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NBA

Lakers fall again to Rockets as Suns shine in Miami

The Lakers continued their poor run with an over-time defeat to lowly Houston Rockets as the Phoenix Suns became the first team to mathematically secure a play-off place.

Update:
Mar 9, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA;  Houston Rockets forward Kenyon Martin Jr. (6) grabs a rebound against Los Angeles Lakers forward Stanley Johnson (14) in second half at Toyota Center. Houston Rockets won 139 to 130. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TOD
Thomas SheaUSA TODAY Sports

The Phoenix Suns became the first team to clinch a spot in the NBA playoffs on Wednesday with a 111-90 win over the Miami Heat while the Lakers fell to the Rockets in a nightmarish overtime loss.

The team from LA suffered another painful defeat against Houston who, along with Orlando are the poorest performing team this season and are rock bottom of the Western Conference.

In Houston, the Rockets beat the the Los Angeles Lakers in overtime (139-130), who once again threw away a game from their stars with a frantic overtime.

LeBron James signed a triple double of 23 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists while Russell Westbrook had one of his best games in an Angelino uniform with 30 points and 8 rebounds.

The Lakers, however, could not pull away at any point in the game and had to play for the win in a tight finish.

HOUSTON, TEXAS - MARCH 09: Malik Monk #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket as Alperen Sengun #28 of the Houston Rockets defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center on March 09, 2022 in Houston, Texas.
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HOUSTON, TEXAS - MARCH 09: Malik Monk #11 of the Los Angeles Lakers drives to the basket as Alperen Sengun #28 of the Houston Rockets defends during the third quarter at Toyota Center on March 09, 2022 in Houston, Texas.Bob LeveyAFP

James missed a layup with 13.7 seconds left with the score tied at 120. The Lakers got the ball back and had the last possession but Carmelo Anthony missed the final shot.

In overtime, the Lakers fell apart and conceded an early 10-0 run, with 7 points from rookie Jalen Green (32 points).

The shooting guard still scored another three-pointer to hand the Los Angeles team, ninth in the West, its ninth straight loss as a visitor.

Booker returns in Miami

In Miami, shooting guard Devin Booker had 23 points and 9 assists in his return to the Suns after four games out due to coronavirus protocols.

Last season's runner-up, Phoenix sealed their ticket to the postseason with 16 games left in the regular season.

With 53 wins and 13 losses, the Suns have the best record in the NBA and haven't slowed down even with the long-term injury to their on-court commander, veteran Chris Paul.

"It was one of the best defensive performances I've seen, and I've been at this a long time," said coach Monty Williams congratulating his players.

The Heat, suffered the loss of their star player Jimmy Butler and are only 2 wins ahead of the Milwaukee Bucks. The defending champions, in their turn, overcame the Atlanta Hawks 124-115 with 43 points and 12 rebounds by Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Mar 9, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots over Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker (17) during the second half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
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Mar 9, 2022; Miami, Florida, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker (1) shoots over Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker (17) during the second half at FTX Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY SportsJasen VinloveUSA TODAY Sports

Boston maintain momentum

In Charlotte, Jayson Tatum maintained his spectacular form in his Boston Celtics' 115-101 win over the Hornets.

The All-Star forward scored 44 points after he hit 54 in Sunday's win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Tatum, 24, also added 6 three-pointers, 5 rebounds and 3 assists to his personal tally on Wednesday.

Led by their young star, who is averaging 42 points in the last four games, the Celtics are riding a terrific 15-game winning streak that has lifted them into fifth place in the East.

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 06 Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston Celtics
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BOSTON, MA - MARCH 06 Jayson Tatum #0 of the Boston CelticsAdam GlanzmanAFP

Wednesday's NBA results

Charlotte Hornets - Boston Celtics 101-115

Detroit Pistons - Chicago Bulls 108-114

Miami Heat - Phoenix Suns 90-111

Milwaukee Bucks - Atlanta Hawks 124-115

Minnesota Timberwolves - Oklahoma City Thunder 132-102

New Orleans Pelicans - Orlando Magic 102-108

Houston Rockets - LA Lakers 139-130

Dallas Mavericks - NY Knicks 77-107

San Antonio Spurs - Toronto Raptors 104-119

Utah Jazz - Portland Trail Blazers 123-85

Sacramento Kings - Denver Nuggets 100-106

LA Clippers - Washington Wizards 115-109

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