CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James made a big 3-pointer in the final minute of the second overtime and scored 41 points to offset 43 by Indiana’s Paul George, and the Cleveland Cavaliers opened their April schedule with a 135-130 win Sunday over the Indiana Pacers, who remain on the outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
James added 15 rebounds and 11 assists in 52 minutes for the defending NBA champions, who ended the game with some drama as Tristan Thompson and James angrily exchanged words during a timeout in the second OT.
Kyrie Irving made four free throws in the final 16.5 seconds and Kevin Love had 20 points and 12 rebounds as Cleveland stayed within a half-game of Boston for the top spot in the East. The Cavs visit the Celtics on Wednesday night.
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George was magnificent in defeat, scoring 19 straight points for Indiana in the overtime sessions and adding nine rebounds and nine assists. But he couldn’t prevent the Pacers from their eighth straight road loss.
ROCKETS 123, SUNS 116
PHOENIX (AP) – Patrick Beverley scored a career-high 26 points and the Houston Rockets sent the Phoenix Suns to their 12th straight loss with a 123-116 victory despite not having James Harden in the lineup.
Harden was ruled out with acute viral syndrome, the team announced before the game. He had not missed a game all season and entered Sunday tied for second in the league in scoring at 29.2 points per game.
Beverley played despite a sore right ankle and scored 11 of his points in the third quarter. Lou Williams scored 16 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, and Troy Williams, called up from the D-League early Sunday, scored 18 of his career-high 21 points in the first half.
Williams, who last appeared in an NBA game on Dec. 16 with Memphis, shot 5 of 7 from 3-point range in the first 20 minutes.
Tyler Ulis finished with a career-high 34 points for the Suns, who were swept in a season series by the Rockets for the first time in franchise history. At 22-56, Phoenix has the West’s worst record by a half-game below the Los Angeles Lakers. Ulis added nine rebounds and nine assists, and Devin Booker scored 27 for the Suns.
WARRIORS 139, WIZARDS 115
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Stephen Curry hit nine 3-pointers and scored 42 points, also dished out eight assists, and Golden State moved closer to locking up the Western Conference’s top playoff seed by beating Washington.
Draymond Green had his 19th career triple-double and fifth this season with 11 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. Curry scored 10 points over the final 1:52 of the first half and shot 15 for 22, including 9 of 14 on 3s, in the Warriors’ 11th straight victory. It was his 26th career 40-point game and fourth this season.
John Wall had 15 points and 11 assists for the Wizards, who couldn’t make it two wins over the mighty Warriors in just more than a month’s time. He set the single-season franchise assists record with No. 802 in the third quarter, topping Rod Strickland in 1997-98.
CELTICS 110, KNICKS 94
NEW YORK (AP) – Isaiah Thomas scored 19 points in just 24 minutes and Boston remained atop the Eastern Conference with its 50th victory, beating New York.
Jaylen Brown added 16 for the Celtics, who will be no worse than tied with Cleveland for the best record in the East when they host the defending NBA champions on Wednesday. Boston is off until that showdown, while the Cavaliers were set to play two games in between.
Boston secured its first 50-win season since going 56-26 in 2010-11 and did it easily, shooting 55.6 percent and getting 14 points apiece from Marcus Smart and Al Horford.
Courtney Lee scored 16 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 14 for the Knicks, who announced during the game that Derrick Rose will have season-ending surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. They also played without Carmelo Anthony (sore lower back).
HORNETS 113, THUNDER 101
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Kemba Walker scored 29 points to help Charlotte overcome Russell Westbrook’s sixth straight triple-double and beat Oklahoma City.
Westbrook finished with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. It was Westbrook’s 40th triple-double of the season, putting him one behind Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41, set during the 1961-62 season. It was Westbrook’s first career triple-double against Charlotte.
Frank Kaminsky had 18 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 16 for Charlotte, which entered the day in 10th place in the East, two games behind Chicago, Indiana and Miami, who were tied for seventh.
Walker went 6 of 12 from 3-point range. It was the 14th time this season Walker hit five or more 3-pointers in a game.
