MILWAUKEE (AP) Chris Copeland’s driving layup with 1.2 seconds remaining gave the Indiana Pacers a 104-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night that moved them back into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Copeland finished with a season-high 18 points. Luis Scola also recorded a season high with 24 points and Evan Turner added 23 for Indiana, which benched all of its usual starters for the entire game.
Coach Frank Vogel made the move after saying his team appeared tired following a 107-88 home loss to Atlanta on Sunday, when the Pacers were held to a franchise-low 23 points in the first half.
Even without the starters, Indiana moved a half-game ahead of the Heat heading into Friday’s matchup in Miami.
GRIZZLIES 107, HEAT 102
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Zach Randolph had 25 points and 11 rebounds, Marc Gasol added 20 points and 14 rebounds and Memphis kept its playoff hopes alive with a victory over Miami.
LeBron James led the Heat with 37 points, connecting on 14 of 23 shots, including 3 of 5 from beyond the arc. Rashard Lewis scored 17, and Chris Bosh finished with 13 points. Mario Chalmers scored 12 points for the Heat.
Meanwhile, the loss, coupled with the Indiana Pacers’ 104-102 win at Milwaukee, dropped the Heat into the second spot in the Eastern Conference.
Mike Conley finished with a team-high 26 points and handed out six assists as Memphis remained one game behind the Phoenix Suns for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Suns defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 94-88 also on Wednesday night.
BOBCATS 94, WIZARDS 88, OT
WASHINGTON (AP) – Kemba Walker made the only field goal for either team in overtime, and Charlotte won its fifth straight and moved into position for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over Washington.
Walker made a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws in the extra session, and Al Jefferson added two free throws to account for all of the Bobcats’ post-regulation scoring. Charlotte went 1 for 7 from the field, while Washington was 0 for 8 and got its only point from a free throw by John Wall with 34 seconds remaining.
Jefferson finished with 20 points and 18 rebounds, and Walker had 17 points and 12 assists, for the Bobcats, who have their longest winning streak since March 2010 – the only other season the franchise has made the playoffs.
CAVALIERS 122, PISTONS 100
CLEVELAND (AP) – Dion Waiters scored 22 points and Cleveland played one of its best games this season, routing Detroit before being eliminated from the playoff chase.
Tyler Zeller scored 18 and rookie Matthew Dellavedova had 14 points and 12 assists for Cleveland, which had its playoff hopes ended when Atlanta defeated Boston 105-97.
As the Hawks were rallying to take down the Celtics, the Cavs played with passion and purpose – two things missing too often earlier this season.
Spencer Hawes added 15 points for the Cavs, who led by 32 at half and rolled to one of their best all-around performances in what has been an otherwise disappointing season.
HAWKS 105, CELTICS 97
ATLANTA (AP) – Jeff Teague scored 19 points, Kyle Korver added 17 and Atlanta helped its playoff chances with a victory over Boston.
With four games remaining in the regular season, Atlanta increased its lead to two games over the New York Knicks for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Avery Bradley finished with 24 points and Rajon Rondo had 19 points with 12 assists for Boston, which has lost nine straight.
The Celtics dropped their 13th in a row on the road, breaking the franchise mark set during the final 13 games of 1978-79.
THUNDER 107, CLIPPERS 101
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Russell Westbrook scored 30 points in his return to the lineup, Kevin Durant added 27, and Oklahoma City held off Los Angeles in a possible playoff preview.
Serge Ibaka added 15 points for the Thunder, who had their starting five together for just the second time since Christmas Day. Westbrook had sat out two of the previous three games and has missed 34 games this season with a variety of injuries.
Blake Griffin had 30 points and 12 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 25 points and eight assists for the Clippers, who could have owned the tiebreaker over the Thunder if they had won. Instead, the teams split their season series 2-2.
TRAIL BLAZERS 100, KINGS 99
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Dorell Wright hit a 3-pointer with 7.9 seconds left and Portland beat late-charging Sacramento.
Ray McCallum missed a 21-foot jumper as time ran out for the Kings and Portland’s Robin Lopez grabbed the rebound and held it tight for the victory. It was Wright’s only basket of the game.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points to lead the Blazers, who have won six of their past seven games.
Portland, which has missed the playoffs for the past two seasons, clinched a postseason berth with a 100-94 victory over New Orleans on Sunday. The Blazers were fifth in the Western Conference with three games left.
DeMarcus Cousins had 30 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings.
BULLS 102, TIMBERWOLVES 87
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – D.J. Augustin scored 21 points and Joakim Noah posted his league-leading fourth triple-double of the season, leading Chicago over Minnesota.
Noah had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists to move into a tie with Indiana’s Lance Stephenson for the most triple-doubles in the NBA this season. Kirk Hinrich scored 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting and the Bulls hit 11 of 21 3-pointers to stay right on Toronto’s heels for the third seed in the Eastern Conference.
Kevin Love had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves. But he only made 7 of 20 shots and missed six of his eight 3-point attempts. Ricky Rubio added 15 points and six assists, but the Wolves were just 4 for 17 from long distance.
SUNS 94, PELICANS 88
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Gerald Green scored 21 points, and Phoenix won its third straight game.
Goran Dragic had 20 points and nine assists for the Suns, who are clinging to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Eric Bledsoe added 16 points and P.J. Tucker 15 for the Suns, who handed the Pelicans their sixth straight loss.
Rookie center Jeff Withey had a career-high 17 points for the Pelicans, who were without Anthony Davis because of the All-Star forward’s sore back.
NUGGETS 123, ROCKETS 116
DENVER (AP) – Randy Foye scored 24 of his 30 points in the second half, and Denver hung on to beat Houston.
Kenneth Faried had 23 points and Timofey Mozgov added 22 for the Nuggets, who beat the Rockets for the first time in three tries this season.
Jeremy Lin led eight Houston players in double figures with 18 points.
Both teams were missing key players heading into the game and the Rockets got a scare when James Harden, leading a fast break, appeared to bang his left shin in a collision with Aaron Brooks midway through the third quarter. Fouled on the play, Harden made both free throws and left the game briefly to have the leg tended to before returning to action.
RAPTORS 125, 76ERS 114
TORONTO (AP) – Jonas Valanciunas had 26 points and 12 rebounds to lift Toronto over Philadelphia on Wednesday, less than three days after he was charged with drunk driving.
Kyle Lowry led Toronto with 29 points in his first game back after missing three with a bruised kneecap. Patrick Patterson finished with 17 for the Raptors in their fourth straight victory and seventh in eight games.
DeMar DeRozan added 17 points before leaving the game with a minute to play with a gash over his left eye. Toronto was missing starting forward Amir Johnson for the fourth straight game.
Henry Sims scored 22 points, Michael Carter-Williams added 19, and Thaddeus Young finished with 16 for the Sixers.
MAGIC 115, NETS 111
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – Arron Afflalo scored 25 points, E’Twaun Moore added 17 and Orlando held off a late rally to beat Brooklyn.
Tobias Harris added 16 points and eight rebounds, and Jameer Nelson had 14 points and seven assists for Orlando, which won its second straight.
Joe Johnson scored 31 points and Mirza Teletovic had 17 as the Nets had a three-game winning streak stopped. Mason Plumlee had 16 points and Marcus Thornton 13 off the bench for the Nets, who played without injured starters Paul Pierce and Shaun Livingston.