CLEVELAND CAVALIERS forward/center Tristan Thompson, right, battles for a rebound against Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine, left, and guard Rajon Rondo during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday in Chicago.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS forward/center Tristan Thompson, right, battles for a rebound against Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine, left, and guard Rajon Rondo during the second half of an NBA basketball game Thursday in Chicago.

CHICAGO

Nikola Mirotic tied season highs with 28 points and six 3-pointers, Jimmy Butler scored 25, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 99-93 on a night when LeBron James moved into seventh place on the NBA’s career scoring list.

James moved past Shaquille O’Neal, finishing with 26 points and giving him 28,599 for his career — three more than O’Neal. But the big night by the four time MVP couldn’t prevent the Cavaliers from matching a season high with their third straight loss.

That dropped them a half-game behind Boston for the Eastern Conference lead and left them with a 6-10 record in March.

For Mirotic, it was his second straight game with 28 points and six 3s. He also had 10 rebounds, finishing a strong March. Rajon Rondo added 15 assists, Robin Lopez had 10 points and 11 rebounds, and the ninth-place Bulls moved within a game of Miami and Indiana in the Eastern Conference standings.

Timberwolves 119, Lakers 104

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Ricky Rubio had a career-high 33 points, 10 assists and five rebounds and Karl- Anthony Towns scored 32 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves past the Los Angeles Lakers.

Rubio shot 4 of 5 on 3- pointers and Andrew Wiggins scored 27 points for the Timberwolves (30-44), who have now won more games than they did last season. Minnesota had 30 assists and only 11 turnovers.

Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points and D’Angelo Russell had 14 points and seven assists for the Lakers (21-54), who have lost 17 of their last 19 games. Brandon Ingram missed his third straight game with patellar tendinitis in his right knee.

Clippers 124, Suns 118

PHOENIX (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 31 points, Chris Paul added 29 points and 10 assists and the Los Angeles Clippers held on to hand the Phoenix Suns their 10th loss in a row.

Devin Booker returned to the Suns’ lineup and scored 33 while playing in front of his former college coach, Kentucky’s John Calipari, and matched his season high with nine assists, but fouled out with 4:45 to play.

Pistons 90, Nets 89

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Marcus Morris had 28 points and 13 rebounds, and Ish Smith hit the go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter, helping the Detroit Pistons beat the Brooklyn Nets.

Smith, who finished with 21 points, six rebounds and five assists, gave the Pistons an 87-86 lead with 30 seconds left. Brook Lopez missed a 3- pointer on the Nets’ ensuing possession, and Detroit sealed it at the free-throw line.

Sean Kilpatrick scored 15 and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Jeremy Lin each had 14 points for the Nets. Lopez added 11 points and nine rebounds.

Trail Blazers 117, Rockets 107

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Damian Lillard had 31 points and 11 assists, leading the Portland Trail Blazers past the Houston Rockets.

Jusuf Nurkic had a teamhigh 11 rebounds to go along with 19 points for the Trail Blazers, who have a season-high five-game winning streak and a 1 ?-game-lead over the Denver Nuggets for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.


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