Jalen Brunson needed only three quarters to score 39 points and the New York Knicks continued their push for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 118-109 win over the league-leading Boston Celtics on Thursday.

Brunson was 15 of 23 from the field and 6 for 11 from long range, while Donte DiVincenzo added 17 points and Josh Hart had 16 points and 16 rebounds.

New York won its third straight and pulled within a game of Milwaukee for second in the East, with each team having two games left. The Knicks would need to win both and have the Bucks lose their games at Oklahoma City and Orlando, because Milwaukee has the head-to-head tiebreaker.

The Knicks dominated on the glass, 52-36, and had 22 second-chance points compared to 12 for the Celtics.

Boston got 18 points from Jayson Tatum and lost its second in a row.

Surging Warriors handle Trail Blazers

Stephen Curry scored 22 points and Jonathan Kuminga added 22 to propel the Golden State Warriors to their ninth win in 10 games, 100-92 over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Golden State, which played without Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, has already clinched a play-in spot but can potentially improve its playoff seeding in the final two games.

With their 45th victory, the Warriors surpassed their win total from last season, when they advanced to the conference semifinals.

Deandre Ayton had 25 points and 11 rebounds and Scoot Henderson tallied 18 and 12 assists for the Trail Blazers, who have won just two of their past 15 games.

Pelicans complete season sweep of Kings

CJ McCollum and Zion Williamson scored 31 points apiece and the New Orleans Pelicans completed a five-game season sweep of the Sacramento Kings with a 135-123 win.

McCollum matched a season high with nine 3-pointers in 12 tries and added seven assists for the Pelicans, who improved to 27-14 on the road, a franchise record for wins and tied with Boston for the best mark in the NBA.

New Orleans is sixth in the Western Conference, one game ahead of Phoenix with two games remaining.

De’Aaron Fox scored 33 points as the Kings lost for the fourth time in five games and failed in a bid to avoid the play-in tournament.

Klay Thompson hit out at Tari Eason's "lame" pre-game taunts after helping the Golden State Warriors to a huge win over the Houston Rockets, all but confirming their Play-In spot.

Ahead of Thursday's game at Toyota Center, second-year forward Eason – who is out for the season after undergoing surgery on a benign growth on his lower leg bone – was seen wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the slogan: 'Warriors, come out and play'.

Golden State did just that as Thompson joined Stephen Curry in scoring 29 points in a 133-110 win, their sixth in a row and one which has huge implications for both teams' playoff hopes.

The Warriors occupy the Western Conference's final Play-In spot and are now four games ahead of the Rockets with six regular-season games remaining, also holding the season tiebreaker. 

Thompson was delighted to get the last laugh over Eason, warning against players trash-talking when they are unable to contribute on the court.

"That's pretty lame, especially if you're not even playing," Thompson said of Eason's T-shirt, which he removed after the game.  

"It's one thing if you are out there playing, out there competing and you can back it up. 

"But if you're just going to be trolling from the sideline… what are you doing? The times we talk smack, we're out there competing. That's all I have to say about that."

Warriors team-mate Draymond Green echoed those sentiments, saying: "I love it but if you're going to say that, you've got to play. You can't come out and say that and not play. 

"I know what type of player he is. He welcomes all of that. He welcomes the challenge and welcomes the fight.

"Hopefully next year he'll say the same thing and we won't both be fighting for the Play-In, we'll be fighting for the seeding."

For the Rockets to pip the Warriors to the final Play-In spot, they will likely need to win all six of their remaining games and see in-form Golden State drop five.

But with the Warriors pulling to within 1.5 games of the ninth-placed Los Angeles Lakers, Green is looking up, rather than down.

"It allows you to now focus on what you can do to move up," Green said. "When you're just trying to solidify, you take everything step by step. 

"The first step is to solidify ourselves a chance, to give ourselves a chance. Once you get yourself a chance, it's like; 'What's next? What's the best chance we can give ourselves?'"

Stephen Curry believes overcoming Draymond Green's ejection to clinch a 103-91 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday said much about the Golden State Warriors' character.

Green was ejected for the fourth time this season just four minutes into Wednesday's game at Kia Center, being called for two technical fouls in a matter of moments.

