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Suns still in hunt for top seed in West; Spurs punch play-in ticket

PHOENIX, AZ - MAY 13: Devin Booker #1 of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket during the game against the Portland Trail Blazers on May 13, 2021 at Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE Barry Gossage/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Barry Gossage / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP)
Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns drives to the basket during their game against the Portland Trail Blazers on May 13, 2021 at Phoenix Suns Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. (AFP)

Phoenix 118, Portland 117

Miami 106, Philadelphia 94

Atlanta 116, Orlando 93

New York 102, San Antonio 98

Memphis 116, Sacramento 110

Milwaukee 142, Indiana 133

Denver 114, Minnesota 103

Chicago 114, Toronto 102

LA Clippers 113, Charlotte 90

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – Devin Booker drained two free throws with 2.4 seconds remaining to lift Phoenix to a 118-117 victory over Portland that kept the Suns in the hunt for the top seed in the NBA Western Conference playoffs.

The narrow victory in a tense duel that saw 25 lead changes along with 18 ties prevented the Trail Blazers from officially locking up their playoff spot.

Veteran point guard Chris Paul paced the Suns with 26 points, one of seven Phoenix players to score in double figures.

Forward Mikal Bridges and reserve Cameron Payne had 21 points apiece and Booker finished with 18 as the Suns withstood a 41-point performance from Blazers guard Damian Lillard that was supplemented by 27 from CJ McCollum.

Lillard’s driving layup with 34.7 seconds remaining put the Trail Blazers up 117-114, but Bridges narrowed the gap with two free throws.

After a Lillard miss from three-point range, Booker handed the Trail Blazers a lifeline as he was whistled for travelling as he tried to spin away from Carmelo Anthony, giving Portland the ball.

The Suns, meanwhile, are one game behind Utah for first in the West with two games to play.

Elsewhere, The Miami Heat dominated the Philadelphia 76ers, 106-94, denying the Sixers a chance to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

The defending Eastern Conference champion Heat notched a fourth straight victory with the post-season approaching, although they remained in fifth place in the East with two regular-season games remaining.

They are half a game behind the fourth-placed Atlanta Hawks, who beat the Orlando Magic, 116-93, on Thursday.

The New York Knicks remained in sixth place after their 102-98 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Despite falling in New York, the Spurs grabbed a spot in the play-in tournament, in which the seventh through 10th-placed teams in each conference will battle for the final two playoff spots.

– Giannis statement –

San Antonio advanced when the Sacramento Kings fell 116-110 to the Grizzlies in Memphis.

In Miami, the Heat were in control throughout, taking a 9-6 lead early in the first quarter that they wouldn’t relinquish.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 21 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Tobias Harris paced the 76ers with 21 points while MVP candidate Joel Embiid managed just six points on three-of-nine shooting in the face of Miami’s suffocating defense.

Heat veteran Udonis Haslem, at almost 41 the oldest active player in the league, made a brief but memorable season debut, coming off the bench to play 2 minutes and 40 seconds before he was ejected in the second quarter after a tussle with Philadelphia’s Dwight Howard.

The 76ers lost their second straight but remained one game in front of the Brooklyn Nets atop the East.

The Milwaukee Bucks moved within one game of the idle Nets for the second seed with a 142-133 victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Two-time reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 40 points, pulled down 15 rebounds and handed out six assists for the Bucks, riding roughshod over a Pacers team that had just 10 players in uniform because of injuries.

Antetokounmpo connected on 14 of 18 shots from the field, throwing down nine dunks.

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Written by Tempo Desk

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