The Associated Press
Published — Sunday 7 April 2013
Last update 7 April 2013 2:39 am
LOS ANGELES: Kobe Bryant had 24 points and nine assists, Pau Gasol added 19 points, and Los Angeles stayed in the final playoff position in the Western Conference with an 86-84 victory over Memphis.
Dwight Howard hit a free throw with 4.1 seconds left for the Lakers, who have won three straight in the final weeks of their desperate push for a postseason spot.
Los Angeles also avoided getting swept in its season series with the Grizzlies, whose four-game winning streak ended.
Mike Conley scored 21 points before missing a potential go-ahead jumper with 5 seconds left and another layup before the buzzer for playoff-bound Memphis, which fell one game behind Denver for the fourth seed in the West.
The Grizzlies couldn’t score in the final 21/2 minutes. Dwight Howard had nine points and 10 rebounds, while Earl Clark and Antawn Jamison contributed 13 points apiece off the bench as the Lakers won without injured starters Steve Nash and Metta World Peace.
Memphis’ Marc Gasol had 11 points, eight rebounds and seven assists while facing his brother. Zach Randolph added 15 points.
Knicks 101 Bucks 83: In New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 41 points, tying a franchise record with this third straight 40-point game, and the New York Knicks beat the Milwaukee Bucks 101-83 on Friday night for their 11th straight victory.
Anthony, who had 50 points and 40 in his previous two games, equaled Bernard King’s 1984-85 mark. New York matched the third-longest winning streak in franchise history.
J.R. Smith added 30 points for the Knicks, who used a huge third quarter to turn around the game after a lackluster first half on the night they honored their 1972-73 NBA championship team. Brandon Jennings scored 25 points for the Bucks and JJ Reddick had 18.
After scoring just 36 points in the first half and trailing by nine, the Knicks poured in 42 in the third quarter, with Anthony scoring 18 and Jason Kidd ending the period with a 59-foot heave at the buzzer.
Thunder 97 Pacers 75: In Indianapolis, Kevin Durant overcame a bruised left calf to score 34 points and Russell Westbrook added 24 points, leading Oklahoma City over Indiana.
Oklahoma City (56-20) has won three straight to move into a tie with San Antonio for the top seed in the Western Conference.
The win capped an impressive back-to-back sweep for the Thunder, who beat the Spurs on Thursday night. They arrived at the team hotel in Indy on Friday at about 4 a.m., then went out and prevented the Pacers from clinching their first Central Division title in nine years.
But the Pacers (48-28) can clinch the title with a win Saturday at Washington. Indiana, which had its five-game win streak ended, was led by Roy Hibbert with 22 points and David West with 17.
Heat 89 Bobcats 79: In Charlotte, N.C., Mike Miller scored a season-high 26 points on seven 3-pointers, and injury-depleted Miami beat Charlotte.
The Heat won despite playing without stars LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen, who were held out while recovering from injuries. The 33-year-old Miller was 7 of 11 from beyond the 3-point arc.
Chris Bosh chipped in with 18 points and eight rebounds, and Rashard Lewis added 14 points for Miami, which improved to 3-2 since Chicago snapped its 27-game winning streak. Miami (59-16) is within three victories of setting a new franchise record for wins in a regular season.
Rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Bobcats, who lost for only the second time in their last seven home games.
Warriors 111 Suns 107: In Phoenix, Stephen Curry scored 18 points and matched his career high with 15 assists, sinking two late free throws to seal Golden State’s victory over Phoenix, extending the Suns’ losing streak to a season-worst eight games.
Jarrett Jack’s 3-pointer with 31.6 seconds to play pulled the Warriors out of serious trouble. Klay Thompson scored 15 of his 25 points in the third quarter, when the Warriors stormed back from an 18-point first-half deficit.
David Lee added 22 points and 14 rebounds for Golden State. Goran Dragic tied his career high with 32 points and Michael Beasley added 25 for the Suns, who shot a season-best 61 percent from the field. The Warriors have won three straight and five of six.
Cavaliers 97 Celtics 91: In Boston, Tristan Thompson had career highs with 29 points and 17 rebounds and Cleveland ended a 10-game losing streak.
Alonzo Gee also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who held Boston to 16 points in the third quarter and held on for their first win since March 12.
The Cavaliers avoided their 11th straight loss, which would have been the second-longest streak under coach Byron Scott. Wayne Ellington scored 12 points and Kyrie Irving added 11 points for Cleveland in his third game back since missing eight with a sprained shoulder.
Jeff Green scored 23 points for Boston and Shavlik Randolph had 16 points before fouling out with 6:57 left in the fourth. Brandon Bass scored 12 and Avery Bradley had 10 points for Boston.
Raptors 95 Timberwolves 93: In Minneapolis, Rudy Gay had 26 points and five rebounds to lead Toronto to a rare road victory in the Western Conference.
DeMar DeRozan had 25 points and Kyle Lowry added 11 points and seven assists for the Raptors, who beat the Timberwolves for the 16th time in 17 games and prevented Minnesota coach Rick Adelman from recording his 1,000th win.
Nikola Pekovic had 24 points and eight rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko added 20 points and six rebounds for the Timberwolves, who led by as many as 11 in the second half. But they missed 10 free throws, including one from Ricky Rubio with 1.7 seconds to go that would have tied the game.
Bulls 87 Magic 86: In Chicago, Nate Robinson scored 12 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter, Luol Deng finished with 19 after a slow start, and Chicago beat Orlando. Robinson, who scored the go-ahead basket the previous night in a two-point win at Brooklyn, came up big down the stretch, offsetting a 27-point performance by Orlando’s Beno Udrih.
He scored nine points during a 15-4 run that turned a five-point deficit into an 87-78 lead. Deng hit two 3-pointers during that stretch, and Robinson capped it with a long jumper as he crashed to the floor with 3:51 left.
The Bulls did not score again, but they managed to pull this one out, anyway, sending the Magic to their 12th loss in 13 games.
76ers 101 Hawks 90: In Atlanta, Evan Turner had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and Philadelphia opened with its highest-scoring quarter of the season and beat Atlanta. Spencer Hawes added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers, who made 16 of 22 shots to lead 40-26 after the first quarter. Thaddeus Young had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Josh Smith, who led Atlanta with 19 points, scored to cut Philadelphia’s lead to 54-45 late in the first half. A basket by Hawes pushed the lead back to double figures for good. Al Horford had 18 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, which lost its second straight home game. Ivan Johnson had 17 points. Damien Wilkins had 16 points for the 76ers, who have won four of five.
Rockets 116 Trail Blazers 98: In Portland, Ore., James Harden had 33 points and short-handed Houston edged closer to clinching a playoff spot with a victory over Portland. Jeremy Lin added 22 points to help the Rockets to their fourth straight victory. Houston (43-33) remained in seventh place in the Western Conference three games in front of the Los Angeles Lakers for their first playoff appearance since 2008-09. LaMarcus Aldridge returned from an ankle injury with 32 points and 13 rebounds for the Blazers (33-43), who matched their season-worst slide with a seventh straight loss.