ATLANTA (AP) -Sam Cassell and Boston's backups outplayed Atlanta's starters in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics prevented the Hawks from clinching their first playoff berth since 1999 with a 99-89 victory Saturday night.
Atlanta would have ended the NBA's longest playoff drought with a victory, because Indiana lost to Charlotte earlier Saturday. The Hawks remained two games ahead of the Pacers with two to play, lowering their magic number to one for the right to face the Celtics in a first-round series.
Kevin Garnett sat out the fourth quarter but led Boston with 24 points. Paul Pierce and Ray Allen each had 14.
Joe Johnson scored 21 and Josh Smith and Al Horford each had 17 for Atlanta. Mike Bibby added 16.
Bobcats 107, Pacers 103
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Jason Richardson scored 26 points, and Charlotte dealt a severe blow to Indiana's playoff hopes.
The Pacers entered the night two games behind Atlanta with three games to play. With the loss and Atlanta's loss to Boston, the Pacers need to win their last two and have the Hawks lose their final two to get into the playoffs.
Indiana's Danny Granger scored a career-high 37 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter while playing with five fouls. Mike Dunleavy added 22 points and seven assists for Indiana, which saw its winning streak end at four games.
Nazr Mohammed had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Emeka Okafor had 14 points and 18 rebounds and rookie Jared Dudley scored a career-high 19 points for the Bobcats, who outrebounded the Pacers 59-46.
Jazz 124, Nuggets 97
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Mehmet Okur had 20 points and 15 rebounds, Deron Williams added 19 points and 11 assists, and Utah beat Denver to strengthen its hopes of home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
The Jazz won three of four against their Northwest Division rivals for the third straight season and kept the Nuggets from moving closer to the final Western Conference playoff berth. Denver still controls its own postseason destiny with two games remaining.
Allen Iverson scored 28 and Carmelo Anthony had 22 points for the Nuggets, who rallied from a 16-point deficit to take a brief lead but never recovered after a 12-2 run by the Jazz late in the third quarter. Wizards 109, 76ers 93
WASHINGTON (AP) - Gilbert Arenas scored 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, when Washington outscored Philadelphia 31-9.
The victory means the Wizards can finish no worse than sixth in the Eastern Conference, and that they can't be caught by the 76ers. Washington leads Philadelphia by two games with two to play and owns the tiebreaker due to a better conference record.
Antawn Jamison added 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who have won four of five. Washington bounced back well from a 102-74 loss at Detroit on Friday night.
Andre Iguodala had 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead the 76ers, who have lost three of four. Philadelphia had a 28-6 advantage in fast-break points but was outrebounded 48-36.
Nets 111, Bucks 98
MILWAUKEE (AP) - Richard Jefferson scored 24 points and Vince Carter added 21 as New Jersey spoiled Bucks general manager John Hammond's first game watching his new team play.
Bostjan Nachbar scored all 15 of his points in the second half for New Jersey, which won for only the second time in eight games.
Milwaukee has lost six straight. Desmond Mason led Milwaukee with 18 points, while Michael Redd, the Bucks' leading scorer, took only seven shots and finished with 12 points in 29 minutes.

Top NBA Public Bets

NBA Top Stories

Thumbnail Celtics improving Finals odds The Boston Celtics are showing signs that they want to be in the hunt to win the NBA Finals next season. Do oddsmakers feel the Celtics are...
Thumbnail Warriors re-sign Curry, Iguodala The Golden State Warriors are committed to keeping their championship team together. The team re-signed a number of players last week to improve their odds to...
Thumbnail Paul George joins the Thunder The Oklahoma City Thunderwon the Paul Georgesweepstakes last week. How has this impacted the team’s ability to win the NBA...
Thumbnail Rockets improve Finals odds After making a big splash this week, are the Houston Rockets making a push to win the 2018 NBA Finals?
Thumbnail Updated NBA Finals Odds After a busy week with the NBA Draft taking place, which team improved their odds to win the 2018 NBA Finals?

NBA Team Pages