NBA: Celtics lock up playoff spot, Curry hurt as Warriors edge Spurs
Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving.
The Boston Celtics secured a spot in the NBA playoffs after overcoming the Minnesota Timberwolves 117-109 on Thursday.
Kyrie Irving returned after missing Monday's game to lead Boston with 23 points, eight assists and two steals.
But it was the Celtics' bench that really led the way as they outscored Minnesota's relievers 42-20.
Marcus Morris had 17 points while going three for five from long distance.
"Marcus is a hard guy to guard at the three because of his size, and also at the four because he spreads the floor so much," Celtics head coach Brad Stevens told reporters after the game. "He's in a good groove right now."
As well as Boston (46-20) played, there was a sombre mood in the locker room after the game as the team's minds were on second-year forward Jaylen Brown.
The 21-year-old had a scary fall in the fourth quarter when he fell on his back and neck after losing his balance on the rim following a fast-break dunk.
Brown was down for an extended period but was able to get up and walk off on his own power.
Boston announced Brown suffered concussion-like symptoms and was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation.
"I was terrified," Marcus Smart said. "I've done that fall in high school the exact same way. It's hard to see that."
Meanwhile, reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors prevailed 110-107 against the San Antonio Spurs.
However, it may have come at a cost after two-time MVP Stephen Curry reinjured his troublesome ankle.
Curry tweaked his ankle just over two minutes into the game, which the Warriors won thanks to Kevin Durant's 37 points and 11 rebounds.
BJELICA STARS IN TIMBERWOLVES LOSS
Timberwolves forward Nemanja Bjelica tallied his first-ever 30-10 game with 30 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to the Celtics.
Reigning MVP Russell Westbrook was efficient in the Oklahoma City Thunder's 115-87 win over the Phoenix Suns with 27 points on 11-of-14 shooting. He added nine assists and eight rebounds.
Brooklyn Nets guard Allen Crabbe had 29 points on 11-of-21 shooting (six of 11 from beyond the arc) with eight rebounds in a 125-111 victory against the Charlotte Hornets.
COVINGTON HIGHLIGHTS PHILLY'S WOES
Philadelphia forward Robert Covington filled up the stat sheet, but could not hit a shot to save his life as he went 0 for 10 from the floor in the 76ers' 108-99 loss to the Miami Heat.
Brooklyn Nets 125-111 Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat 108-99 Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics 117-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
Oklahoma City Thunder 115-87 Phoenix Suns
Golden State Warriors 110-107 San Antonio Spurs
ROCKETS AT RAPTORS
It is the best in the west against the best in the east as the Houston Rockets take their 17-game winning streak to Canada, where they will meet the play-off bound Toronto Raptors. The Raptors have won six in a row and 14 of their last 15. The Rockets have the best record in basketball on the road at 26-7, but the Raptors have the best home record at 27-5. Something must give, but it will not be the quality of basketball.