LeVert scores 22, Nets beat Kings to clinch playoff berth
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) — Caris LeVert scored 22 points, Jarrett Allen added 17 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists and the patchwork Brooklyn Nets clinched a playoff berth by beating the Sacramento Kings 119-106 on Friday.
The surprising Nets came to the bubble without stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving but continued to display plenty of fight, improving to 3-2 since coming to Florida. Joe Harris added 21 points, shooting 8 of 11 from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.
The Kings were one day removed from an impressive 140-125 win over the New Orleans Pelicans but couldn’t string together two wins and fell further behind in a crowded race for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Sacramento is 1-4 in the bubble.
Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Kings with 27 points after scoring a career-high 35 against the Pelicans on Thursday. De’Aaron Fox added 21 and Buddy Hield added 17.
CELTICS 122, RAPTORS 100
Jaylen Brown scored 20 points, Jayson Tatum added 18 and Boston never trailed on the way to an emphatic win over Toronto.
Kemba Walker scored 17 points in 23 minutes for the Celtics, who led by 40 at one point and kept slim hope alive of catching the Raptors for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference postseason race. Boston also won the season series against Toronto, taking three of the four meetings.
Fred VanVleet scored 13 for Toronto, which got 11 from Kyle Lowry and 11 more from Pascal Siakam. The Raptors’ starters — VanVleet, Lowry, Siakam, Marc Gasol and OG Anunoby -- combined to shoot 16 for 45 (36%) from the field, 3 for 19 (16%) from 3-point range.
GRIZZLIES 121, THUNDER 92
Dillon Brooks scored 22 points, and Memphis claimed its first win since the restart, beating Oklahoma.
Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and 11 rebounds and Ja Morant had 19 points and nine assists for the Grizzlies.
Memphis shot 55% and avoided falling into a tie with Portland for eight place in the Western Conference standings.
Chris Paul scored 17 points and Luguentz Dort added 16 for the Thunder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City’s leading scorer this season, finished with 10 points on 3 for 13 shooting.
Oklahoma City led by 18 in the first quarter, but the Grizzlies rallied to take the lead in the second. Memphis led by nine in the final seconds of the first half. The Grizzlies outscored the Thunder 32-18 in the third quarter to go up 95-78 at the end of the period.
SPURS 119, JAZZ 111
Derrick White scored 24 points, Jakob Poelti added 19 points and 10 rebounds and San Antonio got a much-needed win over short-handed Utah.
Lonnie Walker and Rudy Gay finished with 14 points for the Spurs, who moved into sole possession of 10th place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of surging Phoenix. The Suns are 4-0 since the NBA restart, but were idle Friday.
Jordan Clarkson scored 24 points off the bench to lead the Jazz, while Tony Bradley had 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting and 11 rebounds.
Rudy Gobert (rest), Donovan Mitchell (left peroneal strain) and Mike Conley (right knee soreness) did not play for the Jazz, who were held to 41.8% shooting from the floor. Royce O’Neale (right calf soreness) and Nigel Williams-Goss (left ankle sprain) also sat out.
76ERS 108, MAGIC 101
Tobias Harris had 23 points and 15 rebounds, Joel Embiid turned in a strong second half and finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds and Philadelphia held off Orlando in their first game without All-Star Ben Simmons.
Simmons is out indefinitely after injuring his knee Wednesday night.
Alec Burks had 22 points off the bench and Al Horford stepped into the starting lineup and finished with 21 points and nine rebounds.
Evan Fournier had 22 points and Nikola Vucevic had 21 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Magic, which have lost three straight games in the NBA bubble after starting 2-0.
The Magic played without Aaron Gordon. who left Wednesday’s game against the Raptors with tightness in his hamstring following a hard foul by Kyle Lowry.
PELICANS 118, WIZARDS 107
Jrue Holiday scored 28 points, and New Orleans defeated Washington without star rookie Zion Williamson, improving its chances of earning a Western Conference playoff spot.
Williamson, the top pick in the 2019 NBA draft, rested.
The Pelicans shot 48 percent. New Orleans is 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis in the West and 1 1/2 games behind ninth-place Portland with three games remaining. To force a play-in, a team must be in ninth place and within four games of the eighth-place team.
Rui Hachimura scored 23 points, Thomas Bryant scored 22 and Troy Brown Jr. added 20 points and 10 rebounds for Washington. The Wizards fell to 0-5 in the restart and are too far behind Orlando in the Eastern Conference standings to force a play-in.
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