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Sixers, Warriors boost NBA playoff hopes with key wins

April 6 ------ Tyrese Maxey scored 37 points and Joel Embiid added 29 to ignite the Philadelphia 76ers in a 109-105 victory at Miami and boost their NBA playoff chances. Maxey added 11 assists and nine rebounds, just missing a triple double in 41 minutes on the court as the Sixers improved to 42-35, eighth in the Eastern Conference but only a game behind sixth-place Indiana. 


The top six in each conference take NBA playoff berths while teams in the seven to 10 positions face play-in games for the last two available spots. Maxey had missed the past two games for Philadelphia with a hip injury, but in his first game alongside Embiid in more than two months, the duo were dominating. "I'm tired," Maxey said. "Normally when you come back you get to play 32 minutes but (coach Nick) Nurse asked me and I said I'm all good. I can play as much as you need me to." 


Philadelphia, 2-0 since the return of reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Embiid from a knee injury, fell out of the top six while the Cameroonian big man was injured but hope to climb back into the top six in their final five games. Miami, led by Terry Rozier's 22 points, fell to 42-34, seventh in the East. 


In the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors stretched their win streak to six games with a 133-110 victory at Houston, boosting their lead over the only team that can knock them out of a play-in spot. Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson each scored 29 points to lead the Warriors, who led 65-50 at half-time and rolled in the second half. The Rockets lost their 13th consecutive meeting with Golden State, a club they have not beaten since February 2020. At 42-34, Golden State holds the 10th and final West play-in spot while Houston slid to 38-38, four games behind the Warriors with six games remaining. 


Elsewhere, Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and Luka Doncic added 25 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to power the Dallas Mavericks over visiting Atlanta 109-95. Dallas, 46-30, remained fifth in the West, a game ahead of Phoenix in the fight for a top-six finish and a secure playoff spot. 


And New York's Jalen Brunson scored 35 points and passed off 11 assists while Josh Hart contributed 31 points, nine rebounds and eight assists to spark the Knicks over visiting Sacramento, 120-109. The Knicks, 45-31, closed the game on a 28-14 run to swipe the victory, snapping a three-game losing streak to pull level with fourth-place Orlando and a half-game behind third-place Cleveland in the East. New York announced forward Julius Randle will have season-ending right shoulder surgery. He dislocated the shoulder in January but delayed an operation in hopes of returning for the playoffs. 



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