Indiana Pacers

Bradley Beal helps Wizards pull even with Pacers

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Bradley Beal helps Wizards pull even with Pacers

WASHINGTON — Bradley Beal scored 19 points, Marcin Gortat had 18 and the Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night in a possible playoff preview.

Washington (40-30) earned its second straight win to move into a tie with Indiana for fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. The Wizards also claimed the first tiebreaker by taking two of three in the season series.

Gortat was 6 for 8 from the field and also grabbed eight rebounds. He scored a total of 17 points in his previous four games.

Washington went 10 for 20 from 3-point range and shot 54.8 percent from the field overall. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had 16 points for the Wizards, and Markieff Morris added 15 (see full recap).

Giannis' double-double helps Bucks hold on to beat Hawks
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and 12 rebounds, Khris Middleton added 23 points and the Milwaukee Bucks held on for a 122-117 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

The Bucks finished off the Eastern Conference's worst team with a game-ending 11-5 run, pushing the pace after the Hawks lost ball-handler Dennis Schroder. The guard fouled out with 2:46 left, and was called for a technical foul after exchanging words with an official on the way to the sideline.

Middleton hit the free throw that started the run. The Hawks looked rushed on their next two possessions with a turnover and a blocked shot, allowing the Bucks to brush past them.

Trailing by 13 at one point, Atlanta put up a spirited fight before losing its 50th game of the year. Taurean Prince scored 38 points, while Schroder finished with 18 (see full recap).

LeBron gets 33 points in triple-double as Cavs beat Bulls
CHICAGO — LeBron James scored 33 points as part of a triple-double, Jordan Clarkson had a tiebreaking four-point play with 1:27 left and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls 114-109 on Saturday night.

James had 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his 15th triple-double of the season, and Jeff Green added 21 points. Clarkson finished with 19 points to help the Cavaliers salvage a six-game split on their season-high six-game trip.

Denzel Valentine led Chicago with a career-high 34 points, hitting 8 of 11 from long range. The Bulls wiped out a 17-point halftime deficit even though they held out banged-up core players Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, only to come up short in the closing minutes.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue spent the second half in the locker room with an illness, another hit for an already short-handed team (see full recap).

The judges give Raptors a perfect 10

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The judges give Raptors a perfect 10

INDIANAPOLIS -- DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and 17 rebounds, and the Toronto Raptors rallied late to get past the Indiana Pacers 106-99 on Thursday night for their 10th straight victory.

The Raptors need one more win to tie the franchise's longest winning streak. They haven't lost since Feb. 23 and broke a tie with the 2016-17 squad for longest road winning streak, which is now at eight.

But it sure wasn't easy on a night Darron Collison scored 22 points and Al Jefferson had a season-high 20 for Indiana.

The Pacers took the lead late in the first quarter and didn't trail again until midway through the fourth.

Toronto finally seized control when C.J. Miles made three 3-pointers during a 12-3 spurt that turned an 85-81 deficit into a 93-88 lead with 5:21 to play. The Raptors never trailed again and led by as much as eight twice in the final eight minutes.

Indiana got within 102-99 in the final minute, but the Raptors closed it out when DeRozan stole an inbounds pass and scored on a breakaway dunk with 10.5 seconds left (see full recap).

Spurs edge Pelicans, move into 8th seed
SAN ANTONIO -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points, Dejounte Murray had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs overcame another late rally to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 98-93 on Thursday night.

New Orleans was playing hours after learning Pelicans owner Tom Benson had died. Benson was hospitalized with the flu on Feb. 16 and never recovered. The 90-year-old native of San Antonio owned both the Pelicans and the Saints.

"For us, the motivation is that we still want to try to do everything we possibly can to try to accomplish the goal that he set out for us. That's to try to put ourselves in a position to win a championship," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said.

Anthony Davis finished with 21 points and 14 rebounds, but fouled out after playing 36 minutes. New Orleans remained in fifth in the West.

San Antonio moved into eighth in the West, holding the final playoff berth after sitting in 10th earlier this week.

The Spurs had dropped out of playoff position in part after blowing a 17-point lead to the Los Angeles Lakers and a 15-points advantage against New Orleans.

New Orleans again erased a 15-point deficit to pull within 91-90, but Davis fouled out soon after.

Jrue Holiday added 24 points for New Orleans (see full recap).

Harden, Gorden help Rockets hold off Clippers
HOUSTON -- James Harden scored 24 points, Eric Gordon added 23 and the Houston Rockets outlasted the Los Angeles Clippers for a 101-96 victory on Thursday night.

The Clippers scored six straight points, with four from Austin Rivers, to cut the lead to a basket with less than a minute left. But on the next possession, Harden stepped back and knocked down a long 2-pointer with Rivers in his face to make it 100-96.

Rivers missed a 3-pointer after that before Harden made one of two free throws with 6.2 seconds left to secure the victory.

It's Houston's third straight win and snaps a three-game winning streak for the Clippers.

Tobias Harris led the Clippers with 29 points and Rivers had 20 (see full recap).

All-Star says Fultz will 'be a problem' when healthy

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All-Star says Fultz will 'be a problem' when healthy

Sixers fans are yearning to see what Victor Oladipo has witnessed for years: Markelle Fultz play basketball.

The Pacers' All-Star guard began watching Fultz when the Sixers' rookie was a freshman at Oladipo’s alma mater, DeMatha High School in Hyattsville, Maryland. 

Oladipo, six years Fultz’s senior, related to Fultz in how he “kind of came out of nowhere.” He observed Fultz progress from fighting to make the varsity team to becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NBA draft.

“He has all the talent in the world,” Oladipo said Tuesday before the Pacers’ 101-98 win over the Sixers. "Once he gets to a 100 percent and healthy, he's going to be a problem." 

That display of talent has been put on hold as Fultz deals with a right shoulder injury, one that has hindered him from looking like that rising star Oladipo had seen. Fultz has missed all but four games his rookie year, averaging 6.0 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists. There still is no definitive decision on whether or not he will play again this season. 

Oladipo offered a glimpse into what the basketball world can expect when Fultz is back to his old self. 

“[I know] how versatile he is,” Oladipo said. “He can score the ball. He can get people involved. He does a great job in transition of getting in the open floor and being creative. The sky's the limit when he gets healthy.”

Fultz has veteran go-tos on the Sixers, and one in Oladipo as well. Back in 2016, Fultz was quoted as saying, “I always looked up to Victor Oladipo.” Oladipo said he will be there for the 19-year-old Fultz any time he wants advice or help. 

"Our high school is a cult,” Oladipo said. “It's more than just a high school. It's a brotherhood. So I look at him as my little brother."