NBA roundup: Cavs blast Rockets, punch ticket to postseason
March 27 - Jarrett Allen recorded his 32nd double-double of the season and helped Cleveland stave off the visiting Houston Rockets 108-91 on Sunday, a victory that clinched the Cavaliers' first postseason berth since falling in the 2018 NBA Finals.
Allen finished with 24 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks. Evan Mobley also recorded three blocks while posting 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Cavaliers. Donovan Mitchell scored 22 points and Darius Garland paired 17 points with eight assists.
Jalen Green led Houston with 30 points, his 14th game of at least 30 this season. Alperen Sengun added 14 points, Kenyon Martin Jr. 13 and Jabari Smith Jr. 12 for the Rockets, who dropped their fifth consecutive game.
After the Rockets sliced a 20-point deficit to five through three quarters, Allen elevated the Cavaliers with his two-way play. Allen followed his block of Tari Eason's dunk attempt with two free throws that pushed the lead to 89-82 with 9:20 left. He tallied two more free throws and a dunk at the 8:06 mark that extended the lead back to double digits at 93-82. The Cavaliers were not seriously threatened from there.
Timberwolves 99, Warriors 96
Kyle Anderson intercepted a Draymond Green pass and Karl-Anthony Towns turned it into a go-ahead 3-pointer with 11.1 seconds remaining, delivering Minnesota a key victory over Golden State in San Francisco.
Naz Reid had a team-high 23 points off the bench and Rudy Gobert chipped in with 10 points and 18 rebounds for the Timberwolves. Jordan Poole had 27 points for the Warriors, but he failed to connect with Stephen Curry on a pass that bounced out of bounds with 4.4 seconds remaining when Golden State had a chance to tie or take the lead.
The Warriors, who were seeking a 10th straight home win, got one more opportunity to tie after Jaden McDaniels missed 1 of 2 free throws with 2.4 seconds left, leaving Minnesota with a 99-96 lead. But Curry couldn't hit a desperation 3-pointer, completing his 4-for-13 night from deep.
Hornets 110, Mavericks 104
Gordon Hayward scored eight of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and Charlotte beat visiting Dallas to deliver another blow to the Mavericks' playoff hopes.
P.J. Washington scored 21 points and had 12 rebounds and rookie center Mark Williams, making his first start after missing a couple of weeks with a thumb injury, added 15 points and 16 rebounds for Charlotte, which has won three of its last four games.
Luka Doncic racked up 40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists for the Mavericks, but it might have been a costly outing for numerous reasons. In the third quarter, Doncic picked up a technical foul -- his 16th of the season -- so he'll face a one-game suspension unless that infraction is overturned.
Bulls 118, Lakers 108
Zach LaVine scored a game-high 32 points and DeMar DeRozan notched a double-double of 17 points and 10 assists to help visiting Chicago defeat Los Angeles to earn its seventh victory in nine games.
Chicago exhaled as the win let it move into a tie with Toronto for ninth place in the Eastern Conference, but the Raptors beat the Wizards later Sunday to re-establish a half-game lead over the Bulls. Los Angeles remains in the Western Conference play-in picture after Sunday's loss ended a three-game winning streak.
LeBron James led the Lakers with 19 points, while Troy Brown Jr. and Malik Beasley chipped in 18 apiece. Dennis Schroder (17 points), Anthony Davis (15) and Austin Reaves (13) also finished in double figures for the Lakers.
Grizzlies 123, Hawks 119
Ja Morant and Desmond Bane combined for 52 points to help visiting Memphis beat Atlanta and extend its winning streak to six games.
Morant, in his first start since returning from an eight-game suspension, scored 27 points and had six assists. Bane scored 25 points, while Memphis also got 15 points and eight rebounds apiece from Jaren Jackson Jr. and Xavier Tillman Sr.
Atlanta was led by Trae Young with 28 points and 10 assists and Clint Capela with 18 points and 16 rebounds. De'Andre Hunter returned after missing Saturday's game with a sore knee and scored 17 points.
Celtics 137, Spurs 93
Jaylen Brown tossed in 41 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as Boston moved closer to the NBA's best record by earning a home victory against San Antonio.
Malcolm Brogdon added 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds for the Celtics, who also received 19 points and eight rebounds from Derrick White.
Zach Collins led San Antonio with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Malaki Branham finished with 15 points for the Spurs.
Magic 119, Nets 106
Cole Anthony led eight players in double figures with 21 points as host Orlando took control in the second quarter and pulled away in the third for a victory over slumping Brooklyn.
Orlando, which overcame 44 points by Brooklyn's Mikal Bridges, won its third straight by leading for the final 2 1/2 quarters and by as many as 20. Orlando outscored the Nets 68-49 in the second and third quarters. Franz Wagner collected 19 points and 10 rebounds as Orlando outscored the Nets 58-38 in the paint.
Bridges shot 13-for-22 but had little help as Brooklyn's other four starters (Spencer Dinwiddie, Dorian Finney-Smith, Cameron Johnson and Nic Claxton) combined for 23 points on 9-of-35 shooting. Cam Thomas added 18 points and Johnson was the only other starter in double figures with 10.
Raptors 114, Wizards 104
O.G. Anunoby had 29 points and eight rebounds, and Toronto defeated visiting Washington.
Fred VanVleet added 28 points and seven assists for the Raptors, who are 2-1 during a four-game homestand. Pascal Siakam had 19 points and 11 rebounds for Toronto. Scottie Barnes contributed 13 points after missing two games with a wrist injury, and Jakob Poeltl had 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Kristaps Porzingis scored 26 points for the Wizards, who have lost five of their past six games. Corey Kispert added 19 points, Deni Avdija had 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, Johnny Davis scored a career-best 15 points and Daniel Gafford had 10 points and eight rebounds.
Thunder 118, Trail Blazers 112
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points and Jalen Williams added 23 to lead Oklahoma City to a crucial victory over host Portland.
Isaiah Joe contributed 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists off the bench for the Thunder, who are in 10th place in the tightly-bunched Western Conference. Shaedon Sharpe scored a career-high 29 points and Nassir Little added his season best of 28 for Portland, which played without Damian Lillard (calf).
Matisse Thybulle's 3-pointer pulled Portland within 116-112 with 1:43 left. The Trail Blazers had a chance to creep closer, but Sharpe missed two free throws with 38.6 seconds left. Lu Dort put the game away with a layup with 11.2 seconds left as the Thunder prevailed for the ninth time in their past 13 games.
--Field Level Media
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