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Friday, 11 April 2008 19:45
NBA Headline News

 TORONTO (AP) -Carlos Delfino scored 24 points, Chris Bosh had 21 and the Toronto Raptors eliminated the New Jersey Nets from playoff contention with a 113-85 victory Friday night.
Vince Carter had 21 points and Devin Harris added 19 for the Nets, who last missed the playoffs in 2001.
With Philadelphia's 85-76 loss to Indiana, the Raptors moved back into sixth place in the Eastern Conference with three games remaining.
T.J. Ford and Andrea Bargnani each had 14 as the Raptors rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second quarter to beat the Nets for the third time in four games this season. Toronto has won consecutive games after losing four of five.
Celtics 102, Bucks 86
BOSTON (AP) - Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 10 assists, then joined the rest of the Boston starters on the bench for the fourth quarter as the Celtics coasted to a victory over Milwaukee.
The Bucks made more moves off the court than on it: They hired former Pistons vice president John Hammond as general manager and made the announcement during the third quarter.
Michael Redd scored 18 for the Bucks and Ramon Sessions scored eight with 14 assists as the Bucks lost their fifth consecutive game.
None of the starters played more than 25 minutes on Friday, and all sat out the entire fourth quarter again. Garnett scored 12 points with eight assists, leaving with 5:30 left in the third and Boston leading 72-47.
Hawks 116, Knicks 104
NEW YORK (AP) - Joe Johnson kept Atlanta in control of the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, scoring 34 points in a victory over the Knicks.
Trying to end the NBA's longest postseason drought, the Hawks remained two games ahead of the Indiana Pacers with three to play for each team. Atlanta trimmed its magic number to two for its first playoff berth since 1999.
Josh Smith and Mike Bibby added 24 points apiece for the Hawks, who won all four meetings with the Knicks this season, sweeping the series for the first time since moving to Atlanta for the 1968-69 season.
Jamal Crawford scored 20 points for the Knicks, who were trying for their first four-game winning streak in two years.
Pacers 85, 76ers 76
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Danny Granger had 30 points and 12 rebounds and Indiana won its fourth straight.
The 76ers made just 35 percent of their field goal attempts (33-for-95) and shot a season-worst 43 percent from the foul line (9-for-21).
Grizziles 96, Heat 91
MIAMI (AP) - Hakim Warrick and Kyle Lowry each scored 17 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat Miami to ensure that the Heat will finish with the league's worst record.
With the NBA's worst record (14-65), the Heat will have the best chance to win the draft lottery held on May 20.
Mike Conley and Juan Carlos Navarro scored 15 points apiece as the Grizzlies shot 42 percent from the floor (33-of-78) while holding the Heat to 38 percent shooting (33-of-88).
Bulls 100, Cavaliers 95
CHICAGO (AP) - LeBron James tied a Cavaliers record by scoring 24 of his 34 points in the first quarter, but Luol Deng finished with 21 to lead the Bulls.
Tyrus Thomas added 20 points and 14 rebounds, while Joakim Noah chipped in 17 and 11 for Chicago.
Chicago led 68-62 before Deng buried a 3-pointer midway through the third, sending the Bulls on a run that extended their lead to 82-65 heading into the fourth.
James made all 10 of his shots in the first quarter as the Cavaliers grabbed a 33-25 lead, dazzling the crowd with dunks and jumpers. By the end of the quarter, he had tied the club record he set in the fourth against Toronto on Jan. 6, when he finished with 39.
James finished 13-for-21 from the field.
Timberwolves 102, Magic 101
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Ryan Gomes made a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to give Minnesota a victory.
Randy Foye had a game-high 25 points and Rashad McCants added 19 to lead the Timberwolves, who snapped a six-game losing streak. The playoff-bound Magic have lost six of 10 games.
Hedo Turkoglu attempted a winning 3-pointer as time expired but his shot missed the entire basket as Orlando failed to get its 50th win of the season.
Turkoglu scored 23 points to lead the Magic, who were just 8-for-21 from the field in the fourth quarter. Dwight Howard had20 points and 14 rebounds for his 68th double-double of the season, tying Shaquille O'Neal's franchise record set in 1992-93.
Pistons 102, Wizards 74
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Jason Maxiell scored a career-high 28 points, Chauncey Billups added 13 and Detroit rebounded from back-to-back losses with a rout of Washington.
The loss cost the Wizards a chance to better their playoff position, as both Cleveland and Philadelphia also lost. The Wizards are two games behind Cleveland for the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, and one game ahead of Philadelphia in the race for the fifth seed.
Richard Hamilton was the only Pistons starter to play more than 24 minutes, but Detroit's reserves were more than a match for the lethargic Wizards, scoring 52 points. Antwan Jamison led Washington with 15 and DeShawn Stevenson added 11.
Rockets 101, Suns 90
HOUSTON (AP) - Tracy McGrady had 22 points, six rebounds and seven assists, and Luis Scola added 19 points as the Rockets moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Phoenix and kept pace with San Antonio in the Western Conference playoff race.
Rookie Carl Landry added 14 points and seven rebounds, and reserve guard Bobby Jackson had 13 points as the Rockets won easily, despite playing without defensive specialist Shane Battier, who sat out with a bruised left foot and ankle, ending his streak of consecutive games played at 221.
Amare Stoudemire scored 37 points and Shaquille O'Neal added 16 points for the Suns, who mustered their lowest point total since a 116-86 loss to Detroit on Feb. 24.
Spurs 95, SuperSonics 74
SAN ANTONIO (AP) - Tony Parker scored 20 points and the Spurs easily handled Seattle.
After struggling offensively for their last three games, the Spurs were able to put up big numbers against the SuperSonics, who have the West's worst record. San Antonio shot 41-of-89 (46 percent) from the field and led by as many as 24 points. Tim Duncan added 12 points on 4-for-12 shooting for the Spurs, and Michael Finley had 14.
Kevin Durant scored 20 points and Earl Watson had 17 for the Sonics, who dropped all three of their games in a swing through Texas.
Kings 103, Trail Blazers 86
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - John Salmons scored 18 points in the second half to lead the Kings over Portland.
Salmons, who started in place of the injured Ron Artest, also added six rebounds, four assists and two steals. He did not score and had just one rebound in the first half.
Kevin Martin, the Kings' leading scorer, strained his right knee in the third quarter and didn't play in the fourth. He finished with 16 points and seven rebounds.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Portland.
Lakers 107, Hornets 104
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Kobe Bryant, making a push for his first MVP award, had 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, and the Lakers held off the New Orleans Hornets 107-104 Friday night to move within a half-game of the conference-leading Hornets.
Pau Gasol added 25 points and Lamar Odom had 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers, who never trailed but weren't assured of victory until the final minute.
Peja Stojakovic led the Hornets with 24 points.
Trailing 63-33 late in the second quarter, the Hornets outscored the Lakers 36-10 to move within four points with 3:51 left in the third period.
Bryant scored 10 points during a 17-6 run that extended the Lakers' lead to 92-77 with 9:25 remaining. But the Hornets bounced back again, outscoring the Lakers 12-1 to draw within four points. Bryant made a foul shot to give the Lakers a seven-point lead with 2:39 remaining. New Orleans wasn't closer than five again until Pargo made a 3 at the buzzer.
 

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