The worries increased for the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night as they were blown out by their city rivals and Anthony Davis left the game injured.
It means the Clippers sweep the season series 3-0 and the likelihood of the Lakers having to take part in the play-in tournament has now increased as a loss in Friday night’s clash with the Trail Blazers would see them fall a full game behind Portland outside of the top six in the Western Conference.
Elsewhere, Luka Doncic overcame a poor shooting night overall to lead the Dallas Mavericks past the Brooklyn Nets, a crucial win which puts the Mavs one game in front of the Lakers in that tight battle for the final guaranteed playoff slot out West.
Russell Westbrook notched another triple-double as the Washington Wizards won in overtime against the Toronto Raptors and Nikola Vucevic put in arguably his finest performance in a Chicago Bulls jersey so far as they blew out the Hornets in Charlotte.
Thursday night’s NBA results
|Los Angeles Lakers 94-118 Los Angeles Clippers|
|Brooklyn Nets 109-133 Dallas Mavericks|
|Atlanta Hawks 126-133 Indiana Pacers|
|Oklahoma City Thunder 97-118 Golden State Warriors|
|Memphis Grizzlies 97-111 Detroit Pistons|
|Chicago Bulls 120-99 Charlotte Hornets|
|Washington Wizards 131-129 Toronto Raptors (OT)|
Los Angeles Lakers 94-118 Los Angeles Clippers
The Los Angeles Clippers are the kings of Los Angeles, at least for the regular season.
The Clippers completed a season sweep over their crosstown rivals, steamrolling the Los Angeles Lakers 118-94 on Thursday at Staples Center.
In a further blow for the defending NBA champions, Anthony Davis appeared to tweak his right ankle in the opening quarter and had to go back to the locker room for further evaluation. However, the Lakers announced that Davis had back spasms and would not return. Davis finished with four points on 2-of-9 shooting from the field.
Live NBA: LA Lakers @ Portland 07.05
Saturday 8th May 3:00am
The top shooting 3-point team in the NBA, the Clippers put that skillset on display, making 11 of 19 (57.9 per cent) from beyond the arc in the first half to put the game away early.
All five starters for the Clippers finished in double figures. Paul George led the way with 24 points and seven rebounds. Kawhi Leonard totalled 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Ivica Zubac added 14 points and eight rebounds. Marcus Morris Sr. and Reggie Jackson had 10 points apiece. DeMarcus Cousins and Rajon Rondo contributed 11 points off the bench.
Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 25 points and five rebounds. Montrezl Harrell tallied 14 points. Alex Caruso added eight points and seven assists.
Brooklyn Nets 109-133 Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead the host Dallas Mavericks to a 113-109 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night.
Doncic shot only 7-for-22 from the field, but he went 5-for-13 from 3-point range, helping Dallas (38-28) secure another crucial win in its bid to secure one of the top six playoff spots in the Western Conference and avoid having to participate in the play-in tournament.
Doncic and Jalen Brunson, who finished with 15 points, each hit shots in the final minute to help the Mavericks hang on for the win. Tim Hardaway Jr. finished with 23 points and six rebounds and made one of two free throws with 5.8 seconds left after the Nets pulled to within three. The Mavericks won their second in a row and fifth in their past six games.
Brooklyn (43-24) lost its fourth in a row despite Kyrie Irving’s season-high 45 points. The Nets remained in second place in the Eastern Conference, but fell to 2 1/2 games behind first-place Philadelphia and are now only half a game ahead of third-place Milwaukee.
Kevin Durant tallied 20 points and nine rebounds while Blake Griffin recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Green added 11 points and Bruce Brown had 10 for the Nets, who were without James Harden for the 16th consecutive game.
Atlanta Hawks 126-133 Indiana Pacers
Caris LeVert scored nine of his 31 points in the final three minutes to help the Indiana Pacers hold off the visiting Atlanta Hawks 133-126 in Indianapolis.
The Pacers saw an 18-point second-half lead disappear when the Hawks got to within 122-121 on a basket by Clint Capela with 3:06 remaining. But LeVert responded with a basket and added a three-point play with 1:08 to push the lead back to six points.
Indiana snapped a two-game losing streak and slowed a fall that had seen it drop four of the last five games. The win helped ease the tension that came to a head on Wednesday when assistant coach Greg Foster and Goga Bitadze had a heated exchange on the court, an incident that caused the team to suspend Foster for a game and hit Bitadze with an undisclosed fine.
Indiana (31-35) also got 30 points, eight rebounds and nine assists from Domantas Sabonis and 19 points from reserve T.J. McConnell.
Atlanta (37-31) was led by Trae Young with 30 points and 10 assists, Bogdan Bogdanovic with 28, including six 3-pointers, and John Collins with 25 points.
Friday night’s NBA matches
|Los Angeles Lakers @ Portland Trail Blazers|
|Denver Nuggets @ Utah Jazz|
|Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls|
|New York Knicks @ Phoenix Suns|
|Houston Rockets @ Milwaukee Bucks|
|Cleveland Cavaliers @ Dallas Mavericks|
|Orlando Magic @ Charlotte Hornets|
|Minnesota Timberwolves @ Miami Heat|
|New Orleans Pelicans @ Philadelphia 76ers|
|San Antonio Spurs @ Sacramento Kings|
Oklahoma City Thunder 97-118 Golden State Warriors
Stephen Curry padded his NBA scoring lead with 34 points in just 31 minutes and the Golden State Warriors moved up a spot on the Western Conference playoff ladder with a 118-97 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday in San Francisco.
