LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Davis shook off a twisted ankle to score 38 points and help the Los Angeles Lakers rally for a crucial 123-111 NBA victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday.
The Lakers improved their record to 39-38 -- their first time over .500 this season -- and more importantly leapfrogged ahead of the Timberwolves into seventh place in the tight Western Conference playoff race.
LeBron James scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and D'Angelo Russell had 12 points and 10 assists as all five Lakers starters scored in double figures.
The Lakers trailed by as many as 13 early in the third and were charging when Davis twisted his left ankle late in the period, grimacing as he lay on the court and limping off before returning to the game.
He finished with 17 rebounds, going hard at Minnesota even before star Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert departed the game with a knee injury.
"He kicked our ass in every way possible," Timberwolves coach Chris Finch said of Davis.
Added Lakers coach Darvin Ham: "It all starts with AD. We have a team that can make some things happen, but you've got to have that one pivotal force that can lead the charge ... in our case, it's AD."
That's even more true with James still returning to full strength after a month-long absence with a torn tendon in his right foot.
With Davis leading the way, the Lakers out-scored the Timberwolves 35-18 in the third quarter to take control and Ham said early indications were that Davis's injury wasn't serious.
"I think it's just a twisted ankle," Ham said.
The Boston Celtics followed up their big win over Milwaukee with 122-114 victory over the Utah Jazz.
Jayson Tatum scored 39 points and handed out 11 assists and Malcolm Brogdon scored 19 for the Celtics, who inched closer to the Bucks in the battle for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Celtics drilled 17 three-pointers -- five of them from Tatum -- and trail the Bucks by one and a half games atop the East.
- Sixers hold off Raptors -
In Philadelphia, Joel Embiid scored 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the 76ers built a big early lead and held on for a 117-110 victory over the Toronto Raptors.
James Harden scored 15 of his 23 points in the second quarter as the Sixers tightened their hold on third place in the East.
Philadelphia connected on 30 of 39 shots from the field in the first half, leading by as many as 24 on the way to a 20-point halftime lead.
The Raptors, locked in battle for a play-in tournament berth, hit back, Fred VanVleet pulling them within two points with a three-pointer with 5:50 left to play.
A jumper from Embiid and a three-pointer from PJ Tucker gave Philadelphia some breathing room and they held on for the win.
Scottie Barnes led the Raptors with 29 points and VanVleet added 19. All five Raptors starters scored in double figures but the Sixers bench out-scored Toronto's reserves 34-17.
"Good teams win ugly games," Tucker said. "Literally everybody stepped up on our team tonight. It's good energy and we needed everybody for the win."
The Sixers win left them three and a half games in front of the fourth-placed Cleveland Cavaliers, who fell 130-116 to the fifth-placed New York Knicks.
Jalen Brunson scored a career-high 48 points for the Knicks to help make up for the absence of Julius Randle, who sprained an ankle on Wednesday.
The sixth-placed Brooklyn Nets beat the Atlanta Hawks 124-107. Mikal Bridges scored 42 points as the Nets boosted their bid for the final direct playoff berth.
Dorian Finney-Smith added 19 points for Brooklyn, who were up by four at halftime and out-scored Atlanta 42-24 in the third quarter.
The Chicago Bulls tightened their grip on 10th place in the East and the final play-in berth with a 121-91 victory over the Charlotte Hornets. The Bulls are three games ahead of the Washington Wizards, who fell 116-109 to the Orlando Magic.
© Agence France-Presse