The New York Knicks earned their 12th straight win on Sunday as Carmelo Anthony had 36 points and 12 rebounds, while J.R. Smith hit a pair of shot-clock beaters in the final two minutes of a 125-120 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Smith connected on a 23-foot jump shot from the right wing as the 24-second clock expired to put New York up 117-113 with 1 minute, 30 seconds to play, then swished a three-pointer from beyond the three-point line with 56.8 seconds left that all but sealed New York’s 50th win of the season.
It is the first time the Knicks have reached the landmark in 13 years.
Russell Westbrook had 37 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Oklahoma City.
The playoff-bound Clippers beat Los Angeles rivals the Lakers 109-95 to clinch their first Pacific Division title in the club’s history against a team that has long overshadowed them.
Blake Griffin had 24 points and 12 rebounds, while Chris Paul added 24 points and 12 assists to help the Clippers sweep the Lakers 4-0 for the first time since Donald Sterling bought the team in 1981.
The 1974-1975 team, known as the Buffalo Braves, had the franchise’s only other sweep of the Lakers.
Jamal Crawford had 20 points off the bench, DeAndre Jordan had 13 rebounds and Caron Butler scored 14 points.
Dwight Howard scored 25 points, including nine of 13 free throws, for the Lakers, who played without injured starters Steve Nash and Metta World Peace. Kobe Bryant added 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, while Pau Gasol had 12 points and 13 rebounds as the Lakers’ three-game winning streak ended.
Utah’s Mo Williams scored 25 points, while Al Jefferson added 19 points and 12 rebounds as the Jazz regained the Western Conference’s final playoff position by holding off the Golden State Warriors 97-90.
Williams made a three-pointer with 13.4 seconds remaining to put Utah ahead by six points and spoil Golden State’s shot to clinch a playoff berth in front of a sellout crowd of 19,596. The Jazz moved half a game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth seed.
In Boston, Brandon Bass scored 20 points as the Celtics, helped by the return of Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, beat the Washington Wizards 107-96.
Bass missed his season high by just two points and led the Boston Celtics with eight points in the third period.
Garnett had 12 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes after missing eight games with an inflamed left ankle.
The Detroit Pistons downed the Bulls 99-85 to end an 18-game losing streak against Chicago, while Mike Conley scored 25 points, making the go-ahead basket with 30 seconds left to lead the Memphis Grizzlies over the Sacramento Kings 89-87.
In other games, the Dallas Mavericks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 96-91, the New Orleans Hornets edged the Phoenix Suns 95-92 and the Cleveland Cavaliers downed the Orlando Magic 91-85.