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NBA Roundup: Postseason positioning in final week

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The Sports Xchange
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) scores on a fast break against Miami Heat forward James Johnson (16) in the first half at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on April 8, 2017. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) scores on a fast break against Miami Heat forward James Johnson (16) in the first half at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. on April 8, 2017. Photo by Mark Goldman/UPI | License Photo

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Damian Lillard poured in a career-high 59 points to lift the Portland Trail Blazers past the Utah Jazz 101-86 on Saturday night at Moda Center.

Lillard broke the franchise scoring record of 54 points set by Damon Stoudamire in 2005. Lillard sank 18 of 34 shots from the field, 9 of 14 from 3-point range and 14 of 16 from the foul line.

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It was the second straight victory for the Trail Blazers (40-40), whose magic number for gaining the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference is one. One Portland victory or one Denver loss clinches the berth for the Blazers.

Warriors 123, Pelicans 101

OAKLAND, Calif. -- After missing 19 games, Kevin Durant made a healthy and triumphant return, contributing 16 points, a game-high 10 rebounds and a team-high-tying six assists in Golden State's win over short-handed New Orleans.

Durant, who suffered a sprained left knee on Feb. 28, saw 31 minutes of action in Golden State's 14th consecutive win, the longest streak in the NBA this season.

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The Warriors, who had already clinched the top seeding in the Western Conference, won despite the absence of Stephen Curry, who was sidelined by a bruised left knee

Bucks 90, 76ers 82

PHILADELPHIA -- Giannis Antetokounmpo had 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists as Milwaukee clinched a playoff berth.

Antetokounmpo notched eight of his points in the third quarter, when the Bucks outscored the Sixers 25-12 to take command.

The Bucks, who snapped a three-game losing streak, began the night needing a victory and a loss by either Chicago, Indiana or Miami to secure their second postseason berth in three years. The Bulls lost 107-106 to Brooklyn.

Heat 106, Wizards 103

WASHINGTON -- Hassan Whiteside had 30 points and 12 rebounds, and James Johnson hit the go-ahead layup with 11 seconds left as Miami gave its playoff hopes a huge boost.

Johnson had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, which improved to 3-0 over Washington this season and moved into a tie with Chicago for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls own the head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of winning the season series 2-1.

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Markieff Morris scored 21 points for the Wizards.

Celtics 121, Hornets 114

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Isaiah Thomas scored 32 points, and Boston completed a four-game season sweep over Charlotte, knocking the Hornets out of playoff contention.

The Celtics rolled to a 17-point halftime lead and led by 19 in the third quarter, but blew the entire lead and had to rally from a seven-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Thomas scored seven straight Boston points, including a 3-pointer to make it 116-111 with 1:22 remaining, in the decisive stretch.

Boston climbed to within one-half game of Cleveland for first place in the Eastern Conference, although the Cavs would hold the tie-breaker advantage.

Pacers 127, Magic 112

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Paul George scored 37 points and Indiana continued its late-season push to the playoffs by drilling Orlando.

The Pacers won their third consecutive game. They will finish the season against the Sixers in Philadelphia and at home against the Atlanta Hawks. The Magic will miss the playoffs for the fifth consecutive season.

Pacers center Myles Turner had 23 points and 10 rebounds. Thaddeus Young scored 14 points. C.J. Miles and Kevin Seraphin each scored 11 points.

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Clippers 98, Spurs 87

SAN ANTONIO -- Chris Paul hit for 19 points and led six Los Angeles players in double figures as the Clippers strolled past San Antonio.

It was the final home game of the regular season for the Spurs, who already clinched the second seed in the Western Conference in the playoffs as well as the second-best record in the league.

Los Angeles is still battling with Utah for home-court advantage in their first-round playoff series. If the teams are tied at the end of the regular season, Los Angeles owns the tiebreaker.

Nets 107, Bulls 106

NEW YORK -- Spencer Dinwiddie hit the tiebreaking free throws with 13.5 seconds remaining as the Brooklyn rallied down the stretch and handed Chicago a what could be a devastating loss as the Bulls try to secure a spot in the postseason.

Dinwiddie scored 19 points to lead the Nets along with rookie Caris LeVert. The reserve guard hit 6 of 9 shots, including a 3-pointer with 1:23 remaining that tied it at 101-101 and hit six free throws.

The Bulls are one game behind Indiana, which beat Orlando. Chicago and Miami are tied for the eighth and final playoff spot with the Bulls owning the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Heat.

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