LOS ANGELES: The Los Angeles Clippers started strong and experienced some lulls again before holding off a late charge by the Los Angeles Lakers as Doc Rivers won his 800th game as a coach when the Clippers defeated the Lakers 115-104.
Blake Griffin scored 36 points and grabbed eight rebounds for the Clippers (47-31), who pulled within a game of the idle Utah Jazz for the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
Griffin topped 10,000 points for his career in the first quarter. Griffin, who now has 10,034 points, is the first player to achieve the feat in a Clippers’ uniform and the second in the franchise. Randy Smith scored 10,467 as a member of the Buffalo Braves.
Chris Paul contributed 29 points and 12 assists and JJ Redick added 19 points for the Clippers.
DeAndre Jordan chipped in 11 points and 12 rebounds.
Bulls 106, Hawks 104
Jimmy Butler capped his 33-point performance by making two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining as Chicago beat Atlanta.
Butler scored 25 points in the second half and Chicago’s final nine points of the contest.
Rajon Rondo had 25 points, Denzel Valentine added 13 and Paul Zipser had 10 for the Bulls. Chicago drew even with the idle Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat for the final Eastern Conference play-off spot.
Dennis Schroder scored 29 points for the Hawks, who nearly pulled out the victory when Tim Hardaway Jr. — who scored 20 points — narrowly missed a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Dwight Howard and Ersan Ilyasova each scored 13 points for Atlanta.
Nets 121, Magic 111
Trevor Booker scored a season-high 23 points and the Brooklyn Nets surged ahead in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter for a victory over the Orlando Magic.
Brook Lopez led the Nets with 30 points while Sean Kilpatrick added 15 for Brooklyn.
Elfrid Payton recorded his fifth triple-double by totalling 20 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds.
Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 27 points and Aaron Gordon added 22, but Orlando missed seven of its first eight shots in the fourth quarter when the Nets pulled away.
Kings 123, Timberwolves 117
Rookie Buddy Hield scored a career-high 22 points while Ty Lawson added 21 points off the bench to lead Sacramento to a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Five Kings players scored in double figures.
Andrew Wiggins had 32 points for Minnesota, while Karl-Anthony Towns chipped in 26 points and 11 rebounds.
Trail Blazers 130, Suns 117
The Portland Trail Blazers moved closer to clinching an NBA play-off spot as Damian Lillard scored 31 points and CJ McCollum 29 paced Portland in a 130-117 victory over the Phoenix Suns.
The Blazers remained solidly in the eighth and final Western Conference play-off spot. — Reuters