PHILADELPHIA — Spencer Hawes had 15 points and a career-high 17 rebounds, Jrue Holiday and Damien Wilkins each scored 18 points, and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 100-92 on Wednesday night.
Thaddeus Young and Dorell Wright both scored 14 points for a Sixers team that put six players in double figures. The Sixers returned from a 1-3 road trip to win their third straight game at home. On Fan Appreciation Night, the Sixers gave them something to feel good about.
Brandon Jennings was scoreless for Milwaukee and benched in the fourth quarter. Monta Ellis scored 29 points for the Bucks. Ersan Ilyasova had 13 points and 18 rebounds.
The Sixers wasted an 18-point lead and needed to find their touch from 3-point range to get back into this one. Wright gave them a one-point with a 3-pointer and Holiday followed with another to make it 93-87. Evan Turner, who scored 13, made Philadelphia’s eighth 3-pointer and the lead was up to nine.
From there the Sixers massaged the lead until they hit 98 points with a minute left. With the crowd of 16,640 bellowing “We want Big Macs!” if the Sixers hit 100 points, Wilkins obliged with a thunderous dunk that sent fans into a frenzy.
Fast food is about the only way to satisfy a Sixers fan this year after a season full of promise collapsed under Andrew Bynum’s balky knees.
The Bucks are in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and entered only 1½ games behind Boston for seventh and the chance to avoid a first-round series against Miami.
Ellis took control in the third to help the Bucks grab the lead after a tough first half. He twice hit tying shots in the quarter as Milwaukee was 13 of 25 from the field. Mike Dunleavy hit a 3 to help them take a 78-76 lead into the fourth.
Bobcats 114, Magic 108
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Gerald Henderson and Kemba Walker each scored 34 points, and the Charlotte Bobcats handed the injury-riddled Orlando Magic their eighth straight loss in a matchup of the NBA’s worst teams.
The Bobcats erased a 19-point, first-quarter deficit behind the shooting of Henderson, who finished 12 of 18 from the field and 9 of 10 from the foul line.
Walker did a little bit of everything, dishing out nine assists and grabbing seven rebounds as the Bobcats won for the fourth time in five games at home.
Tobias Harris had a career-high 29 points and nine rebounds, and rookie Kyle O’Quinn had a career-high 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic.
Celtics 93, Cavaliers 92
CLEVELAND — Jeff Green scored 21 points and hit the winning layup at the buzzer, and the Boston Celtics snapped a five-game losing streak with a 93-92 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.
Brandon Bass scored 22 points to lead the Celtics, who rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to avoid matching their longest skid of the season. Boston had dropped seven of nine to fall into seventh place in the Eastern Conference — 2½ games ahead of Milwaukee.
After Cleveland’s Alonzo Gee knocked the ball out of bounds with 2.1 seconds left, Green took an inbound pass from Avery Bradley at the top of the key, drove into the lane and scored over two defenders as time expired.
Wayne Ellington scored 16 points to lead Cleveland, which has lost six in a row to match a season high.
Hawks 107, Raptors 88
TORONTO — Al Horford scored 10 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, Jeff Teague had 24 points and 13 assists and the Atlanta Hawks clinched a playoff berth for the sixth straight season, beating the Toronto Raptors.
Josh Smith added 19 points for the Hawks, who used a 16-0 run midway through the fourth to win for the 13th time in the last 15 meetings with the Raptors.
Horford reached double digits for the 31st consecutive game, the second-longest streak of his career. He did it in 33 straight games in 2009-10.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 19 points, DeMar DeRozan had 14, Terrence Ross had 13 and Alan Anderson 12 for the Raptors, who have lost four straight and 11 of 14.
Knicks 108, Grizzlies 101
NEW YORK — J.R. Smith scored 35 points, his second straight 30-point game, and the New York Knicks withstood a furious rally to beat the Memphis Grizzlies.
Carmelo Anthony added 22 points and Iman Shumpert had 16 as the Knicks tied a season high with their sixth straight win.
Smith scored 32 points against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
After trailing by as many as 30 points early in the second half, the Grizzlies cut their deficit to 103-99 on Tony Allen’s two free throws with 33 seconds left.
However, they got no closer as Raymond Felton, Smith and Anthony scored the game’s next five points at the free throw line.
Pacers 100, Rockets 91
HOUSTON — Roy Hibbert scored a season-high 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, and Lance Stephenson added a season-high 21 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a victory over the Houston Rockets.
The Pacers never trailed and led by as many as 19 points. Houston made several runs, once cutting the lead to four points, but Indiana answered each time to stay on top and hold on for the victory.
The Central Division-leading Pacers weren’t back to full strength on Wednesday. But they certainly got a boost from the return of Stephenson, who missed Indiana’s last game with a strained right hip flexor, and George Hill, out last game with a strained left groin.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Houston, which is seventh in the Western conference. The Rockets were led by James Harden’s 22 points and eight assists.
Lakers 120, Timberwolves 117
MINNEAPOLIS — Kobe Bryant had 31 points and seven assists and Dwight Howard had 25 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory over Minnesota, their 22nd straight win over the Timberwolves.
Pau Gasol added 17 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who had lost three in a row and were playing their first game without defensive stopper Metta World Peace. He will have surgery on a torn meniscus on Thursday, leaving the Lakers to chase the playoffs without him.
Nikola Pekovic had 19 points and 16 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who haven’t beaten the Lakers since March 2007. That was before injured All-Star Kevin Love was even in college.
Clippers 105, Hornets 91
NEW ORLEANS — Blake Griffin scored 19 points, Chris Paul added 16 points and nine assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the New Orleans Hornets.
Caron Butler and Jamal Crawford each scored 13 for the Clippers, who were playing one night after falling in overtime at Dallas. Chauncey Billups briefly returned from a right groin strain to score 11 points before leaving the game with the same injury. But the Clippers opened up a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter and pulled even with Denver for the third-best record (49-23) in the Western Conference.
Eric Gordon scored 24 and Anthony Davis had 19 points and nine rebounds for New Orleans, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.
Thunder 103, Wizards 80
OKLAHOMA CITY — Russell Westbrook scored 21 points, Kevin Durant added 20 and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Washington Wizards.
Kevin Martin had 18 points for the Thunder, who came in 1½ games behind San Antonio for the top spot in the Western Conference. San Antonio was hosting Denver.
Washington had won its previous two games against Oklahoma City, winning the only meeting during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season before stunning the Thunder 101-99 in Washington on Jan. 7 — the second despite playing without point guard John Wall.