Luka Doncic powers Mavericks to 127-104 win over Pacers
INDIANAPOLIS — Luka Doncic finished with 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists just hours after his most recent technical foul and one-game suspension were rescinded Monday by the NBA and led the Dallas Mavericks past the Indiana Pacers 127-104.
The Mavericks snapped a four-game losing streak and remained in contention in the race for one of the final two play-in spots in the Western Conference. Kyrie Irving added 16 points and six assists for Dallas.
Indiana was led by Bennedict Mathurin, who scored 22 points, and Andrew Nembhard, who had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists on a night the Pacers were missing three starters and a key backup. The Pacers have lost three straight and six of eight as they move closer to locking up a lottery pick.
Doncic had picked up his 16th technical that was rescinded on Sunday in the team’s second loss to Charlotte. The technical came with 7:51 remaining in the third quarter of a 110-104 loss when Doncic argued a no-call after missing a shot on a drive to the basket. Crew chief Kevin Scott said in a pool report after the game that Doncic used “a profanity directed at the officials in protest to a no-call that was correctly judged in postgame video review.”
TIMBERWOLVES 119, KINGS 115
SACRAMENTO, California — Jaden McDaniels scored 20 points and Minnesota spoiled Sacramento’s bid to clinch a playoff berth for the first time since 2006, the longest playoff drought in NBA history.
The Timberwolves won their fourth straight and completed a sweep of a back-to-back set at Golden State and Sacramento to tie the Warriors for sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race.
Naz Reid scored 18 points, Anthony Edwards had 17 and Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 16 rebounds in the win.
De’Aaron Fox scored 29 points and Domantas Sabonis added 24 points and 10 rebounds for Sacramento, which shot 5 of 26 from 3-point distance.
The Kings will look to clinch a playoff berth when they travel to Portland for two games, starting Wednesday.
CLIPPERS 124, BULLS 112
LOS ANGELES — Nicolas Batum got all of his season-high 24 points on eight 3-pointers, and Eric Gordon added 22 points as Los Angeles beat Chicago.
Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points as the Clippers rebounded from an embarrassing loss to New Orleans with 20 3-pointers in an impressive outside shooting display led by Batum.
Russell Westbrook had 12 points, 10 assists and five rebounds as Los Angeles (40-36) kept hold of fifth place in the Western Conference standings and moved a half-game behind fourth-place Phoenix.
Zach LaVine scored 23 points and Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls, who followed up their impressive win over the Lakers on Sunday with a dud.
NUGGETS 116, 76ERS 111
DENVER — Nikola Jokic recorded his 29th triple double of the season and Denver beat short-handed Philadelphia in a game Joel Embiid sat out with a sore right calf.
That scuttled the highly anticipated showdown between MVP front-runners that many felt could have decided whether Embiid, the runner-up the last two years, denies Jokic a third consecutive award. With Embiid in the locker room, Jokic scored 25 points, pulled down 17 rebounds and dished out 12 assists.
Tyrese Maxey scored 23 of his 29 points in the first half as the Sixers dropped their third straight.
PELICANS 124, TRAIL BLAZERS 90
PORTLAND, Oregon — Brandon Ingram scored 29 points and New Orleans routed short-handed Portland.
CJ McCollum, who played nine seasons with the Blazers before he was traded to the Pelicans last season, added 17 points. Jonas Valanciunas finished with 10 points and 21 rebounds, and New Orleans led by as many as 36.
Keon Johnson had 20 points off the bench for the Blazers, who have lost nine of 10 and will, in all likelihood, miss the playoffs for the second straight season — although they have not been mathematically eliminated. Most of their regular starters were out with injuries, including top scorer Damian Lillard (right calf), Jerami Grant (bruised left quad), Jusuf Nurkic (right knee) and Anfernee Simons (right foot).
SUNS 117, JAZZ 103
SAT LAKE CITY — Devin Booker scored 24 points and Phoenix reserves sparked the decisive run in a win over Utah.
Deandre Ayton had 14 points after missing four games with a bruised hip. But a trio off the bench was pivotal for Phoenix: Terrence Ross had 13 points, Cameron Payne added 12 and Bismack Biyombo scored 11.
The Suns (40-35) had lost four in a row on the road. But with this victory they sit more securely in the fourth spot in the Western Conference playoff race — which would give them home-court advantage in the first round.
Lauri Markkanen scored 25 points for Utah, but shot 6 for 22. Walker Kessler had 18 points and eight rebounds for the Jazz (35-40), who have lost four straight. Kessler also matched a career high with seven blocks.
KNICKS 137, ROCKETS 115
NEW YORK — Immanuel Quickley scored a career-high 40 points and Julius Randle had 26 as New York snapped a three-game losing streak with a win over Houston.
RJ Barrett added 19 points, Obi Toppin had 15 and Quinten Grimes scored 14 for the Knicks.
Quickley connected on 14 of 18 shots from the field and added nine assists. He started in place of Jalen Brunson, who missed his second straight game with a bruised right hand.
Kevin Porter Jr. led the Rockets with 26 points. Jalen Green had 19 and Kenyon Martin Jr. added 18 as Houston dropped its sixth straight game.
BUCKS 126, PISTONS 117
DETROIT — Khris Middleton scored 34 points against the team that drafted him and Milwaukee beat Detroit without Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Milwaukee improved to an NBA-best 54-21 despite the absences of Antetokounmpo (knee) and Jae Crowder (calf). Goran Dragic made his Bucks debut after signing with the team on March 4, but didn’t score in nine minutes.
Brook Lopez had 24 points and 14 rebounds, Bobby Portis added 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Jevon Carter scored 22.
The Pistons got 32 points, eight rebounds and eight assists from Jaden Ivey, but lost their sixth straight game and 17th of 18. They are 1-13 against Central Division opponents. (AP)