Home Sports Portland firms up hold on eight seed in West

Portland firms up hold on eight seed in West

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Damian Lillard scored 31 points and the host Portland Trail Blazers continued their late-season push for the playoffs with a sixth straight victory, beating the Phoenix Suns 130-117 on Saturday night.

The Blazers were playing their first game without Jusuf Nurkic since announcing Friday that he had fractured his right leg and will miss the rest of the regular season.

The win moved them 2½ games ahead of Denver for the eight seed in the Western Conference and a likely first-round playoff date with the Warriors.

C.J. McCollum added 29 points for Portland (38-38), which led by as many as 25 points and got back to .500 for the first time since it was 12-12 on Dec. 9.

Devin Booker had 31 for the Suns, who lost their 11th straight for the fifth-longest losing streak in franchise history. The Suns are a half-game ahead of the Lakers at the bottom of the Western Conference.

Bulls 106, Hawks 104: Jimmy Butler scored 33 points and scored the Bulls’ final nine points, including two on free throws with 2.1 seconds left, to lead host Chicago.

Tim Hardaway Jr. then missed a three-pointer for Atlanta as time expired, giving the Bulls their third straight win. That put them in a tie with Miami and Indiana for the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. The sixth-place Hawks, who had won two straight after dropping seven in a row, trail Milwaukee by a game.

Rajon Rondo had a season-high 25 points and added 11 rebounds.

Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 29 points while Hardaway scored 20.

Clippers 115, Lakers 104: Blake Griffin scored 36 points, Chris Paul added 29 and the Clippers, the nominal home team, beat the Lakers at Staples Center, giving coach Doc Rivers his 800th career victory.

J.J. Redick added 19 points for the Clippers, who moved a game behind the Jazz for the No. 4 playoff seed in the West. The Clippers have won three in a row and seven of nine.

Rookie David Nwaba scored 19 points and Brandon Ingram had 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Lakers. They have lost 18 of 20 since the All-Star break. D’Angelo Russell, the team’s leading scorer at 15.7 points, had two points on 1-of-9 shooting and missing six three-point attempts.

Nets 121, Magic 111: Brook Lopez scored 30 points, Trevor Booker had a season-high 23 and host Brooklyn snapped a two-game losing streak. Brooklyn had a season-high 72 points in the paint.

Elfrid Payton had 20 points, 11 assists and 11 rebounds for his fifth triple-double of the season for Orlando, which has lost four straight games.

Brooklyn opened the fourth quarter on an 11-0 run to take a 100-89 lead and never looked back.

Kings 123, Timberwolves 117: Buddy Hield tied a career high with 22 points, going 4-for-6 from three-point range, and visiting Sacramento got 66 points from its bench to recover after losing by 28 points a night earlier at New Orleans against former Kings star DeMarcus Cousins.

Playing its fifth game in seven nights, Sacramento shot a season-high 56.4 percent to win for the sixth time in 15 games since trading Cousins on Feb. 21. Andrew Wiggins scored 32 points for Minnesota, which had won five of its previous six home games. A game after scoring a career-high 33 points, Ricky Rubio had 11 points on just 1-of-10 shooting, and added 13 assists.

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