NBA: Lin leads Hornets past Celtics
Jeremy Lin scored 19 of his 25 points in Charlotte’s big second quarter to carry the Hornets to a 114-100 win over Boston on Monday (Tuesday Manila time).
Kemba Walker scored 18 points, and Al Jefferson and Marvin Williams each had 16 for the Hornets, who are in a tight race with Boston and Miami in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
Isaiah Thomas and Avery Bradley led Boston with 17 points apiece, in only the Celtics’ third loss in their past 21 home games.
As with many of his visits to Boston, Lin had a number of Asian-American fans holding signs and cheering his play. The 27-year-old guard starred at Harvard. Four years ago when he sparked the New York Knicks, Lin’s rise was called “Linsanity.”
Cleveland clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 109-94 home win over Atlanta, with LeBron James scoring 34 points in three quarters and Kyrie Irving adding 35.
James scored 19 in the third quarter and only sat for four of the first 36 minutes as the Cavs ensured they’d have home-court advantage until the NBA Finals.
James shot 13 of 16, made all five free throws and added six rebounds and six assists. When James finally sat down late in the third, Irving made sure he didn’t have to come back in by scoring nine points in the first four minutes. Kevin Love added 14 rebounds for Cleveland.
In Salt Lake City, Dirk Nowitzki scored 22 points to help Dallas clinch the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference playoffs with a 101-92 win over Utah, leaving one remaining postseason slot.
Utah (40-41) lost control of its own destiny and needs to beat the Lakers on Wednesday and for the Houston Rockets (40-41) to lose to the Kings. Houston holds the tiebreaker against the Jazz if they finish with the same record.
The Rockets kept their playoff hopes alive with a 129-105 win at Minnesota on Monday, with James Harden scored 34 points and Dwight Howard 19 points and eight rebounds.
Harden made 12 of 21 shots in three quarters, Trevor Ariza scored 21 points and the Rockets made 15 of 30 3-pointers.
In New York, Ramon Sessions had 21 points and 12 assists as Washington recovered after blowing all of its 20-0 lead to beat Brooklyn 120-111.
Marcus Thornton scored 19 points as he and Sessions more than adequately replaced injured starting guards John Wall and Bradley Beal. J.J. Hickson had 15 points as Washington put seven players in double figures.
The Wizards made their first nine shots before Brooklyn made one and looked headed for a blowout victory. Instead, they needed another big run in the fourth quarter to finally put it away.
In other games, Oklahoma easily beat the Los Angeles Lakers 112-79 in the final road game of Kobe Bryant’s 20-year career, Orlando’s home finale for the season yielded a 107-98 defeat of Milwaukee, Sacramento won 105-101 at Phoenix, and Chicago, eliminated last Sunday, won at New Orleans, 121-116.