Trail Blazers book play-off spot, LeBron-less Cavs lose


The Portland Trail Blazers clinched an unlikely NBA play-off berth after defeating the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder 120-115.

There was uncertainty surrounding the Trail Blazers in the off-season, having lost the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum.

But the Trail Blazers (43-37) had other ideas, making sure of a third consecutive post-season spot on Wednesday.

Al-Farouq Aminu top-scored with 27 points and C.J. McCollum had 26 points as the Trail Blazers reached the play-offs for the 32nd time in franchise history.

The win came against the Thunder, who rested All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook after clinching the third seed in the Western Conference on Tuesday.

LeBron James was rested on Wednesday and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost.

With the play-offs looming, the Eastern Conference-leading Cavs benched James and the Indiana Pacers took advantage, winning 123-109.

Paul George posted 29 points and C.J. Miles added 21 as the Pacers (42-36) stayed half a game clear of the eighth-placed Detroit Pistons (42-37), who beat the Orlando Magic 108-104.

The Dallas Mavericks held on to defeat the Houston Rockets 88-86 for a fifth consecutive victory.

J.J. Barea's 27 points helped the seventh-placed Mavs (40-38) stay a game ahead of the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference.

Also on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Clippers downed the Los Angeles Lakers 91-81.

The Boston Celtics overcame the New Orleans Pelicans 104-97, the Charlotte Hornets topped the New York Knicks 111-97, while the Washington Wizards were too good for the Brooklyn Nets 121-103.