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Wednesday, 16 April 2008 22:23
NBA Headline News

 SCOREBOARD
Thursday, April 17
No games scheduled. The playoffs begin Saturday.

STARS
Wednesday
-Jason Kidd, Mavericks, had the 100th triple-double of his career with 27 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds in Dallas' 111-98 victory over New Orleans.
-Kevin Durant, SuperSonics, set career highs with 42 points and 13 rebounds in his first professional double-double, leading Seattle past Golden State 126-121.
-Leon Powe, Celtics, scored a career-high 27 points with 11 rebounds as Boston finished 66-16 for the NBA's best record after a 105-94 win against New Jersey.
-Mike Dunleavy, Pacers, tied a career high with 36 points for the fifth time this season and third against New York, helping Indiana to a 132-123 win.
-Randy Foye, Timberwolves, scored 10 of his career-high 32 points in overtime to spark Minnesota past Milwaukee 110-101.
-Jason Richardson, Bobcats, scored 29 points as Charlotte defeated Philadelphia 115-109.

SCORING
LeBron James, bothered by back spasms in recent weeks, sat out Wednesday night's regular-season finale, an 84-74 loss to Detroit, and became the first Cavaliers player to lead the league in scoring. The 23-year-old averaged 30.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.2 assists, the first player to average those stats since Michael Jordan in 1988-89.

CLINCHED
San Antonio wrapped up the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference in dominant fashion, routing Utah 109-80 Wednesday night. The Spurs face sixth-seeded Phoenix, beginning Saturday. The Jazz last won in San Antonio on Feb. 29, 1999.

SAD BUT TRUE
Despite the best season for the franchise since winning 50 games in 1993-94, Golden State (48-34) became the team with the most wins that will miss the playoffs. Atlanta (37-45), which finished 11 games behind the Warriors in the overall NBA standings, made the playoffs in the weaker Eastern Conference.

STANDINGS
Luis Scola had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and Houston locked up the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a 93-75 victory over the Clippers on Wednesday night. The Rockets get home-court advantage over No. 4 seed Utah, by virtue of one more victory. Houston's regular-season win total (55) was its highest since the 1996-97 team went 57-25. Los Angeles finished with its lowest win total (23) since the 1999-2000 team went 15-67.

SWINGS
Dallas was 35-18 before trading for Jason Kidd, and 16-13 after following Wednesday night's 111-98 victory over New Orleans. The Mavericks and Hornets open their playoff series Saturday.

SLUMPS
Philadelphia, which opens the playoffs Sunday at Detroit, lost its fourth straight and seventh in 10 games to close the regular season, 115-109 at Charlotte on Wednesday night.

IMPROVING
Denver reached 50 wins for the first time in 20 years with a 120-111 victory over Memphis on Wednesday night. The Nuggets, who went 33-8 at home, their best mark since 1988-89, open the playoffs against the top-seeded Lakers on Sunday.

FUTILITY
Miami finished 15-67, matching the 1988-89 expansion team for the worst record in franchise history, following Wednesday night's 113-99 victory over Atlanta.

PROGRESS?
Chicago finished 24-32 under coach Jim Boylan, who replaced the fired Scott Skiles in December following a 9-17 start. The Bulls won their season finale Wednesday night, 107-97 over Toronto.

ONE-SIDED
Phoenix's 100-91 victory Wednesday night was its ninth straight over Portland.

SUSPENDED
Milwaukee's Royal Ivey was suspended three games by the NBA on Wednesday for punching Chicago's Aaron Gray in the groin Monday.

SPEAKING
``This was a nice way to finish it. It really was. I'm a very proud man. But I'm not proud of what we accomplished this year.'' - Miami coach Pat Riley after concluding a 15-67 season with a victory over Atlanta on Wednesday night.
 

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