The Los Angeles Lakers fell out of top six playoff places as they fell to defeat in a vital clash against the Portland Trail Blazers, who were fired to victory by another imperious display from Damian Lillard.
Elsewhere, it was another night where the European stars continued to shine in the NBA.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored a career-high 48 points as the Jazz overcame the Nuggets, Nikola Vucevic recorded a triple-double in the Chicago Bulls’ win over the Boston Celtics and Luka Doncic became the fourth youngest NBA player in history to pass the 5,000 career points mark as the Mavericks dispatched the Cavaliers.
And the Suns stayed in the hunt to challenge the Jazz for the top record in the NBA by beating the New York Knicks in a feisty game in Phoenix.
Friday night’s NBA results
|Los Angeles Lakers 106-111 Portland Trail Blazers|
|Denver Nuggets 120-127 Utah Jazz|
|Houston Rockets 133-141 Milwaukee Bucks|
|New York Knicks 105-128 Phoenix Suns|
|Boston Celtics 99-121 Chicago Bulls|
|Cleveland Cavaliers 90-110 Dallas Mavericks|
|Orlando Magic 112-122 Charlotte Hornets|
|Minnesota Timberwolves 112-121 Miami Heat|
|New Orleans Pelicans 107-109 Philadelphia 76ers|
|San Antonio Spurs 112-104 Sacramento Kings|
Los Angeles Lakers 106-111 Portland Trail Blazers
Damian Lillard recorded 38 points and seven assists to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a crucial 106-101 victory over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night as fans returned to Moda Center for the first time this season.
CJ McCollum scored 21 points for the Trail Blazers (38-29), who moved into sixth place in the Western Conference, while dropping the Lakers (37-30) into seventh place. The top six finishers avoid the play-in round. The victory also gives Portland the important tiebreaker edge by taking two of three from Los Angeles in the season series.
Anthony Davis, playing despite leaving Thursday night’s game with the Clippers early on, registered 36 points, 12 rebounds and five assists for the Lakers, who lost for the eighth time in the past 10 games.
Alex Caruso scored 18 points and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 17 for Los Angeles. The Lakers played without LeBron James (ankle) and Dennis Schroder (health and safety protocols).
Norman Powell added 19 points for Portland, which has won six of its past seven games. Jusuf Nurkic contributed 10 points and 13 rebounds, and Enes Kanter had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Denver Nuggets 120-127 Utah Jazz
Bojan Bogdanovic scored a career-high 48 points to rally the Utah Jazz past the Denver Nuggets 127-120 on Friday night.
Bogdanovic went 16 of 23 from the field – making a career-high eight 3-pointers – to lead the NBA-leading Jazz to their fourth straight victory. He also had eight rebounds.
The in-form Jordan Clarkson added 21 points and eight assists. Rudy Gobert had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Georges Niang chipped in 13 points – all in the second half.
Michael Porter, Jr. scored 31 points for Denver. Nikola Jokic added 24 points, 13 assists, and nine rebounds, Paul Millsap had 20 points and Austin Rivers 18.
Live NBA: Brooklyn @ Denver 08.05
Sunday 9th May 3:00am
Utah did not trail over the final 11:22 of the fourth quarter after Niang hit back-to-back shots to give the Jazz a 103-99 lead. Denver scored just one basket over a six-minute stretch and couldn’t quite erase the resulting deficit.
Houston Rockets 133-141 Milwaukee Bucks
Red-hot shooting, balanced scoring and a dominant third quarter powered the Milwaukee Bucks to their fifth consecutive win in a 141-133 defeat of the Houston Rockets.
After trailing for much of the second quarter, Milwaukee (43-24) opened the second half on a 17-6 run. The Bucks peppered the Rockets (16-51) with five 3-pointers over that stretch – two each from Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, and one from Brook Lopez.
Houston cut the deficit to two points twice in the late third quarter before Donte DiVincenzo scored seven of his 18 points consecutively, then Bryn Forbes added a 3-pointer for a 10-0 run. Milwaukee’s lead remained in double-digits for most of the way thereafter.
The Bucks’ big second half came despite Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring just two points after intermission. Antetokounmpo buoyed Milwaukee in the first half with 15 of his 17 points, and grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds. He also dished seven assists, second among all Bucks only to Holiday’s eight.
