The Cavs were eight points (112-104) behind at 2:13 before finishing 12-2. And it played out at an unlikely possession: after Donovan Mitchell (31 pts) missed the tying free throw, then two tap-ups rebounding on the action, the ball ended up landing in the hands of Okoron (11 pts), who did not flinch to make a net.

Evan Mobley (26 pts, 16 rbds) also contributed to Cleveland's eighth win in ten games, which consolidated its 4th place in the East.

Brooklyn, which now has five losses, despite Mikal Bridges (32 pts) and Spencer Dinwiddie (25 pts, 12 assists), slips to 7th place, synonymous with barragiste, overtaken by Miami.

Looking higher, the Heat realizes that the Knicks (5th) are not too far. Because the latter conceded a third defeat in a row (111-106) at the low-ranked Orlando (13th).

It was the No. 1 of the draft, Paolo Banchero (21 pts) who guided the Magic, planting a banderille behind the arc and two free throws in the last 86 seconds.

Fierce fight for the play-offs

On the New York side, the absence of Jalen Brunson, hit in the right hand, was felt, without Julius Randle (23 pts, 9 rbds) being able to fully fill it. Illustration: When the latter rested on the bench in the second quarter, the team scored no points in five and a half minutes and Orlando made a gap of 19 points.

Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley, 25 points each, put the Knicks back in the saddle in the second half, but they ran out of breath in the final minutes to pull off a comeback.

In the West, the Clippers (5th) easily disposed of Oklahoma City, thanks to the diabolical precision of Kawhi Leonard, author of a 13/15 shooting (32 pts). Russell Westbrook (24 pts) contributed, as did Nicolas Batum (12 pts) who made three of his four long-range baskets in the final quarter.

Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers during the NBA game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on March 23, 2023 in Brooklyn © Sarah Stier / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (30 pts) was the only one to survive the Thunder (11th), who comes out of the playoff zone, reinstated by the Pelicans (10th), easy winners (115-96) of Charlotte, thanks to Brandon Ingram author of the first triple-double of his career (30 pts, 11 rbds, 10 assists).

OKC and New Orleans have exactly the same record (36-37) as the Lakers (9th) and Dallas (8th), making the playoff fight more fierce and indecisive than ever.

© 2023 AFP