Best of NBA: John Wall's last-second jumper gives Wizards win

Best of NBA: John Wall's last-second jumper gives Wizards win

WASHINGTON -- John Wall scored 26 points, including a game-winning baseline jumper with 5.9 seconds left, and added 14 assists as the Washington Wizards moved above .500 with a 101-99 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night.

Marcin Gortat had 10 points and 12 rebounds for Washington (19-18). He also set the screen that freed up Wall for his jumper to seal a 10th straight home win.

Markieff Morris and Bradley Beal each added 19 points for the Wizards, who completed their biggest comeback victory of the season after trailing by 18 in the second quarter.

Washington is above .500 for the first time in more than a year. A season ago, the Wizards were 6-5 after a victory on Nov. 24, 2015 (see full recap).

Harden posts triple-double for streaking Rockets
HOUSTON -- James Harden had 40 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists for his second straight triple-double and the Houston Rockets outlasted the Charlotte Hornets 121-114 on Tuesday night for their ninth straight win.

The Rockets missed 10 straight shots and let an 18-point lead evaporate before coach Mike D'Antoni called a timeout with 2:26 left. Ryan Anderson made Houston's first shot in more than four minutes with a 3-pointer out of the timeout, and after a block on the other end, Harden's layup put Houston up 115-111 with just over a minute to play.

Kemba Walker cut the deficit to one with a 3-pointer, but another layup by Harden made it 117-114 with 28.6 seconds left. Charlotte missed three 3-point tries in the final seconds.

Walker had 25 points for the Hornets, who dropped their third straight (see full recap).

Beasley’s 28 points help Bucks top Spurs
SAN ANTONIO -- Michael Beasley scored a season-high 28 points in place of an ill Giannis Antetokounmpo, and the Milwaukee Bucks rallied to beat the San Antonio Spurs 109-107 on Tuesday night.

Kawhi Leonard had 30 points for San Antonio, which had its nine-game home winning streak snapped.

Jabari Parker's layup with 2:56 remaining gave Milwaukee a 103-101 lead, its first since the 3:24 mark of the first quarter. After a pair of free throws by Beasley, the Spurs reclaimed a 107-105 lead on consecutive 3-pointers by Davis Bertans and Danny Green.

Bucks rookie Malcolm Brogdon hit a 3 to give Milwaukee a 108-107 edge. Following misses by Pau Gasol and Beasley, Bertans' 3-pointer went in and out with 10.9 seconds left.

Brogdon sank one of two free throws with 6.7 seconds to go, making it 109-107. Manu Ginobili's 3-pointer hit the side of the backboard at the buzzer as the Bucks celebrated (see full recap).

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Richaun Holmes

Sixers 2016-17 player evaluation: Richaun Holmes

Richaun Holmes

Position: Center

Status for 2017-18: Under contract for $1,471,382

Holmes in 2016-17
This year very well could have been a lost season for Richaun Holmes. The 23-year-old center was fourth on the Sixers' depth chart to begin the season, sitting behind top-10 picks Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Nerlens Noel. Cracking the lineup, even with Embiid not playing back-to-backs and Noel hurt to start the year, was a daunting task.

Early in the season, Holmes provided solid minutes when he received them, reeling in 12 rebounds in a win vs. the Pacers on Nov. 11 and picking up 11 points and eight boards against the Nuggets on Dec. 5. However, Holmes was sent to the D-League soon after and with centers excelling ahead of him, it seemed his time in Philly may be numbered.

But then Embiid got hurt. This opened the door for consistent playing time for the former second-round pick and he shined. He averaged 7.1 points and 4.8 rebounds in 17.9 minutes during February, then shot up to 14.1 points and 6.8 rebounds over 26.4 minutes in March after Noel was traded. He put up 14 games with double-figure scoring despite eclipsing 30 minutes only four times. 

In all, Holmes proved himself to be a force off the bench for the Sixers, as well as when he got into the starting lineup. In 57 games, he started 17 and averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds, both increases from his rookie season. He upped his field goal percentage to 55.8 percent and became a viable three-point threat, shooting 35.1 percent, up from 18.2 percent as a rookie. Holmes finished the year with five straight games in double figures as he was one of the only healthy players left on the roster.

