Celtics cruise past Hornets

Boston Celtics' Payton Pritchard (11) drives past Charlotte Hornets' Tre Mann (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Boston.
Boston Celtics' Payton Pritchard (11) drives past Charlotte Hornets' Tre Mann (23) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 12, 2024, in Boston.AP Photo

BOSTON — Payton Prichard scored a career-high 31 points and the Boston Celtics rolled to a 131-98 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night.

Pritchard added 11 assists for his second double-double this season and helped the Celtics avoid losing three consecutive games for the first time this season.

Luke Kornet finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Sam Hauser and Neemias Queta both also had 16 points for Boston, which led by as many as 33.

The Celtics’ top six rotation players – Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, Derrick White, Kristaps Porzingis and Al Horford – all sat out with nagging ailments in what was essentially a rest night for them. Boston has already locked up the top seed in the Eastern Conference and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Tre Mann led the Hornets with 19 points and eight assists. Nick Smith Jr. added 15 points.

76ERS 125, MAGIC 113

PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid had 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists after an apparent injury scare in the first half and Philadelphia beat Orlando.

Tyrese Maxey scored 28 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 21 as Philadelphia (46-36) won its seventh straight game and moved into a tie with Orlando for the sixth seed in the East. The Sixers and Magic are a half-game behind Indiana for the No. 5 seed. The Pacers played Cleveland on Friday night.

Franz Wagner scored 24 points, Paolo Banchero had 22 and Jalen Suggs 20 for Orlando (46-35), which has lost three straight game. The Matic can claim the Southeast Division with a victory over Milwaukee on Sunday.


WASHINGTON — Rookie Adama Sanogo had 22 points and 20 rebounds to shatter his career highs and help short-handed Chicago beat Washington.

Chicago coach Billy Donovan gave starters DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic and Alex Caruso the night off after clinching the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference on Thursday night with a victory in Detroit.

Javonte Green added 24 points, Jevon Carter had 20 points and 12 assists and Torrey Craig finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds. The Bulls won two straight for the first time in nearly a month.

Corey Kispert scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for Washington in its home finale. Deni Avdija had 23 points and 12 rebounds. The Wizards have lost five straight.

Patrick Baldwin Jr. added 19 points and 12 rebounds, rookie Tristan Vukcivic scored a career-best 19 points, and Jared Butler had 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards.

KNICKS 111, NETS 107

NEW YORK — Jalen Brunson had 30 points and 11 assists after a slow start, OG Anunoby scored all of his 15 points in the third quarter and New York beat Brooklyn, clinching home-court advantage in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Josh Hart added 16 points and Mitchell Robinson also had 15 for the Knicks, who guaranteed themselves a top-four finish in the East and remained in the hunt for the No. 2 seed. They entered play a game behind Milwaukee for second in the East. The Bucks were playing at Oklahoma City later Friday without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard.

Cam Thomas finished with 41 points. Trenton Watford added 17 points and 13 rebounds for the Nets, who had won six of nine.


CLEVELAND — Donovan Mitchell scored 33 points, Jarrett Allen had 29 points and 13 rebounds and Cleveland clinched a playoff berth with a victory over Indiana.

Indiana pulled to 120-118 with 2:04 remaining on Pascal Siakam’s drive, but Darius Garland answered with a 3-pointer over Siakam. The Cavaliers scored the final six points, capped by an Isaac Okoro three-point play that ended with him somersaulting.

Tyrese Haliburton had 19 points and 12 assists, Siakam scored 19 points and Myles Turner had 17 points for the Pacers, who can still qualify for the playoffs with a win or a Philadelphia loss on Sunday. Indiana had won three straight.

Garland and Caris LeVert each finished with 16 points, and Max Strus had seven points and nine assists. Allen made 13 of 14 shots for Cleveland, which earned its first back-to-back playoff appearances since making four straight NBA Finals from 2015-2018.


MIAMI (AP) — Nikola Jovic scored 22 points, Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 20 points and nine assists, and Miami kept hope alive of escaping the play-in tournament by topping Toronto.

Bam Adebayo scored 19 points, Tyler Herro scored 18, and Jimmy Butler and Kevin Love each scored 14 for the Heat (45-36). Miami still could get out of the play-in with a win in a rematch against the Raptors on Sunday and some help.

RJ Barrett had 35 points and a season-high 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who lost for the 18th time in their last 20 games. Immanuel Quickley scored 15 points, Bruce Brown scored 14 and Kelly Olynyk grabbed 11 rebounds for Toronto.


SAN ANTONIO — Devonte’ Graham converted a floater in the lane with 0.9 seconds remaining, and San Antonio handed Western Conference-leading Denver a potentially damaging loss, rallying from 23 points down.

The Nuggets (56-25) fell out of sole possession of first place in the West and into a tie with Minnesota and Oklahoma City. Because of tiebreakers, the Timberwolves were first, the Thunder second and the Nuggets third heading into the final day of the regular season on Sunday.

