LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers just want to close out the regular season on a roll. Do that, and they may reach their other goal — the fourth seed in the Western Conference.
That would get them homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs, and they got a step closer Monday night with a 114-105 victory over the New York Knicks.
The Clippers used an explosive third quarter, outscoring the Knicks 34-19 to build a 25-point lead. Their starters did not play in the fourth quarter.
With the victory, the Clippers pulled within one game of Utah for fourth place with 11 games to play.
“It’s important,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I would love it. But I’m not going to focus on it.
“I’m going to try and get this team better each game, and then at the end, we’ll see where we’re at.”
The Clippers looked like a team that could accomplish what it wanted against the Knicks, particularly in the third quarter. They ran off 11 consecutive points during the decisive quarter.
Griffin led the offense with 30 point in 31 minutes. DeAndre Jordan added 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Chris Paul had 13 assists and 13 points.
“That start of the third quarter really hurt us,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said.
The Knicks got 18 points from each of Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick Rose, and Carmelo Anthony had 16 points. Porzingis added 11 rebounds.
Warriors 111, Thunder 95
OKLAHOMA CITY — Klay Thompson scored 34 points to help the Golden State Warriors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in a heated matchup filled with trash talking, physical play and technical fouls.
It was Golden State’s second visit to Oklahoma City since former Thunder star Kevin Durant signed a free agent contract with the rival Warriors last summer. Durant has been out since February with a left knee injury and sat on the bench with his team.
Even with Durant out, the negative energy from the first meeting was still there. Stephen Curry exchanged shoves with Oklahoma City’s Semaj Christon just before halftime, and both were issued technical fouls. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Golden State’s Draymond Green also got technical for their roles in the skirmish.
The Warriors were overpowering in this one, leading by as many as 27 points while completing a sweep of the four-game season series.
Curry scored 23 points for the Warriors, who won their fourth straight and halted Oklahoma City’s win streak at five games.
Westbrook scored 47 points the last time the teams met in Oklahoma City. This time, he had 15 points on 4-of-16 shooting.
Magic 112, 76ers 109, OT
ORLANDO, Fla. — Nikola Vucevic had 26 points and 13 rebounds, Evan Fournier scored 19 points and Orlando beat Philadelphia in overtime.
Orlando overcame a 17-point second-half deficit. Fournier led the way in OT with eight points, and Terrence Ross had four points in the extra session and 15 overall.
Richaun Holmes and Robert Covington led the 76ers with 24 points each.
Hornets 105, Hawks 90
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nicolas Batum and Kemba Walker each had 16 points and Charlotte handed slumping Atlanta its fourth straight loss.
The Hornets scored 17 points off 18 turnovers and led by as many as 23 in the fourth quarter.
Frank Kaminsky provided more strong play off the bench for Charlotte with 14 points and five assists.
Rockets 125, Nuggets 124
HOUSTON — James Harden drove the length of the floor for a layup with 2.4 seconds left to lift Houston over Denver.
Harden had 39 points, 11 assists and was three rebounds shy of his 20th triple-double of the season. Houston outlasted Denver in a duel between the second- and third-highest scoring teams in the NBA.
Celtics 110, Wizards 102
BOSTON — Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points after missing the previous two games with a bruised right knee, leading Boston to a victory over Washington in another testy matchup between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.
Avery Bradley added 20 points and nine rebounds for Bostons.
Jae Crowder and Al Horford each scored 16 with nine boards.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 19 points, and John Wall had 16 points with eight assists.
Pacers 107, Jazz 100
INDIANAPOLIS — Jeff Teague scored 21 points, Paul George added 19 and Indiana beat Utah.
Indiana continued its trend of following a loss with a win — failing to do either in consecutive games since Feb. 16. The win helped the Pacers maintain the No. 6 spot in the Eastern Conference playoff chase.
Former Butler star Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with a career-high 38 points. Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 14 rebounds on the final stop of a four-game trip.