Bucks, Wizards make moves in East with fourth straight wins
The Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks further muddled the packed Eastern Conference by earning their fourth straight wins on Wednesday.
John Wall scored 27 points, and Bradley Beal added 26, to lead the Wizards (9-5) past the Heat 102-93. Washington outscored Miami 30-19 in the first quarter, and then iced the game with a 31-19 fourth quarter.
The Bucks earned their fourth straight win by upending the equally red-hot Pistons 99-95. All five Bucks starters scored double-figures, with MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo finishing with 21 points and six rebounds.
Washington, currently second in the Eastern Conference in scoring, averaging 110.7 points per game, feature five players averaging at least 11 points per game.
The Celtics remain the class of the East, but the Bucks and Wizards are both capable of making noise in the play-offs with the Cavaliers struggling and Boston unproven with this group.
Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns scored 26 points on 10-of-18 shooting and 16 rebounds in a 98-86 win over the Spurs. Towns now has four straight double-doubles, while leading Minnesota (9-5) to seven wins in their last nine games.
Sixers big man Joel Embiid had a monster game in a win over the Lakers. Embiid finished with a career-high 46 points, 15 rebounds, seven assists and a career-best seven blocks.
KINGS, BULLS STRUGGLING
The Kings fell to 1-8 on the road this season. Sacramento were defeated 126-80 by the Hawks. Zach Randolph scored 16 points to lead the Kings, but they shot just 35.2 per cent from the field and 21.6 per cent from three-point range. The Kings have now lost 10 of their last 12 games.
Chicago scored just seven points in the first quarter, leading to an ugly 92-79 loss to the Thunder. The Bulls shot just 34.7 per cent from the field, falling to 2-10.
LeBron James produced a steal and an emphatic slam.
James scored 31 points with eight assists and six rebounds leading the Cavaliers (8-7) to a 115-107 win over the Hornets (5-8).
Atlanta Hawks 126-80 Sacramento Kings
New York Knicks 106-101 Utah Jazz
Minnesota Timberwolves 98-86 San Antonio Spurs
Cleveland Cavaliers 115-107 Charlotte Hornets
Milwaukee Bucks 99-95 Detroit Pistons
Washington Wizards 102-93 Miami Heat
Indiana Pacers 116-113 Memphis Grizzlies
Toronto Raptors 125-116 New Orleans Pelicans
Oklahoma City Thunder 92-79 Chicago Bulls
Portland Trail Blazers 99-94 Orlando Magic
Philadelphia 76ers 115-109 Los Angeles Lakers
WARRIORS AT CELTICS
Boston, the Eastern Conference leaders, host the Warriors, the leaders out West, trying to protect their 13-game winning streak. Injuries have plagued the Celtics, but stifling defense has helped them win close games. The Warriors have won seven straight games themselves after a rocky start to the season.