The forward reacted angrily to Curry being pulled up for a shooting foul and continued to remonstrate with the officials after his first technical, with a second being called soon afterwards.

Green's exit left his team-mates in a tough situation, but they rallied to make it back-to-back wins as Curry scored 17 points in support of Andrew Wiggins (23).   

"Nothing is guaranteed in this league," Curry said after the game. "The way that we went out and competed, the way the season is going, that's the way you see how your back is against the wall. 

"I don't know how many people would have picked us in this kind of game, a back-to-back setting, down two starters, and we found a way to fight to get a win."

The Warriors are now up to 38-34 as they battle for a Play-In spot, but Curry says they cannot afford to keep losing Green if they are to make the postseason.

Green is the first player to be tossed four times in a single NBA season since Kevin Durant walked five times in 2017-18, while he is the only player with multiple first-quarter dismissals in a season over the last 20 years.

He had been on his best behaviour after missing 12 games through suspension for striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face in December, and Curry knows his team-mate needs to remain on the right side of the line. 

"We need him. He knows that. We all know that," Curry said of Green. "So whatever we need to do to keep him on the floor and available, that's what's got to happen. 

"Especially at this point in the year. It was a tough way to start the game. We know how important this part of the season is in our ability to get into a rhythm and secure a Play-In opportunity.

"We don't want to give ourselves self-inflicted wounds. We all care. We all are passionate about the game and our chances to have something to play for down the stretch. 

"You give everything you've got to this game. That's the emotion."

The Warriors round off a testing five-game road stretch in the coming days, facing the Charlotte Hornets on Friday before taking on the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.

Draymond Green welcomed the news that Steve Kerr has agreed a contract extension with the Golden State Warriors, calling the development "incredible".

Golden State defeated the Charlotte Hornets 97-84 at home on Friday after reports had emerged that Kerr has agreed to a two-year, $35 million contract extension that will make him the highest-paid coach in NBA history.

The new deal, which is not yet formally signed, will reportedly pay Kerr, who has guided the Warriors to four NBA championships, $17.5 million a year.

His current deal was set to expire at the end of this season but Warriors forward Green was not worried about the prospect of Kerr leaving, as he was always confident an agreement would be struck.

"No [I was not worried], because I know [owner] Joe [Lacob] is going to do the right thing," Green said, per ESPN.

"He has done nothing but build that trust with us that he is going to do the right thing and take care of those who take care of this organization."

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is reported to make more annually than Kerr, but he also serves as the team’s president.

Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra signed an eight-year extension that pays him approximately $15m a season.

Kerr, 58, is in his 10th season as coach of the Warriors and holds a career regular season record of 501-264 and is 99-41 in the playoffs. 

He won his 500th game last week to become the fifth-fastest coach to do so in history.

"I think it's incredible," added Green. "I wouldn't want to finish my time here with any other coach. 

"What he has meant to this franchise and the winning ways that he brought here – you can't replace that. He got what he deserved."

Kerr will also coach Team USA in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. He said he felt "really good" about the team's future but could not comment on the deal until it was officially signed and announced.

The victory means Golden State (29-26) has now won 10 of its last 12 games in the NBA, while Charlotte (14-42) had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Stephen Curry had 15 points and five assists in a game that saw him take on his younger brother Seth, with their father Dell on commentary to make it a special night for the family.

The Warriors' Curry (23,160 points) moved past Elgin Baylor (23,149) into 33rd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. 

Hornets forward Miles Bridges had 19 points and 11 rebounds but was involved in a scuffle that saw Lester Quinones and Grant Williams ejected in garbage time. 

An argument had ensued after Quinones drove to the basket and attempted a layup with 10.9 seconds remaining, with Bridges called for goaltending.

"I don’t really understand why people get so mad at somebody scoring at the end of the game," added Green.

"It’s like this dumb, unofficial, unwritten rule. If you all were winning by 13 points would you get mad if he laid a ball up? I doubt it. So it's kind of like a sore loser type thing."

The Warriors will next host the Denver Nuggets in a big Sunday game.

