Spurs streak reaches 10 with win over Rock­ets

The China Post - - SPORTS -

San An­to­nio’s win­ning streak reached dou­ble fig­ures and the Spurs moved above Hous­ton in the in­tense fight for the NBA South­west Di­vi­sion ti­tle by beat­ing the Rock­ets 104-103 on Fri­day, with Tim Dun­can pre­serv­ing the victory by block­ing a layup at­tempt with 2.9 sec­onds left.

The Spurs re­mained half a game be­hind South­west leader Mem­phis, which main­tained its edge by beat­ing Utah thanks to a missed free throw which ended the game.

In other key re­sults, At­lanta com­fort­ably beat Char­lotte to reach 60 wins for the first time in fran­chise his­tory, and Bos­ton boosted its play­off hopes with a road win at Cleve­land.

San An­to­nio’s Dun­can had 29 points and blocked James Harden’s last-gasp layup at­tempt to pre­serve a victory which moved the Spurs up to third in the West­ern Con­fer­ence stand­ings, while Hous­ton slipped to sixth.

Harden had just 16 points as San An­to­nio coach Gregg Popovich kept the ball out of Harden’s hands by in­ten­tion­ally foul­ing Josh Smith 12 times in the sec­ond half. Smith went 12 of 26 from the freethrow line and led the Rock­ets with 20 points.

Mem­phis stayed just ahead of San An­to­nio by win­ning 89-88 at Utah.

The Grizzlies closed the game on a 16-6 run, but had to wait out a few anx­ious mo­ments at the end. Marc Ga­sol was called for a foul on a 3-point at­tempt by Gor­don Hay­ward with .01 sec­onds re­main­ing. Hay­ward buried the first two free throws, but missed the third that would have forced over­time.

Marc Ga­sol had 22 points, seven re­bounds and six as­sists while Beno Udrih started for the in­jured Mike Con­ley and had 20 point.

Hay­ward scored 27 points for the Jazz.

At­lanta re­place­ment Mike Mus­cala scored 17 points to be the un­likely top scorer as the Hawks beat Char­lotte 104-80.

Mus­cala was 8 for 9 from the field in 25 1/2 min­utes while fill­ing in for in­jured for­ward Paul Mill­sap, while Kyle Korver had 16 points for the Hawks, who have al­ready se­cured the Southeast Di­vi­sion ti­tle, and un­veiled the ban­ner be­fore the game.

Troy Daniels’ 15 points led the Hor­nets, who were elim­i­nated from the play­off race with their third straight loss.

Bos­ton main­tained its share of sev­enth place in the East stand­ings with a 99-93 win at Cleve­land.

Mar­cus Smart scored 19 points for the Celtics, who had five play­ers in dou­ble fig­ures.

The Cava­liers, hav­ing al­ready clinched the No. 2 seed for the East play­offs, used their re­serves ex­ten­sively. Kyrie Irv­ing sat out to nurse a hip in­jury and LeBron James played only 26 min­utes, scor­ing 14 points.

Brook­lyn stayed level with Bos­ton by rout­ing Wash­ing­ton 117-80.

Brook Lopez scored 26 points and Bo­jan Bog­danovic added 22 for the Nets, who recorded their big­gest-ever win­ning mar­gin at their new home of Bar­clays Cen­ter. Bog­danovic was 6 for 6 from 3-point range.

Bradley Beal scored 24 points for the Wiz­ards, who had won their pre­vi­ous four games.

New Or­leans kept pace in the fight for eighth in the West by de­feat­ing Phoenix 90-75.

An­thony Davis had 19 points and nine re­bounds while Eric Gor­don scored 15 points for the Pel­i­cans, who are tied with Ok­la­homa City for the last play­off spot with three games to play.

Eric Bled­soe led Phoenix with 19 points.

Dal­las’ Ray­mond Fel­ton hit a layup with 1.5 sec­onds re­main­ing in dou­ble over­time, then blocked a last-sec­ond shot to give the Mav­er­icks a 144-143 win at Den­ver.

Toronto’s Lou Wil­liams made a 3-pointer with 9.9 sec­onds left, lift­ing the Rap­tors to a 101-99 win at Or­lando and their 11th straight victory over the Magic.

Ok­la­homa City stayed in equal eighth in the West by down­ing Sacra­mento 116-103, with Rus­sell West­brook con­tribut­ing 27 points and 10 as­sists.

In­di­ana kept up its play­off push — a game be­hind Brook­lyn and Bos­ton in the East — by win­ning 107-103 at Detroit, as Rod­ney Stuckey hit three straight jump­shots late on his way to 24 points.

Mil­wau­kee moved to the brink of a play­off spot by win­ning 99-91 at New York, as Gian­nis An­te­tok­oun­mpo re­turned to the lineup with 23 points.

The Los An­ge­les Lak­ers ended a run of five-straight de­feats with a 106-98 win against Min­nesota.

AP

Cleve­land Cava­liers’ LeBron James, front right, drives to the bas­ket against Bos­ton Celtics’ Tyler Zeller, left, dur­ing the third quar­ter of an NBA game on Fri­day, April 10.

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