Signature game
Soon after returning from the D-League in January, he put up 18 points on 8 for 11 shooting against the Clippers in a win. He also had a double-double against the Wizards in late February after the trade deadline.

However, his signature game is one of two. He had 24 points, 14 rebounds and five assists against the Magic on March 20, giving a tremendous effort over 42 minutes. Nine days later, he had 25 points — a career-high — while facing off against Dwight Howard and the Atlanta Hawks, earning the praise of the veteran center (see below).

Looking ahead to 2017-18
It may have seemed unlikely in early January, but Holmes is likely a rotation piece for the Sixers next season. Noel is gone, Okafor may follow soon and Embiid may have trouble with back-to-backs again next season, although president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo has indicated otherwise. That opens the door for a lot of playing time, including more starts, for the Bowling Green product. 

The Sixers may bring in veteran help at center if Okafor is dealt, but it likely won't deter the 6-foot-10 forward in securing a role for next season. He proved too valuable at the end of the season. The energy Holmes provides is a necessary element to a second-unit and something the Sixers will gladly take next season.

On Holmes
"He's a kid that I remember the first time he stepped on the court with me, he was just like excited. He kept saying, 'Wow, I'm on the floor with Dwight Howard.' He just kept saying he was excited. Just to see his growth from that moment, he plays with such passion, it's great to see especially from a young guy like him. I'm proud of him."

- Atlanta Hawks center Dwight Howard

"He just sat there and accepted whatever we gave him: go to the D-League, sit there and clap, start, play behind Joel — whatever it was, he accepted. And he did it where it didn't diminish his work ethic, it didn't diminish his ability to coexist within a team. He found ways to improve individually, and he did it with a great level of maturity."

- Sixers head coach Brett Brown

NBA Playoffs: Raptors advance past Bucks despite blowing 25-point lead

NBA Playoffs: Raptors advance past Bucks despite blowing 25-point lead

MILWAUKEE -- DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points and the Toronto Raptors squandered a 25-point lead late in the third quarter before holding on for a 92-89 victory Thursday night over the Milwaukee Bucks to take their first-round playoff series in six games.

Cory Joseph had five points in a 9-0 run in the final 2 minutes, including a 3-pointer with 1:27 left, to help stave off the pesky Bucks.

The Raptors move on to face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference semifinals in a series that starts Monday. They'll need to work on finishing off opponents in the second half.

Jason Terry's 3 with 3:06 left gave the Bucks an 80-78 lead, completing an unlikely comeback from the 25-point deficit with 5:16 left in the third quarter. The Raptors looked as if they were on cruise control after DeMarre Carroll's 3 gave them the 71-46 advantage.

Giannis Antetokounmpo spearheaded the second-half rally for Milwaukee. He had 34 points.

But the Bucks finished one comeback short.

The furious effort appeared to sap the energy of the young Bucks. Even Antetokounmpo, a renowned gym rat, looked tired with his hands on hips as he caught his breath during fourth-quarter breaks. He played 47 minutes.

Antetokounmpo finished 13 of 23 from the field but was 2 of 6 in the fourth.

The Raptors could finally breathe easy after DeRozan went 2 of 2 from the foul line with 3.1 seconds to play for a three-point lead. Tony Snell's inbounds pass on the ensuing possession was intercepted by DeRozan (see full recap).

Spurs advance: San Antonio beats Grizzlies in Game 6
NASHVILLE, Tennessee -- Kawhi Leonard scored 29 points, helping the San Antonio Spurs advance to the Western Conference semifinals by beating the Memphis Grizzlies 103-96 Thursday night to take the series 4-2.

The Spurs now have beaten Memphis four of the five playoff series between these teams, and this was San Antonio's second straight win over the Grizzlies in the first round.

Tony Parker added 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting, while LaMarcus Aldridge had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Patty Mills had 10 points off the bench for the Spurs. San Antonio outrebounded Memphis 46-28, with 16 of those offensive boards. That led to 17 second-chance points.

Their semifinal with Houston will start Monday night in San Antonio.

Mike Conley scored 26 points, leading the five Memphis starters in double digits. Marc Gasol added 18, Zach Randolph 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Vince Carter had 12 points (see full recap).