Kemba Walker shines as in-form Charlotte Hornets boost play-off hopes

The Charlotte Hornets condemned the Detroit Pistons to their fourth straight loss and boosted their own play-off hopes with a 104-91 victory.

Kemba Walker hit 31 points and had eight rebounds as Charlotte recorded a third straight win and moved one game behind the Pistons in the battle to claim the final play-off spot in the Eastern Conference.

Walker scored 20 in the first half, while Frank Kaminsky scored 24 and Jeremy Lamb added 17 in the victory.

Three teams are in contention for the NBA’s final play-off spot, with the Miami Heat also a game behind the Pistons.

Like the Pistons, the Heat are going through a rough patch and lost their fourth straight game.

Dwyane Wade hit 21 points for the Heat but they lost 117-109 in overtime to the Toronto Raptors, who have clinched the Atlantic Division.

The Orlando Magic booked their play-off spot with a 116-108 win over the Boston Celtics, while the Brooklyn Nets will also play in the post-season after a 108-96 win over the Indiana Pacers.

The Milwaukee Bucks secured their 60th win of the season, with Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring 30 points and Khris Middleton adding 21 in a 115-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks, while the Dallas Mavericks’ Salah Mejri hit a game-tying basket late in the fourth quarter and added seven points in overtime in a 129-127 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

James Harden hit 30 points in a 149-113 win for the Houston Rockets over the Phoenix Suns and Steph Curry had 27 as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 131-104.

Elsewhere, the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 132-126, the San Antonio Spurs won 112-90 as they condemned the Cleveland Cavaliers to their ninth successive loss and the New York Knicks beat the Washington Wizards 113-110.

The Portland Trail Blazers were 115-108 winners over the Denver Nuggets, the New Orleans Pelican beat the Sacramento Kings 133-129 and the Los Angeles Lakers saw off the Utah Jazz 113-109.

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