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.
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.
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.
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.
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