NBA capsules: Griffin, Clippers earn record-tying 56th victory
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin scored 27 points, DeAndre Jordan added 21, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Sacramento Kings 117-101 on Saturday to earn their franchise record-tying 56th victory of the regular season.
Chris Paul added 17 points and 10 assists, J.J. Redick had 13 points, and Matt Barnes scored 12 in helping the playoff-bound Clippers improve to 33-7 at Staples Center, breaking the franchise mark for home victories in a season. Griffin had nine assists, and Jordan had nine rebounds.
Los Angeles completed a season sweep of the Kings and has won seven straight against them at home.
DeMarcus Cousins had his seventh straight double-double with 32 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Kings, who lost their fifth in a row in their last road game of the season.
HAWKS 98, HEAT 85
ATLANTA — Jeff Teague scored 25 points, Lou Williams had 18 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Atlanta Hawks earned the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot.
Atlanta’s third straight victory eliminated the New York Knicks from playoff contention. Williams scored the Hawks’ last 12 points.
LeBron James finished with 27 points and Dwyane Wade, in his first game since missing nine straight with a sore left hamstring, scored 24 for the Miami Heat.
The two-time defending champion Heat, who have lost three of four, gave up the ground they gained in the standings Friday by beating Indiana at home and taking a one-half game lead over the Pacers. Miami and Indiana are now tied atop the Eastern Conference with 54-26 records. The Heat’s 85 points were their third-fewest this season.
WIZARDS 194, BUCKS 91
WASHINGTON — Bradley Beal scored 26 points, and the Washington Wizards moved a step closer to claiming the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over the Milwaukee Bucks, whose loss guaranteed they will finish with at least a tie for the worst record in the NBA.
John Wall added 15 points and eight assists for the Wizards, who also clinched the franchise’s first winning record since 2008 — which was also the last time they made the playoffs.
Washington leads the seventh-place Charlotte Bobcats, who beat the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, by one game with two to play. The Bobcats hold the tiebreaker if Washington and Charlotte finish tied. Both teams are hoping to finish higher than seventh in order to avoid a first-round series against Miami or Indiana.
Khris Middleton and Ramon Sessions scored 20 points apiece to lead the Bucks.
BOBCATS 111, 76ERS 105
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Al Jefferson continued his dominating play with 29 points and 12 rebounds, and the Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Philadelphia 76ers for their sixth win in seven games.
It marked the sixth straight game Jefferson had at least 20 points and 10 rebounds in a game — extending his own franchise record.
The Bobcats (41-39) remained one game behind the Washington Wizards in the race for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with two games left in the regular season. The Wizards defeated Milwaukee 104-91 on Saturday night.
Michael Carter-Williams had 23 points and eight assists to lead the 76ers, who have lost 16 of their last 17 games on the road.
CELTICS 111, CAVALIERS 99
CLEVELAND — Rookie Kelly Olynyk matched a career high with 25 points and the short-handed Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Avery Bradley also scored 25 points for the Celtics, who built a 33-point lead early in the fourth quarter before Cleveland’s reserves cut into the margin. Boston snapped a 13-game road losing streak and won for the first time away from home since Feb. 10. The Celtics have won consecutive games for the first time since early March.
Kyrie Irving scored and Dion Waiters each scored 15 points for Cleveland, but neither played in the fourth quarter that began with Boston leading 89-58.
ROCKETS 111, PELICANS 104
HOUSTON — James Harden had 33 points and 13 assists and the Houston Rockets rallied past the New Orleans Pelicans to maintain their spot in the Western Conference standings with the postseason just days away.
The Rockets had lost two in a row and needed the win to stay ahead of Portland in fourth place in the West.
Houston got a boost from the return of Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley, who had both missed the last eight games with injuries. Beverley scored 20 points and Howard had 13.
Luke Babbitt, who was signed by the Pelicans in February after playing 18 games in Russia this season, had a career-high 24 points as New Orleans dropped its eighth straight.
MAVERICKS 101, SUNS 98
DALLAS — Monta Ellis matched his season high with 37 points and Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 of his 23 during a second-half rally that carried the Dallas Mavericks back to the playoffs.
Ellis and Nowitzki brought the Mavericks back by hitting five 3-pointers between them in less than 4 minutes of the third quarter, erasing most of a 13-point deficit. Then, they teamed to get the lead back in the fourth, and Dallas held on in the final minutes.
The Mavericks left the Suns and Memphis to battle for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas is back in the postseason after a 12-year playoff streak ended last season.
Eric Bledsoe scored 29 points for the Suns.
NUGGETS 101, JAZZ 94
DENVER — Kenneth Faried scored 24 points and pulled down 21 rebounds in the short-handed Denver Nuggets’ come-from-behind win over the Utah Jazz.
Randy Foye added 26 points and Evan Fornier 23 for the Nuggets, who trailed most of the night before sending Utah to its fourth straight loss and evening the season series with their rivals at two games each.
Foye’s 3-pointer with 6:54 left gave Denver its first lead of the night at 77-76.
Gordon Hayward led Utah with 23 points, and Enes Kanter added 22 points and 14 rebounds.
By wire sources