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Wednesday, 02 April 2014 16:24
NBA Headline News

 WASHINGTON (AP) - The Washington Wizards are in the playoffs for the first time since 2008, clinching an Eastern Conference berth Wednesday night with a 118-92 win over the Boston Celtics.
Marcin Gortat scored 22 points to lead the Wizards, who gathered for a celebratory huddle at midcourt after the final whistle. John Wall, the 2010 No. 1 overall draft pick playing the first meaningful late-season games of his career, added 13 points and 10 assists.
The Wizards' playoff position had been relatively secure for several weeks in the weakened East, but seeing the magic number reach zero was a milestone worth noting for a franchise whose win totals since their last postseason appearance have been 19, 26, 23, 20 and 29 - never finishing better than 24 games below .500.
Jared Sullinger had 25 points, and Rajon Rondo had 13 to lead the Celtics.
BULLS 105, HAWKS 92
ATLANTA (AP) - D.J. Augustin scored 23 points and Chicago bumped slumping Atlanta out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with two weeks left in the season.
Chicago took control with a 16-3 run in the second quarter and led the rest of the way, fending off the last of Atlanta's runs when Jimmy Butler swished a 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining.
The Hawks lost for the 21st time in 28 games, this one dropping them slightly behind New York for the eighth playoff seed. The Knicks (33-43) routed Brooklyn 110-81 to climb percentage points ahead of Atlanta (32-42). Cleveland is also in the mix after beating Orlando.
Paul Millsap led the Hawks with 22 points.
KNICKS 110, NETS 81
NEW YORK (AP) - J.R. Smith had 24 points, eight rebounds and six assists, Carmelo Anthony added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and New York beat city rival Brooklyn to extend a late-season playoff push.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 17 points a game after spraining his right ankle to help the Knicks win for the 12th time in 15 games, dominating a team that had the best record in the Eastern Conference since the new year. New York won its third straight and moved percentage points ahead of Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East when the Hawks lost to the Bulls.
The Knicks made 24 of 36 shots in taking a 63-38 halftime time in front of new president Phil Jackson, finishing at a season-high 60 percent and outrebounding Brooklyn 41-23.
Joe Johnson scored 16 points for the Nets, who had won three straight.
RAPTORS 107, ROCKETS 103
TORONTO (AP) - DeMar DeRozan scored 29 points, Jonas Valanciunas and Greivis Vasquez each had 15, and Toronto won its seventh straight home meeting with Houston.
Terrence Ross scored 14 points and John Salmons had 12 as the short-handed Raptors won for the fourth time in five games.
James Harden scored 26 points and Chandler Parsons had 20 for the Rockets, who lost their third straight after winning the previous five.
The Rockets hurt themselves by missing eight of 30 free throw attempts, including five misses in the fourth quarter.
Jeremy Lin scored 16 points and Donatas Motiejunas had 13 for the Rockets, who could have clinched a playoff spot with a win and a loss by either Memphis or Phoenix.
HEAT 96, BUCKS 77
MIAMI (AP) - LeBron James scored 17 points, Chris Bosh added 15 and Miami stayed atop the Eastern Conference with a win over Milwaukee.
Mario Chalmers added 14 for the Heat, who never trailed despite again being without Greg Oden, Dwyane Wade and Ray Allen. The win kept Miami percentage points (52-22) ahead of Indiana (53-23) in the East.
Ramon Sessions scored 19 points for Milwaukee, which got 14 from Jeff Adrien, 11 from Brandon Knight and 10 from John Henson. Zaza Pachulia grabbed 16 rebounds in 26 minutes for the NBA-worst Bucks, who have now had 11 games this season in which they never led.
The Bucks fell to 14-61 with seven games remaining and are now only one loss away from tying the franchise record for most defeats in a season.
CAVALIERS 119, MAGIC 98
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Dion Waiters scored 26 points, Spencer Hawes and Tristan Thompson had 20 each, and Cleveland beat Orlando.
Kyrie Irving added 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds in his first game back after missing eight with strained left biceps. Jarrett Jack scored 13 points the Cavs, who have won five of their last six and are trying to catch Atlanta for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Victor Oladipo scored 16 points, Doron Lamb had 14 and Tobias Harris 11 for the Magic.
Cleveland shot 60.5 percent in the first half and 57.7 percent for the game. Hawes and Waiters combined to hit 7 of 10 from behind the arc and the Cavaliers were 20 of 24 (83.3 percent) from the foul line.
PACERS 101, PISTONS 94
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Paul George had 27 points and 13 rebounds, David West scored 15 points and Indiana snapped a three-game skid with its win over Detroit.
George hit a 3-pointer from 35-feet to give the Pacers a 94-90 lead with 3:19 remaining and Indiana never trailed the rest of the way.
Josh Smith had 24 points and five rebounds and Greg Monroe added 16 points for the Pistons, who have lost four of their last five games.
Brandon Jennings hit a 3 to get Detroit within 94-93 before George scored, forced a turnover and West hit a jumper to give the Pacers a 98-93 lead with 1:35 left to play.
BOBCATS 123, 76ERS 93
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Al Jefferson had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead Charlotte past Philadelphia 76ers and closer to a playoff berth.
Gary Neal added 15 points for the Bobcats (37-38), who have the seventh-best record in the Eastern Conference. They entered 4 1/2 games ahead of the ninth-place New York Knicks and needed four wins in the final eight games to clinch their first playoff berth since 2010.
The Bobcats raced to a 13-point lead in the first quarter, stretched it to 35 and never once let the Sixers threaten.
Michael Carter-Williams scored 22 points on 10-of-18 shooting for the Sixers. They have lost two straight since snapping an NBA-record tying 26-game losing streak on Saturday.
 

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