Harden stars for Thunder
PHOENIX OKLAHOMA City’s James Harden scored a career-high 40 points, including making 5 of 8 3-pointers, to lead the Thunder to a 109-97 win over Phoenix on Wednesday that dealt a blow to the Suns’ playoff hopes.
Kevin Durant added 29 points for the Thunder, who stayed half a game behind San Antonio in the fight for the top playoff seed in the Western Conference.
Phoenix’s loss, coupled with Utah’s’ victory over Portland, moved the Jazz half a game above of the Suns for the West’s eighth and final playoff spot. Jared Dudley scored 21 points for Phoenix.
Celtics 102, Magic 98 In Boston, Paul Pierce had 29 points and a career-high 14 assists as Boston held off Orlando and clinched at least a tie for the NBA Atlantic Division title. Boston has a 3- 1/2-game lead over New York.
The Celtics has three games left, and the Knicks has four.
Division winners are guaranteed to be seeded no worse than fourth in the conference and would avoid Chicago or Miami in the first round of playoffs.
Clippers 104, Nuggets 98 In Denver, Kenyon Martin helped beat his old team with a tip-in and blocked shot in the final half-minute, leading Los Angeles psat Denver.
Martin tipped in Chris Paul’s missed jumper with 27 seconds left and the game tied, then blocked at the other end with 20 seconds remaining.
After a timeout, Paul made two free throws to make it a four-point game. The Nuggets got back within two with 16 seconds remaining, but Mo Williams replied with two free throws and Paul, leading with 21 points, capped the game with an uncontested dunk.