Clippers Rip Jazz, Clinch Playoff Berth
(Los Angeles, CA) — With the playoff race heating up, the Clippers clinched a spot by ripping the Jazz, 108-95, in Los Angeles. Jamal Crawford delivered 28 points off the bench for L.A., which trails Utah by a half-game for fourth in the West. Blake Griffin posted 15 points and the Clips improved to 24-and-11. Rudy Gobert keyed the Jazz with 26 points and 14 boards. Gordon Hayward left in the fourth quarter with a leg injury, but is expected to be okay.
Wizards Work Over Cavaliers
(Cleveland, OH) — The Wizards shot just under 60-percent from the field as they worked over the Cavaliers, 127-115, in Cleveland. John Wall finished with 37 points on 14-of-21 shooting plus 11 assists for Washington. Bradley Beal put up 27 points as the Wizards improved to 45-and-28. LeBron James finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Cavs. Cleveland has lost nine of its past 16 games.
Spurs Hold Off Knicks
(San Antonio, TX) — Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points as the Spurs downed the Knicks 106-98 in San Antonio. LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol each contributed 19 points. San Antonio won its fourth straight and is 6-and-2 in its last eight. Willy Hernangomez had 24 points and 13 boards for the Knicks. Derrick Rose also scored 24 points. The Knicks dropped their fifth in a row and have one win in their past nine games.
Trail Blazers Hang On, Top Timberwolves
(Portland, OR) — The Trail Blazers opened up a 20 point lead after three quarters and held on to top the Timberwolves 112-110 in Portland. CJ McCollum led the way with a game high 32 points. Damian Lillard scored 21 with eight assists. The Blazers have won seven-of-10 to move within one game of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Andrew Wiggins paced Minnesota with 20 points in defeat. Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio scored 16 apiece. The T’Wolves have lost six-straight.
Aho, Hurricanes Clip Devils
(Newark, NJ) — Sebastian Aho scored twice as the Hurricanes clipped the Devils, 3-1, in Newark. Jeff Skinner scored the go-ahead goal in the third period, with Aho padding the lead late. Aho also scored in the second and has 23 goals on the year. Eddie Lack racked up 26 saves for Carolina, which has won five-of-six. Travis Zajac scored the lone goal for New Jersey. The Devils have lost four-of-five.
Capitals Cruise Past Coyotes
(Washington, D.C.) — Daniel Winnik netted the go-ahead goal and an empty-netter for insurance to help lift the Capitals past the Coyotes 4-1 at the Verizon Center. Alex Ovechkin scored his 30th goal and now has at least 30 in all 12 of his NHL seasons. Braden Holtby made 28 saves in the winning effort. The Caps have won four-straight and own a league best 106 points. Peter Holland scored the lone Arizona goal in defeat. The Coyotes have lost five-of-six.
Bruins Snap Skid, Beat Islanders
(New York, NY) — Riley Nash scored a pair of goals as the Bruins defeated the Islanders 2-1 in New York. Nash got the go-ahead goal with 15:48 left. Boston snapped a four-game skid. John Tavares had the Islanders’ goal. New York went 0-for-6 on power plays. The Islanders are 3-2-and-1 in their last six games.
Flames Clip Blues In OT
(Saint Louis, MO) — Sean Monahan lit the lamp with three seconds left in overtime to lift the Flames past the Blues 3-2 in Saint Louis. Troy Brouwer and Matt Bartkowski found the back of the net in regulation. Johnny Gaudreau notched two assists in the winning effort. Brian Elliott made 29 saves and Calgary snapped a two-game slide. Ivan Barbashev and Jaden Schwartz netted goals for the Blues in defeat. Saint Louis is 9-1-and-1 in its last 11 games.
Panthers Crush Blackhawks
(Sunrise, FL) — The Panthers piled up seven goals over the final two periods to crush the Blackhawks, 7-0, at the BB&T Center. Jonathan Marchessault notched a hat trick to lead Florida. Jonathan Huberdeau finished with a goal and three assists, and James Reimer stopped all 25 shots sent his way. The Panthers have won two straight. Chicago was 0-for-3 on the power play, and Corey Crawford gave up four goals before getting pulled. Scott Darling gave up three goals on six shots in his place for the Blackhawks.
Predators Cruise Past Slumping Sharks
(Nashville, TN) — James Neal and Colton Sissons scored two goals apiece as the Predators cruised past the Sharks 7-2 in Nashville. Cody McLeod, P.K. Subban, and Viktor Arvidsson also found the back of the net. Pekka Rinne played in his 500th NHL game and made 26 saves. Craig Smith and Colin Wilson each notched three assists as the Preds won for the sixth time in the last seven games. Patrick Marleau and Justin Braun lit the lamp in defeat. San Jose is on a six-game slide.
Rangers Cruise, Blank Kings
(Los Angeles, CA) — Antti Raanta stopped all 30 shots sent his way as the Rangers cruised past the Kings 3-0 at the Staples Center. Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, and Rick Nash found the back of the net for New York. The Rangers snapped a two-game skid and improved to 46-25-and-4. Mika Zibanejad and Mats Zuccarello each notched two assists in the winning effort. Los Angeles failed to capitalize on three power plays in defeat. The Kings are 2-4-and-1 in their last seven outings.
Gonzaga Cruises Past Xavier, Into Final Four
(San Jose, CA) — Top-seeded Gonzaga made easy work of 11th-seeded Xavier, 83-59, in Elite Eight action from San Jose to clinch a spot in the Final Four. Nigel Williams-Goss keyed the Bulldogs with 23 points, and Johnathan Williams added 19 points plus eight rebounds. The Zags outscored the Musketeers by 14 in the second half. Gonzaga moves on to the Final Four, where it will face either South Carolina or Florida. J.P. Macura led Xavier with 18 points. The Musketeers end the year at 24-and-14.
Oregon Fights Off Kansas, Advances To Final Four
(Kansas City, MO) — A strong defensive effort keyed Oregon past Kansas, 74-60, in Elite Eight action in Kansas City. Tyler Dorsey led the Ducks with 27 points as they advance to the Final Four for the first time since 1939. Jordan Bell posted 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks for Oregon, and Dillon Brooks scored 17. The Ducks will play either North Carolina or Kentucky in the Final Four. Frank Mason the Third led Kansas with 21 points. The Jayhawks shot just 35-percent from the field, falling to 31-and-5 to close the season.