Jalen Brunson scored a career-high 48 points and outdueled Donovan Mitchell in a potential postseason preview Friday night, when the visiting New York Knicks pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 130-116 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Knicks (45-33), in fifth place in the Eastern Conference, moved within three games of the fourth-place Cavaliers (48-30) and reduced their magic number for clinching a playoff spot to one.
The Knicks also clinched the season series (3-1) against the Cavaliers on Friday. Whomever finishes fourth will have home court advantage in the first round.
The 48-point performance broke Brunson's career high by four points and his total was the highest by a Knicks point guard in the last 60 years. All four of Brunson's 40-point games have come this season, his first in New York.
Mitchell Robinson (10 points, 14 rebounds) had a double-double for the Knicks, who had seven players finish in double figures. Mitchell finished with 42 points for the Cavaliers, who have lost two straight.
Celtics 122, Jazz 114
Another strong performance by Jayson Tatum helped Boston move a step closer to first place in the Eastern Conference standings by earning a home victory over Utah.
Tatum scored a game-high 39 points and also had 11 rebounds. He was 12 of 17 from the field, and made five of his eight 3-point attempts. Malcolm Brogdon came off the bench to score 19 points and record seven assists for the Celtics, who received 17 points from Derrick White and 12 rebounds from Blake Griffin.
Talen Horton-Tucker led the Jazz with 28 points and seven assists along with eight rebounds. Center Walker Kessler added 20 points, 10 rebounds and three blocked shots.
Warriors 130, Spurs 115
Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole combined for 20 3-pointers and 91 points as Golden State rallied to beat San Antonio in San Francisco.
Curry finished with a game-high 33 points, Thompson had 31 and Poole scored 27 for the Warriors, who used a fifth win in their last six games to move into a tie with the Los Angeles Clippers for the fifth playoff position in the Western Conference with just four games to go.
Keldon Johnson had a team-high 22 points and Malaki Branham put up 19 for the Spurs, who lost their sixth in a row, but not before leading by as many as nine points and holding an 88-87 edge through three quarters.
Suns 100, Nuggets 93
Kevin Durant scored 30 points and Devin Booker added 27 as the host Phoenix Suns extended its winning streak to four games with a victory over short-handed Denver.
Josh Okogie scored 14 points and Deandre Ayton had 10 rebounds for the Suns, who led by as many as 27 midway through the third quarter before Denver began its comeback. Chris Paul had a game-high 13 assists.
Aaron Gordon led the Nuggets with 26 points and added eight rebounds and six assists. Denver, which has lost two games in a row, played without Nikola Jokic (calf), Jamal Murray (knee), Michael Porter Jr. (heel) and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (illness).
Rockets 121, Pistons 115
Kevin Porter Jr. scored 33 points, Jalen Green added 32 and Houston snapped a seven-game skid with a victory over visiting Detroit.
The Rockets survived despite missing 11 free throws, six in the fourth. They were buoyed by double-doubles from rookie Jabari Smith Jr. (13 points, 11 rebounds) and Alperen Sengun, who added seven assists to his 15 points and 13 boards. Kenyon Martin Jr. also scored 15 points as all five Rockets starters scored in double figures.
Marvin Bagley III led Detroit (16-61) with 21 points while Ivey paired 18 points with a game-high nine assists. Despite Cory Joseph (17 points) and Jalen Duren (11 points, 10 rebounds) excelling off the bench, the Pistons lost their eighth straight game and fell to 1-17 since the All-Star break.
Pacers 121, Thunder 117
T.J. McConnell scored 21 points to lead Indiana to a win over Oklahoma City in Indianapolis.
The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Pacers, while the Thunder have lost four of their past six games as they fight for a spot in the Play-In Tournament. Jalen Smith had 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Pacers.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, returning after missing the last two games with an ankle injury, scored 39 points on 11-of-22 shooting to lead Oklahoma City. He hit all 17 of his free throws. Josh Giddey added 21 points.
Kings 138, Trail Blazers 114
Domantas Sabonis had 20 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and De'Aaron Fox registered 20 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds to help visiting Sacramento crush Portland.
