LeBron James passed Michael Jordan to move into fourth place on the NBA career scoring list, but the host Los Angeles Lakers lost their fourth straight in a 115-99 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.
James, who finished with 31 points, entered the night 12 behind Jordan’s career total of 32,292 points. Next on the list is Kobe Bryant, who finished his career with 33,643 points. James tied Jordan on a 19-foot jumper in the second quarter, passing the Hall of Famer when he drove for a left-handed layup.
Will Barton had 23 points and Nikola Jokic finished with 12 points, 17 rebounds and eight assists for Denver. Jamal Murray and Gary Harris scored 19 points each to help the Nuggets avoid blowing a 23-point lead.
Denver ended a three-game skid and moved within a game of Golden State for the top seed in the Western Conference. Denver visits the Warriors on Friday night.
Celtics 111, Kings 109
Gordon Hayward avenged a critical foul 5.6 seconds earlier by sinking a tiebreaking jumper with two seconds remaining, giving Boston a close victory over host Sacramento.
Al Horford recorded 21 points and a game-high 11 rebounds while also finding time for a team-high seven assists as the Celtics completed a back-to-back sweep in Northern California after shellacking the Golden State Warriors 128-95 on Tuesday night.
Harrison Barnes had a team-high 24 points for the Kings, who wrapped up a 1-3 homestand. Celtics All-Star Kyrie Irving sat out with a bruised left thigh one night after having 19 points and 11 assists in Boston’s romp at Golden State.
Bulls 108, 76ers 107
Zach LaVine’s driving layup with 1.6 seconds left in the game lifted Chicago to a tight win over visiting Philadelphia.
Butler made two free throws with 4.8 seconds left to give the 76ers a 107-106 lead. Chicago called timeout, and LaVine drove the lane practically uncontested to score the winning basket after a defensive switch gone wrong. He was fouled by Mike Scott but missed the free throw.
LaVine finished with 39 points on 14-of-26 shooting from the field. He scored 24 of his points in the second half. Butler scored 22 points to lead five Philadelphia players in double figures. Simmons, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week, compiled 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.
Spurs 111, Hawks 104
LaMarcus Aldridge racked up 32 points, including a pair of big baskets in the final two minutes, as visiting San Antonio defeated Atlanta to capture its fourth straight win.
Derrick White added 18 points, six rebounds, nine assists and a career-high six blocked shots for San Antonio. DeRozan scored 14 points while Patty Mills, Rudy Gay and Bertans hit for 12 points each for the Spurs. Gay also grabbed a team-high 11 rebounds in the victory.
Young led the Hawks with 22 points, 20 of them in the second half. John Collins scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Hawks. Kent Bazemore hit for 12 points, Alex Len tallied 11 and Vince Carter contributed 10 points for Atlanta, which lost its second consecutive contest and third in the past four.
Jazz 114, Pelicans 104
Derrick Favors scored 25 points, and visiting Utah ended New Orleans’ three-game winning streak.
Rudy Gobert added 22 points and 13 rebounds and Donovan Mitchell scored 22 for the Jazz, who had lost at home to the Pelicans 115-112 on Monday. The Jazz won for the fifth time in their past six games overall and the eighth time in the past 10 meetings with the Pelicans.
Julius Randle scored 23 points, Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis added 16 each, Frank Jackson scored 13 and Kenrich Williams had 12 to lead the Pelicans.
Heat 91, Hornets 84
Kelly Olynyk scored 22 points and Hassan Whiteside came off the bench for 18 points and 15 rebounds as visiting Miami emerged in a playoff atmosphere with a critical win over Charlotte.
The teams entered the game with identical 29-34 records, so the win allowed the Heat to take sole possession of eighth place in the Eastern Conference playoff race. The Heat have now won three straight and four of their last five.
The Heat also got 13 points from Josh Richardson and 10 from Bam Adebayo. Dwyane Wade, in his final game at the Spectrum Center, scored eight on 4-of-15 shooting from the field. Kemba Walker and Frank Kaminsky led the Hornets with 20 points apiece, although Walker was just 5 of 17 from the field.
Pistons 131, Timberwolves 114
Andre Drummond erupted for 31 points and 15 rebounds and Detroit won for the 10th time in 12 games by downing visiting Minnesota.
Drummond’s point total was two shy of his career best. Detroit’s bench also played a major hand in the victory, which put the Pistons over the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 19. Luke Kennard had 21 points and Ish Smith supplied 19 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Karl-Anthony Towns led Minnesota with 24 points before fouling out. Andrew Wiggins had 18 points and Jeff Teague contributed 15 points and eight assists. Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson was ejected with 10:07 remaining for elbowing Drummond in the face, being called for a Flagrant 2 foul.
Wizards 132, Mavericks 123
Bradley Beal scored 30 points, and Washington Wizards pulled away late for a win over visiting Dallas.
Trevor Ariza added 22 points and Jabari Parker scored 20 points for Washington, which has won three of four and sits 11th in the Eastern Conference. Parker made his final 10 shots after missing his first attempt. Beal hit 11 of 19 shots in registering his 17th 30-plus-point game since Dec. 1.
Luka Doncic had 31 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Mavericks, who have lost eight of their past nine games. Dwight Powell added 26 points and 10 rebounds for Dallas. Dirk Nowitzki scored two points in what was likely his last game in Washington.
Nets 113, Cavaliers 107
Reserve Spencer Dinwiddie scored 28 points, and Brooklyn overcame a lackluster third quarter, gained control midway through the fourth and held on for a win over Cleveland in New York.
Dinwiddie recorded his team-record 14th game with at least 20 points off the bench this season. He shot 10 of 21 from the floor. The Nets won their second straight game by overcoming an ugly third quarter in which they were outscored 35-25.
Love scored 21 of his 24 points after halftime and pulled down 16 rebounds for Cleveland, which shot 40.2 percent from the field and committed 18 turnovers. David Nwaba finished with a career-high 22 points for the Cavaliers.
Suns 107, Knicks 96
Devin Booker scored a season-high 41 points, including nine straight on three consecutive 3-pointers spanning the second and third quarters that gave Phoenix the lead for good in beating visiting New York in a battle of the two worst teams in the NBA.
The Suns (15-51) have won three straight, one shy of their season high, to drop 1 1/2 games behind the Knicks (13-52) in the “race” for the worst record in the NBA. The teams with the three worst records will all have a 14-percent chance of landing the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft Lottery on May 14.
DeAndre Jordan had a double-double (17 points, 14 rebounds) for the Knicks, who have gone 3-5 since a single-season, franchise-record 18-game losing streak.
—Field Level Media