Ja Morant returns from knee injury, Grizzlies rout Pelicans
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Ja Morant had 21 points and nine assists in his return from soreness in his right knee, Dillon Brooks scored 23 points and the Memphis Grizzlies routed the New Orleans Pelicans 141-114 on Saturday night to tie the 2012-13 franchise record for victories in a season at 56.
After missing nine games, Morant played almost 27 minutes as the second-seeded Grizzlies got their starting lineup back together as they prepare for the postseason. They will close the regular season at home against Boston on Sunday night.
Brandon Clarke added 20 points for Memphis, making all 10 of his field goal attempts. Ziaire Williams had 19 points, and Desmond Bane had 18. The Grizzlies shot better than 60% through three quarters. They snapped a two-game losing streak.
CJ McCollum led New Orleans with 16 points, but was 6 of 17 from the field. Willy Hernangomez added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Jaxson Hayes had 13 points.
Trying to secure the ninth seed for the play-in tournament, the Pelicans played without scoring leader Brandon Ingram. He’s missed his second straight game because of hamstring tightness.
76ERS 133, PACERS 120
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Joel Embiid made his closing argument for MVP votes and all but wrapped up the NBA scoring title, finishing with 41 points and 20 rebounds in Philadelphia’s victory over Indiana.
Embiid shot 14 for 17 from the floor, went 11 of 15 from the foul line and made of both his 3-point attempts in a game that Philadelphia needed to win to remain alive for the third seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
James Harden added 22 points and 14 assists for Philadelphia.
Oshae Brissett scored 20 points for Indiana. The Pacers have lost nine straight.
WARRIORS 100, SPURS 94
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Jonathan Kuminga and Jordan Poole each had 18 points and Golden State won its fourth straight, beating San Antonio to strengthen its hopes for a top-three seed.
Golden State is a game ahead of Dallas in the Western Conference and can secure the third seed with a victory Sunday at New Orleans in the season finale. If the Warriors lose, and the Mavericks beat the Spurs on Sunday, Dallas will finish third after going 3-1 in its season series with Golden State.
Lonnie Walker IV had 24 points for the Spurs. San Antonio will finish 10th in the Western Conference and must travel to ninth-seeded New Orleans for the opener of the play-in tournament Wednesday.
CLIPPERS 117, KINGS 98
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George scored 23 points, Ivica Zubac had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Los Angeles beat Sacramento for its fourth straight victory.
Norman Powell added 20 points off the bench for the Clippers, who will face Minnesota on Tuesday in the play-in tournament. A victory would send Los Angeles to the postseason for the fourth straight year and a first-round matchup against Memphis.
A loss to the Timberwolves would have the Clippers meeting either New Orleans or San Antonio on Friday with one more chance to make the playoffs. The winner of that game would then get the top-seeded Phoenix Suns.
Davion Mitchell led Sacramento with 22 points.