Kobe Bryant scored 40 points and Pau Gasol added 26 as the Los Angeles Lakers found themselves rallying for the second straight game against one of the West conference’s worst teams, beating the Golden State Warriors 120-112 on Sunday night.
Ramon Sessions added 23 points in his best game since being traded to the Lakers two weeks ago. Gasol and reserve Troy Murphy had 11 rebounds each after All-Star center Andrew Bynum sprained his left ankle in the first quarter of the Lakers’ eighth consecutive home win against the Warriors.
David Lee led six Warriors in double figures with 27 points. Klay Thompson added 18, Nate Robinson 17, and Richard Jefferson 16 for Golden State, which lost its fifth in a row and 10th in their last 12.
THUNDER 92, BULLS 78
At Oklahoma City, Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and Kevin Durant added 26 points and 10 rebounds as the Oklahoma City Thunder used a dominating third quarter to beat Chicago.
The Thunder pulled away by outscoring Chicago 31-12 in the third quarter, allowing the Bulls to make only five of their 21 shots.
Oklahoma City clinched a playoff berth in the process, with the help of tiebreakers over the teams fighting for the Western Conference’s final spot in the postseason.
The Bulls played without All-Star point guard Derrick Rose for the 10th straight game, falling to 14-6 this season without the reigning MVP and 7-3 during his current absence with a groin injury.
CELTICS 91, HEAT 72
At Boston, Rajon Rondo had a triple-double as Boston handed Miami its biggest loss of the season.
The Celtics outscored the Heat 31-12 in the third quarter, turning a five-point halftime lead into an 80-56 advantage. They stayed ahead by at least 19 the rest of the way for their fifth straight win.
Miami’s last three losses have been by at least 15 points and its previous worst defeat of the season came just one week earlier in a 103-87 setback at Oklahoma City.
Rondo finished with 16 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds for his fifth triple-double of the season.
The Celtics increased their Atlantic Division lead to one game over idle Philadelphia.
NUGGETS 104, MAGIC 101
At Orlando, Ty Lawson scored 12 of his 25 points in the second half and Arron Afflalo added 22 points as Denver beat short-handed Orlando.
The Nuggets won back-to-back games for the first time since a four-game win streak the first week of March. Al Harrington added 18 points.
Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 27 points, followed by Ryan Anderson with 20 and Glen Davis with 18. The Magic played without center Dwight Howard, who missed his first game of the season with back spasms.
The loss was Orlando’s third straight and only the second to the Nuggets in 19 meetings at home.
Howard’s absence was noticeable throughout, with the Nuggets scoring 44 points in the paint and shooting a 56 percent for the night.
RAPTORS 99, WIZARDS 92
At Toronto, Andrea Bargnani scored 18 points, Jose Calderon and DeMar DeRozan each had 15 as Toronto beat Washington at home for the fifth straight time.
Amir Johnson scored 10 points and James Johnson, Gary Forbes and Alan Anderson each had nine for the Raptors, who never trailed.
John Wall had 13 points and 11 assists and Kevin Seraphin scored a career-high 16 points for the Wizards, who were trying to win back-to-back games for the second time this season. Washington’s only two-game winning streak came with victories at Detroit on Feb. 12 and at Portland on Feb. 14.
Jordan Crawford scored 18 points, Chris Singleton fouled out with 15, Roger Mason Jr. had 12 and Jan Veseley 10 for the Wizards, who have lost 11 of 14.
PACERS 104, ROCKETS 102, OT
At Houston, Danny Granger scored 32 points, including two free throws with 15.7 seconds left in overtime, leading Indiana past Houston.
The Pacers led by one when Paul George turned the ball over. Courtney Lee grabbed it and looked to have tied the ball up for Houston, but he stumbled trying to wrestle it away from the Pacers and was called for traveling.
Granger’s free throws came next, before Chandler Parsons made a layup on the other end to again cut the lead to 1.
Darren Collison made the first of two free throws with 10.5 seconds left and Granger blocked a shot by Parsons at the buzzer to give Indiana the victory.
Goran Dragic led the Rockets with 22 points and Lee added 20.
SUNS 92, HORNETS 75
At Phoenix, Jared Dudley scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half and Phoenix climbed back to .500 and moved 1-1/2 games behind eighth-place Houston in the Western Conference.
Shannon Brown, starting for injured Grant Hill, added 16 for Phoenix. Channing Frye had 14 points and 11 rebounds, Marcin Gortat scored 13 and Steve Nash handed out 14 assists for the Suns.
Jason Smith and Marco Belinelli scored 14 apiece for the Hornets. Jarrett Jack added 13.
The Hornets, finishing off a five-game road trip, became the third team in the NBA and first in the West to lose 40 games.
TRAIL BLAZERS 119, TIMBERWOLVES 106
At Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points in his return after missing one game with a sore left elbow, leading Portland past Minnesota.
Nicolas Batum added 24 points for the Trail Blazers, who are 5-5 since interim coach Kaleb Canales replaced the fired Nate McMillan.
Oregon native Kevin Love had 26 points and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have lost eight of their last 10 games. Minnesota used just nine players.
Both teams have been struggling to remain in the playoff picture. The Timberwolves have had injuries, including the loss of rookie Ricky Rubio for the season, while the Blazers have been adjusting to the dismissal of McMillan and the trade of starters Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace at the deadline.