|Warriors fall short of playoffs as Nuggets make it|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 14 April 2008 23:58|
A year after shocking Western Conference leader Dallas in the first round of the playoffs, the Warriors were eliminated from contention 122-116 by Phoenix on Monday night. The loss clinched the eighth spot for Denver.
``We gave our all, we played hard to the end,'' guard Monta Ellis said. ``I mean, the better team won. That's it.''
Amare Stoudemire scored 11 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and Phoenix recovered after blowing a 17-point lead.
Steve Nash nearly had a triple-double with 13 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds as the Suns remained in the midst of a scramble for playoff positioning and possible home-court advantage in the first round.
``There's a lot of woulda, coulda, shoulda,'' Nash said, ``but overall with all things that have gone on this year, we've put ourselves in a good position. If we can win the last game, we could creep into the top four there. That would be nice, but either way I think our team is still getting better, and we can just keep improving throughout the playoffs.''
Stephen Jackson scored 16 of his 23 points in the Warriors' third-quarter comeback. Ellis added 20 points, Kelenna Azubuike 17 and Andris Biedrins 16. Baron Davis was benched for the second half by coach Don Nelson.
``I gave Baron a much-needed rest the second half,'' was all Nelson would say afterward.
Elsewhere Monday night, it was Utah 105, Houston 96; San Antonio 101, Sacramento 98; Washington 117, Indiana 110; Cleveland 91, Philadelphia 90; Chicago 151, Milwaukee 135; Boston 99, New York 93; and Toronto 91, Miami 75.
Jazz 105, Rockets 96
At Salt Lake City, Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 11 rebounds, pulling the Jazz even with the Rockets in the muddled Western Conference standings with one game to go.
Both teams are 54-27, but by winning two of three against the Rockets, the Jazz would hold home-court advantage if they still have identical records after Wednesday and meet in the opening round of the playoffs.
Mehmet Okur added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, who won for the sixth time in seven games and finished their home schedule 37-4.
Tracy McGrady and Luis Scola scored 22 each for Houston.
Spurs 101, Kings 98
At Sacramento, Calif., Tony Parker tied his season high with 32 points and added 11 assists for San Antonio. The victory, coupled with Houston's loss, put the Spurs in position to clinch third place in the conference for a second straight season. A year ago, they defeated Cleveland in the NBA finals.
John Salmons led the Kings with 29 points, Spencer Hawes had 17, Beno Udrih scored 16 and Garcia added 15.
Wizards 117, Pacers 110
At Washington, coach Eddie Jordan went to his bench early and often, getting 31 points from Roger Mason, 14 from rookie Nick Young and little resistance from the Pacers' defense as Indiana was eliminated from playoff contention. Atlanta got the eighth spot in the East.
The Wizards, who have won five of six, entered the game with a chance to gain home-court advantage in their upcoming first-round playoff series against Cleveland. Even so, Washington gave Gilbert Arenas the night off and gave Caron Butler another night to recover from a bruised knee.
Cavaliers 91, 76ers 90
At Philadelphia, Devin Brown made two free throws with 0.2 seconds left after Philadelphia was brought back from the locker room. The Sixers appeared to have won after Lou Williams hit a fadeaway jumper with 5.1 seconds left, his second go-ahead basket in the final minute. Instead, Brown was fouled by Samuel Dalembert with only a couple of ticks left.
The Sixers thought the game was over and ran off the court, while the refs huddled at midcourt to look at the replay. The Cavaliers stayed on the bench. After the play was reviewed for a few minutes, Dalembert was hit with his sixth foul. The Sixers had to come back and watch Brown stun them for the controversial win.
Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks argued with the refs and guard Andre Miller punted the ball in frustration.
LeBron James scored 27 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 22 and the Cavaliers clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs against Washington.
Bulls 151, Bucks 135
At Milwaukee, Luol Deng scored 32 points on 15-for-20 shooting and Ben Gordon added 29 points.
The Bulls also got 22 points and 15 assists from Chris Duhon, and three other players finished in double digits as Chicago fell five points short of the franchise record set in 1990. The Bulls shot 67 percent from the field, just off a franchise high set in 1981, but the most ever allowed by the Bucks.
Milwaukee lost its seventh straight. The lone bright spot for the Bucks was rookie Ramon Sessions, who set a franchise record with 24 assists, three more than Guy Rodgers had in Milwaukee's sixth game as a franchise on Oct. 31, 1968 against Detroit. Sessions also scored 20 points - the first 20-20 with points and assists in franchise history.
Celtics 99, Knicks 93
At New York, Rajon Rondo had 23 points and 10 rebounds for Boston, which improved to 65-16 despite giving Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen the night off. Sam Cassell added 22 points for the Celtics.
Nate Robinson scored 26 points, and David Lee had 12 points and 16 rebounds for the Knicks, who fell to 23-58 and need a win in their season finale at Indiana to avoid tying the franchise record for losses, last matched two years ago during Larry Brown's lone season.
Raptors 91, Heat 75
At Toronto, Rasho Nesterovic scored 20 points, while Chris Bosh had 15 for the Raptors, who locked up the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and a first-round matchup with Orlando.
Nesterovic was 10-for-19 from the field, scoring double figures for the 17th consecutive game, and grabbed seven rebounds.
Daequan Cook had 22 points for the Heat, who lost for the 21st time in their past 24 games.