NBA scores: Spurs beat Pistons to clinch playoff spot
San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard drives around Detroit Pistons forward Marcus Morris during the second half of an NBA basketball game in San Antonio on Wednesday, March 2, 2016. (AP / Eric Gay)
The Associated Press
Published Thursday, March 3, 2016 2:14AM EST
SAN ANTONIO - Kawhi Leonard scored 27 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 as the San Antonio Spurs beat the Detroit Pistons 97-81 on Wednesday night to clinch their 19th straight playoff berth.
San Antonio (51-9) won its 29th straight home game to open the season in its first game following a monthlong road trip brought on by the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo.
San Antonio joins Golden State as the only teams to clinch spots in the post-season.
Leonard and Aldridge excelled against a Detroit team thinned by injuries to forwards Anthony Tolliver and Stanley Johnson. Aldridge added 10 rebounds and Leonard had six rebounds and five assists for San Antonio, which has won six straight.
Detroit centre Andre Drummond had nine points and 14 rebounds, ending his career-high and the league's season-high of consecutive double-doubles at 13 straight.
CLIPPERS 103, THUNDER 98
LOS ANGELES - The Oklahoma City Thunder took the court hours after the death of part-owner Aubrey McClendon and squandered a 22-point lead in a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Chris Paul had 21 points and 13 assists for Los Angeles, and DeAndre Jordan had 20 points and 18 rebounds. The Clippers ended the game with a stunning 26-5 run after trailing by 16 with 7:30 left. The Thunder had only one field goal during that stretch.
It was the largest comeback victory of the season for the Clippers, who reached the 40-win mark for the fifth year in a row.
Kevin Durant scored 30 points and Russell Westbrook had 24 points and 12 assists for Oklahoma City in the first of three meetings this month between the Western Conference contenders.
McClendon, 56, was killed slamming his sport utility vehicle into a concrete bridge embankment in Oklahoma City shortly after 9 a.m. local time. The crash occurred one day after he was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly conspiring to rig bids to buy oil and natural gas leases in northwest Oklahoma while he was CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp.
In a statement released Tuesday after the indictment, McClendon denied violating antitrust laws and said he would fight to prove his innocence and clear his name.
It was the second deadly crash connected to the Thunder organization in three weeks. On Feb. 10, Ingrid Williams, the 44-year-old wife of assistant coach Monty Williams, was killed in a head-on collision just outside Oklahoma City.
ROCKETS 100, PELICANS 95
HOUSTON - James Harden had 39 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists to help Houston overcome miserable shooting in a victory over New Orleans.
The Rockets went 3 of 34 on 3-point attempts and committed 21 turnovers but were able to rally past New Orleans thanks to an off night from Pelicans star Anthony Davis.
With their horrendous shooting performance, Houston became the first team in NBA history to make fewer than four 3s on 30 or more attempts.
But on the 34th attempt, Houston point guard Patrick Beverley delivered the most important shot of the game, a 3-pointer from the corner that gave the Rockets a lead with less than a minute remaining.
NUGGETS 117, LAKERS 107
DENVER - D.J. Augustin scored 22 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead six Denver players in double figures, and the Nuggets beat Los Angeles in Kobe Bryant's final game at the Pepsi Center.
Emmanuel Mudiay added 22 points and the Nuggets used a 10-0 run midway through the final quarter to gain some separation.
Bryant finished with five points and didn't play in the second half because of a sore right shoulder. Fans kept chanting "We want Kobe" as he sat on the bench with a wrap on his shoulder.
The Nuggets honoured Bryant with a video tribute during a timeout in the first quarter.
RAPTORS 104, JAZZ 94
TORONTO - Kyle Lowry scored 32 points, DeMar DeRozan added 31 and Toronto beat Utah for a club-record 11th straight home win.
Lowry, who had a career-high 43 points in a victory over Cleveland on Friday night before being rested Sunday in a loss at Detroit, added five assists and four rebounds. Toronto (40-19) led the entire second half on the way to its fifth win in six games.
The Jazz (28-32) were led by Gordon Hayward, who had 26 points, six assists and three rebounds. Derrick Favors added 15 points and seven rebounds for Utah, which has lost four straight and seven of 11.
