NBA

NBA: Rockets beat Thunder in OT for 10th straight victory

By Sports Desk March 27, 2024

Jalen Green scored 37 points and Dillon Brooks hit a pair of 3-pointers in overtime to lift the Houston Rockets to their 10th consecutive victory, 132-126 over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday.

Amen Thompson had 25 points and 15 rebounds and Brooks finished with 20 points for the Rockets, who remained one game behind Golden State in the race for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference.

Houston’s winning streak is its longest since an 11-game run late in the 2017-18 season.

Josh Giddey tied a career high with 31 points and Jalen Williams added 23 and 10 assists for the Thunder, who remained tied with Minnesota and one-half game behind Northwest Division-leading Denver.

Oklahoma City played without All-Star guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who sat out with a bruised right thigh.

Brooks got Houston going in overtime with consecutive 3-pointers and Green’s 3 with 64 seconds left extended the Rockets’ lead to 126-120. Isaiah Joe nailed a 3 for the Thunder five seconds later, but Green made a layup and Thompson dunked with 26 seconds to go.

Streaking Lakers ride LeBron’s triple-double

LeBron James had 23 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists and Rui Hachimura scored 32 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to their fifth straight win, 136-124 over the Memphis Grizzlies.

D’Angelo Russell had 23 points and Taurean Prince added 15 for the Lakers, who stayed hot without Anthony Davis (knee) and pulled within 2 ½ games of idle Dallas for sixth in the Western Conference.

James returned after sitting out Tuesday’s double-overtime win over Milwaukee with a troublesome ankle and notched his fourth triple-double this season and 111th of his career.

Clippers get disputed win over 76ers

Kawhi Leonard completed two 3-point plays late in the fourth quarter and made a block at the rim on the final possession to give the Los Angeles Clippers a controversial 108-107 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

Leonard stuffed Kelly Oubre at the rim with five seconds left and the Clippers holding a one-point lead.

The officiating crew after the game said a foul should have been called on the play that would have sent Oubre to the line with a chance for the winning points.

Leonard bounced back from a 1-for-8 shooting first half to finish with 17 points and 10 rebounds and Paul George scored 22 points. James Harden had 16 points and 14 assists in his return to Philadelphia.

Tyrese Maxey scored 26 points for the 76ers, who dropped their fourth in five games.

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  • 'Every seed matters' for LeBron James as Lakers outlast Grizzlies 'Every seed matters' for LeBron James as Lakers outlast Grizzlies

    LeBron James said "every seed matters" for the Los Angeles Lakers after he combined with Anthony Davis to power them past the Memphis Grizzlies and go eighth in the Western Conference.

    The Lakers entered Friday's game – their penultimate outing of the regular season – on a two-game losing streak and jockeying for position with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. 

    However, James put up 37 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Davis added 35 points as the injury-hit Grizzlies failed to hold on after going 118-117 up with one minute and six seconds left.

    James sank six points in the final minute to lift Los Angeles one game clear of Sacramento and Golden State, both of whom suffered defeats later on Friday.

    "Every game matters. Every seed matters. Wherever you fall, you can't play in the past," James said.

    "I can't say I would much rather be where we are today than be the number one seed. That would be a lie. Seeds matter, and wherever you fall, you take that challenge."

    The Lakers emerged from the Play-In Tournament to reach the Western Conference Finals last year before being dispatched by the eventual NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets.

    With coach Darvin Ham plotting a route through the postseason, he left James out on the court for 41 minutes on Friday, while Davis played 43 minutes on his return from a left eye injury which kept him out of Tuesday's loss to the Warriors. 

    Asked about the risks of keeping the duo out there, Ham said: "In the moment, you're not worried about that. You're worried about securing the victory you came to get. 

    "Everyone knows what time it is. It's that time of the year. Everyone knows what's at stake. 

    "Whatever we need, and however long we need to push guys, we've got to have it, and they understand that."

    Memphis are guaranteed to end a frustrating campaign 13th in the West, and Scotty Pippen Jr. said they were simply playing for future opportunities after scoring a career-high 28 points.

    "The emphasis going into the game was to play hard," Pippen said. "We knew they were playing for something, and they probably thought we were playing for nothing. 

    "But a lot of guys here are playing for opportunities. That's our motivation."

  • NBA: Embiid returns from injury scare, scores 32 to lead streaking 76ers NBA: Embiid returns from injury scare, scores 32 to lead streaking 76ers

    Joel Embiid shook off an apparent injury to finish with 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and the Philadelphia 76ers extended their winning streak to seven with a 125-113 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday.

    Embiid had 21 points, nine boards and seven assists in the first 17 minutes but appeared to land awkwardly on his left knee late in the first half. He limped to midcourt and gave up on the play.

    After coach Nick Nurse called timeout, Embiid went straight to the locker room. But he returned for the second half and promptly hit a 3-pointer on his first touch of the third quarter.

    Orlando, Indiana and Philadelphia are all 46-35 after the Pacers lost to Cleveland and are fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.

    Franz Wagner scored 24 points and Paolo Banchero added 22 for Orlando, which dropped its third straight game. The Magic can win the Southeast Division with a victory over Milwaukee on Sunday.

    Spurs rally to stun Nuggets

    Devonte’ Graham scored on a floater in the lane with 0.9 seconds remaining and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from a 23-point deficit for a 121-120 win over the Denver Nuggets, who may have suffered a potentially damaging loss.

    The loss dropped Denver out of sole possession of first place in the Western Conference and into a tie with Minnesota and Oklahoma City. After tiebreakers, the Timberwolves are first, the Thunder and second and the Nuggets are third heading into the final day of the regular season on Sunday.

    Victor Wembanyama had 34 points and 12 rebounds for the West-worst Spurs, who trailed 76-53 early in the third quarter and were still down 17 early in the fourth.

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    Thunder handle depleted Bucks

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 23 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder boosted their chances at capturing the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a 125-107 win over the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks.

    Chet Holmgren had 22 points and nine rebounds and Aaron Wiggins added 19 points for the Thunder, who won their fourth straight and ended the night tied for the top seed in the West after Denver lost to San Antonio and Minnesota beat Atlanta.

    Milwaukee played without superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (strained left calf) and All-Star Damian Lillard (sore left adductor) and dropped into a tie with the Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the East. The Bucks can still finish second with a win at Orlando on Sunday or a New York loss to Chicago.

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    Boston have long since had their playoff berth secured, but have now lost their last two games.

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    "It stings to have this loss, but maybe we need this before heading into the postseason with a killer mentality," Porzingis said.

    "It's not who we are. This is not the team our fans love. That wasn't on display.

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    "We got out-toughed the last two games and haven't played to our standard," Brown said.

    "The game has shifted and it's going to shift even more in the playoffs."

    Jalen Brunson led the Knicks with 39 points, and New York are now just one game behind the Milwaukee Bucks in the race for the No.2 seed.

    "We made shots and made the right plays," Brunson said.

    "Obviously, we know they're the top dog in the East. Whenever you play against them, it's always a good measuring stick to see where you're at.

    "We played pretty well, but we know what they’re capable of doing. We just had their number tonight."

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