SACRAMENTO, Calif. - Kobe Bryant scored 19 points and tied a season high with 14 assists despite a nagging left foot injury, and the Los Angeles Lakers kept pace for the Western Conference's final playoff spot by outlasting the Sacramento Kings 103-98 on Saturday night.
Bryant added nine rebounds and facilitated the Lakers' offence for 47 minutes, 37 seconds after Steve Nash exited early in the first quarter with a recurring right hamstring injury. Bryant also passed Lakers great Wilt Chamberlain (31,419 points) for fourth on the NBA's career scoring list, after starting four points shy of the mark.
Dwight Howard added 24 points and 15 rebounds, and Steve Blake scored 15 points for the Lakers (38-36), who stayed even with Utah (38-36) for the eighth and final playoff spot. Los Angeles hosts 10th-place Dallas (36-37) in a critical tilt Tuesday night.
Tyreke Evans had 21 points and nine rebounds, and DeMarcus Cousins added 19 points and 11 rebounds in Sacramento's latest loss. The Lakers won the season series 3-1.
MAVERICKS 100, BULLS 98
Dirk Nowitzki hit a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds left and Dallas rallied to beat Chicago.
The Mavericks trailed by 12 in the fourth quarter, but Nowitzki scored Dallas' last eight points in a closing 15-1 run over the final 3 1/2 minutes of the game. He finished with a season-high 35 points.
After Jimmy Butler missed two free throws with 15.9 seconds remaining, Nowitzki connected on the winning 3 with Luol Deng running at him. Chicago's Nate Robinson then missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have tied it.
Robinson scored 14 of his 25 points in the fourth in Chicago's first game since ending the Miami Heat's 27-game winning streak.
ROCKETS 98, CLIPPERS 81
HOUSTON (AP) — Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons and Francisco Garcia scored 15 points apiece to lead Houston over Los Angeles.
Houston was playing without shooting guard and leading scorer James Harden, who missed his third game of the season with a right ankle sprain.
Garcia had his best game as a Rocket, hitting 3 of 5 shots from beyond the arc as a spark off the bench to help Houston snap a two-game losing streak.
Point guard Chris Paul was the only Clippers starter to play in the final quarter, finishing with 19 points, seven assists and three steals.
THUNDER 109, BUCKS 99
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 30 points, Russell Westbrook had a triple-double, and Oklahoma City beat Milwaukee.
Durant shot 10 of 19 from the field and 9 of 10 from the free throw line in becoming the seventh player this season to score 30 points against the Bucks.
Durant is on pace to join Larry Bird in 1986-87 as the only players to average more than 28 points while shooting over 50 per cent from the field, 90 per cent from the line and 40 per cent from 3-point range.
Westbrook had 23 points, 10 assists and 13 rebounds. Kevin Martin added 17 points.
Ersan Ilyasova had 29 points and 14 rebounds for Milwaukee. Epke Udoh had his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
JAZZ 116, NETS 107
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Randy Foye scored 26 points, tying a career high with eight 3-pointers, and Utah beat Brooklyn to keep Deron Williams winless against his former team.
The victory was the fourth straight for Utah (38-36), which entered the night eighth in the Western Conference by virtue of its tiebreaker over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Williams played better than he did in his first trip back in January 2012, but couldn't match the 3-point shooting of Utah. Foye made 8 of 9 and the Jazz 10 of 17 as a team.
Brook Lopez led Brooklyn (42-31) with 27 points. Williams had 21 on 6-of-14 shooting, with 11 assists.
Utah outscored Brooklyn 31-20 in the third quarter after trailing by two at half.
HAWKS 97, MAGIC 88
ATLANTA (AP) — Ivan Johnson scored a season-high 21 points off the bench, and Devin Harris had 13 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter as Atlanta pulled away to beat Orlando.
The Hawks used their 27th different starting lineup in a game between short-handed teams, but the result was familiar. Atlanta (41-33) has beaten Orlando 10 straight times and is now fifth in the Eastern Conference playoff race, a half-game ahead of Chicago.
Johnson, who received extended playing time largely because Hawks centre Al Horford missed his second straight game with a stomach illness, added 10 rebounds.
Beno Udrih, filling in for injured point guard Jameer Nelson, led Orlando with 20 points, and centre Nikola Vucevic returned to the lineup with 17 points and 15 rebounds.
GRIZZLIES 99, TIMBERWOLVES 86
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Marc Gasol scored 21 points and Memphis pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat Minnesota.
Mike Conley scored 19, Zach Randolph 14 and Darrell Arthur had 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Grizzlies, who ended a five-game road losing streak with their 11th straight victory over Minnesota.
Ricky Rubio just missed his second career triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists. Derrick Williams added 19 points for the Timberwolves, who were playing without centre Nikola Pekovic. He missed the game after spraining his left ankle Friday late in a victory over Oklahoma City after scoring 22 points and adding 15 rebounds.
WARRIORS 125, TRAIL BLAZERS 98
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry scored 39 points and Golden State moved one step closer toward ending its five-year playoff drought by beating Portland.
Carl Landry had a season-high 25 points and 10 rebounds coming off the bench, while David Lee had 13 points for the Warriors, who maintained their 1 1/2-game lead over Houston for sixth place in the Western Conference. Golden State lowered its magic number for clinching a playoff berth to five.
Meyers Leonard led the Trail Blazers with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Damian Lillard scored 16 points for Portland and tied the NBA's single-season rookie record for 3-pointers, but was nowhere as effective as he was in his first trip back home. The Oakland native shot just 4 of 11 from the floor and committed three turnovers.
PACERS 112, SUNS 104
PHOENIX (AP) — Paul George scored 25 points to lead all five Indiana starters in double figures and the Pacers won their fourth straight.
Roy Hibbert scored 20, Lance Stephenson 16, George Hill 15 and David West 14 for the Pacers.
The Pacers' seventh victory in eight games lifted them a half-game ahead of idle New York for second in the Eastern Conference.
Goran Dragic, who sat out the previous two games for rest, had 21 points and nine assists for the Suns before fouling out with 1:10 to play. Phoenix has lost six in a row.
Indiana made 34 of 46 free throws, its season high in makes and attempts.
76ERS 100, BOBCATS 92
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jrue Holiday scored 10 straight points down the stretch, Evan Turner finished with 22 and Philadelphia beat Charlotte.
After going 1 for 9 in the first three quarters, Holiday got 11 of his 14 points in the fourth to help the Sixers win for the seventh time in 11 games.
Spencer Hawes had 19 points and Thaddeus Young and Damien Wilkins each scored 15 for Philadelphia.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 21 for Charlotte, which has the worst record in the NBA. Gerald Henderson, who had 35 and 34 in his previous two games, finished with 19.