Clippers creep toward playoffs with victory over Timberwolves

Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2002

MINNEAPOLIS -- Darius Miles had three soaring dunks among his 20 points Monday night, and the Los Angeles Clippers crept closer to a playoff berth with a 108-99 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Jeff McInnis had 17 points and 14 assists as the Clippers won their third straight on the road and their sixth in seven games by opening the final period with a 23-10 run.

It was a disappointing return home for the Timberwolves, who have lost a season-high four in a row. Kevin Garnett, coming off a four-point performance in Phoenix, scored 26 points for Minnesota, whose bench was outscored 54-15. Joe Smith added 25 for the Timberwolves. Coach Flip Saunders was ejected with two technical fouls.

The Clippers moved 1 1/2 games behind Utah for the final playoff spot in the West.

Celtics 104, Wizards 99

WASHINGTON -- Paul Pierce scored 16 of his 37 points in the fourth quarter. Pierce, who has scored 30 or more points 25 times this season, finished the Wizards with a 3-pointer for a 102-96 lead with 8.8 seconds left.

Pierce also led Boston with nine rebounds. Antoine Walker and Tony Delk scored 19 apiece for the Celtics, who won their fifth straight for the second time this season.

Richard Hamilton scored 37 points to lead the Wizards, who got 24 from Courtney Alexander. The Wizards have lost 13 of their last 16, including seven of nine without injured Michael Jordan.\

Hawks 121, Warriors 96

ATLANTA -- Jason Terry scored 32 points and Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 19 as the Hawks set a season high for points. The Hawks had their second-largest margin of victory this season.

Golden State, losing for the 15th time in its last 18 games in Atlanta, overall has dropped 14 of the last 15 on the road. The Warriors were led by Antawn Jamison's 27 points.

Kings 107, Bulls 103

CHICAGO -- Peja Stojakovic scored 29 points, including a pair of free throws to seal the game. Chris Webber finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds, and Vlade Divac added 14 points and 14 rebounds. It was the third straight victory for Sacramento, which has the NBA's best record, and its sixth in a row over the Bulls.

Chicago lost despite a gutty effort from Jalen Rose, who had 35 points and a season-high 13 assists. Eddy Curry added 17 points and fellow rookie Tyson Chandler had his second double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Chandler also had a career-high five blocks.

The loss spoiled a big day for the Bulls, who announced a three-year contract extension for coach Bill Cartwright before the game.

Grizzlies 79, Jazz 78

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Pau Gasol scored 20 points and Jason Williams added 15 for Memphis. Shane Battier added 11 points as Memphis won its third in four games against Utah this season. Lorenzen Wright had 13 rebounds.

Donyell Marshall led Utah with 16 points. Karl Malone scored 14 and Andrei Kirilenko finished with 13 for the Jazz.

Spurs 93, Nuggets 78

DENVER -- Tim Duncan had 21 points and nine rebounds as the Spurs won their seventh straight game. San Antonio, 13-3 against the Midwest Division, also had a 10-game winning streak in December and won seven straight in November.

The Nuggets ended Portland's 12-game winning streak with clutch shooting in a 109-106 overtime victory on Saturday, but didn't give themselves a chance in this one. Denver missed its first nine 3-point attempts -- 0-for-7 in the first half -- and allowed several uncontested layups and dunks after not rotating on defense. The Nuggets finished 1-for-13 from 3-point range.

Mavericks 119, SuperSonics 108

DALLAS -- Nick Van Exel hit three 3-pointers early in the fourth quarter for Dallas.

The Mavericks scored a season-best 71 points in the first half and led by 18 in the third quarter until a series of missed jumpers let the Sonics get within five early in the fourth quarter.

Van Exel, who scored 17 points, hit a 3-pointer as the 24-second clock expired, then swished another after Seattle got within four.

Michael Finley led Dallas with 26 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Steve Nash had 23 points and nine assists and Dirk Nowitzki had 19 points and 12 rebounds.

Sonics coach Nate McMillan was ejected with 41.9 seconds left after drawing his second technical for complaining about officiating.

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