All five Bucks starters scored in double-figures, led by Lopez with 24. Middleton finished with 23 points and Holiday added 20.
Kenyon Martin Jr. led the Rockets with 26 points in a balanced effort that included 23 points from Kelly Olynyk with a game-high 12 rebounds, and 19 points from Armoni Brooks off the bench.
Saturday night’s NBA games
|Brooklyn Nets @ Denver Nuggets|
|Washington Wizards @ Indiana Pacers|
|Detroit Pistons @ Phoenix Suns|
|Memphis Grizzlies @ Toronto Raptors|
|Houston Rockets @ Utah Jazz|
|Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors|
|San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers|
New York Knicks 105-128 Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton scored 26 points, a feisty Chris Paul added 17 points and 11 assists and the Phoenix Suns stayed in the hunt for the top record in the NBA by beating the New York Knicks 128-105 on Friday night.
The Suns stunned the Knicks by taking a 90-88 lead into the fourth quarter after scoring four points in less than a second. Torrey Craig tipped in Devin Booker’s miss with 0.8 seconds left and Cameron Payne stole the in-bounds pass and made a layup. It was the Suns’ first lead since the first quarter and they’d never relinquish it, scoring 38 points in the fourth while making 8 of 12 3-pointers.
Payne celebrated with the bench, the crowd got rowdy and the momentum continued into the fourth. Mikal Bridges made a corner 3-pointer with 9:38 left to push the Suns ahead 101-93 and a frustrated Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau called a timeout.
Live NBA: New York @ LA Clippers 09.05
Sunday 9th May 8:30pm
It got tense midway through the fourth when Knicks forward Taj Gibson knocked Paul to the ground and was called for a flagrant foul. Paul got up angry and started jawing with Thibodeau before Suns coach Monty Williams came on the court and pulled the point guard away.
Later, New York’s Julius Randle was given a technical after getting into it with Phoenix’s Jae Crowder. The incident proved motivation for Paul, who quickly made two mid-range jumpers that helped push the Suns to a comfortable win. Ayton contributed one of his best games of the year, shooting 10 of 14 from the field and grabbing 15 rebounds.
Randle led New York with 24 points and 11 rebounds. R.J. Barrett added 23 points.
Boston Celtics 99-121 Chicago Bulls
Nikola Vucevic scored 18 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and dished 10 assists to record his fourth career triple-double, and the host Chicago Bulls cruised to a 121-99 win over the Boston Celtics.
Vucevic became the first Chicago player to log a triple-double since Jimmy Butler accomplished the feat on April 6, 2017, at Philadelphia.
Chicago’s Coby White finished with 25 points on 9-for-16 shooting, including 7-of-12 success from beyond the 3-point arc. Zach LaVine also scored 25 for the Bulls (28-39), who won for the second time in as many nights after dropping their previous four games in a row.
Kemba Walker scored a season-high 33 points to lead Boston (35-32). Evan Fournier contributed 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, but Jayson Tatum made only 3 of 15 shots from the field and finished with nine points.
The Bulls played in front of fans on their home court for the first time since March 10, 2020.
Cleveland Cavaliers 90-110 Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic had 24 points, grabbed eight rebounds and passed the 5,000-point plateau for his career as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers 110-90 Friday night.
With his seventh point of the game, Doncic, who played only 23 minutes, became the fourth youngest NBA player (22 years, 67 days) to reach 5,000 points. Only LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony were younger.
Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points as the Mavericks (39-28) have won nine of their past 12 games. Josh Richardson contributed 18 points for Dallas.
The Cavaliers (21-46) have lost nine straight games and will host the Mavericks on Sunday in the second of two games between the teams this season.
Collin Sexton scored 27 points for the Cavaliers. Cedi Osman added 22 points and seven assists, Isaac Okoro scored 15 points and Jarrett Allen had five points and 12 rebounds.
Orlando Magic 112-122 Charlotte Hornets
Terry Rozier posted 28 points and rookie guard LaMelo Ball pumped in 27 points as the Charlotte Hornets turned in an impressive bounce-back performance in a 122-112 victory against the visiting Orlando Magic.
P.J. Washington tacked on 23 points and nine rebounds for Charlotte (33-34), who have been falling off the pace and yet clinging to a spot in the Eastern Conference playoff mix.