Victor Wembanyama had 34 points and 12 rebounds for the short-handed Spurs, who are last in the West.

Jamal Murray had 35 points and Nikola Jokic had 22 points and 12 rebounds for Denver, which led 76-53 early in the third quarter and still had a 17-point advantage early in the fourth.


MEMPHIS, Tennessee — LeBron James had 37 points, including six in the final minute, and 10 rebounds and Anthony Davis had 36 points and 14 rebounds as Los Angeles beat the short-handed Memphis.

Davis, returning from a left eye injury that kept him out of the Lakers’ loss to Golden State on Tuesday, was 11 of 22 in this game. James shot 13 for 20 to help the Lakers snap a two-game losing streak.

GG Jackson scored 31 points to lead the Grizzlies, while Scotty Pippen Jr. had a career-high 28. Jake LaRavia also finished with 28 points, and Jordan Goodwin added 23 points and 16 rebounds.


OKLAHOMA CITY — Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 23 points and Oklahoma City beat injury-depleted Milwaukee to boost their hopes of taking the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

The Bucks played Friday without All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard. They already had announced Wednesday that Antetokounmpo would miss the rest of the regular season with a strained left calf. Lillard was out with a sore left adductor. Milwaukee fell to 4-4 in games without Antetokounmpo this season.

Chet Holmgren had 22 points and nine rebounds and Aaron Wiggins scored 19 points for the Thunder, who have won four straight. Oklahoma City shot 52.8% from the field.

Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez each scored 18 points for Milwaukee.


MINNEAPOLIS — Rudy Gobert had 25 points, 19 rebounds and five blocks to help Minnesota defeat Atlanta and move into a three-way tie for first place in the Western Conference.

Naz Reid had 19 points, Anthony Edwards scored 14 and Mike Conley added 13 points and 10 assists for the Timberwolves, who welcomed back All-Star forward Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 11 points after missing 18 games following surgery to repair a damaged meniscus in his left knee.

Trae Young led Atlanta with 19 points in 27 minutes, his second game back after missing six weeks with a hand injury. Bogdon Bogdonović had 17 points and Clint Capela added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Hawks.


DALLAS — Marcus Sasser scored 24 points in his hometown return, including 13 straight points during a stretch of the third quarter, and Detroit beat Dallas.

The Pistons (14-67) led for most of the night against a Mavericks team that had won five consecutive games and 16 of 18 to secure an playoff spot.

Chimezie Metu scored 18 points for Detroit, matching a career high with four 3-pointers.


PORTLAND, Oregon — Jalen Green had 26 points and Houston spoiled Portland’s final game at home this season.

Aaron Holiday came of the bench to score 18 points while Amen Thompson had 17 points and 15 rebounds for Houston, which was already eliminated from playoff contention.

Scoot Henderson had 30 points for the Blazers, who have lost four in a row and 14 of their last 16 with one game left. Portland was second-to-last in the Western Conference.


SAN FRANCISCO — CJ McCollum hit a 3-pointer with 1:03 remaining to help seal it and scored 28 points, Zion Williamson had 26 and New Orleans boosted their playoff positioning by beating Golden State.

Trey Murphy III converted a pair of free throws with 9 seconds left and finished with 24 points and eight rebounds for New Orleans.

Stephen Curry scored 33 points and hit a 3 with 56 seconds left but missed from the top of the arc with 13 seconds to play, and the Warriors’ loss likely lands them in the 9-10 seeds matchup of the Play-In Tournament on Wednesday.

Klay Thompson added 19 points and six rebounds, Andrew Wiggins scored 18 points and Draymond Green contributed 12 rebounds and 11 assists in just the second loss over the past 11 games for 2022 NBA champion Golden State.


LOS ANGELES — Reserve Kenneth Lofton Jr. scored a season-high 27 points and Utah beat the Los Angeles Clippers.

Bones Hyland led the Clippers with 20 points off the bench and Amir Coffey added 16.

Clippers star Kawhi Leonard missed his seventh straight game with right knee inflammation and is unlikely to return before the playoffs start next weekend.

Paul George, who played just eight minutes, and Ivica Zubac added 10 points each for the Clippers, who routed the Jazz by 29 points a week ago.

SUNS 108, KINGS 107

SACRAMENTO, California — Kevin Durant scored 28 points, Jusuf Nurkic made a late free throw and Phoenix rallied to beat Sacramento.

With the game tied at 107 after Phoenix overcame a 16-point deficit, Domantas Sabonis fouled Nurkic fighting for the rebound off a missed shot by the Suns’ Grayson Allen. Nurkic, who finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds, missed the first, but made the second to give the Suns the lead with 8.1 seconds to play.

Bradley Beal then stripped De’Aaron Fox as Fox attempted to pull up for a potential winning shot on the other end.

Devin Booker added 21 for Phoenix, and Beal had 20. Sabonis had 25 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Kings. (AP)


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