Minnesota: Jamal Murray scored 22 points and Devin Harris made five 3-pointers while notching 20 points as the Denver Nuggets recorded a pivotal 100-96 victory over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves on Thursday night.
Both teams are 44-35 with three games remaining. Minnesota holds the tiebreaker edge and currently possesses the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, but the squads close the regular season against one another on Wednesday in Minneapolis.
Nikola Jokic registered 16 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, and Will Barton added 14 points, six rebounds and six assists as the Nuggets won their fourth consecutive game.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out for the Timberwolves. Minnesota’s Taj Gibson posted 17 points and 14 rebounds.
Jazz 117, Clippers 95
Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points while Rudy Gobert added 15 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks to lead Utah to a victory over Los Angeles in Salt Lake City.
With the defeat, the 10th-place Clippers are two games behind Minnesota and Denver in the West. Fourth-place Utah increased its lead to one game over the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Derrick Favors added 16 points while Jonas Jerebko and Alec Burks chipped in 13 apiece for Utah, which won its fourth straight. Austin Rivers scored 19 points to lead the Clippers.
Rockets 96, Trail Blazers 94
Chris Paul converted a runner inside the final second, and Houston capped a season series sweep of visiting Portland as the Rockets extended their home winning streak to 20 games, one shy of the franchise record with one home game remaining.
Portland mounted a stunning fourth-quarter rally behind its reserves, erasing a 92-75 deficit with under five minutes left and pulling even when Pat Connaughton converted a layup with 6.1 seconds remaining after James Harden missed two free throws with 13.1 seconds to play.
Paul responded with his sweeping shot off the glass with 0.8 seconds left. Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer to preserve the victory for the Rockets.
Cavaliers 119, Wizards 115
LeBron James had 33 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds as Cleveland prevailed in Tyronn Lue’s return as coach with a victory over visiting Washington.
Jeff Green scored 21 points as Cleveland overcame a 17-point, fourth-quarter deficit to post its fifth straight win and 10th in the past 11 games. Lue was back after missing nine games because of health issues that included chest pains and sleep deprivation. John Wall led Washington with 28 points and 14 assists.
The victory puts Cleveland in third place in the Eastern Conference by a half-game over the Philadelphia 76ers. The two teams face one another on Friday in Philadelphia.
Pacers 126, Warriors 106
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 28 points to lead Indiana past visiting Golden State.
Bogdanovic made 11 of 13 shots, including 6 of 7 3-point attempts as the Pacers sank 15 of 29 shots from beyond the arc. Victor Oladipo contributed 21 points, seven assists, six rebounds and three steals, Thaddeus Young chipped in 16 points and eight rebounds, and Darren Collison added 15 points for Indiana.
Kevin Durant paced the Warriors with 27 points and seven assists.
Nets 119, Bucks 111
Allen Crabbe’s back-to-back 3-pointers snapped a late tie as visiting Brooklyn beat Milwaukee. The Nets controlled most of the first half against a team that clinched its Eastern Conference playoff spot on Wednesday night.
Brooklyn did much of its damage from the arc, connecting on 19 of 39 3-point attempts. Crabbe sank five treys and scored 25 points, while D’Angelo Russell bagged 22 points and five assists, adding four 3-pointers.
Khris Middleton pumped in a game-high 31 points for the Bucks while Eric Bledsoe added 18. Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, although he made only 7 of 21 shots. — Reuters