The win in the opener of a regular-season-ending, six-game homestand allowed the Warriors (34-33) to pass the Memphis Grizzlies (33-33) in their duel for the eighth playoff position in the West.
Curry began the night as the NBA’s leading scorer at 31.5 points per game and even literally shot the lights out at one point – as a brief outage took place in the Oracle Arena. The two-time MVP’s chief rival for the scoring crown, Washington’s Bradley Beal, totalled 28 points in an overtime win against the Toronto Raptors.
Curry shot 11-for-21 overall and 6-for-13 from 3-point range for the Warriors, who outshot the Thunder 48.8 per cent to 40.9 per cent overall and 40.4 per cent to 23.1 per cent from long distance.
Getting double-figure scoring from four other players and double-figure rebounds from Kevon Looney, Golden State gradually pulled away from a Thunder team that lost its fifth straight. Mychal Mulder had 25 points including seven 3-pointers, Andrew Wiggins 18, Jordan Poole 14 and Kent Bazemore 13 for the Warriors.
Ty Jerome came off the bench to pace the Thunder with 23 points, hitting eight of his 14 shots and three of his six 3-point attempts. Darius Bazley went for 22 points and Theo Maledon 15 as well as a team-high eight assists for OKC, who never led in the game and trailed by as many as 25.
Memphis Grizzlies 97-111 Detroit Pistons
Cory Joseph engineered a balanced attack with 18 points and 11 assists and the host Detroit Pistons snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating the Memphis Grizzlies 111-97.
Wayne Ellington also scored 18 points, all on 3-pointers. A handful of other Pistons reached double digits. Isaiah Stewart had 15 points, seven rebounds and three blocks and Sekou Doumbouya supplied 14 points and six rebounds. Jahlil Okafor and Saddiq Bey chipped in 13 points apiece and Frank Jackson added 11.
Detroit (20-47) shot 53 per cent from the field, while Memphis shot 42.7 per cent.
Ja Morant’s 20 points led the Grizzlies (33-33) but he also had five turnovers. Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and secured 16 rebounds, and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 17 points with five rebounds. John Konchar contributed 11 points and Brandon Clarke tossed in 10.
Chicago Bulls 120-99 Charlotte Hornets
Nikola Vucevic scored 29 points, shot 5 of 7 from behind the 3-point line and grabbed 14 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls led the Charlotte Hornets wire-to-wire in a 120-99 win Thursday in Charlotte.
The Bulls (27-39) raced to a 20-9 lead in the game’s first 5:25 and spent much of the night ahead by a double-digit-point margin and their lead swelled to as many as 24 points in the second half Behind the interior presence of Vucevic, the Bulls outscored the Hornets 50-36 in the paint. Chicago also parlayed 15 offensive rebounds, part of a 56-45 advantage overall on the glass, into 19 second-chance points.
Seven Bulls scored in double figures, including Garrett Temple with 12 and Lauri Markkanen with 10 off the bench. All five Chicago starters finished in double-figures scoring. Coby White recorded 14 points, Patrick Williams 11 points with nine rebounds, and Daniel Theis added 12 points.
Zach LaVine, who came into Thursday’s contest seventh in the NBA at 27.5 points per game, finished with 13 points. He’s normally the team’s chief dunker but the best slam of the night belonged to Thaddeus Young, courtesy of a Lavine assist.
Short-handed Charlotte, playing without Miles Bridges (health and safety protocols), Devonte’ Graham (knee) and Cody Martin (ankle), welcomed P.J. Washington back to the lineup after he missed Tuesday’s game in Detroit.
Washington scored a team-high 24 points and shot 6 of 8 from beyond the 3-point arc. Terry Rozier was the only other Charlotte starter to score in double figures, with 12 points, while LaMelo Ball struggled through a 1-of-10 shooting night to finish with four points. Reserves Malik Monk and Cody Zeller came off the bench to score 20 and 11 points.
Washington Wizards 131-129 Toronto Raptors (OT)
Russell Westbrook had 13 points, 17 assists and 17 rebounds to record his 180th career triple-double and the visiting Washington Wizards defeated the Toronto Raptors 131-129 in overtime Thursday night in Tampa, Florida.
Westbrook, who fouled out with 15.5 seconds remaining in overtime, has 180 triple-doubles, one short of tying Oscar Robertson’s NBA record.
Pascal Siakam cut the lead to one for Toronto, who led by as much as 13 in the third quarter, with a layup and free throw with 8.6 seconds left. He tied his career-best with 44 points. Raul Neto made two free throws with 7.5 seconds remaining that gave him a career-best 25 points.
Fred VanVleet, whose 3-pointer forced overtime, made two free throws with 5.7 seconds to go. After Garrison Mathews made one free throw, Siakam missed a 29-foot shot to end the game.
Bradley Beal added 28 points for the Wizards (31-36). Lopez had a season-best 24 points, Davis Bertans scored 14 and Alex Len had 10.
Gary Trent Jr. added 25 points for Toronto (27-40). VanVleet scored 22, Khem Birch 17 and DeAndre Bembry 10.