Trail Blazers beat Heat, Cleveland edge Lakers
AP Tuesday, March 21, 2017, 12:00 am TWN
MIAMI -- Damian Lillard scored a season-high 49 points, including 28 after halftime, as the Portland Trail Blazers continued their playoff push by beating the Miami Heat 115-104 on Sunday night.
Lillard tied a career high with nine 3-pointers, giving him 1,002 for his career. He shot 14 for 21 from the field, 9 for 12 from 3-point range and made all 12 of his free throws.
Jusef Nurkic added 21 points and 12 rebounds for Portland (32-37), which moved within a game of idle Denver for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. C.J. McCollum scored 18 points and Noah Vonleh added 11 for the Trail Blazers.
James Johnson scored 24 points for Miami, which lost for just the second time in its last 17 home games. The Heat (34-36) missed a chance to reach .500 for the first time this season.
Cavaliers 125, Lakers 120 Kyrie Irving scored 46 points and LeBron James added 34 as Cleveland had to rally from an 11-point deficit in the fourth quarter to edge Los Angeles.
Kevin Love had 21 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who needed every bit of their full lineup to withstand a surprising challenge from the Western Conference's last-placed team and clinch a playoff spot.
James, Love and Irving all sat out the defending champions' blowout loss to the Clippers on Saturday, angering fans and the national television audience. That night off left them with the energy to lead a 43-point fourth quarter.
D'Angelo Russell scored a career-high 40 points in a spectacular return to the starting lineup for the Lakers, who have lost five straight and 13 of 14. Russell hit seven 3-pointers and had six assists while committing just one turnover in 41 minutes.
Spurs 118, Kings 102 Pau Gasol scored 22 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 as San Antonio rolled past Sacramento to end a two-game losing streak.
Kawhi Leonard had 12 points in 27 minutes, sitting out the fourth quarter after the Spurs led by as many as 28.
San Antonio (53-16) moved within two games of idle Golden State (55-14) for the NBA's best record.
Buddy Hield had 18 points, matching his high with the Kings since being acquired Feb. 20 in the trade that sent All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins to New Orleans.
The Spurs had to overcome an abysmal start to win their 10th straight over the Kings. San Antonio missed its first eight shots and 12 of 13 in falling behind 14-2.
76ers 105, Celtics 99 Robert Covington made the go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to lift Philadelphia over Boston.
Dario Saric scored key baskets to extend the lead and bolster his bid for NBA Rookie of the Year. Saric had 23 points and helped rally the 76ers from a 13-point hole in the third.
Covington buried a 3 with 3:37 left that put the Sixers up 94-91 and Nik Stauskas hit his own with 38 seconds left for a 103-97 lead that sent fans inside a packed Wells Fargo Center into a frenzy.
The Sixers, who thumped Dallas 116-74 on Friday night, improved to a respectable 17-19 at home. They won 10 games total last season.
Al Horford led the Celtics with a season-high 27 points. Boston guard Isaiah Thomas sat out a second straight game with a bone bruise on his right knee
and is questionable for Monday at
MOST POPULAR OF THIS SECTION