The race for the final spots in the Western Conference playoffs continues to heat up, with the Los Angeles Lakers picking up a much-needed win over the New Orleans Pelicans, while the Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers all suffered losses on an action-packed day in the NBA.
Atlanta Hawks 131, Minnesota Timberwolves 123 [OT]
#TrueToAtlanta@TheTraeYoung (36p/8r/10a) and @jcollins20_ (34p/8r) combine for 70 PTS in the @ATLHawks victory! pic.twitter.com/b1lb72QbDW- NBA (@NBA) February 28, 2019
With an extra five minutes required to settle the game, Minnesota's five points in overtime weren't enough as the young Hawks put up 13 in the extra period to win their second game from their past four since the All-Star break.
Rookie Trae Young continued his run of good performances by putting up a double-double of 36 points and 10 assists while sophomore John Collins recorded 34 points on 13-of-21 shooting.
Karl-Anthony Towns put up a monster double-double (37 points, 18 rebounds, three assists and two blocks on 12-of-19 shooting) for a second straight game but this time, he couldn't lead his team to victory.
The Timberwolves next continue their road trip in Indiana on the second night of a back-to-back while the Hawks host the Chicago Bulls a couple of days later.
San Antonio Spurs 105, Detroit Pistons 93
The first game back home after a rough Rodeo road trip, where the Spurs went 1-7, the Texas franchise returned to San Antonio and recorded a much-needed win against the Detroit Pistons.
The Spurs had six players score in double figures, led by LaMarcus Aldridge's 24 points (11-of-22 shooting) while DeMar DeRozan recorded an all-around statline of 17 points, 13 rebounds, eight assists and two steals on 8-of-13 shooting.
Reggie Jackson was the top scorer for the Pistons with 22 points.
The Spurs next host the Oklahoma City Thunder after a couple of days of rest while the Pistons continue their short road trip in Cleveland.
Utah Jazz 111, Los Angeles Clippers 105
Game-high 32 PTS for @spidadmitchell in the @utahjazz 111-105 win! #TeamIsEverything pic.twitter.com/ZXvEtwKQ5m- NBA (@NBA) February 28, 2019
After jumping to the seventh seed with a win a couple of days earlier, the Clippers switch places once again with a loss to the Jazz in Utah.
This brings their record to 4-4 since the Tobias Harris trade, but given the recent losses by the Lakers and Kings, they have been able to hold on to that final Playoff spot.
Despite Utah's 16 turnovers, the Jazz had the edge on the glass, outrebounding the Clippers 56-47. They also connected on 11-of-34 attempts from three compared to 5-of-26 for the Clippers.
The Clippers had six players in double figures led by Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams, who had 18 points apiece.
Milwaukee Bucks 141, Sacramento Kings 140 [OT]
The Milwaukee Bucks, who began the Western Conference leg of their road trip, needed an extra five minutes in Sacramento but they came through to register their sixth straight win and the 12th in their last 13.
With their MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo playing only 24 minutes, it was Eric Bledsoe who stole the show, recording his fifth career triple-double with 26 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds on 11-of-20 shooting.
26 PTS | 12 REB | 13 AST@EBled2 records a triple-double in the @Bucks OT win! #FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/bYqYGp7YBe- NBA (@NBA) February 28, 2019
All five starters scored in double figures for Sacramento, but it wasn't enough against the team with the best record in the league.
The Kings have now lost four in their last five games and currently sit ninth in the Western Conference standings.
Los Angeles Lakers 123, New Orleans Pelicans 117
It was a must-win game for the Lakers and it took a little bit of magic from LeBron James to get them there.
With 31.3 seconds on the clock, James drained the clutch 3-pointer in the corner to give the Lakers a six-point lead and keep their playoff hopes alive.
James finished with 33 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, while Brandon Ingram added 23 points and Kyle Kuzma 22 to move just under .500 with a 30-31 record.
LEBRON. DAGGER. 🗡#LakeShow pic.twitter.com/sikfpAxP71- NBA TV (@NBATV) February 28, 2019
With the win, the Lakers leapfrog the Timberwolves into 10th place in the Western Conference standings, just one game back of the Kings and three games back of the Clippers and Spurs, who are tied for the final two playoff spots.
Current NBA standings