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East’s Bulls, Bucks, 76ers enjoy NBA wins

The Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls have recorded their ninth straight NBA victory by beating the Washington Wizards 130-122 on Friday night.

Zach LaVine scored 27 points, Coby White added 21 and the Bulls (26-10) matched their longest winning streak since the 2010-11 team won nine in a row to finish the regular season.

Lonzo Ball had 18 points, hitting six of Chicago’s 15 triples, and coach Billy Donovan earned his 300th NBA win.

“I thought we did some really good things offensively tonight with our unselfishness and the way we moved and shared the basketball,” Donovan said.

It was a battle between the East’s second and third in Brooklyn, and the Nets lost their fifth consecutive home game going down 121-109 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 31 points and Khris Middleton added 15 of his 20 in the third quarter for the defending champion Bucks (26-15), who joined Brooklyn (24-13) at two-and-a-half games behind the Bulls.

Australia captain Patty Mills registered three points, three rebounds and two assists while Kevin Durant had 20 points for the beaten hosts.

“I don’t expect us to have a great home-court advantage if we’re playing s***ty basketball,” Durant said post-game.

In Philadelphia, Joel Embiid extended the 76ers’ winning run to six matches in a 119-100 win over the depleted San Antonio Spurs.

Embiid (31 points, 12 rebounds) has scored at least 31 points in every game during the streak and has averaged 33.2 points and 10.5 rebounds in that stretch.

Seth Curry and Tobias Harris each had 23 points for Philly (22-16) while Aussie Matisse Thybulle added 12.

Dejounte Murray scored 27 points for San Antonio, who were without six players due to health and safety protocols.

“Start whoever you want,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who was missing four of his top-seven scorers, said.

“I don’t even know half their names in there tonight.”

Fred VanVleet had 37 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double and the Toronto Raptors overcame a 17-point deficit to beat the short-handed Utah Jazz 122-108.

Utah were missing Boomers star Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert (health and safety protocols) and star guard Donovan Mitchell (back). The loss saw their 10-game road-winning streak ended and the Jazz fall to 28-11, trailing only the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors in the West.

In Oklahoma City, young Australian star Josh Giddey contributed 10 points, five rebounds and five assists in the Thunder’s 135-105 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves while LeBron James registered 32 points in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 130-112 thumping of the Atlanta Hawks.

Elsewhere, the Dallas Mavericks scored a 130-106 win at the Houston Rockets, the Denver Nuggets were 121-111 victors over the Sacramento Kings, and the Cleveland Cavaliers stormed home to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 114-101.

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