Pel­i­cans, Thun­der keep NBA play­off hopes alive, win­ning crit­i­cal vic­to­ries

The China Post - - SPORTS -

New Or­leans and Ok­la­homa City both won crit­i­cal games on Mon­day to stay alive in the battle for the West­ern Con­fer­ence’s fi­nal play­off spot, while Brook­lyn hurt its post­sea­son chances with a loss to Chicago in the East. An­thony Davis had 24 points, 11 re­bounds and six blocks to move the Pel­i­cans one step closer to a play­off berth with a 100-88 victory over Min­nesota.

Tyreke Evans added 22 points and five as­sists and Eric Gor­don scored 22 for the Pel­i­cans (44-37). They have the same record as Ok­la­homa City, but hold the tiebreaker head­ing into the sea­son fi­nale Wed­nes­day against San An­to­nio.

The Thun­der avoided elim­i­na­tion by beat­ing Port­land 101-90.

Rus­sell West­brook scored 36 points Enes Kanter added 27 points and 13 re­bounds for Ok­la­homa City, which fin­ishes against Min­nesota on Thurs­day.

West­brook picked up his 16th tech­ni­cal at In­di­ana on Sun­day, which would have been an au­to­matic one-game sus­pen­sion. It was re­scinded on Mon­day, al­low­ing him to play.

Mey­ers Leonard scored a ca­reer-high 24 points for the Trail Blaz­ers, who al­ready were locked into the No. 4 play­off spot in the West.

Brook­lyn, mean­while, fell into ninth place in the Eastern Con­fer­ence af­ter los­ing to Chicago 113-86.

Nikola Mirotic scored 26 points and Pau Ga­sol had 22 points and 11 re­bounds as the Bulls clinched home-court ad­van­tage in the first round of the play­offs.

The Nets will need a win Wed­nes­day and a loss by In­di­ana in at least one of its fi­nal two games to reach the post­sea­son.

In other games that could im­pact play­off seed­ing, the Los An­ge­les Clip­pers and Hous­ton both won to set up a three-way tie with idle San An­to­nio for the No. 2 seed in the West, while Mem­phis lost to Golden State to fall to sixth place in the con­fer­ence.

Blake Grif­fin scored 22 points and De­An­dre Jor­dan had 20 points and 21 re­bounds as the Clip­pers beat Den­ver 110-103 for their sixth straight win.

James Harden scored 29 points and Josh Smith added 16 points and 11 re­bounds as Hous­ton de­feated Char­lotte 100-90. Harden was only 7 of 20 from the field, but was 14 of 16 from the freethrow line.

The Clip­pers play at Phoenix on Tues­day in their sea­son fi­nale, while the Rock­ets host Utah in their fi­nale on Thurs­day.

Short- handed Mem­phis, mean­while, lost to NBA-lead­ing Golden State 111-107.

Klay Thomp­son scored 26 of his 42 points in a sen­sa­tional sec­ond quar­ter for the War­riors, who have al­ready locked up the top seed in the play­offs.

Thomp­son fin­ished 15 of 21 from the floor, in­clud­ing 8 of 10 from 3-point range.

All-Star cen­ter Marc Ga­sol and Jeff Green played through in­juries for the Grizzlies, while point guard Mike Con­ley and Tony Allen sat out. Mem­phis hosts In­di­ana in its sea­son fi­nale on Thurs­day.

Else­where, the East-lead­ing At­lanta Hawks were shocked on their home floor, los­ing to the last-place New York Knicks 112-108.

Rookie Langston Gal­loway scored a ca­reer-high 26 points, hit­ting all six of his 3-point at­tempts, for the Knicks.

Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver led At­lanta with 19 apiece.

Miami kept its slim play­off chances alive with a 100-93 win over Or­lando.

Has­san White­side tied a ca­reer high with 24 points and grabbed 13 re­bounds and Dwyane Wade scored 22 points for the Heat, who still need a win at Philadel­phia on Wed­nes­day and help in three other games to make the post­sea­son for the sev­enth straight year.

Cleve­land’s LeBron James re­turned from a day off to record a triple-dou­ble as the Cava­liers got ready for the play­offs with a 109-97 win over the Pis­tons.

James had 21 points, 11 as­sists and 10 re­bounds as the Cavs im­proved to 33-9 since Jan. 15.

Mil­wau­kee de­feated Philadel­phia 107-97, Utah topped Dal­las 109-92 and Sacra­mento beat the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers 102-92.


(Top) Los An­ge­les Clip­pers’ Chris Paul cel­e­brates af­ter mak­ing a 3-pointer over Den­ver Nuggets’ Wil­son Chan­dler, sec­ond from right, while Clip­pers’ De­An­dre Jor­dan, left, and J.J. Redick, right, also cel­e­brate dur­ing the sec­ond half of an NBA bas­ket­ball game in Los An­ge­les, Cal­i­for­nia, Mon­day, April 13. (Above) Golden State War­riors’ Har­ri­son Barnes #40 goes up for a dunk against the Mem­phis Grizzlies dur­ing the first half of an NBA bas­ket­ball game in Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, on Mon­day.

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