NBA: Philadelphia Sixers edge clear, Utah Jazz book play-off spot

Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons picks up a loose ball past Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith during the first quarter of the match at Wells Fargo Center on April 8, 2018.
Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons picks up a loose ball past Dallas Mavericks forward Dorian Finney-Smith during the first quarter of the match at Wells Fargo Center on April 8, 2018.PHOTO: USA TODAY SPORTS

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Ben Simmons scored 16 points as the Philadelphia 76ers routed the Dallas Mavericks to extend their winning streak to 14 games in the Eastern Conference play-off race on Sunday (April 8).

Australian star Simmons finished with nine assists and seven rebounds as the Sixers cruised to a 109-97 victory to move one win clear of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the standings.

The Sixers and the Cavs are locked in a duel for the third seed spot in the Eastern Conference play-off picture, with Philadelphia now at 50-30 for the season, ahead of Cleveland, who are fourth with 49-31.

Philadelphia are now assured of at least a top-four finish in the East after Sunday's victory at the Wells Fargo Centre.

The win also guarantees Philadelphia home court advantage for the start of the play-offs.

With the injured Joel Embiid close to a return, the Sixers will enter the post-season brimming with confidence after another impressive win.

Simmons was one of five Sixers players to make double figures, with J.J. Redick leading the scoring for the home team with 18 points.

Harrison Barnes led the scoring for the Mavs with 21 points, with Dennis Smith Jr adding 20 points and Dwight Powell 13.

In other games on Sunday, Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points to help the Utah Jazz clinch a play-off berth with a 112-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Mitchell also had nine rebounds and eight assists, and Joe Ingles had 22 points in the win. Jae Crowder came off the bench to score 18.

Also, the Indiana Pacers are one game behind Cleveland after overpowering the Charlotte Hornets 123-117 on the road.

Domantas Sabonis led the scoring for the Pacers with 30 points from the bench, while Victor Oladipo had 27 points. The Pacers improved to 48-33 with the victory.

Elsewhere in the East, second-placed Boston suffered an upset 112-106 loss to bottom team Atlanta at the TD Garden.

It was a third defeat in four games for the Celtics, who are battling an injury crisis as they head into the play-offs.

The Celtics were rocked this week after it was confirmed star Kyrie Irving would miss the remainder of the season after complications from knee surgery.