Devin Booker hits late free throws, Suns beat Trail Blazers

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PHOENIX (AP)Devin Booker made two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining to give the Phoenix Suns a 118-117 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.

Phoenix moved within a game of Utah for the No. 1 seed in the NBA and Western Conference with two games to play.

Booker’s foul shots were set up when Portland’s Robert Covington was fouled and missed both free throws with 4.4 seconds left, giving the Suns one last chance. Booker was fouled by Norman Powell as he went up for a jumper.

Portland’s C.J. McCollum missed a 3-point shot at the buzzer – after an apparent over-and-back violation – to end it.

Chris Paul led Phoenix with 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting. Mikal Bridges had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Booker had 18 points but shot just 5 of 17 from the field.

Damian Lillard scored a game-high 41 points on 16-of-23 shooting for Portland, which had its five-game winning streak stopped. McCollum had 27 points.

Phoenix played without center Deandre Ayton, who missed his first game of the season with a sore left knee.

HEAT 106, 76ERS 94

MIAMI (AP) – Jimmy Butler scored 21 points, Bam Adebayo had 18 points and 12 rebounds and Miami beat Philadelphia to hold onto the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Tyler Herro scored 18 points, Goran Dragic had 15 and Kendrick Nunn added 13. Miami captain Udonis Haslem got his first minutes of the season in the first half, scoring four points and getting ejected with two technical fouls in just under three minutes.

Tobias Harris scored 21 points, Shake Milton added 12 and Danny Green had 11 for Philadelphia, which could have wrapped up the East’s No. 1 seed with a win. Joel Embiid, who was dealing with the flu earlier in the week, managed only six points on 3-for-9 shooting.

Miami is 39-31, tied with No. 4 Atlanta and No. 6 New York. The Hawks hold a tiebreaker over the Heat; the Heat hold a tiebreaker over the Knicks.

KNICKS 102, SPURS 98

NEW YORK (AP) – Alec Burks scored a season-high 30 points in his return from a three-game absence and New York kept up its chase of home-court advantage in the playoffs by rallying to beat San Antonio.

The Spurs secured the final spot in the Western Conference play-in tournament later when Sacramento lost at Memphis.

Julius Randle had 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Knicks. They are a half-game behind Atlanta as they battle the Hawks and Miami for the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference.

RJ Barrett scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half for the Knicks, who clinched their first postseason berth since 2013 on Wednesday when Boston lost in Cleveland.

DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points for the Spurs.

BUCKS 142, PACERS 133

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Giannis Antetokounmpo had 40 points, 15 rebounds and six assists and Milwaukee wore down short-handed Indiana.

Indiana dressed just 10 players due to injuries and didn’t have a defensive answer for Antetokounmpo, the two-time NBA MVP who made 14 of 18 shots from the field – six on uncontested dunks – and hit 11 of 16 free throws.

The Bucks moved within a game of the Brooklyn Nets for the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 playoff seed.

Khris Middleton added 22 points, Brook Lopez had 21, and Jrue Holiday finished with 20 points and 14 assists.

Four of the seven ruled-out Pacers were starters, then All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis came out after tweaking his left knee in the third quarter. Sabonis had 10 points, 14 assists and six rebounds when he sat down. Justin Holiday led the Pacers with 26 points.

HAWKS 116, MAGIC 93

ATLANTA (AP) – Bogdan Bogdanovich scored 27 points, Trae Young added 18 and Atlanta beat Orlando for its third straight victory.

Clint Capela added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Hawks a day after they clinched their first playoff berth since 2016-17. Atlanta has the NBA’s longest active home winning streak at 10 games and has won 18 of its last 20 at State Farm Arena.

R.J. Hampton led the Magic with 15 points.

CLIPPERS 113, HORNETS 90

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Paul George had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Reggie Jackson made five 3-pointers and had 19 points and Los Angeles handed Charlotte its fourth loss in five games.

Kawhi Leonard added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Clippers. They are third in the Western Conferece, a game ahead of Denver.

LaMelo Ball had 18 points and seven assists for the Hornets in their regular-season home finale.

NUGGETS 114, TIMBERWOLVES 103

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) – Nikola Jokic scored 16 of his 31 points in the first quarter in Denver’s victory over Minnesota.

JaVale McGee had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Vlatko Cancar scored a career-high 14 points off the bench.

Anthony Edwards scored 18 of his 29 points in the third quarter for Minnesota. Karl-Anthony Towns added 20 points and 11 rebounds.

BULLS 114, RAPTORS 102

CHICAGO (AP) – Zach LaVine scored 24 points, Lauri Markkanen added 20 and Chicago beat short-handed Toronto.

The Bulls pulled within two games of idle Washington with two remaining for 10th place in the Eastern Conference and the final play-in spot.

Johnson led Toronto with a career-high 35 points. He made six 3s and had 10 rebounds.

GRIZZLIES 116, KINGS 110

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Dillon Brooks scored 30 points and Memphis beat Sacramento to eliminate the Kings for Western Conference play-in contention.

Jonas Valanciunas had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis in the opener of the back-to-back set.

Justin James scored a career-high 31 points for Sacramento.

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