Stephen-Curry-141101-Running-G-300Stephen Curry had 24 points as the Golden State Warriors used a smothering defensive effort in the third quarter to pound the Washington Wizards 107-76 on Monday.

The Warriors held the Wizards without a field goal for nearly 11 minutes after halftime, with Washington missing its first 15 shots. Golden State outscored the Wizards 29-8 in the quarter to take a 24-point lead.

Curry also had six assists and five rebounds as the NBA-leading Warriors (57-13) moved closer to securing the league’s top playoff seed. Golden State has a huge lead over Memphis (50-21) in the Western Conference and is pulling away from East-leading Atlanta (53-17) as well.

Boston’s Evan Turner had 19 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds as the Celtics downed the New Jersey Nets 110-91 to end a three-game losing streak that had dropped them out of playoff position.

Avery Bradley scored 20 points to lead the Celtics, who moved a half-game ahead of Charlotte for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets lost 98-86 at Chicago.

Brook Lopez scored 31 points for the Nets, who had won two in a row to give themselves renewed playoff hopes.

In Indianapolis, James Harden scored 19 of his 44 points in the fourth quarter as the Houston Rockets handed the Pacers their sixth straight loss 110-100.

Josh Smith added 18 points for the Rockets (47-23), who have won four of five.

Indiana’s sinking playoff hopes took another big hit despite 23 points from C.J. Watson.

The Chicago Bulls clinched a playoff spot after Nikola Mirotic scored 14 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter in a 98-86 win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Pau Gasol had 27 points and 12 rebounds as Chicago moved into a tie with Toronto for third place in the Eastern Conference. Jimmy Butler added 19 points in his return to the line-up after missing 11 games with a sprained left elbow.

In other games, Zach Randolph scored 23 points and Marc Gasol had 21 as the Memphis Grizzlies secured a playoff spot with a 103-82 road win over the Brooklyn Knicks, while Minnesota rookie guard Zach LaVine scored 27 points, including two 3-pointers to force overtime, as the Timberwolves edged the Utah Jazz 106-104.


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