Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics guard Derrick White (9) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 30, 2022, in Boston. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
BOSTON — Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Kyle Lowry added 23 and the Miami Heat rallied in the fourth quarter to hold off the Boston Celtics 106-98 on Wednesday night to stay atop a tight race for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
Bam Adebayo finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds to help Miami post its second straight win since a season-worst four-game losing streak.
Since briefly taking over the East’s top spot, Boston has lost two in a row for the first time since late January.
Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 28 points and 10 rebounds. Jayson Tatum added 23 points and six assists.
GRIZZLIES 112, SPURS 111
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Tyus Jones scored 25 points and Memphis edged San Antonio to capture the Southwest Division title and clinch the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Memphis never trailed, even as Ja Morant missed his sixth straight game with a knee injury. The Grizzlies improved to 19-2 without Morant this season.
San Antonio closed within a point, at 112-111, on a tip-in by Keldon Johnson with 27.8 seconds remaining. Following a miss by the Grizzlies’ Desmond Bane, Johnson missed a contested layup with 2.7 seconds remaining.
The Spurs dropped a half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for 10th in the West and the final berth in the play-in tournament.
PELICANS 117, TRAIL BLAZERS 107
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — CJ McCollum received a 90-second standing ovation in his first visit to Portland since a February trade to New Orleans, then scored 25 points in a win.
The Pelicans lead the Los Angeles Lakers by 1 1/2 games for the ninth spot in the Western Conference, which would put them into a play-in postseason game.
Fans hailed McCollum during lineup intros, and he received several more ovations and cheers throughout the night. He egged on fans by scoring 14 points in the first quarter, drawing roars with each basket just like he did for the better part of nine seasons in Portland.
Brandon Ingram and Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points each, and Jaxson Hayes had 18 for the Pelicans. Drew Eubanks led the Blazers with 21 points and nine rebounds.
SUNS 107, WARRIORS 103
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Devin Booker’s two free throws with 34.2 seconds left put Phoenix ahead, Draymond Green traveled to turn it over before Chris Paul made a short jumper, and the NBA-best Suns held off Golden State.
Jordan Poole scored a season-best 38 points to match his career high and also contributed nine rebounds and seven assists. He had five free throws over the final 1:20.
Poole drew a loose ball foul on Booker with 39.8 seconds to go and converted two free throws before Booker came through for the Suns (62-14) in their ninth straight victory.
Paul had 15 points and eight assists, Mikal Bridges scored 22 points and Deandre Ayton added 16 points and 16 rebounds for Phoenix.
MAVERICKS 120, CAVALIERS 112
CLEVELAND (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 35 points, added 13 assists and just missed another triple-double, leading Dallas over Cleveland, which was without star forward Evan Mobley.
Dorian Finney-Smith added a career-high 28 points for Dallas, which entered the game fourth in the Western Conference. With the win and Minnesota’s loss to Toronto, the Mavericks locked up one of the top six playoff spots.
Doncic scored 20 with ease in the third, when the Mavericks took control by outscoring the Cavaliers 39-22.
Caris LeVert had his best game with Cleveland, scoring 32 points. Darius Garland added 25 points and 10 assists for the Cavs, who have dropped four of five and are trying to hang onto a home game in the play-in tournament.
RAPTORS 125, TIMBERWOLVES 102
TORONTO (AP) — Pascal Siakam had 12 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high 13 assists for his second career triple-double, Gary Trent Jr. scored 29 points and Toronto strengthened its hold on sixth place in the Eastern Conference.
Toronto (44-32) moved two games ahead of Cleveland for sixth after the Cavaliers lost to Dallas. OG Anunoby scored 22 points, Scottie Barnes had 17 and Precious Achiuwa 13 as the Raptors overcame a 17-point second-quarter deficit to complete a 4-0 homestand.
Fred VanVleet scored 12 points and Thad Young had 10 as Toronto matched idle Chicago for the fifth-best record in the conference. The Bulls hold the tiebreaker on the Raptors after winning three of four meetings.
Karl-Anthony Towns had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Anthony Edwards scored 24 points as the Timberwolves (43-34) lost for the fourth time in five games.
KINGS 121, ROCKETS 118
HOUSTON (AP) — Davion Mitchell, Damian Jones and Trey Lyles scored 24 points each, and Sacramento outlasted Houston.
It was a wild back-and-forth game where both teams had double-digit leads before staying close in the fourth quarter.
The Kings got the win despite big performances from two of Houston’s young stars. Rookie Jalen Green, the second overall pick in the draft, tied a season high with 32 points, and Kevin Porter Jr. had his first career triple-double with 30 points, 12 assists and a career-high 12 rebounds.
Donte DiVincenzo hit a 3 for Sacramento with about two minutes left and Jones added a layup on the next possession to give Sacramento a 117-113 lead with just more than a minute to go.
NUGGETS 125, PACERS 118
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nikola Jokic flirted with another triple-double with 37 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists, helping Denver hold off Indiana.
The Nuggets led by 31 points during the second quarter before the Pacers stormed back. Indiana led 102-100 with 7:40 left in the fourth quarter before the Nuggets scored seven straight points to regain control.
Bones Hyland scored 20 points and Will Barton added 18 for the Nuggets, who shot 62.5% for the game.
Seven of the nine Pacers who played scored in double figures, led by Buddy Hield with 20 points, Terry Taylor with 18 and Goga Bitadze 17. The Pacers shot 45.4% for the game.
HORNETS 125, KNICKS 114
NEW YORK (AP) — Miles Bridges scored 31 points and LaMelo Ball had 20 points and 15 rebounds to help lead Charlotte past New York.
Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 21 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including four 3-pointers, and Terry Rozier added 15 points for the Hornets, who have won eight of their last 11 games.
The Hornets improved to 40-37 and moved into a tie with idle Brooklyn for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
Evan Fournier scored 30 points, going 6 for 8 from long distance, RJ Barrett added 25, and Julius Randle chipped in 21 for the Knicks, who had their four-game winning streak halted.
WIZARDS 127, MAGIC 110
WASHINGTON (AP) — Kristaps Porzingis scored 35 points, and Tomas Satoransky had an unusual double-double — no points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds — as Washington beat Orlando.
Satoransky became the third player to finish a game with no points and at least 10 rebounds and 10 assists, joining Oklahoma City’s Josh Giddey earlier this season and Cincinnati’s Norm Van Lier in 1971.
Satoransky attempted only two shots, but he was part of a solid offensive performance for the Wizards. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 25 points, and Rui Hachimura and Daniel Gafford contributed 17 apiece.
Franz Wagner scored 28 points for the Magic, who lost their fourth straight. Orlando (20-57) came into the game tied with Detroit and Houston for the worst record in the NBA.
HAWKS 136, THUNDER 118
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Trae Young had 41 points and eight assists, and Atlanta rolled past Oklahoma City.
Young, who grew up in Norman and played for University of Oklahoma for one season, put on a show for a crowd that cheered him often. He made 13 of 24 field goals and 11 of 12 free throws in three quarters of action.
Kevin Huerter and Bogdan Bogdanovic each scored 20 points for the Hawks, who won their third straight and strengthened their hold on the No. 10 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Atlanta is averaging 129.7 points during the win streak.
Lindy Waters III scored a career-high 25 points and made seven 3-pointers for the Thunder. Theo Maledon added 18 points and eight assists.
PHILADELPHIA – The Federation of Hellenic Societies of Philadelphia and Greater Delaware Valley announced that the Evzones, the Presidential Guard of Greece will be participating in the Philadelphia Greek Independence Day Parade on March 20.
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