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Heat beat Celtics to remain No.1 in east

The Miami Heat have rallied in the fourth quarter to hold off the Boston Celtics 106-98 to stay top in a tight race for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.

Jimmy Butler scored 24 points, Kyle Lowry added 23 and Bam Adebayo finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds to help Miami post a second straight NBA win since a season-worst four-game losing streak.

Since briefly taking over the East’s top spot, Boston have lost two in a row for the first time since late January.

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 28 points and 10 rebounds while Jayson Tatum added 23 points and six assists.

The back-and-forth game had very much the intensity of a play-off match-up, featuring nine ties and 16 lead changes.

NBA leaders Phoenix Suns are one win away from setting a franchise record for most wins in a season after downing Golden State 107-93 in San Francisco.

The Suns, who have lost just 14 games, tied the Suns record on Wednesday night with their 62nd win, matching the feat of the 1992-93 team led by Charles Barkley and the 2004-05 team sparked by Steve Nash.

Jordan Poole scored a personal season-best 38 points and there were good contributions from key players, Chris Paul (15 points and eight assists), Mikal Bridges (22 points), Devin Booker (22 points) and Deandre Ayton (16 points and 16 rebounds) as the Suns claimed a ninth straight win.

The Suns are also have a chance to set an NBA record for most road wins. They are now 31-6 in away games and need to win their last four to break the 34-7 road mark set by the Warriors in 2015-16.

The Memphis Grizzlies clinched the No.2 seed in the Western Conference, holding on to beat the late-charging San Antonio Spurs 112-111.

Memphis never trailed, even as Ja Morant missed his sixth straight game with a knee injury, as they improved to 19-2 without their All-Star guard this season.

The Spurs dropped a half-game behind the Los Angeles Lakers for 10th in the west and the final berth in the play-in tournament.

Luka Doncic scored 35 points, added 13 assists and just missed another triple-double, to guide the Dallas Mavericks to a 120-112 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who were without star rookie forward Evan Mobley.

Dorian Finney-Smith added a career-high 28 points for Dallas, who locked up one of the six play-off spots in the west with the win and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ 125-102 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

Toronto (44-32) moved two games ahead of Cleveland for sixth in the east while the Timberwolves lost for the fourth time in five games to be seventh in the west.

They are three games behind the sixth-placed Denver Nugggets, who overcame the Indiana Pacers 125-118 as Nikola Jokic flirted with another triple-double.

The reigning league MVP had 37 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets defeated the New York Knocks 125-114 to improve to 40-37 and sit just behind the idle Brooklyn Nets for the eighth spot in the east.

Trae Young had 41 points and eight assists as the likely play-in tournament Atlanta Hawks rolled past the Oklahoma City Thunder 136-118.

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