ATLANTA (AP) – Atlanta stormed back from a 13-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 107-104 on Tuesday, racking up their 14th victory in 15 games and moving within half a game of the NBA Eastern Conference lead.
The Hawks also opened a 1-1/2 game lead in the Southeast Division ahead of Washington, which was beaten at home by Central Division leader Chicago.
Portland stretched its lead in the Northwest Division to a yawning 9-1/2 games by beating nearest rival Oklahoma City, while Phoenix recorded its highest score of the season in beating Dallas.
Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll scored a career-high 25 points while Al Horford contributed 20.
Blake Griffin had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Clippers, who missed a chance to make up ground on Pacific Division leader Golden State.
Chicago maintained its 1-1/2 game lead in the Central by winning 99-91 at Washington.
Derrick Rose scored 25 points and Pau Gasol had 18 for the Bulls, who fell behind by a point with 3:44 remaining but reeled off eight straight points – six from Rose – to regain control.
After Washington scored 12 straight – 10 by John Wall – to take an 87-86 lead with 3:44 remaining, Chicago steadied and scored eight straight, six by Rose, to lead 94-87 with 1:48 to play.
John Wall led the Wizards with 18 points; 10 coming in a run of 12 straight points that had seen the hosts briefly snatch the lead.
It was the first meeting of the teams since Washington eliminated Chicago in the first round of last year’s playoffs.
Portland’s Damian Lillard scored 40 points, making a tying 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation, to guide the Trail Blazers to a 115-111 overtime win against Oklahoma City.
Lillard’s 40-point outing was his second in Portland’s last four games. He also had 11 assists.
Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 40 points and added 10 rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City before fouling out with 1:39 left in overtime.
The Thunder, which led by 13 points in the fourth quarter, could not hold on in their third straight game without NBA MVP Kevin Durant, who has a sprained ankle.
Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe got his second career triple-double to lead the Suns to a 124-115 victory over Dallas.
Bledsoe had 16 points and 11 assists, then grabbed his 10th rebound with 31 seconds to play.
Goran Dragic scored 25 for the Suns, coming off a 3-0 trip to the East.
Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler scored 22 apiece for the Mavericks.
Los Angeles’ Carlos Boozer scored 18 points in his new role off the bench, helping the Lakers offset the absence of the rested Kobe Bryant and pull off a surprise 115-105 win against league-leading Golden State.
The NBA’s No 3 career scorer sat out for the first time this season to rest his 36-year-old legs.
Bryant is shooting at just 37.2 per cent this season, including 3 for 15 in a loss to Oklahoma City and 8 for 30 with nine turnovers against Sacramento on Sunday.
Stephen Curry had 22 points and six assists for the Warriors, who lost for only the fourth time in their first 27 games.
Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson scored 27 points as the Nets rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Denver 102-96.
Mason Plumlee added 19 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Nets, who have an 11-2 against teams with a winning percentage below .500.
Ty Lawson led Denver with 29 points and had nine assists.
Indiana’s George Hill scored 15 points in 21 minutes in his first game of the season following a knee injury, helping the Pacers defeat New Orleans 96-84.
Charlotte notched a fourth-straight win for the first time this season, beating Milwaukee 108-101 with Kemba Walker scoring 27 points.
Cleveland pulled away in the second half to win 125-104 against Minnesota, with Kevin Love scoring 20 points for the Cavaliers in his first game against his old team.
Orlando hung on for a 100-95 victory over Boston, with Tobias Harris scoring 19 points.
Philadelphia erased a 23-point second-half deficit to win 91-87 at Miami, claiming only its fourth win of the season.