Devin Booker made two free throws with 2.4 seconds left as the Phoenix Suns edged the Portland Trail Blazers 118-117 on Thursday night.
Chris Paul recorded 26 points and seven assists and Mikal Bridges added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns, who moved one game behind the Utah Jazz in the battle for the Western Conference’s top seed.
Damian Lillard scored 24 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter for the Trail Blazers, who had a five-game winning streak snapped and failed to clinch a main-draw playoff spot. Portland is in sixth place in the West, a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in its bid to stay out of the play-in round.
CJ McCollum added 27 points for Portland. Lillard scored at least 30 points for the seventh straight game. Cameron Payne scored 21 points and Booker added 18 for the Suns. Phoenix center Deandre Ayton (knee) missed a game for the first time this season.
Heat 106, 76ers 94
Jimmy Butler scored 21 points and Miami took a big early lead and never looked back in a win over visiting Philadelphia.
The result kept Philadelphia from clinching the top playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Sixers, who took their second loss in a row, would clinch first place with a win over the visiting Orlando Magic on Friday night. Tobias Harris led the 76ers with 21 points.
The Heat earned their fourth straight win and prevailed for the seventh time in eight games. Miami, tied for fifth in the East with the New York Knicks, has two games left as it tries to climb past the fourth-place Atlanta Hawks. The Heat got 18 points apiece from Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. Adebayo added 12 rebounds and eight assists.
Hawks 116, Magic 93
Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 27 points as Atlanta continued its home dominance with a victory over Orlando.
Bogdanovic, who was questionable to play because of a hamstring injury, made 9 of 12 shots from the floor and sank four 3-pointers. Trae Young added 18 points and seven assists for the Hawks, who have won 10 in a row at home.
R.J. Hampton collected 18 points and eight rebounds off the bench for the Magic, who have dropped five in a row.
Bucks 142, Pacers 133
Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 40 points, 15 rebounds and six assists led visiting Milwaukee to a win in Indianapolis and its first season sweep against Indiana since 2010.
Khris Middleton scored 22 points and Brook Lopez had 21 points and eight rebounds for the Bucks, who pulled to within one game of the second-place Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference.
Justin Holiday led the Pacers with 26 points, hitting eight 3-pointers. Indiana remained tied with the Charlotte Hornets for eighth place in the East.
Grizzlies 116, Kings 110
Kyle Anderson ignited a 12-0 finish with a pair of hoops, including a 3-pointer, and Jonas Valanciunas posted a double-double as Memphis formally eliminated visiting Sacramento from playoff contention.
Dillon Brooks scored a team-high 30 points and Valanciunas recorded 24 points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who assured that their position in the NBA play-in tournament — either eighth or ninth — will be determined in the season finale Sunday at Golden State.
The Kings, a play-in longshot whose hopes were kept alive when the San Antonio Spurs were beaten by the New York Knicks earlier Thursday, came up short despite a career-best 31 points from Justin James.
Nuggets 114, Timberwolves 103
Nikola Jokic helped his cause in the Most Valuable Player race with 31 points and 14 rebounds, leading Denver to a win over Minnesota in Minneapolis.
The Timberwolves’ Anthony Edwards strengthened his bid for NBA Rookie of the Year with 29 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Karl-Anthony Towns wound up with 20 points and 11 rebounds for Minnesota, which cut a 13-point, third-quarter deficit down to three heading into the final period.
Denver got a balanced scoring effort, with six players recording at least 12 points. Markus Howard and Vlatko Cancar both scored career highs off the bench with 15 and 14 points, respectively.
Bulls 114, Raptors 102
Zach LaVine scored eight of his 24 points in the fourth quarter as Chicago defeated visiting Toronto.
The Bulls overcame a career-best 35 points by Toronto’s Stanley Johnson, who also had 10 rebounds. The depleted Raptors, who already were eliminated from playoff contention, have lost five in a row.
Lauri Markkanen added 20 points off the bench and Nikola Vucevic tallied 16 points and 16 rebounds for the Bulls, who kept their faint chances for the play-in tournament alive.
Knicks 102, Spurs 98
Alec Burks scored a season-high 30 points, including the tiebreaking three-point play with 3:16 remaining, as New York overcame a 17-point deficit and eked out a victory over visiting San Antonio.
Playing only for the third time in 14 games due to COVID-19 and a knee injury, Burks scored 16 points in the fourth quarter. Julius Randle added 25 points to go along with nine rebounds and nine assists, and RJ Barrett chipped in 24 for the Knicks, who won for the 14th time in 18 games.
DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points with eight rebounds and four assists as the Spurs lost for the eighth time in 10 games. San Antonio, however, clinched a play-in berth when the Sacramento Kings lost to the Memphis Grizzlies.
Clippers 113, Hornets 90
Paul George amassed 20 points and 10 rebounds, and Los Angeles put together an overwhelming second-half stretch to beat host Charlotte.
Reggie Jackson poured in 19 points, Kawhi Leonard posted 16 points with nine assists and Marcus Morris Sr. scored 15 for the Clippers, who improved to 2-0 midway through a four-game road trip to complete the regular season.
LaMelo Ball racked up 18 points and Bismack Biyombo had 13 points for the Hornets, who took their third loss in a row.
–Field Level Media