Driving to the basket in crunch time, Raymond Felton slipped to the floor and lost the basketball. All he could do was lunge back at it and bat it toward J.R. Smith as the shot clock ticked closer to zero.
For the second straight possession, Smith beat the buzzer — this time with a 3-pointer — and the Knicks closed out a 125-120 road victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. The victory was New York’s 12th in a row and gave the team 50 wins for the first time in 13 years.
‘‘He makes plays like that. He makes tough shots,” teammate Carmelo Anthony said of Smith.
Anthony had 36 points and 12 rebounds, moving ahead of Kevin Durant as the NBA’s top scorer (28.44 to 28.35). He failed to extend his run of 40-point games to four.
Smith finished with 22 points, including the two biggest shots of the game. He connected on a 23-foot jumper from the right wing as the shot clock expired to put New York ahead, 117-113, with 1:30 to play, then swished a 3-pointer with 56.8 seconds left that all but sealed the win.
Russell Westbrook had 37 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists for Oklahoma City, which fell a game behind San Antonio for first place in the West with five games left. Durant scored 27 points.
Clippers 109, Lakers 95 — Blake Griffin and Chris Paul had 24 points apiece as the Clippers clinched the first Pacific Division title in franchise history and earned a season sweep of the Lakers for the first time since Donald Sterling bought the team in 1981.
The Lakers, serving as the visiting team at Staples Center, played without injured starters Steve Nash and Metta World Peace. Dwight Howard and Kobe Bryant each had 25 points, and Bryant added 10 assists and seven rebounds. The Lakers fell a half-game behind Utah for the eighth and final playoff berth in the West.
Jazz 97, Warriors 90 — At Oakland, Calif., Mo Williams scored 25 points, Al Jefferson added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Utah strengthened its postseason cause with four games left.
Williams made a 3-pointer with 13.4 seconds remaining to put the Jazz ahead by 6 and spoil Golden State’s shot to clinch a playoff berth in front of a sold-out crowd of 19,596. The Warriors are sixth in the West.
Pistons 99, Bulls 85 — Brandon Knight scored 20 points to help Detroit snap an 18-game losing streak against Chicago. The Pistons also ended an eight-game home skid with their first win over the Bulls since Dec. 23, 2008.
Grizzlies 89, Kings 87 — Mike Conley scored 25 points, making the go-ahead basket with 30 seconds left and leading Memphis past host Sacramento. The Grizzlies earned their first season sweep of the Kings.
Cavaliers 91, Magic 85 — Cleveland won consecutive games for the first time since late February, getting 19 points from Alonzo Gee. Orlando has dropped 11 straight away from home.
Mavericks 96, Trail Blazers 91 — Chris Kamen collected 26 points and 11 rebounds and Shawn Marion added 20 as Dallas edged host Portland.
Hornets 95, Suns 92 — Rookie Anthony Davis pumped in a game-high 20 points as visiting New Orleans squeezed past Phoenix.