MILWAUKEE — Beno Udrih scored a season-high 21 points, Brandon Jennings also added 21, and the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 116-94 on Saturday night to tighten the race for the final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference.
Ersan Ilyasova chipped in 20 points for Milwaukee, which moved within a half-game of idle New York with its fourth straight victory. The Bucks are .500 (28-28) for the first time since they were 2-2 on Jan. 2.
LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 21 points for Portland, which lost 116-87 to Milwaukee on March 20 — its worst home loss of the season.
Wesley Matthews added 14 points for the Trail Blazers, who were hoping to win consecutive road games for the first time this season.
The Bucks shot 50 percent (47 of 94) from the field and were 12 of 25 (48 percent) from three-point range.
Milwaukee outscored Portland 30-11 in the final quarter, and scored 19 of the first 24 points of the period.
Jennings dribbled the ball between his legs and swished a three-pointer in front of Raymond Felton for a 99-88 lead with 6:34 to play.
Jennings then delivered two assists that led to dunks by Larry Sanders for a 103-88 lead with 4:06 remaining. Sanders finished with a season-high 14 points.
The lead was 105-88 after Jennings sank two free throws with 3:40 left. He had 12 points in the period.
A victory for the Trail Blazers would have given them their first three-game winning streak since starting the season 3-0. But they missed 11 of their first 13 shots of the final quarter and never recovered.
Portland led 63-54 at halftime, but Milwaukee held an 86-83 advantage after the third quarter. A three-pointer by Mike Dunleavy gave the Bucks an 84-83 edge, their first since early in the second quarter, with 1:02 left. Dunleavy then delivered a pass to Sanders for a dunk and three-point lead with 36 seconds to play.
In other games on Saturday:
PHOENIX — Shannon Brown scored 20 of his 24 points in the third quarter, leading Phoenix to a victory over a Los Angeles Lakers team playing without Kobe Bryant for the first time in two seasons. An injured left shin ended Bryant’s string of 138 consecutive regular-season games played. The NBA’s leading scorer watched the Suns’ reserves dominate the second quarter, then Brown go off against his former team in the third.
INDIANAPOLIS — Paul Pierce scored 24 points to help Boston beat Indiana. Ray Allen added 19 points, Kevin Garnett scored 15 and Rajon Rondo had 12 assists for the Celtics.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Joe Johnson scored 18 points on eight-of-10 shooting, and eight Atlanta players scored in double digits. The Hawks broke open the game in the third quarter by shooting 17 of 23 from the field while scoring a season-high 38 points.
NEW ORLEANS — Jason Smith had a career-high 26 points and 10 rebounds, leading New Orleans past struggling Minnesota. Smith, who had his third career double-double, made his first eight shots and finished 12 for 16.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Rudy Gay scored 25 points, Zach Randolph added 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Memphis built a big lead and held on to beat Dallas. Gilbert Arenas added 14 points and made three three-pointers, while Mike Conley finished with 12 points for Memphis, which won its second straight and seventh in the last nine games.
PHILADELPHIA — Dwight Howard had 20 points and 22 rebounds, and Glen Davis had 23 points and 12 rebounds to help Orlando snap its five-game losing streak. J.J. Redick scored 11 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Magic pushed aside the lingering rift between Howard and coach Stan Van Gundy to win for the first time since March 26.
LOS ANGELES — Blake Griffin had 27 points and 14 rebounds, Randy Foye scored 25 points while hitting seven three-pointers, and the surging Clippers moved within a half-game of the Pacific Division lead.
OAKLAND, Calif. — David Lee had 17 points and nine rebounds, and Golden State got a big lift from its reserves to put a dent in Denver’s playoff hopes. Reserves Brandon Rush added 20 points, Nate Robinson had 14 points and seven assists, and Richard Jefferson scored 10 points to help the Warriors.