Jusuf Nurkic hit out at Draymond Green after the pair exchanged words and taunts during the Golden State Warriors' Stephen Curry-inspired win over the Phoenix Suns.

The resurgent Warriors won 113-112 thanks to Curry's 33-foot 3-pointer in the dying seconds on Saturday.

But while Curry wrote the headlines, and received high praise from all involved, including former teammate Kevin Durant, Green and Nurkic were involved in a verbal tussle.

Green has been careful with his behaviour since he returned from an indefinite NBA suspension in January. He had been banned because he had hit Nurkic in the face during a clash between the Warriors and the Suns in December.

But Nurkic does not believe Green has learned any lessons.

"It's sad," he said. "He didn't learn anything. It's just a matter of time.

"He's going to hit somebody else again. I take everything back, what I said. He doesn't deserve a chance."

Nurkic taunted Green by slapping the floor twice with a "too small" gesture during the third quarter, with the Warriors star returning the favour when he scooped the ball over the Suns center two minutes later.

"You can't be a nothing defender if you're going to do that," Green said of Nurkic.

"You probably outweigh me by 70 pounds and you get put in the rim? Got to be more careful.

"I thought I was great tonight. He tried to get in my head, and it didn't work. If he wants me to walk around quiet, like him, I'm never going to do that. Quiet guys don't win.

"He can keep rocking with that same horse that he rode in on. He can ride his a** right out of here on that same horse. It's not working."

Curry laughed off Nurkic's comments.

"He's given us a lift every game he's been back," Curry said of Green. "He connects, obviously, our defense, but you can talk about his defense every game.

"What he did offensively tonight, especially in the fourth quarter, he gave us great energy in the sense of having that competitive spirit you need to win a game like tonight, to meet the moment.

"Draymond knows how to walk the line that he needs to walk. This is probably the best game that you've seen it.

"You can tell when someone is in your head when you go out of your way to celebrate. Then Draymond comes back at him. All of the talk, Draymond was in his head, plain and simple."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr likewise defended Green.

"That month off, that suspension was real," Kerr said. "[Draymond] knew that his career was on the line or is on the line. He understands that he's got to be the guy he's been the last nine years, not the one he's been the last year. I see him doing that."

Ultimately, it was Curry's quality that settled the contest. The two-time MVP finished with 30 points, nine rebounds and six assists, with his match-winning moment coming when Bradley Beal missed an attempted steal, after Brandin Podziemski had picked out Golden State's talisman.

"He's the best to ever shoot it," Beal said. "So you know the result after that."

For Durant, who played alongside Curry with the Warriors, there was not much more the Suns could have done to deny his former teammate.

"You give him a look like that for the game, he's licking his chops," Durant reflected. "I still think we could've had that steal. It's a tough play. Sometimes guys are just that great."

Kerr added: "We were due. We were due for one of these tight games to go our way. But the guys earned it. It didn’t just happen."

The Warriors have now won their last four games and sit 10th in the Western Conference with a 25-25 record, while the Suns are sixth on 31-22.

Draymond Green's disciplinary issues this season have played a part in him missing out on selection for the Paris Olympics, so says Team USA chief Grant Hill.

Green, a two-time Olympic gold medallist, has not made the 41-man list, which was unveiled on Tuesday.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry and reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid all featured on the list, which will be whittled down to a 12-man roster ahead of the Olympics, which take place in July and August in the French capital.

But Golden State Warriors power forward Green, who helped Team USA triumph in 2016 and 2021, will not feature at another Games, with executive director Hill claiming the two suspensions the NBA has handed the 33-year-old's way in recent months have swayed that decision.

Having served a five-game suspension in November for grappling with Rudy Gobert, Green then missed a further 12 games after striking the head of Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic.

"His contributions have been significant, and he is a real part of the legacy of this organisation for his excellence," Hill said of Green.

"But I think just in lieu of sort of what's transpired this year, we made a decision to not have [Green] on this list with this particular point in time with the process."

Warriors coach Steve Kerr is set to take charge of Team USA at the Paris Games.

Draymond Green enjoyed his return to action for the Golden State Warriors, and is now looking to add "spark to this team".

