Chris Copeland’s driving layup with 1.2 seconds remaining gave the Indiana Pacers a 104-102 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night that moved them back into first place in the Eastern Conference.
Copeland finished with a season-high 18 points. Luis Scola also recorded a season high with 24 points and Evan Turner added 23 for Indiana, who benched all of their usual starters for the entire game.
Coach Frank Vogel made the move after saying his team appeared tired following a 107-88 home loss to Atlanta on Sunday, when the Pacers were held to a franchise-low 23 points in the first half.
Even without the starters, Indiana moved a half-game ahead of the Heat heading into tonight’s matchup in Miami.
NUGGETS 123, ROCKETS 116
In Denver, Randy Foye scored 24 of his 30 points in the second half, and Denver hung on to beat Houston.
Kenneth Faried had 23 points and Timofey Mozgov added 22 for the Nuggets, who beat the Rockets for the first time in three tries this season.
Jeremy Lin led eight Houston players in double figures with 18 points.
Both teams were missing key players heading into the game and the Rockets got a scare when James Harden, leading a fast break, appeared to bang his left shin in a collision with Aaron Brooks midway through the third quarter. Fouled on the play, Harden made both free throws and left the game briefly to have the leg tended to before returning to action.
HAWKS 105, CELTICS 97
In Atlanta, Jeff Teague scored 19 points, while Kyle Korver added 17 as Atlanta helped its playoff chances with a victory over Boston.
With four games remaining in the regular season, Atlanta increased their lead to two games over the New York Knicks for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Avery Bradley finished with 24 points and Rajon Rondo had 19 points with 12 assists for Boston, who have lost nine straight.
The Celtics dropped their 13th in a row on the road, breaking the franchise mark set during the final 13 games of 1978-1979.
GRIZZLIES 107, HEAT 102
In Memphis, Tennessee, Zach Randolph had 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Marc Gasol added 20 points and 14 rebounds as Memphis kept their playoff hopes alive with a victory over Miami.
LeBron James led the Heat with 37 points, connecting on 14 of 23 shots, including three of five from beyond the arc. Rashard Lewis scored 17, while Chris Bosh finished with 13 points. Mario Chalmers scored 12 points for the Heat.
Meanwhile, the loss, coupled with the Indiana Pacers’ 104-102 win at Milwaukee, dropped the Heat into the second spot in the Eastern Conference.
Mike Conley finished with a team-high 26 points and handed out six assists as Memphis remained one game behind the Phoenix Suns for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Suns defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 94-88 also on Wednesday night.
RAPTORS 125, 76ERS 114
In Toronto, Jonas Valanciunas had 26 points and 12 rebounds to lift Toronto over Philadelphia on Wednesday, less than three days after he was charged with drunk driving.
Kyle Lowry led Toronto with 29 points in his first game back after missing three with a bruised kneecap.
BOBCATS 94, WIZARDS 88, OT
In Washington, Kemba Walker made the only field goal for either team in overtime, and Charlotte won their fifth straight and moved into position for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over Washington.