LOS ANGELES (AP) - Paul George scored 24 points and the Los Angeles Clippers routed a Lakers team minus LeBron James 118-94 on Thursday night, moving into the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference playoff race.
The loss kept the defending NBA champion Lakers at No. 6. The Staples Center co-tenants could potentially face each other in the first round.
The Lakers have lost four of five, with six games remaining in the regular season. The only thing they’ve clinched so far is a spot in the new play-in tournament, which James has derided. Still dealing with a high ankle sprain, he will be out again Friday night for a pivotal game at Portland. That season series is tied at one.
Kawhi Leonard had 15 points, eight rebounds and six asssists, and Ivica Zubac added 14 points and eight rebounds for the Clippers.
Kyle Kuzma led the injury-plagued Lakers with 25 points. Anthony Davis, bothered lately by a right calf strain, was limited to four points on 2-of-9 shooting in nine minutes.
MAVERICKS 113, NETS 109
DALLAS (AP) - Luka Doncic scored 24 points, Tim Hardaway Jr. added 23 and Dallas beat Brooklyn to finish a season sweep.
Kyrie Irving scored a season-high 45 points for the Nets. They lost a season-high fourth straight game and dropped two games behind Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia.
Dorian Finney-Smith scored 17 points as the Mavericks reached 10 games over .500 for the first time this season and moved a half-game ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers for the fifth seed in the West. Dallas holds the tiebreaker on the defending NBA champs.
Kevin Durant had 20 points and nine rebounds for the Nets with each team missing an injured star: James Harden for Brooklyn and Kristaps Porzingis for Dallas. In the Mavericks’ 115-98 win at Brooklyn in February, Harden played while Durant and Irving were out.
Doncic also had 10 rebounds and eight assists.
WIZARDS 131, RAPTORS 129, OT
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) - Bradley Beal scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and overtime Thursday night, and Russell Westbrook had his 34th triple-double of the season in Washington’s victory that all but Toronto from the NBA’s play-in tournament.
Pascal Siakam matched his career high with 44 points for the Raptors. They lost for the fifth time in six games and fell four games behind the Wizards for the 10th spot in the Eastern Conference with five left to play.
Westbrook had 13 points, 17 rebounds and 17 assists before fouling out with 15.3 seconds left in overtime. The triple-double was the 180th of his career, leaving him one behind Oscar Robertson.
WARRIORS 118, THUNDER 97
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Stephen Curry had 34 points and seven assists and Golden State raced past Oklahoma.
Mychal Mulder added 25 points in just 20 minutes off the bench, making seven 3-pointers in 13 attempts. Andrew Wiggins had 18 points and seven rebounds.
Ty Jerome scored 23 points to lead the Thunder and Darius Bazley added 22. They have lost five straight and 19 of 20.
BULLS 120, HORNETS 99
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Nikola Vucevic had 29 points and 14 rebounds and Chicago breezed past Charlotte with Zach LaVine back on the floor for the Bulls.
LaVine returned from an 11-game absence due to the league’s health and safety protocols and scored 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
P.J. Washington, who missed Charlotte’s last game for the birth of his child, led the Hornets with 24 points on six 3-pointers.
PACERS 133, HAWKS 126
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Caris LeVert scored nine of his 31 points in the final 2:17, and Indiana awoke from a recent funk to beat Atlanta.
LeVert also had 12 assists. All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis scored 30 points on 12-of-14 shooting with nine assists.
The Pacers had dropped four of five, including one of the season’s ugliest losses Wednesday night in which they managed just 93 points at home against Sacramento’s NBA-worst defense.
Trae Young led the Hawks with 30 points and 10 assists.
PISTONS 111, GRIZZLIES 97
DETROIT (AP) - Wayne Ellington and Cory Joseph scored 18 points apiece and Detroit beat Memphis to snap a four-game losing streak.
Fighting Golden State for eighth place in the Western Conference, Memphis couldn’t take advantage of the matchup against lowly Detroit.
Ja Morant led Memphis with 20 points.
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