Hawks beat Nets with comfortable 131-99 Pacers’ George to return from broken leg
Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll scored 20 points each to help the Atlanta Hawks match a franchise record with their 57th win, beating the Brooklyn Nets 131-99 on Saturday night.
However, the Hawks l ost forward Paul Millsap to a right shoulder injury in a collision with Brooklyn’s Earl Clark with 1:52 left in the first half. There was no foul called on the play which left Millsap sprawled on the floor. He grimaced as he held his shoulder while walking off the court.
Millsap did not return and finished with eight points and five assists. The Hawks provided no immediate details on the injury.
Jeff Teague added had 17 points as Atlanta never trailed while ending the Nets’ season-best six-game winning streak.
Bojan Bogdanovic led Brooklyn with 19 points.
The Hawks topped their previous season high of 130 points on John Jenkins’ 3-pointer with 54 seconds remaining.
Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer has given his starters generous rest since the team clinched first place in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Hawks returned to a normal rotation against the Nets and looked ready for the postseason while racing to a 66-48 halftime lead.
The teams could meet in the playoffs, but Budenholzer said before the game “We can’t hold anything back. We’re just going to play.”
Millsap’s injury was the only bad news of the first half for the Hawks. Atlanta shot 7 for 12 on 3-pointers in the half and also had stirring jams from Horford and Teague.
Reggie Jackson scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, including the winning layup with 5 seconds remaining, and the Detroit Pistons rallied to beat the Miami Heat 99-98.
Andre Drummond had 11 points and 17 rebounds for his 44th double-double, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 19 points
Two- t i me All- Star Paul George is coming back to the NBA sooner than expected from a broken leg, having been cleared to play on Sunday for the Indiana Pacers against the Miami Heat.
When George ran into the basket support during a U. S. team practice and broke his right leg in two places on Aug. 1, it seemed a foregone conclusion he would miss the entire 2014- 15 season. But he returned to full practices on Feb. and Anthony Tolliver added 15 for the Pistons. Detroit rallied from 15 down in the fourth and closed with a 21-6 run over the final 5:36 to get the win.
Dwyane Wade scored 24 points and Goran Dragic had 21 for the Heat. Luol Deng added 13 points and Hassan Whiteside had 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Marcus Smart hit a buzzerbeating layup in overtime and the Boston Celtics beat the Toronto Raptors 117-166 and moved into the playoff berths.
With 2.6 seconds left and Boston trailing by one, Smart took a pass from a driving Isaiah Thomas and sneaked behind the collapsing Toronto defense to score the winning basket, silencing the sellout crowd of 19,800.
Thomas scored 25 points, Tyler Zeller had 20 and Evan Turner added 18 points and 10 assists for the Celtics, who moved one-half game ahead of Miami in the race for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth after the Heat’s loss at Detroit.
Klay Thompson scored 21 points and the Golden State Warriors clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs with their 12th straight victory, beating the Dallas Mavericks 123-110.
The Warriors (63-13) need one more victory to assure finishing with the best record in the NBA for 26, and set a mid-March goal to play in games.
He announced his return by tweeting a picture of his game shoes on Saturday, and the team then confirmed the news.
“He has worked hard to get to this point and still has work to do, but it’s a positive step toward what we hope will be a full recovery,” president of basketball operations Larry Bird said in Indiana’s release. “His minutes will be limited in games he plays as we evaluate his progress.”
Bird believes if George can get the first time since 1975-76. They hold the tiebreaker on Atlanta for the top overall seed.
Stephen Curry scored 11 points while big men Andre Iguodala and Maurice Speights got into the long-range fun mostly reserved for Splash Brothers Curry and Thompson. Both finished with 18 points.
Dirk Nowitzki had 18 points to some competitive work in before the end of this season, it would help him continue his progression during the offseason.
Before the injury, George was one of the league’s bright young stars. His scoring average had improved by at least four points in each of his first four NBA seasons, and the swingman was the league’s most improved player for the 2012-13 season.
“I’m excited, but at the same time I’m aware I’m still in a rehab stage and will continue to work to get back to full strength,” he said. lead the Mavericks.
Also Saturday, the Los Angeles Clippers had a 107-92 win over the Denver Nuggets, the Orlando Magic beat the Milwaukee Bucks 97- 90, the Charlotte Hornets edged the Philadelphia 76ers 92-91 and the Washington Wizards topped the Memphis Grizzlies 92-83.
Utah Jazz guard Gordan Hayward, center, passes the ball as Phoenix Suns’ Eric Bledsoe, Markieff Morris #11 and Brandan Wright, right, defend during the second half of an NBA game in Phoenix, Arizona on Saturday, April 4.