Al Jefferson had 22 points and eight rebounds to help Utah keep its playoff hopes alive with a 96-80 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night in Minneapolis.Mo Williams had 15 points and seven assists for the Jazz, who needed a win to avoid being eliminated in the Western Conference playoff race.The Jazz need to win at Memphis on Wednesday and for the Los Angeles Lakers to lose at home against Houston that night to get into the playoffs. They own the tiebreaker after beating the Lakers two out of three times this season.Derrick Williams had 18 points and six rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were missing center Nikola Pekovic with a bruised left calf.The Jazz entered the night clinging to the postseason picture, down 1½ games to the Lakers with two to play.
The Jazz have won nine of their last 11 games since a four-game losing streak in the middle of last month threatened to bury them.
Thunder 104, Kings 95 — Kevin Durant scored 29 points, Russell Westbrook had 21 before getting ejected in the final 3 minutes and host Oklahoma City clinched the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs by beating Sacramento.
Durant hit a 3-pointer and Westbrook set up Serge Ibaka for a two-handed slam during a string of 11 straight Thunder points midway through the third quarter that stretched the lead to 75-51.Sacramento was able to cut the deficit to 11 early in the fourth quarter and force coach Scott Brooks to put Durant and Westbrook back in and close out the game.
Nets 106, Wizards 101 — Andray Blatche led a bevy of Brooklyn bench players with 20 points and 11 rebounds erased an early 17-point deficit to beat visiting Washington.
Kris Humphries, who was the team’s original starting power forward at the beginning of the season before falling out of the rotation, added 20 points and nine boards for Brooklyn.
Grizzlies 103, Mavericks 97 — Keyon Dooling scored 13 points, including a go-ahead 3-pointer before consecutive baskets by Ed Davis, and visiting Memphis rallied to keep alive its chance of hosting a first-round playoff series.
Jerryd Bayless had 19 points and the Grizzlies’ reserves accounted for 64 points — all 35 in the decisive fourth quarter.
Nuggets 112, Bucks 111 — Ty Lawson scored 26 points, including a jumper in the lane with 9.3 seconds left, and Denver clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a victory at Milwaukee.
Wilson Chandler added 21 points for the Nuggets, who can secure the No. 3 seed in the West with one more victory or two losses by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Bobcats 106, Knicks 95 — Gerald Henderson scored 27 points, Kemba Walker had 23 points and a career-high 13 assists, and the Bobcats defeated New York in Charlotte, N.C. The victory pulled the Bobcats into a tie with Orlando for the worst record in the league.
Warriors 116, Spurs 106 — Stephen Curry scored 35 points, hitting seven 3-pointers to move within one of Ray Allen’s season record of 269 treys set in 2005-06 with Seattle, to lead host Golden State past San Antonio. The win moved the Warriors a game ahead of Houston for the sixth seed in the West.
Bulls 102, Magic 84 — Carlos Boozer scored 22 points, Luol Deng added 18, and Chicago snapped a two-game losing streak with a victory in Orlando. The win keeps alive their hopes of catching Atlanta for the fifth seed in the East.
Heat 96, Cavaliers 95 — LeBron James watched from the bench in street clothes as Norris Cole stripped Kyrie Irving of the ball with 2.2 seconds left to give visiting Miami the victory despite resting most of its top players. Cole finished with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists
Pistons 109, 76ers 101 — Greg Monroe had 27 points and 16 rebounds, and Detroit made the most of its home finale against Philadelphia.
Suns 119, Rockets 112 — Luis Scola had 26 points and 15 rebounds, Goran Dragic added 21 points and 14 assists, and Phoenix snapped a franchise-record seven-game home losing streak.