Grizzlies advance to play-in; Suns finish 8-0 in restart
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida — Jonas Valanciunas and Ja Morant had triple-doubles and the Memphis Grizzlies kept their season alive Thursday with a 119-106 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, who were missing star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo after he was suspended for head-butting an opponent.
Dillon Brooks added 31 points as Memphis posted its second wire-to-wire win of the season and wrapped up a spot in the play-in tournament that will determine the eighth and final seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Grizzies (34-39) are tied for eighth place in the Western Conference with Portland and Phoenix.
Portland will either improve to 35-39 or drop to 34-40 after it plays Brooklyn on Thursday night. Memphis owns the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage over Phoenix.
The play-in round matches the No. 8 team against the No. 9 team. The No. 9 team must beat the No. 8 team two straight times to advance to face the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.
Memphis hasn’t been to the playoffs the last two years after making seven straight postseason appearances from 2011-17.
Valanciunas had 26 points, 19 rebounds and 12 assists for his first triple-double in his 559th career game. The 28-year-old Valanciunas’ previous career high in assists was five. Morant had 12 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
This marked the first time two teammates posted triple-doubles in the same game since Miami’s Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler did it Dec. 10 in a 135-121 overtime victory over Atlanta.
Brook Lopez scored 19 to lead the Bucks.
The Grizzlies got a break when Antetokounmpo received a one-game suspension after head-butting Moritz Wagner during the Bucks’ 126-113 victory over the Washington Wizards on Tuesday. The reigning MVP will be available when the Bucks open the playoffs.
This game was meaningless for the Bucks, who already had clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference for a second straight season.
SUNS 128, MAVERICKS 102
Devin Booker scored 27 points and Phoenix rolled past Dallas to keep its playoff hopes alive and finish as the only unbeaten team in the restart.
Dario Saric scored 16 points and Cameron Payne and Cameron Johnson each added 15 for the Suns. They will qualify for the play-in series that starts Saturday if Portland loses to Brooklyn later Thursday.
Dallas was already locked into a playoff matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers, so the starters played limited minutes. Luka Doncic had 18 points in just over 13 minutes. Boban Marjanovic, Dallas’ 7-foot-4 reserve center, had 18 points and a career-high 20 rebounds.
KINGS 136, LAKERS 122
Buddy Hield scored 28 points, including a 3-pointer that capped Sacramento’s streak of 11 consecutive baskets the third period, and the Kings beat Los Angeles.
Bogdan Bogdanovic had 27 points as the Kings won for only the third time in the NBA restart. The Kings made 21 3-pointers, with Hield going 8 of 14.
The Lakers had their focus on the playoffs. Most Lakers starters were held out, but LeBron James had 17 points in 15 minutes, all in the first half. Dion Waiters led the Lakers with 19 points. Markieff Morris had 14.
Los Angeles locked up the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed three games into the restart.
WIZARDS 96. CELTICS 90
Thomas Bryant had 26 points and nine rebounds to help Washington beat Boston for its lone win in the restart.
Troy Brown Jr. added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Wizards.
The Celtics, who already were locked into a playoff matchup with the Philadelphia 76ers, rested their starters. Rookie Javonte Green took advantage and scored a season-high 23 points for Boston.
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