In the final home game of a legendary career, Dirk Nowitzki gave an exuberant sellout crowd one final show with a season-high 30 points in the Dallas Mavericks’ 120-109 win against the visiting Phoenix Suns on Tuesday.
Nowitzki, 40, announced after the game that he would retire following the Mavericks’ season finale Wednesday at San Antonio.
The 7-footer, who entered the league in the lockout-shortened 1999 season and revolutionized the power forward position, scored 10 points in the opening seven minutes and had 19 points on a season-high 18 shot attempts in the first half to power Dallas to a 68-38 halftime lead.
Suns veteran Jamal Crawford wasn’t going to let Nowitzki totally steal the stage. He put in seven 3-pointers in posting a season-high 51 points. At age 39, he became the oldest player ever to reach 50 in an NBA game.
Heat 122, 76ers 99
Dwyane Wade, playing the final home game of his NBA career, scored 30 points to lead Miami over Philadelphia.
Wade made 10 of 23 shots, including 4 of 10 on attempts from beyond the arc. It was his second-highest scoring game of the season. But it was a bittersweet night for the Heat, who were eliminated from playoff contention earlier in the evening when the Detroit Pistons rallied from a 22-point deficit to defeat the Memphis Grizzlies.
Philadelphia, which has already clinched the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs, rested two of its stars: Joel Embiid, who was listed as having a knee injury, and JJ Redick (back).
Warriors 112, Pelicans 103
DeMarcus Cousins had 21 points and 12 rebounds against his former team as visiting Golden State defeated New Orleans.
After clinching home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs on Sunday, the Warriors had Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala and Andrew Bogut among their inactive players. Stephen Curry left for game after scoring five points in nine minutes in what the Warriors called “a precaution” after he sustained a mild foot sprain.
Jahlil Okafor scored 30 points to lead the short-handed Pelicans, who dressed just eight players and finished the season 33-49.
Raptors 120, Timberwolves 100
Kawhi Leonard scored 20 points as visiting Toronto completed its regular-season schedule with a victory over Minnesota.
The Raptors (58-24) secured the second-best record in the Eastern Conference with the win, behind only the Milwaukee Bucks (60-21), who play their final game Wednesday.
Fred VanVleet added 16 points for the Raptors, Chris Boucher added career bests with 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Pascal Siakam and Norman Powell each scored 10 points. Gorgui Dieng and Andrew Wiggins each scored 16 points for the Timberwolves.
Jazz 118, Nuggets 108
Donovan Mitchell matched his career best of 46 points, and Utah posted a victory over Denver in Salt Lake City.
Rudy Gobert added 20 points and 10 rebounds as Utah notched its ninth straight home win against Denver. Utah locked up the No. 5 seed for the Western Conference playoffs.
Malik Beasley scored 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting for the Nuggets, who have lost four of their past six games and are a half-game ahead of Houston after the Rockets fell to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
Trail Blazers 104, Lakers 101
Instead of quietly sneaking into the offseason after losing its season finale to playoff-bound Portland, Los Angeles made some noise when Magic Johnson announced his resignation as president of basketball operations for the team.
The game still meant something for Portland, though, and the Trail Blazers clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs when Maurice Harkless made a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a win. The Trail Blazers can overtake the Rockets on a tiebreaker to finish third in the West with a win against the visiting Sacramento Kings on Wednesday.
Harkless, who left the previous game with left hip tightness, finished with 26 points. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 32 points and eight assists for the Lakers, who finished with 37 wins — two more than last season.
Thunder 112, Rockets 111
Russell Westbrook scored 29 points, but it was Paul George’s corner 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left that sent Oklahoma City to a home win over Houston.
Oklahoma City trailed by 14 early in the fourth quarter and by four in the final minute before Westbrook’s and George’s heroics.
James Harden made his first 12 free throws in the game but with less than 10 seconds left and Houston on top 111-109, he missed one, giving the Thunder a chance to tie or take the lead. Westbrook barreled up the court, briefly handing the ball off to Steven Adams near midcourt before getting the ball and firing it to George in the corner for what proved to be the game-winner.
Celtics 116, Wizards 100
Terry Rozier led seven Boston players in double figures with 21 points as his team closed out the regular season with a win over host Washington.
The Celtics rallied from a 13-point, third-quarter deficit for their sixth win in eight games. Boston, which played without Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Kyrie Irving, Al Horford, Marcus Morris, Aron Baynes and Gordon Hayward, will be the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Semi Ojeleye, Brad Wanamaker and RJ Hunter had 17 points apiece for Boston, which outscored Washington 27-15 in the fourth quarter. Tomas Satoransky led the Wizards with 19 points, and Bradley Beal scored 16 points in 16 minutes. Beal became the first person in franchise history to finish a season averaging at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists per game.
Pistons 100, Grizzlies 93
Andre Drummond scored 20 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, and Detroit came back from a 22-point deficit to defeat visiting Memphis.
Despite winning, the Pistons were unable to clinch the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Charlotte Hornets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and remain one game behind Detroit heading into Wednesday night’s final regular-season games. The Pistons finish against the Knicks at New York while the Hornets host the Orlando Magic.
The Pistons, who trailed by 22 in the second quarter, climbed all the way back and took an 85-83 lead on Ish Smith’s jumper just moments after his 3-pointer tied the score at 83-all. Smith finished with 22 points off the bench, and Luke Kennard added 15 for Detroit.
Hornets 124, Cavaliers 97
Kemba Walker and Jeremy Lamb scored 23 points apiece, and Charlotte kept its playoff hopes alive with a victory over host Cleveland.
The Hornets led by 12 points in the first half and then pushed the lead all the way to 27 in the fourth quarter, winning their fourth straight and eighth in their past 11 games. They hit a season-high 22 3-pointers on 44 attempts and shot 57.7 percent from the field.
Miles Bridges and Dwayne Bacon added 18 points apiece for the Hornets. Frank Kaminsky scored 14 and Devonte Graham had 10. Collin Sexton led the Cavs with 18 points.
Knicks 96, Bulls 86
Dennis Smith Jr. scored 25 points and Kevin Knox and Luke Kornet each notched double-doubles to lead New York past host Chicago.
Knox had 17 points and 10 rebounds, Kornet chipped in 12 points and 13 rebounds and Damyean Dotson added 12 points for the Knicks (17-64), who are already assured of the NBA’s worst record this season. They can do no worse than tie the franchise record for fewest wins in a regular season, set in 2014-15.
The Bulls closed the home portion of their schedule with a 9-32 record, setting a franchise record for home futility. The 2000-01 team held the previous club standard for fewest home victories with 10.
—Field Level Media