CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James scored 29 points – 13 in the fourth quarter- and the Cleveland Cavaliers edged the Indiana Pacers 95-92 on Friday night for their 15th straight win at home.
As usual, James, who was playing despite a head cold, was at his best down the stretch. He scored 11 straight points in the fourth to give Cleveland a 93-92 lead. However, it was Cavs guard Iman Shumpert who came up with the biggest play, running down a long rebound and then knocking down two free throws with a second left.
With the win, the Cavs clinched a playoff spot – their first since 2010 before James left as a free agent for Miami.
George Hill scored 24 and Roy Hibbert 20 for the Pacers, who dropped their fourth straight and damaged their playoff hopes.
THUNDER 123, HAWKS 115
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double and scored 17 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter to help Oklahoma City defeat Atlanta.
It was Westbrook’s seventh triple-double since the All-Star break, his ninth of the season and the 17th of his career. He had 10 rebounds and 14 assists while making all 17 of his free throws.
Dion Waiters matched a season high with 26 points, Anthony Morrow scored 12 of his 21 in the fourth quarter and Steven Adams had 12 points and 16 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which learned earlier Friday that reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant likely will miss the rest of the season with pain in his right foot.
Pero Antic scored a career-high 22 points and Dennis Schroder added 21 for the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks.
NETS 129, BUCKS 127, 3 OT
NEW YORK (AP) – Brook Lopez had 32 points and a season-high 18 rebounds, helping Brooklyn to a victory over Milwaukee in the second triple-overtime meeting between the teams this season.
Lopez threw down a powerful dunk on a three-point play to open the scoring in the third OT, and the Nets finally held on to hand the Bucks their fifth straight loss.
Milwaukee had pulled out a 122-118 triple-overtime win here on Nov. 19 in former Nets coach Jason Kidd’s first trip back to Brooklyn. The Bucks (34-35) led this game by 14 points in the second half before falling for the 10th time in 12 games, falling below .500 for the first time since December.
Zaza Pachulia had 22 points, 21 rebounds – 18 offensive – and seven assists for Milwaukee.
HEAT 108, NUGGETS 91
MIAMI (AP) – Dwyane Wade scored 22 points, Goran Dragic added 18 and Miami clamped down in the fourth quarter to beat Denver.
Luol Deng scored 15, Hassan Whiteside added 14 and Mario Chalmers had 10 for Miami, which won its third straight game – its longest such streak since starting 3-0.
The Heat have won a season-best four straight at home.
Kenneth Faried scored 20 for Denver, which got 16 apiece from Jusef Nurkic and Randy Foye.
The Nuggets missed 13 of their first 14 shots from the field in the fourth quarter – plus their first six tries from the foul line in that quarter.
BULLS 108, RAPTORS 92
CHICAGO (AP) – Nikola Mirotic matched a career high with 29 points to propel the Chicago Bulls to a victory over Toronto, which was without All-Star guard Kyle Lowry.
Joakim Noah had 10 rebounds, equaled a career high with 14 assists and scored eight points to come within one basket of a triple-double, while Mike Dunleavy had 21 points for Chicago.
The Bulls pulled a half-game ahead of the Raptors for third place in the Eastern Conference. They also took a 3-0 lead in the season series, assuring them the edge in any potential playoff tiebreaker.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 27.
76ERS 97, KNICKS 81
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Nerlens Noel scored a career-high 23 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead Philadelphia over New York in a matchup of the two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.
Ish Smith added 15 points for Philadelphia, which has won four of seven.
Alexey Shved made seven 3-pointers and had a career-best 25 points for the Knicks, who lost their fourth in five games. New York dropped to 14-55, the worst record in the NBA and three games behind the 76ers.
Philadelphia (17-52) has the third-worst mark. Minnesota is 15-53 after defeating the Knicks 95-92 in overtime Thursday night.
MAGIC 111, TRAIL BLAZERS 104
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Elfrid Payton had 22 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Orlando Magic snapped a six-game losing streak with a victory over Portland.
Victor Oladipo and Nik Vucevic each added 22 points. The triple-double was the second straight for Payton. He became the first Magic player to post consecutive triple-doubles and the first NBA rookie to do it since Antoine Walker, with the Boston Celtics in 1997.
LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 31 points and 10 rebounds. The Blazers have lost three straight.
SPURS 101, CELTICS 89
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Kawhi Leonard had 22 points and San Antonio never trailed, holding off Boston Celtics after getting a late scare.
Tony Parker had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Tiago Splitter added 18 points for San Antonio, which has won seven straight over Boston.
After trailing by as many as 25 in the second half, the Celtics went on a 16-0 run late in the fourth quarter to pull to 91-84 on Tyler Zeller’s bank shot. The spurt prompted San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich to bring Parker and Leonard back in after both sat for more than 10 minutes. Parker settled the Spurs, guiding them to a 10-2 run.
GRIZZLIES 112, MAVERICKS 101
DALLAS (AP) – Zach Randolph scored 21 points, Marc Gasol had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and the Memphis Grizzlies pulled away in the third quarter to defeat the Dallas Mavericks 112-101 on Friday night.
The victory ended a three-game road skid for the Grizzlies, their longest of the season. The Grizzlies shot 64.7 percent in the second half (22 of 34).
Dallas had a three-game winning streak halted and finished a season-high five-game homestand 3-2. The Mavericks were led by Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris with 16 points each.
KINGS 101, HORNETS 91
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Rudy Gay had 33 points and nine rebounds, leading Sacramento past Charlotte for its second victory over the struggling Hornets in 10 days.
The loss was a costly one for the Hornets. A victory would have moved Charlotte past Indiana and Boston into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics and Pacers both lost earlier in the evening and are tied for eighth place, a half-game ahead of Charlotte.
Gerald Henderson had 20 points and Kemba Walker scored 18 for the Hornets, who have dropped three straight and five of six.
WARRIORS 112, PELICANS 96
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Stephen Curry overcame a subpar shooting performance to score 16 points with 11 assists, Harrison Barnes added 22 points and Golden State topped New Orleans.
Curry missed 12 of his first 13 shots from the floor and was 0 for 7 from 3-point range before making back-to-back shots from beyond the arc in the third quarter. He finished 4 for 17 for the Warriors, who improved to 55-13, the second-most wins in team history – and four shy of the franchise record.
Alexis Ajinca scored 15 points with eight rebounds for banged-up New Orleans, which played without four of its top six players, including leading scorer Anthony Davis.
CLIPPERS 113, WIZARDS 99
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Chris Paul had 30 points and 15 assists, and Los Angeles ended Washington’s five-game winning streak.
J.J. Redick scored 26 points, Blake Griffin had 22 and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 23 rebounds along with his 10 points.
John Wall led Washington with 19 points and 10 assists.