Celtics clinch NBA playoff home edge by silencing Thunder

<a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Los Angeles Lakers;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Los Angeles Lakers</a> star <a class="link " href="" data-i13n="sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link" data-ylk="slk:Anthony Davis;sec:content-canvas;subsec:anchor_text;elm:context_link;itc:0">Anthony Davis</a> slams in a dunk in his team's 125-120 NBA victory at Washington, in which Davis had 35 points and 18 rebounds (Patrick Smith)

The Boston Celtics clinched the NBA's best record this season and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs on Wednesday with a 135-100 blowout over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Jayson Tatum added 24 points and Jaylen Brown contributed 23 points for the Celtics, who improved to an Eastern Conference-best 60-16.

Minnesota and Denver are next best and share the Western Conference lead at 53-23.

Boston have six games remaining but are guaranteed to enjoy home-court advantage throughout the playoffs as they chase an NBA-record 18th league crown.

"You learn to appreciate the process," Tatum said. "All the while we want to hang a (championship) banner. We can't skip steps. Winning 60-plus games and clinching the best record in the league, it's a big deal.

"But you're going to have to win some games on the road regardless in the playoffs to do what you want to do."

The Celtics, who last won the NBA Finals in 2008, were back home after a 4-2 road trip. They blew open the contest by outscoring Oklahoma City 42-17 in the fourth quarter.

"Feels great," Tatum said. "We had a long road trip, 13 days. It was definitely good to come back here, be around our fans and get a win.

"We really just picked up our intensity. That first game back after a long road trip can be kind of tough. We ended up finding our energy.

"It really showed in that second half -- we started getting stops, playing faster, knocking down shots."

Minnesota grabbed a share of the Western Conference lead alongside defending champion Denver with a 133-85 rout of visiting Toronto, stretching the Raptors' losing streak to 15 games.

Anthony Edwards led the Timberwolves with 28 points while Naz Reid added 23 points and Rudy Gobert had 11 points and 15 rebounds for the hosts.

At 53-23, the T-Wolves are level with the Nuggets and a game ahead of Oklahoma City.

Injury-hit Milwaukee played without Damian Lillard, Khris Middleton and Patrick Beverley and lost to visiting Memphis 111-101.

Jaren Jackson Jr. scored 35 points to lead the Grizzlies while GG Jackson had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Memphis.

Brook Lopez led the Bucks with 25 points and 10 rebounds while Giannis Antetokounmpo added 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds.

Lillard was out with a groin strain while Middleton has a left ankle injury and Beverley a right ankle sprain.

- Lakers beat the Wizards -

Anthony Davis scored 35 points and grabbed 18 rebounds while LeBron James added 25 points, nine assists and seven rebounds to power the Los Angeles Lakers to a 125-120 victory at Washington.

The Lakers, 44-33, are ninth in the West, two games ahead of Golden State in the penultimate play-in position.

Jalen Johnson posted his first career triple-double with 28 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists to spark the Atlanta Hawks over visiting Detroit 121-113.

Reserve Malachi Flynn, averaging only 5.2 points a game, scored 50 points for the NBA-worst Pistons, just off the NBA record for points off the bench, 51 by Jamal Crawford in 2019.

De'Andre Hunter had 26 points while Dejounte Murray added 24 for the Hawks, who clinched an East play-in berth and eliminated Brooklyn from playoff contention.

Phoenix's Devin Booker scored 40 points and Kevin Durant added 32 to lead the Suns over visiting Cleveland 122-101 and into a West playoff position at 45-31.

Getting knocked down into the play-in zone were the New Orleans Pelicans (45-31), who lost at home 117-108 to Orlando, the Magic getting 32 points from Paolo Banchero and 24 from Franz Wagner.

Brooklyn's Cam Thomas scored 27 points and rookie Noah Clowney had a season-high 22 off the bench to ignite the Nets' 115-111 home victory over Indiana.

Bahamian center Deandre Ayton scored 24 points and pulled down 16 rebounds to lead Portland over host Charlotte 89-86.

Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford said he will step down after the season. They are out of playoff contention at 18-58.