LeBron scores 27 as Cavs down East-leading Raptors again
CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James scored 27 points, the last coming on a sensational layup, and the Cleveland Cavaliers gave the Toronto Raptors another reminder of what could lie ahead in the playoffs with a 112-106 victory on Tuesday night.
James added nine rebounds, six assists and helped put the Raptors away down the stretch with an artistic three-point play.
It was Cleveland’s second win in two weeks over the Eastern Conference’s top team, whose lead over second-place Boston continues to shrink. This time, the Cavaliers were much healthier than when they beat the Raptors on March 21 despite missing five rotational players and coach Tyronn Lue.
MIAMI (AP) – Hassan Whiteside’s tip-in with a minute left put Miami up for good, Josh Richardson blocked a potential go-ahead shot in the final seconds and Heat clinched their 20th playoff spot in 30 seasons by rallying to beat Atlanta.
The Heat trailed 98-90 with less than 3 minutes left, then finished the game on an 11-0 run.
Tyler Johnson’s 3-pointer got Miami within one, and Whiteside tipped in Josh Richardson’s miss on the next possession. Atlanta had a chance to take the lead when Damion Lee got into the lane and tried a 10-footer with about 5 seconds left, but Richardson blocked it and the Heat controlled the rebound.
Westbrook quickly scored a layup to make it 109-107, but Golden State’s Draymond Green went to the line with 10 seconds left and made two free throws to put the game out of reach.
HOUSTON (AP) – James Harden had 38 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, leading Houston over the Washington
At 63-15, the Rockets already clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but weren’t interested in losing any momentum against Washington.
Neither Simmons nor Redick played in the fourth quarter for Philadelphia, which won its third consecutive contest without All-Star center Joel Embiid. Embiid had surgery on Saturday after suffering an orbital fracture in his left eye in Wednesday’s 118-101 win over the Knicks. Embiid will be out for the remainder of the regular season and is slated to return for the playoffs, although his exact return date is not known.
The 76ers are headed to the postseason for the first time since 2012 and are vying for home-court advantage.
Marco Belinelli added 17 points for the 76ers.
Eric Bledsoe added 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting for the Bucks, who clinched their second straight winning season for the first time since back-to-back finishes over .500 in 1999-00 and 2000-01. One more win clinches a second consecutive postseason berth for Milwaukee.
Harris made 11 of 19 shots and Williams scored 15 points in the final quarter to spark the Clippers‘ comeback. It was the 37th time this season Williams has scored 20 or more as a reserve.
San Antonio (45-33) is tied for 4th place in the Western Conference with Utah. The Spurs have four games remaining, two on the road and two at home.
DALLAS (AP) – Dennis Smith Jr. scored 18 points, including a highlight-reel dunk to help keep lottery-bound Dallas ahead in a win over Portland, delaying the Trail Blazers‘ hopes of clinching home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
But Smith, the rookie first-round pick Dallas hopes to build its future around, was back on the floor with the Blazers trailing by six when he beat Damian Lillard to a loose ball , poked it past the star Portland guard, ran it down and bounced it one more time before leaping for the slam.
Denver pulled within a half-game of New Orleans for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Wilson Chandler donned a mask to protect a broken nose and struggled early with his shot, going 0 for 5 in the first half. Chandler finally found his touch in the third. He hit three 3-pointers to spark a run to open some breathing room.
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Ricky Rubio scored 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting, added eight assists and six rebounds, and Utah beat Los Angeles.
The Kings trailed by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter but had a chance to tie after forcing a turnover with 7 seconds remaining. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin Jackson missed potential game-tying 3-pointers before the final buzzer.
Bogdanovic led the Kings with 22 points and Jackson added 19 points and eight rebounds. Sacramento has lost five of six.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and Kyle O’Quinn had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who lost their fourth straight.
The Magic limited the Knicks to 28 points in the second half and won the season series 3-1.
- Chicago Bulls
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Dallas Mavericks
- Denver Nuggets
- Golden State Warriors
- Houston Rockets
- LeBron James
- Los Angeles Clippers
- Miami Heat
- Milwaukee Bucks
- New York Knicks
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Orlando Magic
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Phoenix Suns
- Sacramento Kings
- San Antonio Spurs
- Toronto Raptors
- Utah Jazz