Green returned from an indefinite suspension for a history of misconduct in the Warriors' clash with the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

After missing the last 16 games, Green came onto the court to a chorus of boos from the Grizzlies fans during the first quarter.

He scored two 3-pointers and finished with seven rebounds and four assists in 23 minutes on the court, but the Warriors lost 116-107.

"It was fun being back on the court," Green said.

"Getting the chance to play basketball, that's always fun. It was a little weird going out of the tunnel to go shoot and do my pregame, but after that it just settled down.

"I think [the minutes] will go up pretty fast, but until it does I will try to be the best I can be in the minutes I have and bring a spark to this team."

The Grizzlies were short-handed, with Ja Morant out for the rest of the season and Desmond Bane set to miss up to six weeks due to an ankle injury.

Yet the Warriors could not get the better of their hosts as they slumped to an eighth defeat in the space of 11 games.

"Their game plan was pretty simple. Shoot as many 3s as possible and get into transition as often as possible," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said, whose team are 12th in the Western Conference.

"Then for us to foul 25 times to their 21, that's really the story. They gained belief as they went.

"All of these guys are in the NBA. We tell them that before every game like this. These guys are in the NBA for a reason.

"They knew they had to do that and we knew they had to do that. We didn't play the game that could keep them from doing that."

Green did not hold back in his thoughts on the Warrior's defense.

"Individuals make up a team. Individually our defense sucks, so in turn our team defense sucks," he said.

"If we've got guys that will take pride in themselves and play defense, one through however many guys we have, then it is solvable. If guys won't take pride in defense, then it's not. It's very simple."

The Memphis Grizzlies got career-best scoring performances from Vince Williams Jr. and GG Jackson to overcome a slew of injured players and spoil Draymond Green's return to the Golden State Warriors' lineup in Monday's 116-107 win.

Williams amassed 24 points and seven rebounds and Jackson contributed 23 points off the bench on a night Memphis was without three of its top four scorers for the season in Ja Morant, Desmond Bane and Marcus Smart.

Both players recorded eight fourth-quarter points as the Grizzlies pulled away late to halt a two-game losing streak and hand the reeling Warriors an eighth loss in 11 games.

Green had seven points and seven rebounds in 24 minutes in his first appearance in just over a month. The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year had just completed serving an indefinite NBA suspension for striking Phoenix Suns centre Jusuf Nurkic in the face on Dec. 12.

The Warriors owned a 91-90 lead following Stephen Curry's go-ahead 3-pointer early in the fourth quarter, but Memphis responded with a 16-5 run to break the game open. 

Jackson, who finished 5 of 8 from 3-point range, had two triples during the surge, which Luke Kennard capped with a 3-pointer to give the Grizzlies a 106-96 advantage with 7:20 left.

Golden State never got closer than seven points behind the rest of the way.

Curry led the Warriors with 26 points and Jonathan Kuminga delivered 20 points and 11 rebounds off the bench.

Mavericks down rival Pelicans behind big games from Irving, Hardaway

Kyrie Irving and Tim Hardaway Jr. each eclipsed the 40-point mark while rallying the Dallas Mavericks to a 125-120 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, a win that created a two-way tie atop the Southwest Division between the teams.

The Mavericks overcame a 10-point deficit late in the third quarter and another absence from superstar Luka Dončić to avenge Saturday’s 118-110 home loss to the Pelicans.

Irving and Hardaway more than made up for Doncic missing a third straight game with a sprained ankle. Irving scored 24 of his 42 points in the second half, while Hardaway had 11 of his season-high 41 points during a fourth quarter in which Dallas outscored New Orleans by a 33-21 margin.

The Pelicans held a 111-104 lead with seven minutes left before Dallas took control with a 17-4 run. Hardaway hit back-to-back 3-pointers during the pivotal spurt, the second of which gave the Mavericks a 112-111 edge with 4:16 remaining.

Jalen Green’s 3-pointer with 1:27 left to play extended Dallas’ advantage to 121-115, though New Orleans answered with five straight points to cut its deficit to one with 17.7 seconds remaining.

