(Reuters) Jeff Teague recorded 25 points and eight assists and Jimmy Butler added 18 points in his return from a knee injury to help the Minnesota Timberwolves record a crucial 113-96 victory over the host Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center.
Butler missed 17 games with the knee injury he suffered on Feb. 23 against the Houston Rockets. He played 23 minutes and was 7-of-10 shooting and notched four of Minnesota’s 14 steals.
Taj Gibson contributed 18 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots as the Timberwolves ended a two-game slide. Minnesota (45-35) moved into sole possession of the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot by a half-game over the idle Denver Nuggets.
76ers 132, Cavaliers 130
Ben Simmons recorded his 12th triple-double of the season with 27 points, 15 rebounds and 13 assists to lead Philadelphia past visiting Cleveland even as LeBron James posted his 18th triple-double of the season.
JJ Redick scored 28 points, Marco Belinelli contributed 23 and Ersan Ilyasova had 17 for the surging Sixers (49-30), who won their 13th straight game for the first time since the 1984-85 season. The Sixers also moved past the Cavaliers and into the No. 3 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff standings with one game at hand. Cleveland has two games remaining, while Philadelphia has three.
Celtics 111, Bulls 104
One day after learning Kyrie Irving would need a second left knee procedure and miss the rest of the year, Boston claimed its seventh victory in nine games, beating visiting Chicago.
Jaylen Brown scored a career-high 32 points, including a career-best seven 3-pointers, and Greg Monroe had a triple-double with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists to pace Boston. It was Monroe’s second career triple-double and his first since Nov. 7, 2012, with the Detroit Pistons.
Raptors 92, Pacers 73
Serge Ibaka scored 25 points on 10-of-13 shooting as Toronto clinched the No. 1 seed in the East with a rout of visiting Indiana as the Raptors held the Pacers to season lows in points and shooting (29.9 percent).
DeMar DeRozan added 12 points for the Raptors, who shot 42.9 percent. Jonas Valanciunas contributed eight points and a team-high 12 rebounds.
Hawks 103, Wizards 97
Tyler Dorsey scored a career-high 22 points, and Taurean Prince made big plays down the stretch as Atlanta beat playoff-bound Washington.
Bradley Beal scored 32 points for the Wizards, including seven straight during a 16-6 spurt to open the fourth quarter. The Hawks answered with 12-0 run and were up 99-93 after Prince hit a fade-away jumper in the paint with 54.5 seconds to play.
Kings 94, Grizzlies 93
Bogdan Bogdanovic connected on the winning basket with 1.5 seconds remaining to lift visiting Sacramento over Memphis as the Kings won for just the second time in the past seven games.
Willie Cauley-Stein had 18 points and eight rebounds and Buddy Hield scored 14 points for the Kings. De’Aaron Fox and Justin Jackson tallied 13 points apiece and JaKarr Sampson added 11 for Sacramento.
Pelicans 122, Suns 103
Anthony Davis, Nikola Mirotic and Jrue Holiday each had double-doubles as New Orleans strengthened its playoff position with an easy victory against battered host Phoenix.
Davis, who had 53 points in the Pelicans’ last game against the Suns on Feb. 26, scored 27 as New Orleans built a 17-point halftime lead. He finished with 33 points and 11 rebounds, Mirotic had 31 points and 16 rebounds and Holiday had 22 points and 10 assists.
Knicks 122, Heat 98
Rookie second-round pick Damyean Dotson had a career-high 30 points and Trey Burke added 17 as New York had one of the biggest one-game turnarounds in NBA history in a win over visiting Miami.
Goran Dragic had 15 points and Hassan Whiteside added 14 to lead the Heat, who had a two-game winning streak snapped.
Coming off a game in which they tied for their season low with 73 points in a 24-point loss to the Orlando Magic on Tuesday, the Knicks had 63 points at the half and piled it on in the second half, scoring 59 more points in their highest-scoring contest since late-February.
Pistons 113, Mavericks 106 (OT)
Reggie Jackson had 24 points, including six in overtime, and added seven assists as Detroit edged visiting Dallas.
Andre Drummond supplied 19 points, 16 rebounds and five assists for the Pistons, who were eliminated from playoff contention with a loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday. Anthony Tolliver tossed in 16 points, and Langston Galloway added 15 off the bench.
Johnathan Motley racked up a career-best 26 points along with 12 rebounds for the Mavericks. Harrison Barnes had 17 points and Dorian Finney-Smith contributed 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists.
Hornets 137, Magic 100
Buoyed by a huge first quarter and rookie Malik Monk, Charlotte hammered host Orlando as Monk scored a career-high 26 points off the bench and reserve Frank Kaminsky poured in 21 points.
Marvin Williams tallied 18 points, Jeremy Lamb poured in 16 points, Dwight Howard supplied 16 points and 17 rebounds, Kemba Walker had 13 points and Willy Hernangomez notched 11 points and 12 rebounds as the Hornets outscored Orlando in each quarter.
Monk, a guard out of Kentucky, became the first NBA rookie to hit at least four 3-point shots in three consecutive games off the bench. He also delivered a team-leading eight assists.