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NBA roundup: Pelicans rally in final seconds

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Updated 10 months ago on
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NEW ORLEANS — Reserve center Alexis Ajinca hit a go-ahead layup off a wraparound feed from guard Tyreke Evans with 49 seconds left, and guard Jimmer Fredette nailed two free throws with 4.7 seconds remaining to lift the New Orleans Pelicans to a 100-97 comeback victory over the Toronto Raptors on Monday night at the Smoothie King Center.

Reserve forward Luke Babbitt made four 3-pointers, including two in the final 2:32, to score a season-high 18 points as New Orleans erased an 18-point, first-half deficit.

The Pelicans trailed 87-79 with 6:41 left but outscored Toronto 21-10 in the final 5:53 to hand the Raptors their second consecutive loss.

New Orleans (29-27) got 16 points from Ajinca, 15 from newly acquired point guard Norris Cole and 14 from center Omer Asik, who blocked a shot in the lane by Raptors guard Kyle Lowry with 6.2 seconds left. Asik added 11 rebounds.

Lowry led Toronto (37-19) with a game-high 22 points. Center Jonas Valanciunas finished with 17 points and 14 rebounds.

Heat 119, 76ers 108

MIAMI — In an unexpectedly high-scoring affair, Miami got 29 points from forward Luol Deng to beat Philadelphia at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Miami (24-31) posted a season high in points. Philadelphia (12-44) scored more than 100 for just the third time in 33 games. Entering Monday, they were two of the three lowest-scoring teams in the NBA — Miami 28th at 93.1 per game and Philadelphia last at 90.1.

Point guard Goran Dragic, playing just his second game with the Heat, had 23 points and 10 assists. Guard Dwyane Wade added 18 points, and center Hassan Whiteside contributed 12 points and 14 rebounds.

Philadelphia, which lost its 10th consecutive road game, was led by reserve shooting guard Hollis Thompson (season-high 22 points) and center Nerlens Noel (18 points, seven rebounds, four blocks).

Bulls 87, Bucks 71

CHICAGO — Chicago had no trouble with Milwaukee at the United Center, cruising to a victory against the third-place team in the Central Division.

Reserve guard Tony Snell scored 18 of his game-high 20 points in the first half, when the Bulls (36-21) seized the lead in the first quarter and never trailed again. Paul Gasol recorded his NBA-leading 37th double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds and rookie reserve forward Nikola Mirotic had a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds.

Guard Jimmy Butler added 11 points and nine rebounds, while center Joakim Noah finished with eight points and 16 rebounds for Chicago, which dominated the glass by a 62-41 margin. Guard Khris Middleton led three Bucks players in double figures with 17 points, while forward Ersan Ilyasova had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Forward Giannis Antetokounmp added 11 points for the Bucks (31-25), who scored 11 points less than their previous season low of 82 on Feb. 2 at Toronto.

Rockets 113, Timberwolves 102

HOUSTON — James Harden capped his second triple-double of the season with a backbreaking 3-pointer in the waning moments to help Houston fend off Minnesota at Toyota Center.

Paced by a powerful two-way performance by rookie forward Andrew Wiggins (30 points, seven rebounds), the Timberwolves (12-43) erased a 14-point, fourth-quarter deficit with an 18-5 run that included a Wiggins 3-pointer and a three-point play, the latter with 4:03 to play.

But the Rockets (38-18) finally discovered their touch from deep, with Harden nailing their second 3-pointer with 1:33 left for a 107-98 lead.

Harden finished with 31 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as well as a career-high-tying four blocks. Forward Terrence Jones, who made his return to the starting lineup, added 15 points and 15 rebounds, including a pair of crucial offensive boards to help seal the victory. Minnesota guard Kevin Martin had 21 points while center Nikola Pekovic posted a double-double of 16 points and 13 boards. Rockets forward Josh Smith added 17 points off the bench before fouling out.

Jazz 90, Spurs 81

SALT LAKE CITY — Point guard Trey Burke scored 23 points and forward Gordon Hayward added 18 to lead Utah to a victory over San Antonio.

Forward Derrick Favors added 14 points and 10 rebounds and center Rudy Gobert chipped in 14 more boards, helping the Jazz (21-34) win the season series against the Spurs for the first time since the 2009-10 season.

Forward Tim Duncan scored 14 points and center Boris Diaw added 13 off the bench for San Antonio, which tied its season low for points in a game. The Spurs (34-22) turned the ball over 22 times, leading to 17 Jazz points.

Nets 110, Nuggets 82

DENVER — Guard Deron Williams had 16 points and 12 assists, center Brooks Lopez scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Brooklyn beat slumping Denver.

The 28-point win is Brooklyn’s largest margin of victory since beating Oklahoma City by 31 on Nov. 3.

The Nets have won two in a row after losing the first three of an eight-game road trip. Despite a losing record, Brooklyn (23-31) is holding onto the eighth and final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference.

With a tough upcoming schedule, the Nets needed Monday’s win to stay in playoff position. They did it by outscoring Denver 65-37 over the final 27 minutes.

Celtics 115, Suns 110

PHOENIX — Guard Isaiah Thomas burned his former team with six of his 21 points in the final 1:37 as Boston held on to beat Phoenix.

The Suns rallied from 19 points down in the first half and from 12 down in the fourth quarter, cutting the lead to 101-100 on the second of two consecutive Eric Bledsoe 3-pointers with 1:47 left. But Thomas, traded from Phoenix to Boston four days ago at the deadline, answered with a 25-foot 3-pointer as he was being fouled by new Suns guard Brandon Knight and finished off the four-point play to restore the Celtics lead to 105-100.

On the next Phoenix possession, Thomas stole a Bledsoe pass and finished with a reverse layup with 40.4 seconds left to allow Boston (21-33) to salvage the final game of a three-game road trip. The Celtics had a season-high 14 3-pointers, four by forward Jae Crowder and three by Thomas.

Bledsoe had 21 points for the Suns (29-28), who have lost eight of their last nine games and three in a row since trading away five players, including Thomas and guard Goran Dragic, on Feb. 19. Knight had 20 points for Phoenix in his home debut.

Grizzlies 90, Clippers 87

LOS ANGELES — Point guard Mike Conley scored 18 points and recorded a game-winning steal in the final seconds, and Memphis edged Los Angeles at Staples Center.

Forward Jeff Green chipped in 16 points and center Marc Gasol had 14 for the Grizzlies, who were playing the second end of back-to-back contests after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night. Memphis (41-14) won for the 12th time in 14 games, beating the Clippers for the third consecutive meeting dating back to last season.

Point guard Chris Paul scored 30 points and handed out 10 assists to lead the Clippers, who had a five-game winning streak snapped. Guard Jamal Crawford finished with 15 points, but no other

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