CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 27 points, the last coming on a sensational layup, and the Cleveland Cavaliers gave the Toronto Raptors another reminder of what could lie ahead in the playoffs with a 112-106 victory on Tuesday night.
James added nine rebounds, six assists and helped put the Raptors away down the stretch with an artistic three-point play.
HEAT 101, HAWKS 98
MIAMI (AP) — Hassan Whiteside’s tip-in with a minute left put Miami up for good, Josh Richardson blocked a potential go-ahead shot in the final seconds and Heat clinched their 20th playoff spot in 30 seasons by rallying to beat Atlanta.
The Heat trailed 98-90 with less than 3 minutes left, then finished the game on an 11-0 run.
HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden had 38 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, leading Houston over the Washington
At 63-15, the Rockets already clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but weren’t interested in losing any momentum against Washington.
Clint Capela had 21 points and 10 rebounds for Houston, while Gerald Green had 16 points off the bench on 4-of-8 shooting from beyond the arc and one authoritative two-handed slam in the fourth.
76ERS 121, NETS 95
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — J.J. Redick scored 19 points and Ben Simmons had 15 points and 12 rebounds to lead Philadelphia to its 11th straight victory.
Neither Simmons nor Redick played in the fourth quarter for Philadelphia, which won its third consecutive contest without All-Star center Joel Embiid. Embiid had surgery on Saturday after suffering an orbital fracture in his left eye in Wednesday’s 118-101 win over the Knicks.
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 29 points and had a key block with 53 seconds left, Khris Middleton added 20 points and Milwaukee held off short-handed Boston.
Eric Bledsoe added 18 points on 8-of-9 shooting for the Bucks, who clinched their second straight winning season for the first time since back-to-back finishes over .500 in 1999-00 and 2000-01.
CHICAGO (AP) — Lauri Markkanen scored 24 points and Sean Kilpatrick added 21 off the bench to lead Chicago over Charlotte.
Justin Holiday had 19 points and Bobby Portis added 16 for Chicago, which has won three straight.
Dwight Howard scored 23 points and Malik Monk had 21 for Charlotte, which has dropped four straight.
MAVERICKS 115, TRAIL BLAZERS 109
DALLAS (AP) — Dennis Smith Jr. scored 18 points, including a highlight-reel dunk to help keep lottery-bound Dallas ahead in a win over Portland, delaying the Trail Blazers’ hopes of clinching home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 30 points, Jamal Murray hit a clutch 3-pointer late — his only one of the game — and Denver received a boost to its playoff hopes by holding off Indiana.
Denver pulled within a half-game of New Orleans for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
What’s more, the Nuggets now trail Minnesota by a game for the seventh spot and have two of their final four games against the Timberwolves.
Wilson Chandler donned a mask to protect a broken nose and struggled early with his shot, going 0 for 5 in the first half. Chandler finally found his touch in the third. He hit three 3-pointers to spark a run to open some breathing room.
Victor Oladipo had 25 points for the Pacers, who had their five-game winning streak snapped, but remain fifth in the Eastern Conference.
JAZZ 117, LAKERS 110
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Ricky Rubio scored 31 points on 10-of-15 shooting, added eight assists and six rebounds, and Utah beat Los Angeles.
Donovan Mitchell added 26 points while Rudy Gobert chipped in 12 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. Six players scored in double figures to lead the Jazz to their third straight win.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 28 points and Kyle Kuzma had 26 for the Lakers.
SUNS 97, KINGS 94
PHOENIX (AP) — Josh Jackson scored 18 of his 28 points in the first half and Phoenix ended a franchise-record, 15-game losing streak with a victory over Sacramento.
Alex Len added 17 points and 15 rebounds, and Tyler Ulis had 13 points and nine assists as the Suns held the cold-shooting Kings to 37 percent shooting.
The Kings trailed by as many as 12 in the fourth quarter but had a chance to tie after forcing a turnover with 7 seconds remaining. Bogdan Bogdanovic and Justin Jackson missed potential game-tying 3-pointers before the final buzzer.
Bogdanovic led the Kings with 22 points and Jackson added 19 points and eight rebounds. Sacramento has lost five of six.
MAGIC 97, KNICKS 73
NEW YORK (AP) — Mario Hezonja scored 19 points, Jamel Artis added 16 off the bench, and Orlando beat New York.
Reserve Shelvin Mack had 12 points and Nikola Vucevic had 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Magic, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 16 points and Kyle O’Quinn had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who lost their fourth straight.
The Magic limited the Knicks to 28 points in the second half and won the season series 3-1.