Celtics hold off Pacers, clinch 6th straight playoff spot

Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren (1) battles for a rebound with Boston Celtics guard Romeo Langford (45) during the second half in Indianapolis on Tuesday.

By The Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS — Marcus Smart’s leaning bank shot in the final minute gave the Celtics’ the lead after the team blew a 19-point advantage, and Boston held on for a 114-111 victory Tuesday night over the Indiana Pacers to clinch a playoff spot for a sixth consecutive year.

Jayson Tatum scored 30 points for Boston while Gordon Hayward added 27 points, 10 boards and five assists in his home state.

Smart put the Celtics ahead for good at 111-109 with 49.7 seconds left by scoring in the lane over Domantis Sabonis, who led Indiana with 28 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Smart made two free throws with seven seconds to go for a three-point edge, and Justin Holiday missed badly on a contested 3-pointer as time expired.

Victor Oladipo finished with a season-high 27 points to power a stunning comeback for the Pacers, who fell into an 85-66 hole late in the third quarter.

NETS 104, LAKERS 102LOS ANGELES — Spencer Dinwiddie scored 23 points and hit the tiebreaking jumper with 28.3 seconds to play, and the Nets beat the Lakers for their second straight win since interim coach Jacque Vaughn took over.

Anthony Davis missed a wide-open 3-pointer at the buzzer that would have won it for the Lakers, whose four-game winning streak ended after an emotionally charged weekend. Los Angeles lost to a sub-.500 opponent in its first game after back-to-back victories over NBA-leading Milwaukee and the powerhouse Clippers.

Caris LeVert added 22 points as Brooklyn opened its four-game California road trip by knocking off the powerhouse Lakers, who lost for only the second time in 13 games. Vaughn’s Nets unbeaten since he surprisingly replaced Kenny Atkinson last week.

LeBron James had 29 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists for the Lakers.

ROCKETS 117, TIMBERWOLVES 111HOUSTON — James Harden scored 37 points and Houston beat Minnesota, snapping a four-game skid.

The Rockets’ losing streak, which matched a season high, came after they won six in a row and dropped them to sixth in the Western Conference with the playoffs approaching.

Russell Westbrook scored 27 points for Houston.

D’Angelo Russell had 28 points to lead the Timberwolves, who lost their third straight.

SPURS 119, MAVERICKS 109SAN ANTONIO — LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points in his return from injury and San Antonio withstood Luka Doncic’s 38 points to beat Dallas and keep its playoff hopes afloat.

San Antonio had seven players in double figures in snapping a two-game skid. Rudy Gay scored 17 points, Trey Lyles had 14 points and 11 rebounds and DeMar DeRozan added 13 points and 12 assists.

Doncic added seven rebounds and seven assists in 36 minutes. Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 points.

Dallas remains seventh in the West, 6 1/2 games ahead of Memphis.

The Spurs moved four games behind the Grizzles for the eighth seed in their bid to earn an NBA-record 23rd straight playoff berth.

MAGIC 120, GRIZZLIES 115MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Terrence Ross scored 24 points, fueling a rally with 18 in the fourth quarter, and Orlando beat Memphis.

Michael Carter-Williams added 20 points and Nikola Vucevic finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Magic.

Jonas Valanciunas led Memphis with 27 points and 16 rebounds, while Dillon Brooks and rookie Ja Morant finished with 21 points each.

The game, featuring two teams holding down the eighth and final spot in their respective conferences, was competitive until the final minute.

A 3-point attempt by Memphis guard Tyus Jones bounced off the rim in the final seconds, preserving the Magic’s third straight victory.

CLIPPERS 131, WARRIORS 107SAN FRANCISCO — Kawhi Leonard scored 23 points before sitting out the entire fourth quarter along with the rest of the Doc Rivers’ starters, Los Angeles thumped Golden State.

Paul George and Patrick Beverley scored 15 points apiece as the Clippers had seven players in double figures. Reggie Jackson added 16 points and JaMychal Green had 13 points and 10 rebounds.

The Clippers moved a game ahead of Denver for second place in the West.

Dragan Bender matched his career-high of 23 points for Golden State. Andrew Wiggins scored 21 and Marquese Chriss had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

WIZARDS 122, KNICKS 115WASHINGTON — Bradley Beal got back to his high-scoring ways with 40 points, lifting Washington past New York.

Beal overcame a slow start and surpassed the 25-point plateau for the 22nd time in 23 games. His string of 21 such games was snapped Sunday when he scored 23 in a loss to Miami.

The Wizards’ win meant the Heat will have to wait at least one more day to clinch an Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Shabazz Napier added 21 points for the Wizards.

Bobby Portis and Frank Nkilitina led the Knicks with 20 points apiece.

BULLS 108, CAVALIERS 103CHICAGO — Coby White scored 20 points to help offset a career-high nine turnovers in his first NBA start, and Chicago beat Cleveland.

Wendell Carter Jr. added 17 points. Lauri Markkanen, Denzel Valentine and Otto Porter Jr. each scored 15. Shaquille Harrison grabbed 10 rebounds. And the Bulls held off the Eastern Conference’s last-place team to win for just the third time in 16 games.

Collin Sexton led Cleveland with 26 points, giving him 25 or more in seven of the past eight games. Andre Drummond scored 21.

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