NEW YORK (AP) Paul Pierce scored 22 points after another sensational start, and the Brooklyn Nets moved to the brink of a playoff spot by beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-99 on Sunday for their franchise record-tying 13th straight home victory.
Pierce scored 16 in the first quarter, two nights after putting up 17 in the period, and didn’t miss a shot in either. Joe Johnson added 19 points for the Nets.
Brooklyn equaled the longest home winning streak in the NBA this season and the best in the history of the franchise.
Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin each scored 21 for the Timberwolves, who had won two in row and were coming off the highest-scoring game in the NBA this season, when they scored a franchise-record 143 points in a rout of the Lakers on Friday.
CAVALIERS 90, PACERS 76
CLEVELAND (AP) – Dion Waiters scored 19 points, Luol Deng added 15 and the Cleveland Cavaliers kept their playoff push going with a 90-76 win over the Indiana Pacers, who are losing their grip on the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Tristan Thompson had 16 rebounds as the Cavs snapped a nine-game losing streak against Indiana. Cleveland came in three games behind slumping, idle Atlanta for the conference’s final playoff spot. With seven games left – six against teams with losing records – the Cavs still have a chance.
The Pacers, meanwhile, are falling apart. They lost their fifth straight road game and now lead Miami by one game for the East’s top record and home-court advantage.
Paul George scored 15 and David West 14 for Indiana, which fell behind by 21 in the fourth quarter.
THUNDER 116, JAZZ 96
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Kevin Durant had 31 points and nine assists to help the Oklahoma City Thunder defeat the Utah Jazz.
Durant scored at least 25 points for the 38th consecutive game, the longest streak since Michael Jordan did it in 40 straight games for the Chicago Bulls during the 1986-87 season.
Russell Westbrook scored 19 points, Serge Ibaka had 17 points and Caron Butler added 15 for the Thunder, who have won six of seven. Oklahoma City shot 55 percent from the field and made 11 of 18 3-pointers and 23 of 26 free throws.
Enes Kanter had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, who have lost four in a row.
RAPTORS 98, MAGIC 93
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – DeMar DeRozan had 28 points, Jonas Valanciunas added 20 points and nine rebounds, and the Toronto Raptors escaped with a victory over the Orlando Magic.
Trailing 96-93 with 8.9 seconds to play, the Magic had the ball and an opportunity to tie the game. But coming out of a timeout they failed to inbound the ball, turning it over on a 5-second violation. DeRozan was fouled and hit a pair of free throws to provide the final margin.
The win was the Raptors’ third in a row and seventh straight over the Magic. Toronto swept the season series 3-0.
Nik Vucevic led the Magic with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
BULLS 107, CELTICS 102
BOSTON (AP) – D.J. Augustin scored 15 of his career-high 33 points in the fourth quarter and the Chicago Bulls held off the slumping Boston Celtics.
Augustin was perfect from the foul line on 10 attempts and was 10-for-14 from the floor, including a 3-pointer late in the period to break a 96-all tie and give Chicago the lead for good. He followed that with six straight free throws to help the Bulls close out the Celtics.
Joakim Noah finished with 13 points, 13 assists and eight rebounds for the Bulls, who will try for a three-game season sweep against the Celtics on Monday night in Chicago.
Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 11 assists for Boston, which has lost four straight and nine of 10.
KNICKS 89, WARRIORS 84
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – J.R. Smith scored 21 points, Carmelo Anthony added 19 points and nine rebounds and the New York Knicks moved within one game of the final playoff spot by beating the undermanned Golden State Warriors.
The Knicks outscored Golden State 34-12 in the second quarter to go ahead 56-44 at the half, and then held off a furious rally by Stephen Curry and the Warriors in the closing minutes.
Curry scored 32 points, including a tying 3-pointer with 2:42 remaining. But he missed from long range in the final minute and also had a pass stolen by Raymond Felton on Golden State’s final possession.
New York (31-43) is a game behind fast-fading Atlanta, which has lost six straight, for the final playoff seed in the weak Eastern Conference.
LAKERS 115, SUNS 99
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Chris Kaman had 28 points along with 17 rebounds while starting at center for the vertigo-stricken Pau Gasol, Jodie Meeks scored 22 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers snapped the Phoenix’ Suns’ six-game winning streak.
The undermanned Lakers shot 53 percent from the field, avoiding what would have been Phoenix’s first season sweep over them since 2004-05. The Suns won the first three meetings by an average margin of 13.3 points, including a 117-90 rout on Dec. 23 at US Airways Center.
The 25-48 Lakers, returning home from a 143-107 shellacking by the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday, beat a team with a winning record for only the eighth time all season.
Gerald Green scored 22 points off the bench for the Suns.
TRAIL BLAZERS 105, GRIZZLIES 98
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – LaMarcus Aldridge scored 28 points in his third game back from injury and the Portland Trail Blazers extended their winning streak to three games with a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Reserve Mo Williams added 17 points and Wesley Mathews had 15 for the Blazers, who had five players score in double figures to avoid a three-game series sweep.
Portland opened a two-game lead over Golden State for the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference playoff race and pulled within 2 1/2 games of No. 4 Houston with seven games remaining.
Zach Randolph scored 21 points and Marc Gasol had 20 points for the Grizzlies, who dropped a half-game behind idle Dallas for the West’s final playoff berth.