There were 11 lead changes and nine ties in the first half before the Raptors took control.
MAGIC 102, BULLS 89
ORLANDO, Fla. - Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points, rookie Mario Hezonja added a career-high 21, and Orlando beat Chicago.
Victor Oladipo scored 17 points and Aaron Gordon had 13 points and 15 rebounds as Orlando coasted to an easy win. Elfrid Payton had nine points and 12 assists.
Derrick Rose led Chicago with 16 points, all in the first half. Pau Gasol had 12 points and Doug McDermott was the only other Bulls player in double figures with 11.
Both teams were on the second game of back-to-backs and it looked it. Orlando hit only 40.2 per cent, while Chicago shot just 38.4 per cent from the field.
WIZARDS 104, TIMBERWOLVES 98
MINNEAPOLIS - Bradley Beal scored 26 points and Alan Anderson added 18 to lead Washington to a fourth straight victory.
John Wall had 14 points and 12 assists, and Beal and Anderson led a Wizards bench that outscored Minnesota's second unit 64-18. Washington shot 50 per cent, hit 11 of 29 3-pointers and scored 50 points in the paint to overcome 17 turnovers.
Ricky Rubio had 22 points and six rebounds, Zach LaVine scored 21 and Karl-Anthony Towns had 14 points, 15 rebounds and five assists for the Timberwolves. Minnesota made 29 free throws to just nine for Washington, but 19 turnovers did in the young Wolves.
CELTICS 116, TRAIL BLAZERS 93
BOSTON - Isaiah Thomas had 30 points to lead Boston to a fourth straight win.
Avery Bradley added 17 points as the Celtics won their 12th straight at home. The streak ties Boston's longest since it won 13 straight at the Garden during the 2008-09 season.
Six Boston players reached double figures and the Celtics also outscored Portland 60-34 in the paint, while committing just five turnovers.
Damian Lillard led Portland with 20 points. C.J. McCollum added 17.
GRIZZLIES 104, KINGS 98
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Mike Conley scored 24 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, to lead Memphis to a victory over Sacramento.
Conley, who also had five assists, shot 9 of 12, including all three attempts from 3-point range as the Grizzlies won their second straight and sixth in the last eight.
Zach Randolph finished with 19 points and eight rebounds for Memphis, while JaMychal Green and Mario Chalmers scored 15 apiece. Chris Andersen added 10 points, including the final two free throws with 17 seconds left to seal the victory.
DeMarcus Cousins led the Kings with 18 points and 16 rebounds, but was 7 of 18 from the field. Darren Collison finished with 17 points.
PACERS 104, BUCKS 99
MILWAUKEE - Jordan Hill had 19 points and Indiana survived a last-minute rally to defeat Milwaukee and end a three-game losing streak.
Paul George and Rodney Stuckey added 15 each for Indiana.
Khris Middleton had 23 points to pace the Bucks, who have lost three of four. Giannis Antetokounmpo added 22 and Jabari Parker 18 for Milwaukee.
Greg Monroe scored 11 straight points to start the fourth quarter to bring the Bucks within six. Stuckey came back with 12 straight for the Pacers to push their lead back to double digits.
The Bucks rallied late. Jerryd Bayless was fouled as he made a slashing layup with 16.4 seconds. He made the free throw to cut Indiana's lead to three. George missed two free throws with 14.9 remaining. After a timeout, Middleton's 3-point attempt clanked off the rim with 5.9 seconds left.
HORNETS 119, 76ERS 99
PHILADELPHIA - Kemba Walker scored 30 points and Cody Zeller had 15 to lead Charlotte to a victory over Philadelphia.
Marvin Williams and Jeremy Lin each added 14 points for the Hornets as they continue their climb up the Eastern Conference standings. Charlotte won for the second straight night and has won 10 of 13 overall.
The Hornets let the Sixers hang around for 2 1/2 quarters before closing the third on a 14-4 run. Courtney Lee hit a 3-pointer that sparked Charlotte, and Walker scored 11 in the period.
The Hornets became the latest team to top 100 points against the 76ers, reaching that mark with 5:26 left. The Sixers have allowed 100-plus in nine straight games and more than 120 points four times during that span.