(The Sports Xchange) – Behind 28 points from Mike Conley and 22 from Zach Randolph, Memphis clinched their seventh straight playoff berth Friday night with a 99-90 victory over Dallas at FedExForum.
The Grizzlies (42-34) secured the playoff trip with a combination of their victory and Denver’s 122-114 loss at Charlotte. Dallas (31-44) dropped its fourth straight but not without nearly erasing a 15-point, fourth-quarter deficit.
Dirk Nowitzki finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Mavericks but went 3 of 17 from the field, including 1 of 6 from beyond the arc.
The Grizzlies own the third-longest active streak in the league for consecutive playoff appearances.
Pelicans 117, Kings 89
DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 37 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in his first game against his former team and Anthony Davis added 19 points and 12 boards to power New Orleans past Sacramento at the Smoothie King Center.
Cousins, acquired by the Pelicans from the Kings after the All-Star break in a blockbuster trade, was 5 of 8 from 3-point range, scored 18 fourth-quarter points and had four assists as the Pelicans won for the eighth time in their last 11 games.
The Kings committed 22 turnovers. They were led by former Pelicans guard Ben McLemore, acquired in the Cousins trade, who scored 15 points off the bench.
Spurs 100, Thunder 95
Kawhi Leonard scored 28 points to lead San Antonio to a victory over Oklahoma City at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
Leonard shot 10 of 22 from the field and grabbed 10 rebounds. Pau Gasol added 17 points while LaMarcus Aldridge scored 14.
Russell Westbrook posted 32 points, 15 rebounds and 12 assists to get his 39th triple-double of the season. He is only two triple-doubles behind Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson, who holds the season record with 41.
Celtics 117, Magic 116
Boston stayed a half-game ahead of Cleveland in the Eastern Conference race, but it wasn’t easy.
Al Horford’s two free throws with 1:22 left turned out to be the final points of the game as the Celtics hung on for a victory over Orlando to cap a 5-1 homestand.
The win, the Celtics’ 15th in their last 17 home games, wasn’t secured until Amir Johnson contested Elfrid Payton’s layup attempt as time was running out, capping a wild final minutes.
The victory kept the Celtics a half-game in front of the winning Cavaliers atop the conference. The teams meet in Boston Wednesday night.
Knicks 98, Heat 94
Kristaps Porzingis scored 22 points as New York played spoilers, defeating Miami at AmericanAirlines Arena.
Heat guard Goran Dragic missed what would have been a score-tying layup with 6.6 seconds left, and Hassan Whiteside was called for offensive basket interference.
The Heat have lost in three attempts to reach .500 this season, with losses to the Portland Trail Blazers on March 19 and to the Toronto Raptors four nights later. All three losses were at home.
Hornets 122, Nuggets 114
Kemba Walker scored 31 points as Charlotte rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Denver at the Spectrum Center.
Walker scored nine straight points in a 15-0 run as the Hornets fought back from a 12-point deficit. Walker hit a 3-pointer at the end of the third quarter, then the Hornets scored the first 12 points of the fourth to take the lead for good.
Charlotte outscored Denver 36-20 in the fourth quarter.
Raptors 111, Pacers 100
DeMar DeRozan scored a game-high 40 points to lead Toronto to a win over Indiana at Air Canada Centre.
The Raptors guard added nine rebounds and four assists. For the 30th time this season, DeRozan registered at least 30 points in a game, tying Vince Carter’s Raptors record (2000-01).
The Raptors, winners of seven of their last eight, kept pace with the Boston Celtics as Toronto chases a fourth consecutive Atlantic Division banner.
Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 17 rebounds and Serge Ibaka finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors.
Cavaliers 122, 76ers 105
LeBron James scored 34 points and helped Cleveland forge a merciful end to a difficult month of March with a win over Philadelphia.
Kyrie Irving scored 24 points in three quarters and Kevin Love added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
The Cavaliers are still 1/2 game behind Boston for first place in the Eastern Conference after the Celtics beat Orlando on Friday, but Cleveland also lost three straight and five of seven coming in. The Cavs ended the month with a 7-10 record.
This season has been another long April Fool’s joke for the Sixers, who dressed just nine players because of an unending stream of injuries. Richaun Holmes and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot each scored 19 points and Shawn Long added 16 off the bench for Philadelphia.
Bucks 108, Pistons 105 (OT)
Thon Maker scored a career-high 23 points as Milwaukee rallied late to force overtime and pull away from Detroit at the Bradley Center.
Maker hit nine of 12 shots, including four 3-pointers, for the Bucks, who also got 28 from Giannis Antetokounmpo and 25 from Khris Middleton.
Antetokounmpo added 14 rebounds and nine assists.
Jazz 95, Wizards 88
Gordon Hayward scored 19 points while Rudy Gobert chipped in 16 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks to lead Utah to a win over Washington.
Shelvin Mack chipped in 15 points off the bench — including several clutch baskets down the stretch. Utah earned its sixth straight home victory, matching a season high.
Bradley Beal scored 27 points and John Wall added 16 to lead the Wizards. Washington lost its second straight game after winning four in a row.
Warriors 107, Rockets 98
Golden State held Houston scoreless over almost seven minutes of the fourth quarter, enabling the two-time defending Western Conference champs to overcome a four-point deficit en route to a victory.
In a battle of clubs that already have clinched playoff spots, the Warriors recorded a 10th straight win thanks to a 12-0, fourth-quarter run that featured 10 points from their reserves.
The win allowed Golden State to remain 3 1/2 games up on the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the top seed in the upcoming Western playoffs. The Rockets, meanwhile, dropped a half-game closer to Utah in their duel for the No. 3 seed in the West.