SAN ANTONIO — Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge each had 22 points and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Portland Trail Blazers 118-110 Thursday night to secure the second-best home start to a season in league history.
The Spurs have won 34 straight at home to open the season and only trail the 37 wins by the Chicago Bulls during their historic 72-victory season in 1995-96.
A dominant third quarter enabled San Antonio to sit its starters for much of the fourth quarter in advance of Saturday's showdown with Golden State. The Warriors and the Spurs have both clinched playoff berths and division titles and are on pace to finish with two of the three best single-season records in league history.
Tony Parker had 18 points and a season-high 16 assists. The Spurs shot 52 per cent while committing seven turnovers, which was one off its season low.
C.J. McCollum had 26 points and Damian Lillard had 23 for Portland.
RAPTORS 101, PACERS 94
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry each scored 28 points to lead Toronto over Indiana.
DeRozan had 10 points in the fourth quarter. He had a chance to win the game for Toronto at the end of regulation but missed a fade-away jumper on the wing as time expired. He's scored at least 25 points in five of Toronto's last six games.
Lowry added four assists and eight rebounds for the Raptors but also committed eight turnovers. Bismack Biyombo finished with 16 points and a career-high 25 rebounds.
Paul George led the Pacers with 18 points and nine rebounds. George Hill added 18 points and CJ Miles scored 13 points off the bench.
Playing their fourth game in five nights, the Raptors kept pace with conference-leader Cleveland. Indiana fell to 1-7 in overtime this season.
WIZARDS 99, 76ERS 94
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — John Wall had 16 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds for his fourth triple-double of the season and the Wizards held on for a victory over the 76ers.
Wall made eight free throws in the final 14.6 seconds to help the Wizards win their third straight following a five-game losing streak that put their playoff hopes in peril. Washington, which began Thursday 1 1/2 games behind Detroit for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, followed resounding victories this week over current playoff teams Detroit and Chicago with a win over the last-place 76ers.
Ish Smith scored 20 points and Nerlens Noel had 14 points and 16 rebounds for Philadelphia, which has lost 16 of 17.
HORNETS 109, HEAT 106
MIAMI (AP) — Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker each scored 21 points, and the Hornets overcame a 15-point first-half deficit to beat the Heat.
Nic Batum scored 19 for the Hornets, who split four games with Miami this season and now have the same 39-29 record as the Heat in the jampacked Eastern Conference playoff chase. The Hornets are now 15-3 in their last 18 games.
Charlotte trailed 45-30 in the second quarter, then took the lead by halftime and held it for most of the second half. Courtney Lee had 13 and Marvin Williams scored 12 for the Hornets.
Luol Deng led the Heat with 22 points. It was the 10th time this season that Miami lost a game in which it led at one point by double figures, with six of those coming at home.
BULLS 118, NETS 102
CHICAGO (AP) — Doug McDermott scored 25 points and Jimmy Butler added 22 to help the Bulls beat the Nets.
It's the third straight 20-plus point game for McDermott as Chicago moved a half-game in front of idle Detroit into eighth place and the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Bobby Portis added 12 points and 14 rebounds.
The injury-ravaged Bulls raced to a 24-point lead in the second quarter, then held on and finally finished off the lowly Nets, who outscored Chicago 37-24 in the third and closed to within four points early in the fourth.
Chicago got a season-high 60 points from its reserves, including McDermott's output.
Bojan Bogdanovic led the Nets comeback with 26 points, one game after scoring a career-high 44 points.
HAWKS 116, NUGGETS 98
ATLANTA (AP) — Tim Hardaway Jr. scored a season-high 21 points in his first start of the season and the surging Hawks beat the Nuggets.
Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague each had 16 points for the Hawks, who have won four straight and seven of eight to move to third place in the Eastern Conference. The Hawks had eight scorers in double figures, including Thabo Sefolosha, who had 14 points.
D.J. Augustine had 17 points and Joffrey Lauvergne had 16 for the Nuggets, who have lost the first three games on their five-game trip.
Hardaway was given the start as Kent Bazemore was held out with a bone bruise in his right knee. Bazemore hurt his knee in a fall late in Wednesday night's win at Detroit.
BUCKS 96, GRIZZLIES 86
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Tyler Ennis scored all 13 of his points in the fourth quarter to lead the Bucks to a victory over the short-handed Grizzlies.
Playing all reserves, the Bucks used a 15-2 run capped by Ennis' reverse layup that gave Milwaukee an 83-75 lead with 5:47 to play. Damien Inglis, who scored 10 points, and John Henson each had a key block that helped put some life in the Bucks' offence.
The game got testy late in the fourth when Henson came up behind Lance Stephenson who had just grabbed a rebound. Henson swiped the ball away and in the process dumped Stephenson to the floor. After a review, Henson was called for a Flagrant 1 foul and a technical. Barnes made the technical and Stephenson made two free throws that pulled Memphis to 88-83 with 3:43 left in the game. Ennis hit consecutive shots to push the lead to nine, but Milwaukee had to weather the ejection of Henson with 5.5 seconds left.
JAZZ 103, SUNS 69
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Joe Ingles had a season-high 15 points and career-high six steals, Trey Lyles had 17 points and Utah beat Phoenix to close the playoff gap with 14 games remaining.
The Jazz are now one game behind the Rockets and Mavericks, who are tied for the last two Western Conference playoff spots. They are also 1 1/2 back of the Trail Blazers for sixth.
Utah's defence smothered Phoenix most of the night, and a 5-minute stretch to begin the second half put the Suns away. The Jazz opened the third with a 10-run for a 56-38 lead, and the Suns were unable to manage a single point for the first 5:27 of action.
Ingles got his second consecutive start with Gordon Hayward out with a foot injury. Shelvin Mack was close to a triple-double with 15 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.
Brandon Knight led the Suns with 17 points. The 69 points were a season low.
The Associated Press