Pacers win Central Division

Posted: Thursday, April 01, 2004

INDIANAPOLIS Ron Artest had 21 points and nine rebounds, Jermaine O'Neal had 16 points and seven assists and the Indiana Pacers clinched the Central Division title with a 111-78 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night.

The Pacers, an NBA-leading 55-20, secured homecourt advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs when they beat the Bucks for the first time in four tries this season.

Trail Blazers 105, Celtics 98

BOSTON Darius Miles scored a career-high 31 points and led a third-quarter surge that carried Portland to win over Boston.

Miles had 10 points as Portland opened the third quarter with a 20-6 run that turned a 51-48 halftime deficit into a 68-57 lead midway through the period.

Warriors 85, Raptors 78

TORONTO Jason Richardson had 25 points and Golden State handed Toronto its fifth straight loss.

Erick Dampier had 14 rebounds before leaving the game late in the fourth quarter after rolling his left ankle on the foot of Toronto's Jalen Rose.

Bulls 109, Magic 91

ORLANDO, Fla. Jamal Crawford had 27 points and nine assists, and short-handed Chicago snapped a five-game losing streak by Orlando matchup between the teams with the NBA's worst records.

Jannero Pargo added 25 points in his first start, and Eddy Curry had 24.

Nets 103, Wizards 99, OT

WASHINGTON Richard Jefferson had 28 points and a season-high 14 rebounds, and New Jersey broke a three-game losing streak by beating Washington in overtime.

Lucious Harris added a season-high 24 points, and Kerry Kittles scored 18 and helped forced overtime with a 3-pointer and a blocked shot in the final minute of regulation.

Heat 100, Hawks 97

ATLANTA Dwyane Wade made a go-ahead runner over Bob Sura to cap a frantic comeback in the final minute, and Miami held off Atlanta.

The victory propelled the Heat into a tie with the Milwaukee Bucks for fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks lost to the Indiana Pacers 111-78.

Timberwolves 90, SuperSonics 83

MINNEAPOLIS Latrell Sprewell had 27 points, including six 3-pointers, to help Minnesota hold off Seattle.

Kevin Garnett had 27 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for Minnesota. Vitaly Potapenko had 18 points and nine rebounds and Rashard Lewis had 17 points for Seattle.

Pistons 108, Clippers 99

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. Richard Hamilton had 28 points and a career-high five steals, and Detroit defeated the Clippers.

The Clippers led until the final moments of the third quarter before falling for the ninth straight time and 17th in 19 tries. Detroit has won 10 of 12.

Detroit played without Rasheed Wallace (back) for the second game in a row, while Los Angeles lost Corey Maggette to a strained hamstring in the first half.

Spurs 107, Kings 89

SAN ANTONIO Reserve Manu Ginobili scored 15 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth period, and San Antonio kept its hopes for a division title alive by beating Western Conference-leading Sacramento.

Ginobili, who had only six points in the first half, made all three of his shots in the third and his first six shots of the fourth.

The win allowed the Spurs to remain 1 1/2 games behind Midwest Division-leading Minnesota, which defeated Seattle on Wednesday.

Jazz 89, Hornets 76

SALT LAKE CITY Mikki Moore scored all 15 of his points in the fourth quarter to lead Utah past New Orleans.

Gordan Giricek scored 19 points and Carlos Arroyo had 12 points and five assists for Utah, which won for the fifth time in seven games in the final push for the playoffs.

The Jazz improved to 39-36, moving percentage points ahead of Portland (38-36), which won earlier Wednesday at Boston. Denver (39-37), which was idle, is also competing for the No. 8 playoff berth with two weeks remaining in the regular season.

The Hornets lost their fourth straight and have been without leading scorer Baron Davis (ankle) for all four. With the loss, New Orleans fell into a three-way tie with Miami and Milwaukee for the No. 4 spot in the Eastern Conference at 37-38.

Darrell Armstrong led the Hornets with 19 points off the bench.

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