LeBron James made a big three-pointer in the final minute of the second overtime and scored 41 points to offset 43 by Indiana’s Paul George, and the Cleveland Cavaliers opened their April schedule with a 135-130 win Sunday over the visiting Indiana Pacers, who remain on the outside of the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
James added 15 rebounds and 11 assists in 52 minutes for the defending NBA champions, who ended the game with some drama as Tristan Thompson and James angrily exchanged words during a timeout in the second OT.
Kyrie Irving made four free throws in the final 16.5 seconds and Kevin Love had 20 points and 12 rebounds as Cleveland stayed within a half-game of Boston for the top spot in the East. The Cavs visit the Celtics on Wednesday night.
George was magnificent in defeat, scoring 19 straight points for Indiana in the overtime sessions and adding nine rebounds and nine assists. But he couldn’t prevent the Pacers from their eighth straight road loss.
at Golden State 139, Washington 115: Stephen Curry sank nine three-pointers and scored 42 points, also dished out eight assists, and the Warriors moved closer to locking up the Western Conference’s top playoff seeding by beating the Wizards.
Draymond Green had his 19th career triple-double and fifth this season with 11 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. Curry scored 10 points over the final 1:52 of the first half and shot 15 for 22, including 9 of 14 on three-pointers, in the Warriors’ 11th straight victory. It was his 26th career 40-point game and fourth this season.
John Wall had 15 points and 11 assists for the Wizards, who couldn’t make it two wins over the mighty Warriors in just more than a month’s time. He set the single-season franchise assists record with No. 802 in the third quarter, topping Rod Strickland in 1997-98.
Boston 110, at New York 94: Isaiah Thomas scored 19 points in just 24 minutes and Boston remained atop the Eastern Conference with its 50th victory. Jaylen Brown added 16 for the Celtics, who will be no worse than tied with Cleveland for the best record in the East when they host the defending NBA champions on Wednesday. Boston is off until that showdown.
Boston secured its first 50-win season since going 56-26 in 2010-11 and did it easily, shooting 55.6 percent and getting 14 points apiece from Marcus Smart and Al Horford. Courtney Lee scored 16 points and Kristaps Porzingis had 14 for the Knicks, who announced during the game that Derrick Rose will have season-ending surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. They also played without Carmelo Anthony (sore lower back).
Charlotte 113, at Oklahoma City 101: Kemba Walker scored 29 points to help the Hornets overcome Russell Westbrook’s sixth consecutive triple-double and 40th of the season, putting him one behind Oscar Robertson’s NBA record of 41, set during the 1961-62 season.
Westbrook finished with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. It was Westbrook’s first career triple-double against Charlotte. Frank Kaminsky had 18 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 16 for Charlotte, which entered the day in 10th place in the East, two games behind Chicago, Indiana and Miami, who were tied for seventh.
at San Antonio 109, Utah 103: Kawhi Leonard had 25 points and seven assists, and San Antonio held off Utah in a matchup of postseason-bound teams. The Jazz closed to 102-98 on Joe Johnson’s 16-footer with 2:06 remaining that capped a 10-0 run. Leonard then blocked a shot by 7-foot-1 center Rudy Gobert to help San Antonio preserve the victory.
Gobert had 19 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots. Boris Diaw scored 19 points, making all nine of his shots against his former team. Utah (47-30) leads the Los Angeles Clippers (47-31) by a half-game for the Western Conference’s No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the opening round.
Denver 116, at Miami 113: Danilo Gallinari scored 29 points, Nikola Jokic and Wilson Chandler each added 19 for the Nuggets (36-40), who are within two games of Portland for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Goran Dragic scored 22 points for the Heat (37-40).
Chicago 117, at New Orleans 110: Jimmy Butler scored 39 points and the Bulls sustained their playoff push with a victory over recently resurgent New Orleans. Butler made 14 of 26 shots, including all three of his three-point shots, to help the Bulls win for the fifth time in six games. Anthony Davis had 30 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, while DeMarcus Cousins added 26 points and 18 rebounds.
at Toronto 113, 76ers 105: Serge Ibaka scored 24 points and DeMar DeRozan added 17 as the Raptors registered their ninth straight home victory over the 76ers. DeRozan tied his season high with nine assists. Rookie Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot had a career-high 23 points and Dario Saric added 16 for the 76ers, who lost their third straight.
Dallas 109, at Milwaukee 105: Harrison Barnes scored 15 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter to lift the Mavericks past the listless Bucks. Dirk Nowitzki and J.J. Barea each had 17 points as the Mavericks snapped a four-game losing streak. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points and 15 rebounds for the Bucks.
at Brooklyn 91, Atlanta: Brook Lopez scored 29 points, Jeremy Lin had 15, and the Nets spoiled Paul Millsap’s return to the lineup by beating the Hawks. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 11 points for the Nets, who have won two straight games. Dennis Schroder scored 16 points, while Millsap and Tim Hardaway Jr. each had 14 for the Hawks, who have lost two straight.
Houston 123, at Phoenix 116: Patrick Beverley scored a career-high 26 points as the Rockets sent the Suns to their 12th straight loss despite not having James Harden in the lineup. Harden, who had not missed a game this season, was ruled out because of acute viral syndrome. Lou Williams scored 16 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter for Houston. Tyler Ulis finished with a career-best 34 points for the Suns.