West­brook scores 54, but Pac­ers beat Thun­der 116-104

The China Post - - SPORTS -

Rus­sell West­brook scored a ca­reer-high 54 points Sun­day, but the In­di­ana Pac­ers fended off his late charge for a crit­i­cal 116-104 victory over Ok­la­homa City.

C.J. Miles matched his sea­son high with 30 points to lead In­di­ana (37-43) to its fifth straight win and into a tie with Brook­lyn for the eighth and fi­nal play­off spot in the East. The Nets own the tiebreaker. The Thun­der (43-37) lost for the fifth time in six games de­spite a near triple-dou­ble from West­brook, who had nine re­bounds and eight as­sists. Ok­la­homa City is tied with New Or­leans for the No. 8 seed in the West.

Af­ter post­ing a triple-dou­ble in the first game against the Pac­ers this sea­son, West­brook nearly did it again. He was 21 of 43 from the field, 5 of 15 on 3s and 7 of 11 from the free throw line. He had 22 points and four as­sists just in the first quar­ter.

In Hous­ton, James Harden scored 30 points as the Rock­ets used a big run at the be­gin­ning of the fourth quar­ter to down the New Or­leans Pel­i­cans 121-114.

The Rock­ets ended a two-game los­ing streak be­hind the NBAlead­ing 35th 30-point game for Harden, who leads the league in scor­ing.

Corey Brewer and Dwight Howard car­ried Hous­ton in the open­ing min­utes of the fourth quar­ter com­bin­ing for all of the Rock­ets’ points in a 14-5 run that put them on top 100-91. Howard fin­ished with 19 points and 11 re­bounds, and Brewer added 20 points.

Mil­wau­kee’s Er­san Ilyasova scored 21 points as the Bucks clinched a play­off spot with its blowout 96-73 victory over the Brook­lyn Nets.

Mil­wau­kee also se­cured the sixth seed in the Eastern Con­fer­ence, a year af­ter a club-worst 67-loss sea­son. O.J. Mayo added 17 points for the Bucks.

Brook Lopez had his 17th dou­ble-dou­ble of the sea­son with 12 points and 10 re­bounds for the Nets.

Isa­iah Thomas scored 17 points as the Bos­ton Celtics moved closer to a play­off berth with a 117-78 victory over a Cleve­land Cava­liers team with­out LeBron James and three other starters.

The Celtics magic num­ber for reach­ing the post­sea­son dropped to one.

The San An­to­nio Spurs downed the Phoenix Suns 107-91 af­ter Tim Dun­can had 22 points and 10 re­bounds to lead San An­to­nio to its 11th straight victory.

San An­to­nio moved into sec­ond place in the West­ern Con­fer­ence and took a half-game lead over idle Mem­phis in the South­west Di­vi­sion. The de­fend­ing cham­pion Spurs have won 21 of 24.

The Wash­ing­ton Wiz­ards claimed its high­est win to­tal in more than 30 years to beat the At­lanta Hawks 108-99 af­ter John Wall had 24 points and nine as­sists.

In other games, the Dal­las Mav­er­icks downed the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers 120-106, the Den­ver Nuggets de­feated the Sacra­mento Kings 122-111 and the Detroit Pis­tons were 116-77 win­ners over the Char­lotte Hor­nets.

AP

New Or­leans Pel­i­cans guard Tyreke Evans #1 drives to the bas­ket past Hous­ton Rock­ets for­ward Ter­rence Jones #6 dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NBA game on Sun­day, April 12.

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