Celtics hold off Pacers, clinch 6th straight playoff spot
Marcus Smart’s leaning bank shot in the final minute gave the Celtics‘ the lead after the team blew a 19-point advantage, and Boston held on for a 114-111 victory Tuesday night over the Indiana Pacers to clinch a playoff spot for a sixth consecutive year.
Smart put the Celtics ahead for good at 111-109 with 49.7 seconds left by scoring in the lane over Domantis Sabonis, who led Indiana with 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Smart made two free throws with seven seconds to go for a three-point edge, and Justin Holiday missed badly on a contested 3-pointer as time expired.
Victor Oladipo finished with a season-high 27 points to power a stunning comeback for the Pacers, who fell into an 85-66 hole late in the third quarter.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points and hit the tiebreaking jumper with 28.3 seconds to play, and the Nets beat the Lakers for their second straight win since interim coach Jacque Vaughn took over.
Anthony Davis missed a wide-open 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won it for the Lakers, whose four-game winning streak ended after an emotionally charged weekend. Los Angeles lost to a sub-.500 opponent in its first game after back-to-back victories over NBA-leading Milwaukee and the powerhouse Clippers.
Caris LeVert added 22 points as Brooklyn opened its four-game California road trip by knocking off the powerhouse Lakers, who lost for only the second time in 13 games. Vaughn’s Nets unbeaten since he surprisingly replaced Kenny Atkinson last week.
LeBron James had 29 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 37 points and Houston beat Minnesota, snapping a four-game skid.
The Rockets‘ losing streak, which matched a season high, came after they won six in a row and dropped them to sixth in the Western Conference with the playoffs fast approaching.
Russell Westbrook scored 27 points for Houston.
D’Angelo Russell had 28 points to lead the Timberwolves, who lost their third straight.
Doncic added seven rebounds and seven assists in 36 minutes. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points.
Dallas remains seventh in the West, 6 1/2 games ahead of Memphis.
The Spurs moved four games behind the Grizzles for the eighth seed in their bid to earn an NBA-record 23rd straight playoff appearance.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Terrence Ross scored 24 points, fueling a rally with 18 in the fourth quarter, and Orlando beat Memphis.
The game, featuring two teams holding down the eighth and final spot in their respective conferences, was competitive until the final minute. A 3-point attempt by Memphis guard Tyus Jones bounced off the rim in the final seconds, preserving the Magic’s third straight victory.
The win snapped a two-game skid for the Blazers, who are among several teams vying to pull in front of Memphis for the eighth playoff spot in the West.
The Clippers moved a game ahead of Denver for second place in the West.
Beal overcame a slow start and surpassed the 25-point plateau for the 22nd time in 23 games. His string of 21 such games was snapped Sunday when he scored 23 in a loss to Miami.
Shabazz Napier added 21 points for the Wizards.
Wendell Carter Jr. added 17 points. Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine and Otto Porter Jr. each scored 15. Shaquille Harrison grabbed 10 rebounds. And the Bulls held off the Eastern Conference’s last-place team to win for just the third time in 16 games.
- Boston Celtics
- Brooklyn Nets
- Chicago Bulls
- Golden State Warriors
- Indiana Pacers
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Orlando Magic
- Portland Trail Blazers
- San Antonio Spurs
- Washington Wizards