Irving then hit two free throws on the ensuing possession, and after the Pelicans’ Brandon Ingram missed a potential game-tying 3-point attempt, Maxi Kleber made two foul shots to seal the win and pull Dallas even with New Orleans in the standings.

Zion Williamson led the Pelicans with 30 points and CJ McCollum had 23 in the loss, though Ingram went just 3 of 14 from the field while finishing with 12 points.

Jazz extend winning streak with rout of Pacers

Lauri Markkanen put up 32 points and 10 rebounds as the resurgent Utah Jazz continued their recent winning ways with a 132-105 rout of the short-handed Indiana Pacers.

The Jazz cruised to their sixth consecutive victory behind the hot shooting of Markkanen and Collin Sexton, who went 11 of 17 from the field while scoring a season-high 30 points to go along with five assists. Markkanen made 10 of 15 field goal attempts and was a perfect 10 for 10 from the foul line.

After getting off to a 7-16 start, Utah has won 15 of its last 19 games to move up to ninth place in the Western Conference.

The Pacers lost their second in a row while playing a fourth straight game without star point guard Tyrese Haliburton, out with a hamstring injury. Indiana was also without two other key contributors in guard Bruce Brown and 3-point specialist Aaron Nesmith due to injuries.

Indiana's depleted lineup proved to be no match, as the Jazz took a 33-26 lead after one quarter and increased it to 64-50 at half-time behind 17 points from Sexton and 15 from Markkanen.

Utah maintained a double-digit advantage the rest of the way, with its lead swelling to 29 points in the final stages.

Buddy Hield and Andrew Nembhard each had 14 points to lead Indiana.

 

Adam Silver's intervention prevented Draymond Green stepping away from basketball for good, the Golden State Warriors star has revealed.

Green is about to return from a suspension that has been in place since December 12, after he hit the Phoenix Suns' Jusuf Nurkic in the face.

That was the second suspension Green has had this season, following an altercation with Rudy Gobert in November.

And on an episode of The Draymond Green Show, the 33-year-old revealed that only a conversation with NBA commissioner Silver stopped him from retiring following his latest ban.

"I told him, 'Adam this is too much for me. This is too much. It's all becoming too much for me, and I'm going to retire'," Green said.

"And Adam said, 'You're making a very rash decision and I won't let you do that.'

"We had a long, great conversation; very helpful to me. Very thankful to play in a league with a commissioner like Adam who's more about helping you than hurting you; helping you than punishing you. He's more about the players."

Suns star Kevin Durant said at the time Green was handed the ban that the power forward needed to "get the help he needs".

On Monday, Durant explained he meant no ill will with his comments.

"You got to look at it from my perspective like before I had made those comments, [people were] saying Draymond's going to therapy and s***," Durant said.

"Like what am I supposed to think? They say somebody going to therapy, I'm hoping he gets better from that, and hope he learned from whatever he feels like he needs to learn from going to therapy.

"I'm glad he's back. I'm glad he can move past that. Draymond is an incredible teammate. He's got his times where he loses his temper, but everybody has those times and I'm sure they all [are] happy to have him back.

"But I didn't mean no ill will by what I said. I know some people look at me as this malicious snake. I know how people feel about me sometimes, so when I say s***, I don't mean no harm by nobody. I don't mean to disrespect him or his family if he felt that way. I'm just glad he's back on the court."

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was reinstated by the NBA from his suspension on Saturday after he missed 12 games following an incident with Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic on Dec. 12.

The league said Green “demonstrated his commitment to conforming his conduct to standards of NBA players” during his suspension, which began Dec. 14. He has met with a counselor as well as had multiple joint meetings with representatives of the league, the Warriors and the National Basketball Players Association.

Those meetings, the league added, will continue throughout the season.

While Green is eligible to return to the lineup on Sunday against the Toronto Raptors, he is expected to need approximately a week to ramp up for a return to the court.

Green was suspended for the fifth time in his career earlier this season for putting Minnesota center Rudy Gobert in a headlock during an In-Season Tournament matchup.

Green was given a five-game suspension as the NBA cited past infractions in relation to the punishment.

The 12-year veteran is averaging 9.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists in 15 games this season.

 

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