|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 05 April 2008 18:03|
Leon Powe had 22 points and nine rebounds, leading a makeshift lineup of Celtics who were never threatened in a 101-78 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday that not only clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but set the NBA record for biggest single-season turnaround.
Boston's trio of stars, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen, didn't play, but it didn't matter. The Celtics improved to 61-15, 37 more wins that last season's 24-58 disaster.
The previous best turnaround was San Antonio going from 20-62 to 56-26 in 1997-98, the year they got Tim Duncan with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
Magic 101, Cavaliers 86
CLEVELAND (AP) - Hedo Turkoglu scored 23 points, Rashard Lewis added 21 and Orlando locked up the Eastern Conference's No. 3 playoff seed.
The Magic, who have sat behind Boston and Detroit in the standings for much of the season, won despite getting only 4 points on 1-of-8 shooting from All-Star center Dwight Howard - 17 below his average. Orlando's defense, though, was the difference.
The Magic held Cleveland to 14 points in the fourth quarter and didn't let Cavaliers superstar LeBron James get his first points of the period until there was 1:48 left. James, who has been bothered by back spasms, finished with 17 points (on 6-of-22 shooting), nine assists and seven rebounds.
Kings 118, Nuggets 115
DENVER (AP) - Kevin Martin scored 36 points despite missing Sacramento's shootaround with the stomach flu, and the Kings dealt a blow to Denver's playoff plans with a surprising win at the Pepsi Center.
The Kings, out of playoff contention and missing Ron Artest (thumb) and Brad Miller (leg), won their fourth straight game and snapped Denver's nine-game home winning streak. They took advantage of sloppy play and silly mistakes by the Nuggets, who got 47 points from Carmelo Anthony, two shy of his career high.
Instead of moving into a seventh-place tie with Dallas, Denver, which frittered away an early 12-point lead and trailed from the middle of the second quarter on, fell into a tie with idle Golden State for the eighth and final playoff spot in the wild Western Conference.
Hawks 92, 76ers 85
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Joe Johnson scored 22 points, Josh Smith added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and Atlanta built a big lead and held off Philadelphia.
Marvin Williams contributed 18 points, Al Horford had 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Mike Bibby had 10 points for the Hawks (36-41), who responded after losing to the Sixers 109-104 on Friday in Atlanta.
Andre Iguodala scored 25 points for Philadelphia, which had clinched a playoff berth for the first time in three years with Friday's win. The 76ers (39-38) had their two-game winning streak snapped but have won 21 of their last 29 games.
Nets 99, Raptors 90
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Vince Carter scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half and New Jersey beat struggling Toronto, snapping a four-game losing streak and keeping its faint playoff hopes alive.
Despite the win, the Nets' magic number for being eliminated from postseason contention for the first time in seven years was reduced to two when Atlanta beat Philadelphia earlier Saturday.
Richard Jefferson added 28 points and Devin Harris had 12 points and seven assists as the Nets won for only the fourth time in 11 games.
Rasho Nesterovic had 22 points and 14 rebounds to lead the playoff-bound Raptors, who lost their third straight and 11th in 15 games.
Wizards 99, Bulls 87
CHICAGO (AP) - Brendan Haywood scored a career-high 25 points, Caron Butler added 18 and short-handed Washington beat Chicago.
Antawn Jamison missed his second straight game with a sprained right shoulder and Gilbert Arenas rested his surgically repaired left knee for precautionary reasons, but Haywood and Butler picked up the slack.
The Bulls got 18 points from Ben Gordon and 16 from Larry Hughes, but fell 5 1/2 games out of the eighth and final playoff spot.