NBA: Magic defeat Pelicans 121-106 behind Banchero’s triple-double Loop Jamaica

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ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Paolo Banchero had 20 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists for his second career triple-double, overcoming early shooting woes to help the Orlando Magic beat the New Orleans Pelicans 121-106 in the NBA on Thursday night.

At 42-28, the Magic wrapped up their second winning seasons in 12 years. They have won 18 of 23 games.

Banchero missed his first 10 shots, two of them free throws, then rallied to finish 9 of 18 from the field. Jalen Suggs led Orlando with 22 points, and Franz Wagner added 18.

Trey Murphy III had 21 points for New Orleans. Zion Williamson added 20 points, seven rebounds and a spectacular block of Banchero that helped New Orleans get off to a good start. Williamson also had eight turnovers.


WASHINGTON (AP) — Kyle Kuzma scored 31 points and Washington Wizards snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Sacramento Kings.

Kuzma, who also had six rebounds, had missed the team’s previous two games with shoulder soreness. Deni Avdija added 17 points and Corey Kispert scored 15, sending Sacramento to their first loss in the last five meetings in Washington.

Jordan Poole scored 14 for the Wizards.

BUCKS 115, NETS 108

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Damian Lillard had 30 points and 12 assists and made two late steals as Milwaukee Bucks capitalized on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s return to beat Brooklyn Nets.

Antetokounmpo had 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists after missing two games because of an issue with his left hamstring. The Bucks rested Khris Middleton a night after he played 33 minutes in a 122-119 loss at Boston, as they continue to manage his workload in his recovery from a sprained left ankle.

Mikal Bridges scored 24 points, Nic Claxton had 22 and Cam Thomas 21 for the Nets, who made a big second-half comeback but still lost their fifth straight.


HOUSTON (AP) — Jalen Green scored 26 points, Dillon Brooks had 23 before he was ejected from the game and Houston Rockets won against Chicago Bulls.

Houston have gone 9-1 in March and are now just 2 1/2 games behind Golden State for the final play-in spot in the Western Conference. The Rockets’ seven-game winning streak is their longest since 2021.

Jock Landale scored 17, Aaron Holiday had 15 and Jeff Green added 14, all off the bench for Houston. Amen Thompson had 15 points and eight rebounds.


DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic had 34 points, nine rebounds and eight assists and Dallas Mavericks beat Utah Jazz to move into the sixth and final guaranteed playoff position in the Western Conference.

Dallas improved to 41-29 with their third straight victory and seventh in eight games. The Mavericks moved a half-game ahead of Sacramento and Phoenix, which faced Atlanta at home Thursday in a late game. Sacramento lost at Washington earlier Thursday.

Doncic didn’t have a rebound or an assist in the fourth quarter, playing four minutes. He shot 11 of 23 from the floor, 4 of 10 on 3s.

Daniel Gafford added 24 points, his high game since being acquired in early February. Gafford missed the second half of the second quarter after crumpling to the court and being helped to the locker room, then returned to start the second half.

Kyrie Irving scored 16 points, 11 in the second half.

Lauri Markkanen led Utah with 21 points after missing the previous seven games because of a quadriceps injury. Collin Sexton added 20 off the bench.


DENVER (AP) — Michael Porter Jr. had a sensational shooting night on his way to 31 points, Nikola Jokic notched his 22nd triple-double of the season and Denver Nuggets held off New York Knicks.

Jokic finished with 30 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists as the reigning champion Nuggets improved to 13-2 since the All-Star break and climb within percentage points of first place in the Western Conference.

Porter was 13 of 16 from the field — including a pass to himself off the glass for a dunk — and 2 of 2 from the free-throw line. Porter also had three 3-pointers to give him 193 for the season and break Dale Ellis’ single-season team mark set in 1996-97.

Jamal Murray added 23 points before limping off the floor with just under a minute remaining after hurting his ankle.

SUNS 128, HAWKS 115

PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker scored 30 points, Eric Gordon added 21 off the bench and Phoenix Suns beat the Atlanta Hawks.

Phoenix won largely thanks to superior long-range shooting, making 22 of 41 3-pointers. Booker hit six 3s while Gordon and Royce O’Neale both added four. Kevin Durant had 19 points and Grayson Allen added 13.

Atlanta have lost five of its past six. Dejounte Murray scored 29 points while De’Andre Hunter added 22.

The Suns led by five at halftime and took a 96-93 lead into the fourth.

Phoenix had a big push midway through the final quarter when O’Neale, Gordon and Bol Bol connected for 3-pointers on three straight offensive possessions for a 112-98 lead.

The Hawks responded by cutting the margin to 115-110 with 5:24 left but Durant responded with a bucket to turn back the threat.