BOSTON – LeBron James had 36 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and the Cleveland Cavaliers ran past the Boston Celtics 114-91 on Wednesday night to move back into first place in the Eastern Conference.
The teams had identical records entering their final regular-season matchup, but Cleveland (51-27) now has a one-game lead over Boston (50-28) with only four games to play. Cleveland also holds the tiebreaker with the Celtics for the top seed, if needed.
Kyrie Irving added 19 points and five assists.
The Cavaliers played without starting center Tristan Thompson, who was out with a sprained right thumb. But they made due without him, surging at the start of the second quarter and taking as much as a 29-point lead in the third quarter. They also outrebounded Boston 51-38.
Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 26 points.
Thunder 103, Grizzlies 100
MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Russell Westbrook fell a rebound short of an historic triple-double, but he scored 45 points, including a late 3-pointer that helped seal Oklahoma City’s victory over Memphis.
Westbrook’s 3-pointer – his eighth in the game – with 14 seconds left and two free throws in the final second gave the Thunder their second win in a row. Oklahoma City solidified its hold on the Western Conference’s sixth seed, holding a 3 1/2-game lead over the Grizzlies.
Westbrook had 10 assists and nine rebounds, leaving him tied with Oscar Robertson’s 55-year-old record for triple-doubles in a season with 41.
Victor Oladipo scored 15 points, and Doug McDermott and Enes Kanter added 10 apiece.
Marc Gasol led Memphis with 23 points, and Zach Randolph had 20 points and nine rebounds.
Warriors 120, Suns 111
PHOENIX – Stephen Curry scored 42 points and the Golden State Warriors held off the Phoenix Suns for their 13th straight win, clinching the best record in the Western Conference for the third straight season.
Curry scored 23 in the first quarter when the Warriors blew open a 41-18 lead, but the Suns rallied with a 34-17 second quarter and made a game of it from there.
With Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala resting and Kevin Durant one game away from returning from injury, the Warriors still won.
Meanwhile, Devin Booker scored 21, Tyler Ulis 20 and Jared Dudley matched his season high with 19 for the Suns, who tied a franchise record with their 13th straight loss.
Alan Williams scored 16 and grabbed a career-best 17 rebounds for Phoenix.
Heat 112, Hornets 99
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Goran Dragic scored 33 points and Miami made 21 3-pointers to beat Charlotte and pull back into a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference.
James Johnson shot 6 of 7 from 3-point range and had 26 points, and Hassan Whiteside had a strong second half and finished with 13 points and 20 rebounds.
Nic Batum led Charlotte with 24 points, and All-Star Kemba Walker had 18 points on 6-of-17 shooting. The 10th-place Hornets dropped 2 1/2 games behind the Heat and Indiana with three games remaining.
Raptors 105, Pistons 102
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. – Kyle Lowry had 27 points and 10 assists in his return from a wrist injury to help Toronto rally to beat Detroit.
Back in the lineup after missing 18 games, Lowry helped the Raptors overcame a 20-point first-half deficit. Toronto moved a half-game ahead of Washington for third place in the East.
Jonas Valanciunas had 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for Detroit. The Pistons dropped to 11th in the conference, three games behind Miami, Chicago and Indiana with four games to play.
Rockets 110, Nuggets 104
HOUSTON – James Harden scored 31 points and Houston beat Denver to secure the third seed in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets cut the lead to two points on a layup by Nikola Jokic with 1:20 remaining. A 3-pointer by Harden a few seconds later pushed the lead to 106-101 and brought the crowd to its feet.
Harden added two free throws after that for the last of 15 straight points he scored for Houston in the second half of the fourth quarter.
Danilo Gallinari had had 23 points for the Nuggets. They are in ninth place and fighting for the last playoff spot in the West.
Lakers 102, Spurs 95
SAN ANTONIO – Tyler Ennis had 19 points in place of injured starter D’Angelo Russell and the Los Angeles Lakers never trailed against San Antonio.
The Lakers led by as many as 26 points in snapping an eight-game skid against the Spurs.
Making his first start of the season, Ennis had six assists and only one turnover to help Los Angeles snap San Antonio’s three-game winning streak. Russell missed the game after experiencing soreness in his knee during shootaround. Davis Bertans and Tony Parker led the Spurs with 14 points each.
Clippers 112, Mavericks 101
LOS ANGELES – Blake Griffin scored 32 points and the Los Angeles Clippers led all the way in beating the Dallas Mavericks to move within a half-game of the idle Utah Jazz for the No. 4 playoff seed in the West.
J.J. Redick added 25 points and DeAndre Jordan had 20 rebounds in the Clippers’ fourth straight victory and eighth in 10 games. Chris Paul had 22 points and 11 assists.
Harrison Barnes led the Mavs with 15 points despite five fouls. They’ve lost six of seven with four games left in their season. Dirk Nowitzki was held to nine points – under his 14.4 average – a night after the 38-year-old forward sat out the Mavs’ loss at Sacramento with a sore Achilles tendon.
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