Hawks rout Pacers 107-88, boost playoff hopes
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jeff Teague scored 25 points to lead the Atlanta Hawks to a 107-88 rout of the reeling Indiana Pacers, who were held to a club-record-low 23 points in the first half of an embarrassing performance on their home floor Sunday.
The Pacers, the NBA’s best home team, have lost four of five and fell a full game behind the Miami Heat in their quest for the No. 1 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Paul George scored 18 points and David West had 17 on a night All-Star center Roy Hibbert did not play the final 30 minutes.
The Pacers couldn’t get closer than 13 after falling into a 14-point hole midway through the first quarter Sunday. The team’s previous low in scoring for a first half was 27 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 10, 2004.
The Hawks have won three of four and extended their lead over the Knicks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference to two games.
Miami survived a 3-point barrage from New York’s J.R. Smith on the way to dealing the Knicks’ playoff hopes a big blow with a 102-91 victory.
LeBron James scored 38 points and Mario Chalmers added 15 for the Heat.
Smith made a Knicks-record 10 3-pointers, on an NBA-record 22 attempts, and finished with 32 points. Carmelo Anthony managed only 13 points on 4 for 17 shooting.
In other games with playoff implications, the Phoenix Suns toppled the Oklahoma City Thunder 122-115 to pull a game ahead of the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 playoff spot in the West and the Dallas Mavericks kept their playoff position by beating the Sacramento Kings 93-91.
Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant scored 38 points, his 41st consecutive game of 25 or more, but Phoenix got 26 points from Goran Dragic and 24 from Gerald Green for the win.
Durant moved ahead of Michael Jordan with 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 for the Suns, who took the season series from the Thunder 2-1.
The Mavericks won for the fourth time in five games to maintain seventh place in the Western Conference. It was Dallas’ fifth straight road win.
Monta Ellis scored eight of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, Vince Carter added 17 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 15 points for Dallas.
Memphis, however, lost ground in the Western playoff race with a 112-92 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.
Kawhi Leonard matched his career high with 26 points and Manu Ginobili had a season-high 26 for San Antonio, who lost Tony Parker to back spasms early in the first quarter.
The All-Star point guard took a hard fall after being fouled by Mike Conley with 7:38 left. He continued playing before exiting with 2:41 remaining in the first.
Tim Duncan added 13 points for San Antonio, which bounced back after its club-record, 19-game winning streak was broken Wednesday in Oklahoma City.
James Johnson had 20 points and Conley added 18 points for Memphis, which slipped to No. 9 in the West.
Elsewhere, the Portland Trail Blazers clinched their first playoff appearance in three seasons with a 100-94 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 25 points and 18 rebounds and Wesley Matthews added 21 points for the Blazers, who are in fifth place in the West.
The Los Angeles Clippers pulled within one game of Oklahoma City for second place in the West with a 120-97 rout of their city rivals, the Lakers.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul scored 23 points apiece as the Clippers, who play the Thunder on Wednesday.
Golden State’s Klay Thompson scored 33 points and Stephen Curry added 31 points and 16 assists as the Warriors beat the Utah Jazz 130-102 to move 19 games over .500 for the first time in 20 years.
And Houston’s James Harden had 32 points and Chandler Parsons scored eight points in overtime as the Rockets rallied to beat the Denver Nuggets 130-125.