Magic clinch a play-in spot in 112-92 win over Hornets

Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) goes up to shoot as forward Jonathan Isaac, right, and Charlotte Hornets guard Tre Mann (23) look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 19, 2024, in Orlando, Florida.
Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) goes up to shoot as forward Jonathan Isaac, right, and Charlotte Hornets guard Tre Mann (23) look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 19, 2024, in Orlando, Florida.AP Photo

ORLANDO, Florida — Cole Anthony scored 17 of his 21 points in the second quarter and the Orlando routed Charlotte to clinch at least a play-in berth in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Jalen Suggs survived a couple of physical confrontations in the second period to finish the game with 16 points, six assists and three steals. Paolo Banchero added 13 points and five assists for the Magic, who led 67-32 at halftime.

Orlando (41-28) is fifth in the East and can’t be caught by 11th-place Brooklyn with 13 games left in the season. The Magic have won 12 of 15 and secured only their second non-losing season since 2011-12. They went 42-40 in 2018-19.

Rookies Brandon Miller scored 21 points and Vasilije Micic added 20 for the Hornets, who have lost 10 of 12.

ROCKETS 137, WIZARDS 114

WASHINGTON — Jalen Green tied a career high with 42 points, and Houston closed the third quarter on a 25-6 run en route to their sixth straight victory, 137-114 over Washington.

Houston is now just 2 1/2 games behind Golden State for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference. Amen Thompson scored 25 points for the Rockets, and Fred VanVleet had seven points and 11 assists.

Corey Kispert scored 16 points for Washington, which was without Kyle Kuzma (left shoulder), Deni Avdija (right knee), Tyus Jones (back) and Bilal Coulibaly (right wrist).

Even with all those absences, the Wizards shot well enough from 3-point range to make a game of it for 2 1/2 quarters. Then Green broke a 76-all tie with two straight 3s and a three-point play, making it 85-76. After a couple Washington free throws, the Rockets scored seven more points in a row and it was never close after that.

Green scored 15 points in the third quarter and finished the game with 10 rebounds. His previous season high in points was 37 — last Thursday against Washington.

PELICANS 104, NETS 91

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — Zion Williamson scored 28 points and wowed the Barclays Center crowd with a high-flying alley-oop dunk, and New Orleans beat Brooklyn.

CJ McCollum added 16 points, Larry Nance Jr. had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Brandon Ingram and Herb Jones each finished with 11 points for the Pelicans, who opened a four-game road swing with their third straight win and seventh in eight games. New Orleans is fifth in the Western Conference.

Cam Thomas had 25 points and Mikal Bridges added 15 for the Nets, who have lost four straight.

The Pelicans shot 50.6% from the field while limiting Brooklyn to 36.9% shooting.

New Orleans led by 24 points in the second quarter and by 19 at halftime. Brooklyn opened the third quarter with an 11-4 run, capped by Thomas’ 3-pointer that made it 68-57 with 8:56 remaining in the period.

MAVERICKS 113, SPURS 107

SAN ANTONIO — Kyrie Irving scored 28 points, Luka Doncic had 18 points and 16 assists, and Dallas held off San Antonio.

Doncic shot 6 of 27 from the field but still finished with his eighth triple-double in 10 games, helping Dallas win a game critical to its playoff hopes. It was just the sixth time in his career he’s shot worse than 25% while playing regular minutes.

Dallas (40-29) trails Sacramento (39-28) by percentage points for sixth place in the Western Conference and the final automatic playoff berth.

Tre Jones scored 22 points and Devin Vassell added 19 points for San Antonio. Victor Wembanyama had 12 points and 11 rebounds for his 37th double-double.

The Mavs swept their four-game season series against the Spurs after winning the first three by an average of 18.3 points. Irving and Doncic were critical in the final minutes of the closely contested finale.

After trailing by 13 points in the first half, San Antonio had 11-0 runs to open the third quarter as well as early in the fourth. The latter run gave the Spurs a 95-93 lead with 6:57 remaining.

There were nine lead changes in the second half, but Dallas took a 102-101 lead with 3:46 remaining and didn’t trail again.

NUGGETS 115, TIMBERWOLVES 112

MINNEAPOLIS — Nikola Jokic had 35 points and 16 rebounds and Michael Porter Jr. scored 13 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter as Denver fended off undermanned and undersized Minnesota.

Jamal Murray added 18 points and 11 assists and Aaron Gordon had 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, who blew an 18-point lead in less than 12 minutes before finishing a four-game road trip strong.

The Nuggets (48-21) moved within percentage points of idle Oklahoma City (47-20) for the Western Conference lead. The Timberwolves (47-22) dropped one game back into third place.

Anthony Edwards had 30 points — his fourth straight 30-point game — and eight rebounds and eight assists. The clean look from the wing he created with a crossover dribble for the tie at the buzzer hit the rim and fell short. (AP)

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