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Nets rout reeling Heat as East playoff races grows tighter

March 27, 2022 GMT
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) defends against Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) defends against Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) defends against Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
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Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) defends against Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)
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Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) defends against Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, March 26, 2022, in Miami. (AP Photo/Jim Rassol)

MIAMI (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 23 points, Seth Curry added 17 and the Brooklyn Nets overwhelmed Miami 110-95 on Saturday night, sending the Heat to their season-worst fourth consecutive loss.

Andre Drummond had 13 points and 11 rebounds for Brooklyn, which got 11 points from Kyrie Irving — who will play his first home game of the season for the Nets on Sunday — and 10 from Nic Claxton.

Bam Adebayo scored 14 points for Miami, which trailed by as many as 37 — its biggest deficit of the season. The Heat were without coach Erik Spoelstra, who missed the game because of a family matter, and assistant Chris Quinn took his place.

Tyler Herro and Max Strus each had 13 and Kyle Lowry had 12 for Miami. Jimmy Butler was held to just seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.

And the Eastern Conference race only got tighter, now with the top four teams all separated by only a half-game.

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Philadelphia (46-27, .630) moved into first in the East, percentage points ahead of Miami (47-28, .627). Boston and Milwaukee — which lost Saturday night in Memphis — are both 46-28 (.622); the Celtics hold the head-to-head tiebreaker at this point over the Bucks.

Brooklyn (39-35) remained in the No. 8 spot, now a full game ahead of No. 9 Charlotte. The Nets and Hornets meet on Sunday night.

GRIZZLIES 125, BUCKS 102

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — De’Anthony Melton had 24 points, Desmond Bane added 20 and Memphis continued to win in the absence of scoring leader Ja Morant, beating Milwaukee.

Dillon Brooks scored 19 points and Jaren Jackson Jr. had 16 and two blocks to help Memphis win its fourth straight and eighth in the last nine games. Morant is nursing a sore right knee.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks with 30 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks, scoring 18 points in the third quarter when Milwaukee tried to make a run. Khris Middleton added 16 points. The defending champion Bucks lost for only the third time in the last 13 games.

RAPTORS 131, PACERS 01

TORONTO (AP) — Pascal Siakam scored 23 points and Toronto routed depleted Indiana in a game delayed 70 minutes in the first half because of a speaker fire that forced the evacuation of fans.

Scottie Barnes added 19 points in the Raptors’ biggest margin of victory this season. Oshae Brissett led Indiana with 21 points.

During a timeout, public address announcer Herbie Kuhn announced that the arena was being evacuated at the order of Toronto Fire Services, telling booing fans that the game had been suspended. Players headed to their locker rooms with 4:05 left in the second quarter and the Raptors leading 66-38.

During the delay, two workers using ropes and harnesses hung from the ceiling and sprayed a fire extinguisher at the speaker.

BULLS 98, CAVALIERS 94

CLEVELAND (AP) — Zach LaVine scored 26 points, DeMar DeRozan added 20 and Chicago beat Cleveland to stay alone in the No. 5 spot in the Eastern Conference.

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The Bulls held the Cavs to just 35 points in the first half and won on the road for the first time since March 9, snapping a five-game slide. Chicago, which is 4-8 in March, came in with a one-game lead over Cleveland for the fifth playoff spot.

Darius Garland scored 28 points for Cleveland.

NUGGETS 113, THUNDER 107

DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 35 points and missed a triple-double by two assists and Denver outlasted Oklahoma City.

Jokic had 12 rebounds. He made all six of his shots from the floor and all six of his free throws in the second half. Aaron Gordon added 20 points.

Theo Maledon led Oklahoma City with 20 points.

SPURS 107, PELICANS 103

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dejounte Murray had 15 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, Keldon Johnson punctuated his 21-point night with a break-away dunk in the final seconds and San Antonio beat New Orleans to bolster its postseason hopes.

San Antonio is a game behind New Orleans for the final Western Conference play-in spot. Josh Richardson had 18 points for the Spurs.

CJ McCollum had 32 points for New Orleans.

KINGS 114, MAGIC 110, OT

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Donte DiVincenzo and Harrison Barnes hit 3-pointers in the final minute of overtime and Sacramento outlasted Orlando.

Davion Mitchell led the Kings with 22 points and seven assists, Barnes added 19 points and DiVincenzo had 16 points and eight rebounds.

Franz Wagner led Orlando with 19 points.

ROCKETS 115, TRAIL BLAZERS 98

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Alperen Sengun scored 27 points and Houston beat Portland to sweep a two-game set in Portland.

Jalen Green added 25 points for Houston, tied with Orlando at 20-55 for the worst record in the NBA. The Rockets won 125-106 on Friday night.

Trendon Watford led Portland with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but left late in the game with a hyperextended and bruised left knee. The Trail Blazers said Watford will sit out a week and be re-evaluated.

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