Hornets 115, Raptors 114
Jeremy Lamb added a dose of March Madness to Sunday's NBA action.
Lamb banked home a half-court shot at the buzzer and the Hornets beat the Toronto Raptors 115-114, Charlotte's third straight win.
"It feels great," Lamb said. "We fought so hard the whole game. Everybody who came in contributed and played well. They made a big run late. It just feels good to get that win and cap it off like that."
Toronto looked to have won the game after Kawhi Leonard hit the go-ahead basket with 44 seconds left, then blocked Kemba Walker at the other end.
Charlotte got one final chance after Leonard missed a jumper with 5.8 seconds to go. Pascal Siakam knocked the inbounds pass away from Lamb, who chased the ball into the back court before launching the game-winning 3-pointer.
"He made a tough shot," Siakam said. "I don't know how I could have defended it better. Yeah, March Madness."
Hornets coach James Borrego called Lamb's basket "a contested bomb."
According to ESPN, Lamb's winning shot was from 48 feet, making it the second-longest, game-winning buzzer-beater in the past 20 seasons. Tyreke Evans hit a 49-footer against the Grizzlies on Dec. 29, 2010.
"I know he threw up a prayer," Walker said of Lamb's long heave. "I guess the basketball gods were on our side tonight. That was an unbelievable shot."
Lamb was asked whether he remembered the last time he hit a half-court buzzer-beater.
"In my driveway growing up, counting down by myself," he said.
Walker had 15 points and 13 assists and Willy Hernagomez had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who overcame an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Boston on Saturday.
"It's a big win," Walker said. "That's an unbelievable team over there. They're going to be a force to be reckoned with in the playoffs. That was impressive."
Dwayne Bacon made five 3-pointers and scored 20 points, and rookie Miles Bridges scored 16 for Charlotte, which began the day 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Miami and 1 1/2 games behind ninth-place Orlando in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
"I feel like this is turning our way," Borrego said. "If we keep playing this way, we're going to give ourselves a chance."
Leonard scored 28 points and Siakam had 23 for the Raptors, who lost consecutive home games for the second time this season. Toronto lost to New Orleans on Nov. 12 and Detroit on Nov 14.
All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry returned for Toronto after missing the previous two games because of a sore right ankle. With Lowry in the starting lineup, the Raptors were at full strength for the first time since the trade deadline acquisition of center Marc Gasol, and the subsequent signing of free agent guard Jeremy Lin.
Still, having a full complement of players didn't pay off for the Raptors, who surrendered 18 points on 13 turnovers. Toronto had 22 turnovers in Friday's home loss to Oklahoma City, one shy of their season worst.
Charlotte led 109-96 with 7:50 remaining. Then Toronto's Fred VanVleet hit back-to-back 3-pointers and dunks from Siakam, and Leonard cut it to 109-106 with 5:26 to go.
Leonard's jumper made it a one-point game before Bacon ended Toronto's 12-0 run by making one of two at the foul line.
Siakam and Bacon swapped layups before Leonard tied it with a pair at the foul line.
The Hornets led 58-57 at halftime.
Ten of Charlotte's 12 field goals in the third quarter were 3-pointers, including five from Bacon. The Hornets set a franchise record by making 10 of 15 from long range in the third. Charlotte took a 95-83 lead into the fourth.
Gasol started for the Raptors and scored 17 points.
Lowry said his ankle is still sore, but he wanted to get back into game action before the playoffs.
"It's a work in progress," he said. "This is a good first step for me."
Warriors 121, Pistons 114
Stephen Curry had 26 points, Klay Thompson added 24 and Golden State rebounded a night after a blowout loss with a win over Detroit.
The Warriors fell 126-91 to the Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, but that was with Curry resting on the bench. He came back strong against the Pistons, and Golden State also got 14 points and 11 assists from Kevin Durant. Draymond Green added 14 points and eight assists.
The win moved the Warriors (50-23) back into the first seed in the Western Conference by a half-game over the Nuggets (49-23). The Pistons slipped to seventh in the Eastern Conference with the loss.
Blake Griffin had 24 points and eight assists to lead Detroit and Andre Drummond had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Luke Kennard hit three 3-pointers and had 20 points off the bench.
DeMarcus Cousins and Andre Iguodala sat out for the Warriors. Cousins is not playing in any back-to-back contests this season while recovering from a left Achilles tendon injury.
Andre Drummond had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Clippers 124, Knicks 113
Danilo Gallinari scored 26 points to extend the best scoring streak of his career, and Los Angeles beat New York for its fifth straight victory.
Lou Williams had 29 points and fellow reserve Montrezl Harrell added 24 to provide their usual potent play off the bench for the Clippers, who began play tied with Oklahoma City and Utah for fifth place in the Western Conference.
Gallinari made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 4:12 remaining to make it 106-104, then hit a pair of free throws before Williams made another 3 to push it to 111-104 with 3:01 to go. The Clippers then pulled away from there to win for the 10th time in 11 games.
Gallinari, the Knicks' first-round pick in 2008, has scored 20 or more in his past nine games.
Lakers 111, Kings 106
Kyle Kuzma scored 21 of his 29 points in the third quarter, LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and the Lakers ended a five-game losing streak.
JaVale McGee had 17 points and 14 rebounds to help the Lakers win for the third time in their past 15 games.
Marvin Bagley III had 25 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for the Kings, who have lost four straight on the road.
Bucks 127, Cavaliers 105
Giannis Antetokounmpo showed few signs he was bothered by an ailing right ankle, getting 26 points and 10 rebounds to lift Milwaukee over Cleveland.
Antetokounmpo was listed as questionable after missing two of the three previous games with an ankle sprain. He made 11 of 16 shots and had seven assists in 32 minutes.
Khris Middleton and George Hill added 17 points apiece for the Bucks. Hill was acquired from the Cavaliers in a three-team trade in early December.
Kevin Love had 20 points, Jordan Clarkson 19 and Collin Sexton 18 for Cleveland.
Milwaukee improved to an NBA-best 55-19.
Rockets 113, Pelicans 90
James Harden scored 28 points in a little less than 29 minutes, and Houston downed New Orleans.
Chris Paul had 10 points and 13 assists, and Eric Gordon added 18 points for the Rockets, who hit 21 3s in winning for the fifth time in six games to move a game ahead of Portland for the third seed in the Western Conference.
Anthony Davis had 12 points and 10 rebounds in just less than 21 minutes for the short-handed Pelicans, who lost for the eighth time in nine games. Frank Jackson scored 19 and Julius Randle 15 for New Orleans, which fell behind by double digits early and struggled throughout to keep pace with a contending Rockets squad trying to sharpen up for the postseason.
Pacers 124, Nuggets 88
Bojan Bogdanovic scored 26 of his 35 points in the first half to lead Indiana over Denver.
Myles Turner had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Domantas Sabonis added 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Pacers, who returned home after dropping four in a row during a West Coast swing.
Nikola Jokic had 19 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, Will Barton had 15 points and reserve Monte Morris scored 12 points for the Nuggets, who lost for the first time after winning six straight.
Bogdanovic scored every point during a 12-2 run late in the second quarter. He made a 3-pointer with 2:53 remaining in the first half to put the Pacers ahead 52-35.
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