Nuggets clinch playoff spot with win over Celtics
BOSTON (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 21 points and 13 rebounds and the Denver Nuggets rallied in the fourth quarter to beat the Boston Celtics 114-105 on Monday night.
Will Barton added 20 points for the Nuggets, who clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2012-13. They have won four straight.
Kyrie Irving led the Celtics with 30 points. Al Horford finished with 20 points, six rebounds and six assists.
Both teams came into the night trying to improve their playoff position.
The Nuggets tipped off their four-game road trip just a game behind Western Conference-leading Golden State in the standings. The Celtics came in fifth in the East, a game back of fourth-place Indiana and two behind Philadelphia, whom they visit on Wednesday.
PELICANS 129, MAVERICKS 125, OT
DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki passed Wilt Chamberlain for sixth place on the NBA’s career scoring list, but Elfrid Payton had his fifth straight triple-double to help New Orleans beat Dallas.
Payton finished with 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Dallas rookie Luka Doncic had a triple-double of his own with 29 points, 13 boards and 10 assists.
Julius Randle scored 11 of his 30 points in the final 3:29 of regulation, helping the Pelicans rally to force overtime.
Nowitzki moved past Chamberlain (31,419 points) on one of his signature long-range jumpers with 8:35 remaining in the first quarter. The 40-year-old German took a feed from Doncic and backed down Kenrich Williams before turning and launching from the top of the key.
Entering the game needing four points to pass Chamberlain, Nowitzki started for the ninth time this season. He made his first two shots to end the suspense with a sellout crowd on its feet.
SPURS 111, WARRIORS 105
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan had 26 points and nine rebounds, LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 points and 13 rebounds and San Antonio beat Golden State for its ninth straight win.
San Antonio won its 11th straight at home and moved into fifth in the Western Conference at 42-29 following Oklahoma City’s loss to Miami.
Stephen Curry had 25 points after a slow start and Kevin Durant added 24 for Golden State, which entered the game having won two straight. The Warriors have dropped into a tie with Denver for first place in the West with matching 47-22 records.
There were nine ties in the intense matchup between the West’s best and the league’s hottest team.
The Warriors had to rally in the second half after a sluggish start.
Curry and Klay Thompson opened the game a combined 0 for 11, but the Warriors’ defense allowed them to tie the game at 25 when Curry threw in a 61-footer to close the first quarter.
Thompson finished with 14 points.
TRAIL BLAZERS 106, PACERS 98
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 30 points and 15 assists as Portland beat Indiana without starting guard CJ McCollum.
Jusuf Nurkic added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who led by as many as 21. Portland has won four of five and is holding onto fourth place in the Western Conference.
Myles Turner had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who missed out on clinching a playoff spot in the East. Indiana (44-27) has lost six straight on the road.
The Blazers (43-27) won their 10th in a row against the Pacers in Portland.
Portland was playing its first game minus McCollum, who injured his left knee in Saturday’s loss at San Antonio.
McCollum, who is averaging 21.3 points per game, has a popliteus strain and will be re-examined in a week, the team said. It isn’t known whether he’ll be back before the end of the regular season.
JAZZ 116, WIZARDS 95
WASHINGTON (AP) — Rudy Gobert had 14 points and 14 rebounds, Donovan Mitchell scored 19 and Utah won its fourth straight by beating Washington.
Gobert, the reigning Western Conference Player of the Week, was perfect from the field (6 of 6) for Utah, which started the night seventh in the West, one-half game behind San Antonio.
Jae Crowder had 18 points while Joe Ingles had 16 points as the Jazz began a four-game trip by defeating Washington for the sixth straight time. Kyle Korver added 10 points off the bench, and Ricky Rubio had eight points and 10 assists.
Jabari Parker led Washington with 19 points and Bradley Beal added 15 on just 4-of-12 shooting as the Wizards wrapped up a five-game homestand at 3-2. Beal had scored 40 points in each of the previous two games.
HEAT 116, THUNDER 107
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Goran Dragic had 26 points and 11 assists, Dwyane Wade added 25 points and Miami took advantage of Russell Westbrook’s absence to beat Oklahoma City.
Kelly Olynyk added 18 points and nine rebounds for Miami, which entered the game in eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Heat snapped a six-game losing streak against Oklahoma City, which has lost nine of its past 13 games to fall to sixth in the Western Conference.
Paul George scored 31 points with nine rebounds and Jerami Grant had 27 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City. Dennis Schroder, who started in Westbrook’s place, scored 20 points. Steven Adams had 10 points and 12 rebounds but was limited by foul trouble to 25 minutes.
RAPTORS 128, KNICKS 92
TORONTO (AP) — Jeremy Lin scored 20 points, Fred VanVleet had 13 points and 12 assists, and Toronto beat New York.
The victory came at a cost to the Raptors, who saw guard Kyle Lowry leave in the third quarter after suffering an injured right ankle. Lowry, who had 15 points and eight assists in 26 minutes, was back in the lineup after missing the previous two games because of a sore left ankle.
New York rookie center Mitchell Robinson collided with Lowry while chasing a loose ball at 5:15 of the third, falling onto Lowry’s legs and taking the All-Star point guard down from behind. Lowry slapped the floor in pain and frustration before being helped to his feet and limping to the locker room.
Marc Gasol had 12 points and 11 rebounds, Pascal Siakam scored 19 points and OG Anonoby had 14 as Toronto reached 50 wins for the fourth straight season.
Allonzo Trier scored 22 points and Kevin Knox had 12 for the Knicks.
CAVALIERS 126, PISTONS 119
CLEVELAND (AP) — Collin Sexton scored 27 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with just under two minutes to play, and Cleveland defeated Detroit.
Both teams were missing star players. Blake Griffin (rest) sat out for Detroit, while Kevin Love was out with a sore back for Cleveland after taking a hard fall in Saturday’s loss to Dallas.
Andre Drummond nearly made up for Griffin’s absence with 21 points and 21 rebounds, but the Cavaliers hit clutch shots down the stretch against a Pistons team that is fighting for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Sexton’s 3-pointer gave Cleveland a 115-114 lead with 1:54 left. Following a missed shot, Cedi Osman hit another 3 with 1:24 to play, putting the Cavaliers up 118-114.
BULLS 116, SUNS 101
PHOENIX (AP) — Robin Lopez scored 24 points to help Chicago beat Phoenix and snap a five-game losing streak.
Zach LaVine had 17 points, eight rebounds and seven assists, and Lauri Markkanen added 17 points and nine boards for Chicago. Lopez shot 11 for 14 from the field as the Bulls were 52 percent (46 for 89).
Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Devin Booker also scored 25 for Phoenix, which has lost three of four after a 5-2 stretch.