SPURS 109, JAZZ 103
SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Kawhi Leonard had 25 points and seven assists, and San Antonio held off Utah in a matchup of postseason-bound teams.
The Jazz closed to 102-98 on Joe Johnson’s 16-footer with 2:06 remaining that capped a 10-0 run. Leonard then blocked a shot by 7-foot-1 center Rudy Gobert to help San Antonio preserve the victory.
Gobert had 19 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots. Boris Diaw scored 19 points, making all nine of his shots against his former team.
Utah (47-30) leads the Los Angeles Clippers (47-31) by a half-game for the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the opening round.
San Antonio (59-17) is second in the West behind Golden State.
NUGGETS 116, HEAT 113
MIAMI (AP) – Danilo Gallinari scored 29 points, Nikola Jokic and Wilson Chandler each added 19, and Denver topped Miami.
Emmanuel Mudiay scored 17 for Denver (36-40), which got back within two games of Portland for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Gallinari hit two straight jumpers late in the fourth to push a one-point Denver lead out to six, and the Nuggets held on at the end to deal Miami’s playoff hopes another blow.
Goran Dragic scored 22 points for the Heat (37-40).
BULLS 117, PELICANS 110
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Jimmy Butler scored 39 points and Chicago sustained its playoff push with a victory over recently resurgent New Orleans.
Butler made 14 of 26 shots, including all three of his 3-point shots, to help the Bulls win for the fifth time in six games. Chicago entered the day in a tie for seventh in the Eastern Conference with Miami and Indiana.
Butler’s final points came on a step-back jumper with 20 seconds left stem a late Pelicans run.
Bobby Portis scored 21 points and Joffrey Lauvergne 15 for the Bulls, while Rajon Rondo added 10 points, nine assists, nine rebounds and three steals.
Anthony Davis had 30 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, while DeMarcus Cousins added 26 points and 18 rebounds.
RAPTORS 113, 76ERS 105
TORONTO (AP) – Serge Ibaka scored 24 points and DeMar DeRozan added 17 as Toronto registered its ninth straight home victory over Philadelphia.
DeRozan tied his season high with nine assists, and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points for the Raptors, who closed out a four-game homestand by going 3-1. The last time the 76ers won in Toronto was Nov. 10, 2012.
Rookie Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had a career-high 23 points and Dario Saric added 16 for the 76ers, who lost their third straight.
MAVERICKS 109, BUCKS 105
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Harrison Barnes scored 15 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to lift Dallas over listless Milwaukee.
The Mavericks played as if they still had a chance at the playoffs, while the Bucks frittered away an opportunity to cement their hold on the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference.
Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea each had 17 points as the Mavericks snapped a four-game losing streak. Yogi Ferrell had 13 filling in for the ailing Seth Curry.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks, fresh off a 14-4 record in March. That was the franchise’s third-most wins in a month and best mark since the 1970-71 NBA championship team went 16-2 in February.
LAKERS 108, GRIZZLIES 103
LOS ANGELES (AP) – D’Angelo Russell scored 28 points and three Lakers had double-doubles in a victory over Memphis.
Memphis fell to 42-35, 1 + games back of Oklahoma City for the sixth spot in the Western Conference with five games to play.
Mike Conley had 20 points and had 12 assists for the Grizzlies, but missed a 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left that would have tied the score. Troy Daniels also had 20 points for Memphis.
Julius Randle had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, while Larry Nance Jr. added 12 points and 14 boards. Thomas Robinson finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds, the first time the Lakers had three double-doubles in a game since Dec. 16, 2014 (Wesley Johnson, Jordan Hill and Ed Davis).
HAWKS 91, NETS 82
NEW YORK (AP) – Brook Lopez scored 29 points, Jeremy Lin had 15, and Brooklyn spoiled Paul Millsap’s return to the lineup by beating Atlanta.
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 11 points for the Nets, who have won two straight games.
Dennis Schroder scored 16 points, while Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 14 for the Hawks, who have lost two straight.
Millsap returned after a seven-game absence with a left knee injury but Atlanta fell to 39-38, just a game ahead of seventh place in the Eastern Conference.