The Brooklyn Nets guaranteed their appearance in the post-season after they rallied late in the game to defeat the Toronto Raptors 116-103.
The Nets were down 90-84 early in the fourth quarter before they went on a 16-2 run, with Kevin Durant scoring seven of his 17 points in the final period, including a three-pointer that put Brooklyn 111-101 up with one minute and 47 seconds left on the clock.
Their third successive victory, in which seven Brooklyn players led by Jeff Green’s 22-point effort scored in double figures, saw Durant’s team become the first in the Eastern Conference to secure a spot in the play-offs.
Waiting for the Nets on Thursday are the Indiana Pacers, who had no answers for the Portland Trail Blazers’ Anfernee Simons as the 2018 first-round pick equalled the league record for most consecutive threes with thirteen in his last three games.
Simons scored a career-high nine three-pointers among his 27 points on Tuesday and team-mate Damian Lillard added 23 as the Blazers ended a five-game run of losses with a 133-112 triumph.
The Oklahoma City Thunder avoided an unwanted franchise record by halting their run of consecutive losses at 14 with a 119-115 victory against the Boston Celtics, who have lost four of their last five encounters.
Boston next face the Charlotte Hornets, who failed to complete a series sweep over the Milwaukee Bucks courtesy of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 29 points and 12 rebounds.
The Greek star went five of five from the free-throw line as his team bounced back from losses to the home side in January and earlier in April, while Brook Lopez was strong at both ends of the court and shot nine from 12 from the field for the Bucks.
Third in the East, Milwaukee’s road trip continues on Thursday against the Houston Rockets, with the league’s last-placed side losing for the first time at home to the Minnesota Timberwolves since February 2012.
Karl-Anthony Towns’ 31 points led Minnesota, who claimed their third consecutive win with the 114-107 result, though they still languish only one spot above the Rockets in the West.
The Timberwolves will next host the Golden State Warriors after Steph Curry’s team were dominated 133-103 by the Dallas Mavericks.
Curry added another five three-pointers to his NBA record for threes scored in a month, taking his total for April to 90, but the game went to Luka Doncic, who scored 39 as his Mavericks rebounded from a loss to the Sacramento Kings the night before to snap the Warriors’ four-game run of victories at home.
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