Sun sets on LA Lakers’ woeful NBA season

The Phoenix Suns have won a franchise-record 63rd game of the NBA season, beating a Lakers team minus LeBron James 121-110 to eliminate Los Angeles from the playoff race.

It was a tight game during the first half goal Phoenix used a 29-9 run in the third quarter to create separation.

The rest of the game was essentially a celebration for the Suns, who danced and dunked their way past the Forlorn Lakers.

Los Angeles, playing without James for a second straight game because of a sprained ankle, have lost seven straight.

Deandre Ayton had 22 points for Phoenix (63-16), which avoided their first three-game losing streak of the season.

Even without James, the Lakers led for a big chunk of the first half.

But once the Suns built their big lead, the Lakers didn’t seem particularly interested in mounting a comeback.

The Miami Heat have moved closer to clinching the No.1 seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference playoffs with a 144-115 victory over the Charlotte Hornets.

Miami won their fifth straight and posted the second-highest point total in franchise history.

Tyler Herro scored 35 points off the bench as Jimmy Butler added 27, Bam Adebayo had 22 and Duncan Robinson broke out of a recent scoring slump with 21 points for the Heat.

Miami need to win one of their two remaining games to secure the top spot in the East.

Pascal Siakam had 31 points and 13 rebounds to help the Toronto Raptors clinch a playoff berth by beating the Atlanta Hawks 118-108.

The victory, coupled with Cleveland’s loss at Orlando, ensured the Raptors (46-33) will finish no lower than sixth in the Eastern Conference.

Orlando beat Cleveland Cavaliers 120-115 to stop a six-game losing streak.

Kyrie Irving scored 42 points as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Houston Rockets 118-105 to improve their position in the race for play-in seedings.

The Nets climbed into a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, just 1-1/2 games behind the Cavaliers.

Joel Embiid had 45 points and 13 rebound as the Philadelphia 76ers made a franchise-record 17 3-pointers in the first half of a 131-122 victory over the Indiana Pacers that moved them into a tie with Boston atop the Atlantic Division.

The 76ers continued to build momentum for a playoff push that begins next week – and perhaps Embiid’s pitch as league MVP.

In other games, Oklahoma City improved to 4-0 against the Portland Trail Blazers this season in a 98-94 victory while the visiting Washington Wizards pulled away in the fourth quarter to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 132-114.

The Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Chicago Bulls 127-106 and the San Antonio Spurs downed the Denver Nuggets 116-97.

Utah defeated Memphis 121-115 in overtime to clinch a playoff spot and the New Orleans Pelicans accounted for the Sacramento Kings 123-109 to secure their place in the Western Conference post-season.

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