Pelicans close on playoffs with win over leading Warriors
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — New Orleans moved into eighth place, and a provisional playoff berth, in the NBA Western Conference by edging league-leading Golden State 103-100 on Tuesday, led by Anthony Davis, who scored 23 of his 29 points in the second half, including two free throws with 9 seconds left.
In other key results, Atlanta crushed Phoenix to notch a franchise-record 58th win of the season, and San Antonio rolled past Oklahoma City for its eighth-straight win while hurting the Thunder’s playoff hopes.
New Orleans’ Quincy Pondexter had 20 points, including his fourth 3-pointer of the game to tie it 95-95, for the Pelicans, who moved half a game ahead of the Thunder for the last playoff berth and have a game in hand.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry scored 25 points, hitting five 3-pointers, but his final attempt that would have tied the game rimmed out. The Warriors have already secured the No.1 seed for the West playoffs.
Atlanta has done the same in the East and showed how by routing Phoenix 96-69.
DeMarre Carroll, Jeff Teague and Mike Muscala — starting for injured All-Star forward Paul Millsap — all finished with 16 points for the Hawks, who moved above the previous franchise record of 57 games, set in 1986-87 and equaled in 1993-94.
The Suns missed 31 of 40 shots from the field in the second half to score a season low.
Phoenix’s Gerald Green, with 15 points, was the only player to score in double figures for the Suns, who missed 31 of 40 shots from the field in the second half to set a new season low score.
San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard matched a career high with 26 points as the Spurs rolled past Oklahoma City 113-88.
The defending NBA champions have won each game during their eight-game winning streak by double digits, and by an average of 20.9 points. Tim Duncan had 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks for the Spurs, who still have a shot at the No. 2 seed in the West.
Russell Westbrook scored 17 points for the Thunder, who lost their fourth straight.
The Los Angeles Clippers completed a 4-0 season sweep of its downtrodden Staples Center co-tenant by beating the Lakers 105-00, with 27 points apiece from Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick.
Miami boosted its playoff chances by topping Charlotte 105-100 — moving within half a game of eighth in the East — as Goran Dragic scored 28 points in his highest-scoring performance since joining the Heat in February.
Sacramento overcame a sluggish start to edge Minnesota 116-111, with Omri Casspi scoring a career-high 31 points, including 16 in the third quarter.