Russell Westbrook scored a career-high 54 points on Sunday, but Indiana 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 their 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, five of 15 on threes and seven of 11 from the free-throw line. He had 22 points and four assists just in the first quarter.
PISTONS 116, HORNETS 77
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Andre Drummond had 15 points and 19 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons turned their home finale into a rout over Charlotte.
Greg Monroe scored 17 points in what might have been his final home game at the Palace. Monroe is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Noah Vonleh led Charlotte with 16 points.
ROCKETS 121, PELICANS 114
In Houston, Texas, James Harden scored 30 points as Houston used a big run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to take the lead against New Orleans.
The Rockets ended a two-game skid behind the NBA-leading 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.
Anthony Davis had 27 points for the Pelicans.
BUCKS 96, NETS 73
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points as Milwaukee clinched a playoff spot with their blowout victory over Brooklyn.
Milwaukee also secured the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, a year after a franchise-worst 67-loss season. O.J. Mayo added 17 points for the Bucks.
Bucks coach Jason Kidd led his team to the clinching victory over the team he coached last season. According to STATS, Kidd is the first coach in NBA history to lead two franchises to the playoffs in his first two years as a head coach.
Brook Lopez had his 17th double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets.
CELTICS 117, CAVALIERS 78
In Boston, Isaiah Thomas scored 17 points as Boston moved closer to a playoff berth with a victory over a Cleveland team without LeBron James and three other starters.
Coach David Blatt rested James, Kevin Love, Kyrie Irving and J.R. Smith, because the Cavaliers have already clinched the No. 2 post-season spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics magic number for reaching the post-season dropped to one. They would clinch a berth if Indiana lose to Oklahoma City on Sunday night. If the Celtics remain in seventh place in the East, they would face the Cavaliers in the first round.
SPURS 107, SUNS 91
In San Antonio, Texas, Tim Duncan had 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead San Antonio to their 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.
Kawhi Leonard had 18 points and nine rebounds, Marco Belinelli added 13 points and Tony Parker had 10 points and five assists to help San Antonio improve to 55-26.
Gerald Green had 23 points and Eric Bledsoe added 20 points and 10 assists for Phoenix. Eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday night, the Suns have lost four straight and nine of 10 to drop to 39-42.
MAVERICKS 120, LAKERS 106
In Los Angeles, Tyson Chandler had 20 points as Dallas tuned up for the post-season with a victory over Los Angeles.
Richard Jefferson scored 17 points and Dirk Nowitzki had 16 in the third straight victory for the Mavericks, who are to finish seventh in the Western Conference. Dallas led for the final 44 minutes and completed a season sweep of the Lakers for the first time in franchise history.
Wesley Johnson scored 16 points and hit four three-pointers for Los Angeles before spraining his left ankle shortly before halftime. Jordan Clarkson had 26 points for the Lakers. They extended their team record with their 59th loss.
WIZARDS 108, HAWKS 99
In Washington, John Wall had no trouble finding his rhythm after resting for two games, finishing with 24 points and nine assists to lead Washington to their highest win total in more than 30 years.
Washington improved to 46-34, their first time topping 45 victories since 1978-1979. The Wizards closed their regular-season home schedule at 29-12 after going 22-19 last season. They are fifth in the Eastern Conference with two games remaining and are to face Toronto or Chicago to open the playoffs.
Atlanta have already clinched the East’s No. 1 seed and won a club-record 60 games, so coach Mike Budenholzer rested starters Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Al Horford and DeMarre Carroll.
Mike Scott led the Hawks with 19 points.
NUGGETS 122, KINGS 111
In Denver, Colorado, Kenneth Faried scored a season-high 30 points as Denver spoiled Sacramento coach George Karl’s return to Denver.
Wilson Chandler had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets in their home finale. At 19-22, Denver had a losing record at Pepsi Center for the first time since 2002-2003.
That was two years before Karl arrived and turned around the struggling franchise. He won 423 games in nine seasons on the Denver bench, but was fired after losing in the first round of the 2013 playoffs.
Omri Casspi had 22 points for the Kings.
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017