NBA Hard Court News; They Thinking Playoff Spots!
(AP) — The Boston Celtics have ended a two-game skid and maintained their three-game lead over Toronto in the NBA's Atlantic Division.
Isaiah Thomas shot 5-for-12 from 3-point range and finished with 33 points in 34 minutes as the Celtics topped Detroit, 104-98. Jae Crowder had 14 points and a team-high 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who went ahead for good on Jaylen Brown's 3-pointer with 37.6 seconds left.
DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points and the Raptors earned their third straight win by outlasting Portland, 112-106. Serge Ibaka had 18 points, including back-to-back jumpers that put Toronto ahead 102-96 with about 3 1/2 minutes left.
Elsewhere around the NBA:
— San Antonio won for the ninth time in 11 games as Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 in a 119-98 thumping of the Los Angeles Lakers. Pau Gasol added 15 points against his former team as the Southwest Division-leading Spurs moved four games ahead of Houston. The Lakers have dropped 15 of 19 to slip to 19-41, guaranteeing their fourth consecutive non-winning season.
— Utah won a battle of division leaders as Gordon Hayward scored a game-high 30 points to lead the Jazz past Washington, 102-92. Rudy Gobert added 15 points and 20 rebounds for the Northwest Division leaders, who led by 24 before allowing the Wizards to get within six with over two minutes left. John Wall had 23 points and 11 assists for the Wizards, who have dropped two straight for the first time since early January.
— Blake Griffin had a season-high 43 points and Chris Paul furnished 15 and 17 assists as the Clippers outlasted Charlotte, 124-121 in overtime. DeAndre Jordan had a steal and a dunk over the last six seconds to help Los Angeles secure the win. The Hornets lost despite getting 34 points from Kemba Walker and 31 from Nicolas Batum.
— Russell Westbrook registered his league-leading 29th triple-double in Oklahoma City's 118-110 triumph over New Orleans, scoring 21 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter and finishing with 11 boards and 11 assists. Enes Kanter chipped in 20 points and nine rebounds as the Thunder picked up their third straight win. The Pelicans are 0-3 since acquiring DeMarcus Cousins, who had 31 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes before fouling out.
— Mike Conley scored 13 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter as Memphis downed Denver, 105-98. Zach Randolph's 20 points and 11 boards helped the Grizzlies stop a two-game skid. Danilo Gallinari had 24 points for the Nuggets, who are one game ahead of Sacramento for the final Western Conference playoff berth.
— Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 28 points and Tony Snell made a clinching 3-pointer in the closing seconds of Milwaukee's 100-96 victory against Phoenix. Michael Beasley added 17 points and Malcolm Brogdon had 15 as the Bucks pulled within one game of Detroit for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.