Pacers 118, Bucks 109
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Danny Granger scored 29 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 118-109 and clinch homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
George Hill had 22 points and eight assists. David West added 21 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists for the Pacers, who won their seventh straight and 11th of 12. The Pacers have scored at least 100 points in 12 of their last 13 games.
Brandon Jennings scored 27 points and former Pacer Mike Dunleavy added 23 for the Bucks. Monta Ellis, one of Milwaukee's top scorers, finished with 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting. Milwaukee lost its third straight and is running out of time to catch Philadelphia for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
T-Wolves 91, Pistons 80
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Nikola Pekovic scored 23 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves ended an 11-game losing streak with a 91-80 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night.
The Timberwolves never trailed and took a 49-31 halftime lead after shooting 57 percent (21 of 37) from the field. An 8-0 run pushed the lead to over 20 points midway through the third quarter but the Pistons rallied in the fourth to make it close.
Tayshaun Prince had 18 points to lead to lead Detroit, which lost for the second time in as many nights.
Anthony Randolph added 15 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota.
Hornets 105, Rockets 99, OT
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Eric Gordon scored 27 points, Carl Landry had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and the New Orleans Hornets dealt a blow to Houston's playoff hopes with a 105-99 overtime victory Thursday night, the Rockets' sixth straight loss.
Goran Dragic scored 23 points and Chase Budinger tied a season-high with 22 points for Houston (32-31), which dropped one game behind Utah (33-30) for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with three games left.
Al-Farouq Aminu scored 17 points, Marco Belinelli had 13 points, and Gustavo Ayon had nine points and 10 rebounds for New Orleans, which went ahead for good in the overtime with a 9-0 run.
The Hornets have won seven of 10 games when losing would have enhanced their chances of winning the NBA's draft lottery.
Heat 83, Bulls 72
MIAMI (AP) — LeBron James had 27 points and 11 rebounds, Dwyane (dwayn) Wade scored 18 points and the Miami Heat tightened up the Eastern Conference playoff race by beating the Chicago Bulls 83-72 in a scuffle-filled game. Miami moved within 1½ games of Chicago in the East race.
Mario Chalmers scored 16 points and Udonis Haslem (yoo-DAH'-nihs HAZ'-lehm) grabbed 10 rebounds for Miami, which held the Bulls to a season-low point total.
John Lucas scored 16 points for Chicago, which was again without reigning MVP Derrick Rose because of injuries. Joakim Noah scored 15 points, Luol Deng added 11 and Carlos Boozer had 10 for the Bulls, who split four games with Miami this season.
The teams combined for four technicals, two flagrant fouls and Miami reserve James Jones was ejected.
Suns 93, Clippers 90
PHOENIX (AP) — Steve Nash hit a crucial driving layup, then made two free throws for the deciding points and the Phoenix Suns bolstered their playoff hopes with an intense 93-90 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.
There were 24 lead changes in the Suns' 10th straight win over the Clippers in Phoenix.
Chris Paul scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half of just the third loss in 16 games for the Clippers. Blake Griffin scored 16 points, only two after the first quarter.
Chris Dudley scored 18 points and Channing Frye had 16 for the Suns, who moved into a tie with Utah for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Phoenix's Robin Lopez was ejected from the game for a flagrant foul on Griffin.