Joel Embiid strengthened his MVP bid with 52 points and 13 rebounds, and the NBA scoring leader carried the Philadelphia 76ers to a 103-101 win over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
P.J. Tucker gave Embiid and the Sixers the help they needed when he made three late 3-pointers that turned a one-point deficit into a 101-95 lead. Derrick White buried a 3 with 2 seconds left that pulled Boston to 103-101 and hushed a crowd that had just bellowed “MVP! MVP!” chants. Embiid was whistled for an offensive foul but the Celtics couldn’t capitalize.
Embiid made 20 of 25 shots from the floor and 12 of 13 free throws en route to his ninth game of the season with at least 40 points and 10 rebounds. Embiid scored 50 points for the third time this season.
White scored 26 points for the Celtics and Jayson Tatum had 19. The Celtics fell to 9-4 this season without Jaylen Brown, the team’s second-leading scorer who got the night off with a back injury.
LAKERS 135, JAZZ 133, OT
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — LeBron James scored 37 points – including the game-winning basket – to lead Los Angeles Lakers over Utah Jazz.
Anthony Davis tallied 21 points and 14 rebounds for the Lakers. Austin Reaves added 28 points. Five players scored in double figures to help Los Angeles win for the seventh time in eight games.
Kelly Olynyk finished with 23 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead Utah. Talen Horton-Tucker added 23 points and seven assists for the Jazz. Horton-Tucker has scored 123 points over his last four games. Ochai Agbaji chipped in 22. The Jazz lost for the seventh time in eight games.
SUNS 115, SPURS 94
PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker scored 27 points and Phoenix Suns never trailed, beating depleted San Antonio Spurs to clinch a playoff spot.
The Suns (44-35) won their sixth in a row, the longest current winning streak in the NBA. With one more victory in the final three games, Phoenix would assure themselves of at least the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first round.
Chris Paul scored 22 points, while Deandre Ayton had 19 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Durant scored 18 points and reserve Torrey Craig added 15. The Suns are 7-0 when Durant has been in their lineup.
Malaki Branham led the Spurs with 21 points. Tre Jones scored 20, while Keita Bates-Diop and Sandro Mamukelashvili each had 13.
WARRIORS 136, THUNDER 125
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 34 points, Jordan Poole dazzled down the stretch to score 30 and Golden State Warriors beat Oklahoma City Thunder in their final regular-season home game to move into fifth place in the Western Conference standings.
For a day, that is. The winner of the Clippers-Lakers game Wednesday jumps to fifth and will drop Golden State to sixth.
On a night Klay Thompson was a late scratch with low back tightness, Poole and his backcourt mates came through. Draymond Green contributed 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists with a pair of blocked shots and steals.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 32 points, 21 in the first half, for the Thunder. Jalen Williams added 19 points but the Thunder lost their third in a row and fourth of five.
CAVALIERS 117, MAGIC 113
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Donovan Mitchell scored 43 points, his fourth straight 40-point game, to help Cleveland Cavaliers beat Orlando Magic.
The win secured the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference for the Cavaliers. Mitchell scored Cleveland’s last six points to become the first Cavalier ever to score 40 or more points in four straight games, and the first player in the NBA since James Harden had five in a row in 2018-19.
Caris Levert added 19 points in Cleveland’s 50th win of the season, giving them home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Markelle Fultz had 23 points and eight assists, and Paolo Banchero had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic (34-45).
KINGS 121, PELICANS 103
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — De’Aaron Fox scored 23 points, rookie Keegan Murray added 21 and Sacramento Kings beat New Orleans Pelicans to clinch the Pacific Division title.
Domantas Sabonis had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for the Kings, who took the lead for good late in the first quarter and led by as many as 24 points in the second half.
Brandon Ingram scored 22 points and Trey Murphy III had 17 for the Pelicans (40-39), who entered the game knowing they could guarantee themselves sixth place in the Western Conference if they won their final four games. Now New Orleans are more likely destined for a play-in spot that goes to teams finishing seventh through 10th.
TIMBERWOLVES 107, NETS 102
NEW YORK (AP) — Anthony Edwards scored 23 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 22 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, and Minnesota Timberwolves held off Brooklyn Nets.
Rudy Gobert had 12 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which snapped a three-game losing streak. Mike Conley scored 18 points, nine in the fourth quarter.
Spencer Dinwiddie had 30 points and six assists, Mikal Bridges scored 24 points and Dorian Finney-Smith had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Nets, who had their three-game win streak snapped. Their lead over Miami for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference was cut to one game after the Heat’s 118-105 victory in Detroit.
HEAT 118, PISTONS 105
DETROIT (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 18 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter and Miami Heat avoided an embarrassing loss by rallying to beat hapless Detroit Pistons.
Miami (42-37) kept their chance of escaping the play-In tournament alive, but Detroit (16-63) made it tough before losing their 10th straight and falling to 1-21 in their last 22 games.
Gabe Vincent scored 22 points for the Heat while Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro had 18 apiece.
Jaden Ivey scored 30 points for the Pistons, while fellow rookie Jalen Duren had 20 points and 14 rebounds.
ROCKETS 124, NUGGETS 103
HOUSTON (AP) — Jalen Green scored 32 points, six others scored in double figures and last-place Houston prevented Denver from clinching the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Denver entered Tuesday three games ahead of Memphis for the top spot in the Western Conference with four games remaining for both teams. At 19-60 entering Tuesday, the Rockets stood 33 1/2 games behind Denver’s 52-26 record.
But none of that mattered to the upstart Rockets, hoping to end a rocky season on a positive note.
BUCKS 140, WIZARDS 128
WASHINGTON (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 28 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, and Jrue Holiday nearly added a triple-double of his own and Milwaukee took another step toward wrapping up the NBA’s best record with a victory over Washington.
Holiday finished with 26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, and Bobby Portis added 19 points and 20 rebounds for Milwaukee.
Kendrick Nunn scored 24 points for the Wizards, who are out of playoff contention and played without Bradley Beal (left knee), Kristaps Porzingis (illness) and Kyle Kuzma (right ankle).
GRIZZLIES 119, TRAIL BLAZERS 109
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Desmond Bane scored 30 points and keyed a fourth-quarter rally, Ja Morant added 23 points and nine assists and Memphis defeated short-handed Portland.
Luke Kennard added 20 for Memphis, converting 6 of 10 3-pointers.
Skylar Mays, who signed a 10-day contract with Portland last weekend, led the Trail Blazers with 24 points and seven assists. Shaedon Sharpe added 20 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Jabari Walker finished with 16 points.
HAWKS 123, BULLS 105
CHICAGO (AP) — Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 26 points and Atlanta overcame the absence of top scorer Trae Young to beat Chicago.
Young, who leads the Hawks with a 26.2 scoring average, didn’t play due to a non-COVID illness. Forward De’Andre Hunter missed his third consecutive game because of a left knee bruise.
But Bogdanovic led the way on 9-of-15 shooting from the field, including 5-of-10 on 3-point attempts.
Atlanta (40-39) opened a two-game lead over the Bulls (38-41), who clinched a play-in berth in the Eastern Conference by virtue of Orlando’s loss to Cleveland earlier in the evening.
RAPTORS 120, HORNETS 100
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Pascal Siakam had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Toronto rolled past Charlotte.
Toronto have won five of their last six games, improving to 40-39 and solidifying their position for the NBA play-in tournament.
The Raptors scored 19 straight points during a stretch late in the third quarter and into the fourth quarter after Charlotte had gotten within 80-75 with 3:49 left in the third quarter.
Bryce McGowens scored a career-high 20 points for Charlotte.