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NBA Roundup: Jazz Playing a Winning Tune

  • Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder talks to his team during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Indiana Pacers, Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Utah Jazz's Ricky Rubio goes to the basket against Indiana Pacers' Cory Joseph during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Indianapolis. Utah won 104-84. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Indiana Pacers' Victor Oladipo is fouled by Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Indiana Pacers' Domantas Sabonis goes to the basket between Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors, left, and Royce O'Neale during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

  • Indiana Pacers' Thaddeus Young goes to the basket as Utah Jazz's Derrick Favors defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 7, 2018, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)



Thursday, March 08, 2018

Indianapolis — The Utah Jazz are doing everything they can to crash the crowded Western Conference playoff picture.

Rudy Gobert had 23 points and 14 rebounds, Donovan Mitchell finished with 20 points and six assists, and Utah crept closer to a possible playoff berth with a 104-84 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

The Jazz were 17-26 after losing to the Pacers on Jan. 15, but they’ve gone 18-4 since to reach 35-30. They were a half-game behind Denver for the eighth seed before the Nuggets hosted Cleveland later Wednesday.

“We just play for one another,” Gobert said. “Everyone is on the same page. Everyone wants to win, and you can feel that. There’s a focus in the locker room. It’s great.”

And it’s evident — especially on the road.

After starting the season 5-19 in contests away from Salt Lake City, the Jazz have won nine straight road games.

Ricky Rubio finished with 18 points and seven assists for Utah, and reserve Jae Crowder added 16 points. Joe Ingles had 11 points and 10 assists.

After falling behind early, Utah outscored Indiana 28-12 over the final eight minutes of the first quarter and led 54-44 at halftime. Indiana pulled within single digits a couple of times in the third, but Utah was too much on a night when the Pacers shot 38.6 percent from the floor.

Rockets 110, Bucks 99

Milwaukee — James Harden scored 26 points, Eric Gordon had 18 points and two momentum-swinging 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Houston beat Milwaukee for its 17th straight win.

The Rockets passed the Boston Celtics for the longest winning streak in the NBA this season. Houston hasn’t lost since Jan. 26 at New Orleans.

The latest victory came on the second of a tough back-to-back stretch of road games that started with a 10-point victory at Oklahoma City. No wonder the Rockets looked sluggish at times against the Bucks.

Raptors 121, Pistons 119 (ot)

Detroit — DeMar DeRozan scored 42 points, then fed Fred VanVleet for the tiebreaking jumper from the left corner with 1.1 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Toronto over Detroit.

The Raptors became the first NBA team to clinch a playoff berth this season. Toronto trailed by 17 in the second quarter but was able to outlast Blake Griffin and the Pistons in a back-and-forth thriller.

With the score tied late in overtime, Detroit’s Reggie Bullock missed from the perimeter. DeRozan pushed the ball up the court and found VanVleet open in the corner. His shot from just inside the 3-point line gave Toronto the lead.

Bulls 119, Grizzlies 110

Chicago — Lauri Markkanen scored 22 points, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn added 21 apiece, and Chicago hung on to hand Memphis its 15th straight loss.

The Bulls had a 21-point lead whittle to one but came away with their fourth win in 18 games.

Dunn scored 11 in the fourth quarter and made four free throws in the final 33.7 seconds to help Chicago come out on top.

NBA Reviewing Cuban Sexual Assault Accusation

Dallas — The NBA said it is reviewing 2011 allegations of sexual assault against Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and the decision by prosecutors not to pursue the case.

League spokesman Mike Bass said on Wednesday the NBA was looking into the matter after a weekly alternative newspaper in Portland, Ore., reported a woman’s claim that Cuban put his hands down her pants and touched her inappropriately while they were taking a photo at a Portland nightclub.

The report on Tuesday in the Willamette Week came about a week and half after a Sports Illustrated account that portrayed a hostile work environment for women in the front office of the Mavericks. While Cuban wasn’t implicated, the SI report raised questions about what he knew and when.

Cuban flatly denied the woman’s allegations and provided a prosecutors’ report detailing the decision not to file charges.