Timberwolves 101, Thunder 93
Nikola Pekovic had 22 points and 15 rebounds and Ricky Rubio added 17 points and seven assists to help the host Minnesota Timberwolves stun the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.
Chase Budinger scored 13 points off the bench and Andrei Kirilenko played superb defense on Thunder star Kevin Durant in the second half to help the Wolves deal the Thunder an unexpected setback in their pursuit of the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Durant had 36 points and seven rebounds, but was just 4-for-9 in the final 22 minutes. Russell Westbrook added 18 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who are now 2˝ games behind the San Antonio Spurs in the West.
The Wolves had just 25 wins on the season, tied for second fewest in the West. They were playing without Olympian Kevin Love, who has missed most of the season with a broken right hand.
So they used Pekovic’s broad shoulders and Dante Cunningham’s grit to get a surprising victory.
With Minnesota leading 84-81 early in the fourth, Pekovic bulled to the basket for two layups and Cunningham, who was playing with a bruised shooting hand, hit a jumper and converted a tough layup in traffic for a 92-81 lead.
Celtics 118, Hawks 107
Paul Pierce had 20 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, and Jeff Green scored 27 points to carry the host Boston Celtics. Jason Terry was 5-of-7 on 3-pointers and finished with 24 points for Boston. Josh Smith led the Atlanta Hawks with 18 points but shot just 7-of-23 from the floor and 0-for-6 in the second half.
Heat 108, Hornets 89
LeBron James scored 36 points, hitting six consecutive 3-pointers in less than six minutes during the first half, and the Miami Heat rebounded from their first loss in nearly two months to beat the host New Orleans Hornets. The Heat, whose 27-game winning streak ended in Chicago on Wednesday, looked ready to start a new one while clinching the top seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs. James kept shooting 3-pointers after making his first one with 1:55 left in the first quarter. James finished with seven 3s.
Raptors 99, Pistons 82
DeMar DeRozan and Rudy Gay scored 21 points apiece and the visiting Toronto Raptors ended a five-game skid. The Raptors led 46-45 at the break and took control by outscoring Detroit 23-5 in the first eight minutes of the third period. Gay, who had just two points at halftime, scored 19 points during the third.
Magic 97, Wizards 92
Tobias Harris had 30 points and 11 rebounds to help the host Orlando Magic break an eight-game losing streak. Maurice Harkless added 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while reserves E’Twaun Moore and Andrew Nicholson scored 15 and 14, respectively, for Orlando. John Wall led the Washington Wizards with 35 points, nine rebounds and two assists.
Grizzlies 103, Rockets 94
Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol scored 21 points apiece and the host Memphis Grizzlies snapped a two-game losing streak. Randolph added 12 rebounds, Tony Allen scored 16 points, connecting on 8 of 12 shots, and Mike Conley had 15 points and 10 assists.
Knicks 111, Bobcats 102
J.R. Smith scored 37 points as the host New York Knicks got their season-high seventh straight victory. Carmelo Anthony had 32 points and Raymond Felton added 18 for the Knicks. They built a 30-point lead that was reduced to single digits. Gerald Henderson tied a career high with 35 points for the Bobcats.
Spurs 104, Clippers 102
Tim Duncan had a season-high 34 points, including a game-winning three-point play with 2.2 seconds left, and the host San Antonio Spurs outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers. Duncan also had 11 rebounds for San Antonio (55-17), which won its seventh straight at home. Tony Parker added 24 points and eight assists. Blake Griffin had 18 points for Los Angeles.
Nuggets 109, Nets 87
Rookie Evan Fournier scored a season-high 19 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter, and the host Denver Nuggets extended their home winning streak to 18 games. Wilson Chandler had 16 points and Corey Brewer and Kosta Koufos added 13 points apiece for the Nuggets, who are one win shy of matching their longest home winning streak since Jan. 28-April 20, 1989.