous career best of 50 points, which came on March 19.
An 8-0 run by Harden, which he capped with a 3-point play, pushed the Houston lead to 112-104. Four straight points by the Kings cut the lead to four with less than a minute left, but they didn’t score after that.
DeMarcus Cousins led Sacramento with his second career triple-double with 24 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists.
San Antonio clinched a playoff berth with a 103-91 win at Orlando.
Aron Baynes had 18 points and Manu Ginobili added 13 for the Spurs, who have made the postseason for 18-straight years.
Victor Oladipo led the Magic with 24 points but Orlando still fell to the Spurs for the eighth straight time.
Boston’s Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points after nearly missing the game with an eye injury sustained hours before tip-off, and the Celtics beat Indiana 100-87 in a match of Eastern Conference playoff hopefuls.
Tyler Zeller scored 17 of his 19 points in the first half for Boston, which is half a game out of a playoff spot. The Celtics sit just behind Brooklyn and Miami, who are tied for seventh in the East.
George Hill had 21 points for the Pacers, who fell two games behind Boston.
Utah cruised to a 98-84 win against Denver, with Rudy Gobert scoring a career-high 20 points and grabbing 12 rebounds.
Charlotte beat Detroit 102-78 to keep pace in the playoff race, staying two games behind Brooklyn.
Toronto’s Lou Williams scored 18 points to lead a balanced Raptors offense which won 113-99 at Minnesota.
Washington stayed three games behind the Raptors by beating Philadelphia 106-93, with Marcin Gortat contributing 23 points and 14 rebounds.
New Orleans inched closer to a possible playoff berth with a 113-92 defeat of the Los Angeles Lakers.
Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez netted a follow shot with 2 seconds left to give the Nets a 100-98 win against city rival New York, notching their fifth straight victory and keeping a share of seventh place in the Eastern Conference.