Charlotte’s blowout loss a night earlier to the Chicago Bulls made it four losses in a six-game span prior to the Orlando game. In that game, Ball went hit just one field goal in that game, but it was a different story here as he drove to the basket well and set up his team-mates throughout – although he continued to struggle with his 3-point shot, missing all seven attempts.
Jalen McDaniels’ 13 points and Bismack Biyombo’s 11 points and 11 rebounds also gave a boost to the Hornets.
Orlando (21-46) lost for the ninth time in its last 12 games despite Dwayne Bacon scoring a career-high 28 points and Mo Bamba adding a career-best 18 rebounds. All-NBA Rookie team contender Cole Anthony had 22 points, R.J. Hampton had 16 points off the bench and Gary Harris finished with 12 points.
Minnesota Timberwolves 112-121 Miami Heat
Tyler Herro scored 27 points to spark the host Miami Heat during a 121-112 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.
Herro, who missed the previous six games due to an injury to his right foot, sparked the Heat (36-31) with 14 first-half points on 4-of-4 shooting from 3-point range. Herro finished with a season-high six made 3-pointers on eight attempts.
Jimmy Butler also returned after missing the Heat’s previous game due to flu-like symptoms unrelated to COVID-19. Butler finished with 25 points, eight rebounds, six assists and five steals.
Goran Dragic added to Miami’s depth once again off the bench, scoring 15 of his 23 points in the first half. Dragic was clutch late as well, making back-to-back 3-pointers in the final two minutes to help Miami pull away.
The Timberwolves keyed on Bam Adebayo for most of the night defensively, but he still managed to score 15 points on 6-for-10 shooting. Kendrick Nunn also had 12 points as Miami climbed up to sixth place in the Eastern Conference and one game ahead of the Boston Celtics. The Heat’s next two games are at Boston on Sunday and Tuesday.
Minnesota (20-47) lost its third in a row despite Karl-Anthony Towns’ 27 points, six rebounds and four assists. Timberwolves rookie Anthony Edwards totalled 25 points, and Ricky Rubio finished with 16 points and nine assists. Jarred Vanderbilt had 11 rebounds and five steals to go with eight points.
New Orleans Pelicans 107-109 Philadelphia 76ers
Joel Embiid had 37 points and 13 rebounds and the host Philadelphia 76ers held on for a 109-107 victory over the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans.
It was Embiid’s 16th game this season with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds. Embiid was 11 of 20 from the field and 12 of 12 from the free throw line.
Tobias Harris scored 17 points, Seth Curry added 16 and George Hill had 11 for the Sixers (46-21), who won their seventh in a row. Ben Simmons had 10 assists.
Jaxson Hayes led the Pelicans with 19 points, and Lonzo Ball and Eric Bledsoe added 18 apiece. Seven players reached double figures for New Orleans (30-37).
The Pelicans turned the ball over in the final few seconds down by two. New Orleans’ lineup was depleted with the absence of Zion Williamson (left ring finger), Brandon Ingram (left low ankle sprain), Josh Hart (right thumb), Steven Adams (toe) and Nickeil Alexander-Walker (left ankle).
San Antonio Spurs 112-104 Sacramento Kings
Dejounte Murray scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Sacramento Kings 113-104 on Friday night to end a five-game losing streak and strengthen their hold on the final playoff spot in the West.
DeMar DeRozan led the team 25 points, Murray added seven assists and six rebounds, and Keldon Johnson scored 16 for San Antonio.
The Spurs (32-34) were coming off back-to-back losses to Utah in a skid that knocked coach Gregg Popovich’s team down to 10th place in the West – the final spot for the play-in tournament – before holding off a pesky Kings team that had won its last four.
Terence Davis scored 24 points for the Kings and Delon Wright and Buddy Hield notched 17 points apiece as Sacramento missed a chance to move into a tie with the Pelicans for 11th place in the West.
DeRozan had 18 in the first half to pace San Antonio early but the Spurs trailed 81-78 going into the fourth. Murray then had six points as part of an 18-6 run to start the final quarter and put the Spurs ahead for good. Lonnie Walker scored eight points in the final 3-and-a-hald minutes to help San Antonio close it out.
With the victory, legendary coach Popovich moves within 27 games of breaking Don Nelson’s record for career coaching victories in the NBA.