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Celtics top Pacers in crucial Eastern Conference game
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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Jason Tatum scored 22 points and Gordon Hayward added 21 in his return to Indianapolis on Friday night, leading the Boston Celtics to a crucial 117-97 victory over the Pacers.

The Celtics broke a tie with Indiana for the No. 4 seed in the East and essentially took a two-game lead in the chase for home-court advantage because they won the season series 3-1 — giving them the tiebreaker, too. Boston also is building postseason momentum with three straight wins and five in their last six games.

Indiana’s two-game winning streak ended. Myles Turner led the Pacers with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Domantas Sabonis and Tyreke Evans each scored 12.



DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter, Paul Millsap finished with 25 points, and Denver clinched the Northwest Division title.

Jokic added 13 rebounds and nine assists to lead the Nuggets to their first division title in six years. Jamal Murray scored 23 points and Torrey Craig had 18 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Denver.

The Nuggets are assured of at least the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference and can clinch the second seed with two more wins.

LAKERS 122, 


LOS ANGELES (AP) — Alex Caruso scored a career-high 32 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 25 points, and the Lakers rallied to beat the playoff-bound Clippers.

Rajon Rondo scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter when he was the most veteran player on the floor for the Lakers. He added 12 assists.

JaVale McGee had 18 points and 10 rebounds Lakers, who outrebounded the Clippers, 55-45.

SPURS 129, 


WASHINGTON (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge scored 24 points, Rudy Gay added 18 in San Antonio’s win over Washington.

Bryn Forbes and Patty Mills each scored 17 for the Spurs, who had lost five of eight. DeMar DeRozan scored 16 points.

Bradley Beal scored 25 points and Thomas Bryant had 19 for Washington, which has lost eight of its last 10.

The Spurs had eight players score in double figures and shot 66.7% in the first half for a 77-58 lead. San Antonio scored 12 straight points midway through the second quarter for a 62-45 lead and never looked back.

MAGIC 149, 


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) —Orlando used a franchise-record 81 points in the first half to cruise past Atlanta in its regular-season home finale and take another step toward a playoff berth.

Nikola Vucevic, Terrence Ross and Evan Fournier scored 25 points each for Orlando, which set a season high for points despite having 19 turnovers. Vucevic added 10 rebounds to compile his 59th double-double of the season. Ross made six 3-pointers, and Fournier shot 11 for 14.



CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 29 points, and Jeremy Lamb made another clutch 3-ponter as Charlotte beat Toronto.

Lamb’s winning shot came less than two weeks after he hit an improbable half-court buzzer-beater to shock the Raptors in Toronto. Lamb finished with 22 points and Frank Kaminsky added 22 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets (37-42), who kept their slim postseason hopes alive and surpassed their win total of the previous two seasons.



DALLAS (AP) — Delon Wright set career highs with 26 points and 14 assists in his first triple-double, and Memphis topped Dallas.

Courtney Lee led Dallas with 21 points, and Justin Jackson added 19. Dirk Nowitzki finished with 12 points and seven defensive rebounds. He needs one defensive rebound to become the fifth NBA player with 10,000 for his career.

Justin Holiday scored 20 points on his 30th birthday as Memphis won again after blowing out the Mavericks by 30 on their home court in early March. The Grizzlies will go for a four-game season sweep Sunday at home. The teams came in with matching 31-47 records.



OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Paul George scored 30 points to help Oklahoma City beat Detroit.

Russell Westbrook added 19 points, 15 assists and eight rebounds for the Thunder, who have won two straight as they try to avoid the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

Detroit’s Blake Griffin finished with 45 points, but he scored just one point in the fourth quarter as Oklahoma City broke open a close game.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Karl-Anthony Towns had 13 points and 12 rebounds and Minnesota slowed Miami’s push for a postseason berth.

Dario Saric scored 19 points for the Timberwolves, Andrew Wiggins added 18 and Gorgui Dieng finished with a season-high 19 off the bench.



HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 26 points, eight assists and eight rebounds in just 29 minutes to lead Houston past New York.

Chris Paul and Clint Capela both had double-doubles for Houston, with Paul getting 11 points and 10 assists and Capela adding 12 points and 15 rebounds.

SUNS 133, 


PHOENIX (AP) — Josh Jackson scored eight of his season-high 35 points in overtime, and Phoenix rallied from 15 points down to beat New Orleans in a matchup of short-handed teams.

Jackson swished a 28-foot 3-pointer with 1:23 left in the extra period to seal the Suns’ victory in their home finale.