NBA roundup: James Harden returns, leads Nets past Spurs

He played under a minutes restriction after missing the previous 18 games, and he wound up logging 25:44 of court time in his first game since April 5. He collected 18 points.

Brooklyn Nets’ James Harden (13) looks to pass away from San Antonio Spurs' Rudy Gay (22) during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday.   -  AP

James Harden collected 18 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds in his return from a strained right hamstring as the Brooklyn Nets posted a 128-116 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night in New York.

Harden came off the bench for the first time since April 22, 2012, when he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He played under a minutes restriction after missing the previous 18 games, and he wound up logging 25:44 of court time in his first game since April 5.

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Landry Shamet led the Nets with 21 points on a night when Kyrie Irving sat out after sustaining a facial contusion in the team's Tuesday win at Chicago. Brooklyn earned its third win a row.

DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points, but San Antonio lost for the seventh time in nine games.

Mavericks 125, Pelicans 107

Luka Doncic scored 33 points as host Dallas moved closer to clinching one of the top six spots in the Western Conference while eliminating New Orleans from play-in contention.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 27 points, Kristaps Porzingis returned from a seven-game absence due to right knee soreness to score 19 and Dwight Powell had 12 points as Dallas ended the night tied for fifth place in the West after winning for the fifth time in six games. Portland also improved to 41-29 by beating Utah on Wednesday.

Eric Bledsoe and Jaxson Hayes scored 15 each, Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Kira Lewis Jr. added 13 each, Willy Hernangomez had 12 points and 10 rebounds, Naji Marshall scored 12 and James Johnson had 11 for New Orleans.

Trail Blazers 105, Jazz 98

Damian Lillard scored 30 points, CJ McCollum added 26 and Portland led the entire second half in beating Utah in Salt Lake City.

Carmelo Anthony netted 18 points off the bench to help Portland earn its fifth straight win and its ninth victory in 10 games. The Trail Blazers also has just two games remaining as it attempts to clinch either the fifth or sixth spot in the West to avoid the play-in tournament.

Jordan Clarkson scored 29 points to lead the Jazz, which struggled to a higher degree than usual in the absence of injured All-Star guards Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley. The team saw its lead over the second-place Phoenix Suns slip to 1 1/2 games in the race for the No. 1 position throughout the playoffs.

Lakers 124, Rockets 122

Kyle Kuzma drove for the decisive layup with 6.9 seconds remaining to give host Los Angeles a victory over Houston.

Talen Horton-Tucker contributed 23 points and 10 assists, Andre Drummond recorded 20 points and 10 rebounds and Kuzma had 19 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. The seventh-place Lakers is a game behind Dallas and Portland and would need to finish in at least sixth place to avoid the West's play-in round.

The Lakers played without LeBron James (ankle) for the 26th time in the past 28 games. Anthony Davis (adductor) also sat out. Armoni Brooks scored a career-best 24 points and Kelly Olynyk also had 24 for Houston, which has lost seven straight games and 44 of its past 49. Kenyon Martin Jr. added 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Atlanta Hawks forward John Collins (20) tries to pass the ball as Washington Wizards guard Raul Neto (19) defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game on Wednesday.   -  AP


Hawks 120, Wizards 116

John Collins drilled a go-ahead 3-pointer with 24.8 seconds left to complete Atlanta's comeback against visiting Washington in a game that had playoff implications for both teams.

The Hawks moved a half-game ahead of Miami and New York in their battle for the No. 4 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, which carries with it home-court advantage in the first round. Meanwhile, the loss prevented the Wizards from clinching a spot in the East play-in tournament, keeping Chicago alive.

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Young paced Atlanta with 33 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. Bogdan Bogdanovic finished with 20 points and Collins 18, while Clint Capela added 17 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Triple-double king Russell Westbrook put up game-highs in points with 34 and assists with 15, but had just fiverebounds for the Wizards.

Cavaliers 102, Celtics 94

Kevin Love posted season highs of 30 points and 14 rebounds as host Cleveland snapped an 11-game losing streak by beating cold-shooting Boston, which lost its fourth in a row.

Love finished 10-for-16 from the floor, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range.Collin Sexton delivered 28 points, primarily inside the arc and at the foulline, for Cleveland.

Jayson Tatum scored 29 points on 11-of-26 shooting, Evan Fournier finished with 15 points on 6-of-20 shooting, and Payton Pritchard came off the bench for 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting for the Celtics.

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