LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Chris Paul had 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 105-86 victory over the poor-shooting Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night.
Danilo Gallinari scored 19 points and Steven Adams had 18 for the Thunder (42-25), who never trailed in their first win over the Lakers in four meetings this season. Oklahoma City pulled even with Houston for the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoff picture with five games left.
The 86 points were the fewest by the Lakers and by a Thunder opponent this season.
We just tried to stick to the game plan, Paul said. We tried to keep those guys off the (free throw) line as much as possible. We tried to build a wall up on LeBron when hes pushing it. Just trying to make it hard for them.
LeBron James had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers (51-16), who had another possibly concerning offensive performance while dropping to 2-2 in the bubble. Los Angeles, which has already clinched the top seed in the West and the Pacific Division title, never held a lead for the first time all season.
I think we had some great possessions, James said. I think sometimes we have some bad shot selection throughout the course of these games, but I think we got some great looks. Our defense is pretty good. We only allowed the Thunder to shoot 43% from the field. Well get our rhythm and start making some.
The Lakers went a season-worst 5 for 37 on 3-pointers and made only 35% of their shots overall. Los Angeles dropped two games behind Milwaukee for the NBA's best overall record, which won't provide a real home-court advantage in the NBA Finals this year.
Were building habits, and every time were out there we have a chance to build and find rhythms, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said. These games are still really important for us to do that.
Dion Waiters scored 14 points for the Lakers, whose poor perimeter shooting in the bubble still hasn't been fixed as they dropped to 25% on 3-pointers in their last four games. They went 1 for 12 behind the arc in the first quarter against Oklahoma City, and they missed 19 of their first 22 attempts until late in the third quarter.
The Thunder were only 5 for 24 on 3-pointers, but their steady defense and 32-for-36 effort at the free throw line led to a comfortable win.
I felt we had a good team effort in terms of getting back and letting (James) see a crowd, Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. Neither team shot it too well from behind the line today.
Thunder: They played without Mike Muscala (concussion protocol), Terrance Ferguson (bruised right leg) and Dennis Schroder, who is away from the team for the birth of his second child. ... Adams got his leg caught underneath his body when he fell in a heap with Davis during the third quarter. He left the court briefly, but returned to the game.
Lakers: Dwight Howard sat out with a sore right knee. ... Los Angeles got a scare in the third quarter when Paul elbowed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope in the ribs, forcing Caldwell-Pope to leave the game. The Lakers are already without Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo. Caldwell-Pope returned later.
Anthony Davis scored just nine points on 3-for-11 shooting in 29 minutes. That matches his second-lowest point total in a Lakers uniform and his lowest-scoring performance while playing at least 29 minutes since January 2018.
I think were fine, Davis said. I dont think anything is eye-opening, something that we need to be afraid of. The offense is going to come around.
76ers 107, Wizards 98
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Joel Embiid had 30 points and 11 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers held on to beat the Washington Wizards despite losing two-time All-Star Ben Simmons to a knee injury in the third quarter.
There was no immediate word from the 76ers on the extent of Simmons injury, which occurred as he landed awkwardly after grabbing an offensive rebound. At the next break in the action he walked gingerly to the locker room and did not return.
He was shown leaving the locker room in street clothes late in the fourth quarter.
Tobias Harris added 17 points for the 76ers, who pulled within a game of the Pacers for fifth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Thomas Bryant had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the fast-fading Wizards, who have gone 0-4 since the restart and would be eliminated from playoff contention if Orlando and Brooklyn win their games later Wednesday.
Nuggets 132, Spurs 126
Michael Porter Jr. had 30 points and 15 rebounds, and Denver rallied in the fourth quarter to beat San Antonio.
Nikola Jokic added 25 points and 11 assists. Jerami Grant finished with 22 points.
Two days after posting a career-high 37 points in Denvers win over Oklahoma City, Porter stayed hot, scoring 10 of the Nuggets first 16 points against San Antonio.
San Antonio, which started the day two games behind Memphis for the final playoff spot in the West, dropped to 2-2 since the restart.
Rudy Gay scored 24 points and Derrick White added 23 points and seven assists for the Spurs (29-38).
Jazz 124, Grizzlies 115
Joe Ingles scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, and Utah kept Memphis winless in the NBA bubble.
Mike Conley had 23 points and seven assists against his former team for the Jazz (43-25), who improved to 2-2 in the seeding round and nudged ahead of Houston (42-25) for the fourth spot in the Western Conference standings.
Dillon Brooks scored 23 points, while Grayson Allen had a career-high 20 points and six 3-pointers as the Grizzlies dropped to 0-4 in the seeding round, further endangering their chances of hanging on to the No. 8 seed in the West playoffs.
Jonas Valanciunas had 21 points and 14 rebounds, and Ja Morant added 20 points and nine assists for Memphis (32-37). But the Grizzlies have lost five straight overall since March, and Portland (31-38) leads a pack of four teams now within three games of the eighth seed.
Raptors 109, Magic 99
Fred VanVleet had 21 points and 10 assists, and Toronto held on to beat Orlando.
Pascal Siakam added 15 points and Kyle Lowry finished with eight points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.
Toronto (49-18) has won its last seven dating back to before the hiatus and three straight games since the restart.
The Magic (32-37) missed an opportunity to clinch a playoff spot following Washingtons loss to Philadelphia earlier Wednesday. But they maintained their 7 1/2-game lead over the Wizards for the eighth seed with four seeding games to play.
They also may be without forward Aaron Gordon for an undetermined amount of time after he left the game in the third quarter with a left hamstring injury after taking a hard foul from Lowry.
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