Celtics top Pacers 117-97 in crucial Eastern Conference game

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jason Tatum scored 22 points and Gordon Hayward added 21 in his return to Indianapolis on Friday night, leading the Boston Celtics to a crucial 117-97 victory over the Pacers.

The Celtics broke a tie with Indiana for the No. 4 seed in the East and essentially took a two-game lead in the chase for home-court advantage because they won the season series 3-1 — giving them the tiebreaker, too. Boston also is building postseason momentum with three straight wins and five in their last six games.

Indiana’s two-game winning streak ended. Myles Turner led the Pacers with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Domantas Sabonis and Tyreke Evans each scored 12.


DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, Paul Millsap finished with 25 points, and Denver clinched the Northwest Division title.

Jokic added 13 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Nuggets to their first division title in six years. Jamal Murray scored 23 points and Torrey Craig had 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Denver.

The Nuggets are assured of at least the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and can clinch the second seed with two more wins.

Denver clinched its first Northwest Division title since 2012-13.

Enes Kanter had 24 points and Rodney Hood 17 for the Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard scored 12 of his 14 points after halftime.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 40 points to move into third place on Golden State’s career list in the win over Cleveland.

Draymond Green had 20 points and eight rebounds, Kevin Durant added 15 points and eight assists, and Quinn Cook scored 14 to help the Warriors (55-24) inch closer to clinching the Western Conference in their second-to-last regular season game at Oracle Arena.

With 16,283 points Curry trails only Wilt Chamberlain (17,783) and Rick Barry (16,447) on the Warriors career scoring charts.

Collin Sexton scored 27 points as Cleveland lost its seventh straight.


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alex Caruso scored a career-high 32 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 25 points, and the Lakers rallied to beat the playoff-bound Clippers.

Rajon Rondo scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter when he was the most veteran player on the floor for the Lakers. He added 12 assists.

JaVale McGee had 18 points and 10 rebounds Lakers, who outrebounded the Clippers, 55-45.

Danilo Gallinari led the Clippers with 27 points. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 20 points and Lou Williams had 18.


WASHINGTON (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points, Rudy Gay added 18 in San Antonio’s win over Washington.

Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills each scored 17 for the Spurs, who had lost five of eight. DeMar DeRozan scored 16 points.

Bradley Beal scored 25 points and Thomas Bryant had 19 for Washington, which has lost eight of its last 10.

The Spurs had eight players score in double figures and shot 66.7% in the first half for a 77-58 lead. San Antonio scored 12 straight points midway through the second quarter for a 62-45 lead and never looked back.

San Antonio shot 56% overall and led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter.

MAGIC 149, HAWKS 113

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) —Orlando used a franchise-record 81 points in the first half to cruise past Atlanta in its regular-season home finale and take another step toward a playoff berth.

Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier scored 25 points each for Orlando, which set a season high for points despite having 19 turnovers. Vucevic added 10 rebounds to compile his 59th double-double of the season. Ross made six 3-pointers, and Fournier shot 11 for 14.

The Magic’s 20th win in 29 games left them at 40-40. With road games remaining at Boston and Charlotte, they are attempting to make the playoffs for the first time in seven years. Orlando entered the night in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Trae Young led the Hawks with 22 points, seven rebounds and six assists.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 29 points, and Jeremy Lamb made another clutch 3-ponter as Charlotte beat Toronto.

Lamb’s winning shot came less than two weeks after he hit an improbable half-court buzzer-beater to shock the Raptors in Toronto. Lamb finished with 22 points and Frank Kaminsky added 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets (37-42), who kept their slim postseason hopes alive and surpassed their win total of the previous two seasons.

Kawhi Leonard had 29 points for Toronto, but missed a fall-away jumper with 1 second left.


DALLAS (AP) — Delon Wright set career highs with 26 points and 14 assists in his first triple-double, and Memphis topped Dallas.

Courtney Lee led Dallas with 21 points, and Justin Jackson added 19. Dirk Nowitzki finished with 12 points and seven defensive rebounds. He needs one defensive rebound to become the fifth NBA player with 10,000 for his career.

Justin Holiday scored 20 points on his 30th birthday as Memphis won again after blowing out the Mavericks by 30 on their home court in early March. The Grizzlies will go for a four-game season sweep Sunday at home. The teams came in with matching 31-47 records.


OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Paul George scored 30 points to help Oklahoma City beat Detroit.

Russell Westbrook added 19 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who have won two straight as they try to avoid the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Detroit’s Blake Griffin finished with 45 points, but he scored just one point in the fourth quarter as Oklahoma City broke open a close game.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Minnesota slowed Miami’s push for a postseason berth.

Dario Saric scored 19 points for the Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins added 18 and Gorgui Dieng finished with a season-high 19 off the bench.

Dwayne Wade scored 24 points for Miami. Dion Waiters scored 22 and shot 6 of 12 from 3-point range, but the Heat missed a chance to pull into a tie with Brooklyn in the race for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Miami, which has lost four of six, had 17 turnovers as Minnesota rode a big second half to the win.


HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 26 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in just 29 minutes to lead Houston past New York.

Chris Paul and Clint Capela both had double-doubles for Houston, with Paul getting 11 points and 10 assists and Capela adding 12 points and 15 rebounds.

With Knicks point guard Emmanuel Mudiay sidelined with a sore left shoulder, Mario Hezonja started, posting 16 points, 16 rebounds and 11 assists. Hezonja’s triple-double was the first for the Knicks since Jan. 11, 2018, when Jarrett Jack had one against Atlanta.

Henry Ellenson also had 16 points off the bench for the Knicks, who lost their ninth straight on the road. Kevin Knox added 13 and Mitchell Robinson had 12.

JAZZ 119, KINGS 98

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Donovan Mitchell and Grayson Allen each scored 23 points to lead Utah to its seventh straight victory.

Allen had his first career 20-point game while shooting 10 of 14 from the field. Mitchell had nine assists, Rudy Gobert added 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots and Joe Ingles also had 17 points in Utah’s 12th victory in 13 games.

Buddy Hield scored 17 points to lead the Kings, Marvin Bagley III added 13 points and 12 rebounds, and Yogi Ferrell also scored 13 as Sacramento lost to Utah for the third time this season.


PHOENIX (AP) — Josh Jackson scored eight of his season-high 35 points in overtime, and Phoenix rallied from 15 points down to beat New Orleans in a matchup of short-handed teams.

Jackson swished a 28-foot 3-pointer with 1:23 left in the extra period to seal the Suns’ victory in their home finale.

Jamal Crawford scored a season-high 28 points, Ray Spalding added a career-high 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Dragan Bender had three of his seven blocked shots in overtime.

Julius Randle had 31 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Pelicans, who have lost six of seven. Ian Clark added a season-high 24 points.


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