Keegan Murray and Malik Monk each scored 20 points and made four 3-pointers for the Kings, who won back-to-back games against the Trail Blazers by an average of 32 points.
Shaedon Sharpe scored 27 points for his fifth 20-point effort in the past six games for the Trail Blazers, who dropped their fifth straight game and fell for the 11th time in 12 games.
Magic 116, Wizards 109
Paolo Banchero had 30 points, 12 rebounds and six assists as Orlando rallied for a victory over host Washington.
Markelle Fultz added 25 points and six rebounds and Franz Wagner chipped in 20 points for the Magic, who outscored the Wizards 31-13 in the fourth quarter.
Washington's Corey Kispert hit a career-high nine 3-pointers - one shy of tying the franchise record - in 14 attempts to finish with a career-best 27 points. Daniel Gafford finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, while Delon Wright chipped in 21 points and nine rebounds for the Wizards.
Lakers 123, Timberwolves 111
Anthony Davis had 38 points and 17 rebounds and the Los Angeles Lakers rallied from a double-digit third-quarter deficit to defeat host Minnesota.
LeBron James had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and D'Angelo Russell finished with 12 points and 10 assists as all five starters scored in double figures for the Lakers (39-38), who climbed over .500 for the first time since Jan. 9, 2022.
Mike Conley scored 25 points, Karl-Anthony Towns had 23 points and Rudy Gobert finished with 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves (39-39), who have dropped two in a row following a four-game winning streak.
Grizzlies 108, Clippers 94
Desmond Bane scored 22 points and Luke Kennard added 17 against his former team as Memphis exacted some revenge on the visiting Los Angeles Clippers with a victory.
Xavier Tillman scored 14 points and Santi Aldama added 13 as Memphis won two days after the Clippers ended the Grizzlies' seven-game overall winning streak and 12-game home winning streak.
Norman Powell scored 16 points and Ivica Zubac added 15 points with 15 rebounds as the Clippers were unable to continue the prowess from 3-point range that they showed Wednesday when they were 22 of 37 (59.5 per cent) from distance. Los Angeles went 11 of 35 (31.4 per cent) on Friday.
76ers 117, Raptors 110
Joel Embiid had 25 points and 12 rebounds and Philadelphia defeated visiting Toronto.
James Harden added 23 points and 11 assists for the 76ers, who won for the second straight game. The 76ers won the season series with the Raptors 3-1. Tyrese Maxey and De'Anthony Melton each scored 13 points for Philadelphia and Paul Reed scored 11.
Scottie Barnes had 29 points, nine rebounds, eight assists and four steals for the Raptors, who had a three-game winning streak end. Fred VanVleet scored 19 points, O.G. Anunoby added 17 and Pascal Siakam had 14. VanVleet and Siakam combined to shoot 10-for-32 from the field.
Bulls 121, Hornets 91
DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine scored 23 points apiece and Chicago was in control for most of the game in a romp past host Charlotte.
Nikola Vucevic provided 21 points and eight rebounds, shooting 9-for-14 overall to contribute to the Bulls' 51.1-percent shooting from the field.
It was the end of a three-game winning streak for the Hornets, who couldn't overcome a roster reduced by injuries. James Bouknight came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with a season-high 22 points, while Svi Mykhailiuk had 16 points and JT Thor added 10 points.
Nets 124, Hawks 107
Mikal Bridges scored 42 points as Brooklyn strengthened its grip on sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a victory over Atlanta in New York.
Bridges produced his third 40-point game since being acquired in the trade-deadline deal that sent Kevin Durant to the Phoenix Suns. He finished three shy of his career high set Feb. 15 in Brooklyn against the Miami Heat.
Dejounte Murray scored 21 points to lead the Hawks. Saddiq Bey added 16 but star Trae Young was held to 10. Young missed his first seven shots, finished 3-for-12 and missed all five 3-point tries for Atlanta, which shot 42.9 per cent and missed 29 of 37 long-range attempts.
-Field Level Media