Shaq's 40 beat Heat

Posted: Monday, April 08, 2002

MIAMI -- Shaquille O'Neal, returning from a wrist injury that sidelined him for two games, scored 40 points Sunday to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 96-88 victory over the Miami Heat.

The Heat lost for the eighth time in 10 games and moved closer to elimination from the playoff race. They are 11th in the Eastern Conference with six games left, five games behind eighth-place Toronto in the chase for the final berth.

The Lakers, who have five games remaining, moved a game ahead of third-place Dallas in the Western Conference.

O'Neal made 14 of 22 shots, grabbed 11 rebounds in 41 minutes and reached 40 points for the sixth time this season. The Lakers lost both games while O'Neal was sidelined.

Kobe Bryant, who missed a morning shootaround with flulike symptoms, had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Raptors 94, Pacers 84

TORONTO -- Alvin Williams scored 26 points as the surging Raptors moved into playoff position with a victory over Indiana.

Toronto pulled a game ahead of the Pacers in the race for the eighth and final postseason berth in the Eastern Conference. Both teams have six games remaining, including Wednesday's rematch at Indiana.

The Raptors, on a remarkable roll since losing Vince Carter to a season-ending knee injury, set a franchise record with their eighth straight win after losing 17 of 18 games. Toronto has beaten Indiana seven times in a row dating to last season.

76ers 89, Bucks 87

PHILADELPHIA -- Aaron McKie and Derrick McKey made big shots down the stretch as Philadelphia sent Milwaukee to its ninth consecutive road loss.

Eric Snow had 15 points and a season-high 14 assists for the 76ers, who moved out of a tie with Milwaukee for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. The teams play again Tuesday at Milwaukee.

In their eighth game since Allen Iverson broke his left hand, the 76ers solidified their hold on a playoff berth while sending the Bucks to their fifth loss in six games.

Celtics 102, Nets 90

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Paul Pierce scored 15 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter, and Boston put New Jersey's bid for its first NBA division title on hold for a couple of days.

The victory not only snapped New Jersey's 13-game home winning streak, a franchise record, it also prevented the Nets from clinching the Atlantic Division title.

The Eastern Conference-leading Nets can capture the division by winning one of their final four regular-season games or having the Celtics lose one of their remaining five.

Boston won its fourth straight and beat the Nets for the third consecutive time this season in a game that featured the ejection of Boston backup center Vitaly Potapenko for an altercation involving Kenyon Martin and Jason Kidd, who scored 21 points.

Kings 116, Knicks 82

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Chris Webber led eight Kings in double figures with 16 points and 14 rebounds as Sacramento added another remarkable chapter to the best season in franchise history.

The NBA-leading Kings (57-19) returned from a perfect six-game road trip to humiliate the last-place Knicks with another dazzling display of ball movement and shooting.

Vlade Divac had 14 points and eight rebounds, while Peja Stojakovic had 13 points in his second game back from a nine-game absence with a hamstring injury.

Clippers 97, Nuggets 75

LOS ANGELES -- Michael Olowokandi scored 23 points, and Elton Brand had 18 points and 10 rebounds as Los Angeles snapped a three-game losing streak.

Brand had four offensive rebounds to break the single-season franchise record of 371 set by Michael Cage in 1987-88. Brand's 54th double-double tied Sven Nater's club record set in 1980-81.

The Clippers are still close to being eliminated from playoff contention -- they trail eighth-place Utah by 4 1/2 games with five remaining in the race for the final postseason spot in the Western Conference.

The Nuggets have lost 14 of 16.

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