Playoff dreams dim for Wizards

Posted: Thursday, April 10, 2003

WASHINGTON -- Calling themselves the Bullets once more, the Washington Wizards spoiled the celebration of the 25th anniversary of the franchise's lone NBA championship by losing 87-83 Wednesday night to the Boston Celtics.

Rookie J.R. Bremer scored 20 points on 8-for-11 shooting, including the winning 3-pointer with 19.4 seconds to play. Antoine Walker scored 24 and Paul Pierce had 20 as the Celtics clinched a playoff berth and sent the Wizards closer to elimination.

Washington fell 2 1/2 games behind eighth-place Milwaukee in the East.

After Bremer's basket, the Wizards trailed 85-83, but couldn't get the ball to Michael Jordan on their final possession. Tyronn Lue missed a tough 16-foot fadeaway, and neither Kwame Brown nor Christian Laettner could get the tip.

Jordan scored 21 points for Washington.

Bucks 112, Clippers 92

MILWAUKEE -- Toni Kukoc scored 26 points, tying his season high. The Bucks reduced their magic number to one for the final playoff berth in the East: One Milwaukee victory or a Washington loss puts the Bucks into the playoffs. Milwaukee has three games to play and Washington has four.

Sam Cassell had 22 points and Gary Payton 21 for Milwaukee, which bounced back from an overtime loss at Chicago in which the Bucks led by 19.

Elton Brand scored 21 points and Corey Maggette 20 for the Clippers.

Magic 88, Raptors 82

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Tracy McGrady scored 37 points and had a spectacular two-handed dunk to help the Magic snap a four-game losing streak. McGrady shot 11-of-18 from the field, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range, and was 11-of-16 at the free throw line. He surpassed 30 points for the 48th time this year.

Coupled with Washington's loss, Orlando's magic number for a playoff berth fell to one.

Hawks 97, Nets 92

ATLANTA -- Ira Newble hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:38 left and the Hawks held off a furious rally. Shareef Abdur-Rahim added another 3 late in the game to extend the margin to six, and after Jason Kidd made a layup on the other end, Atlanta's Dion Glover made a free throw for the final margin.

Jason Terry scored 24 points for the Hawks, and Abdur-Rahim added 18 points and 15 rebounds. Newble, who started in place of Glenn Robinson, finished with a season-high 16 points.

Pistons 111, Bulls 102, OT

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Chauncey Billups scored 12 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to help Detroit end a four-game losing streak. The win moved Detroit into a tie with New Jersey atop the Eastern Conference standings.

The Pistons blew a 12-point fourth-quarter lead and let Chicago force overtime, but scored the first six points of the extra period and never looked back.

Chicago lost its 10th straight on the road and is 3-37 away from the United Center.

Hornets 100, Cavaliers 81

NEW ORLEANS -- Jamal Mashburn scored 28 points as the Hornets defeated maintained their tenuous hold on the fifth playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets needed the victory to stay ahead of the Boston Celtics, who won in Washington.

New Orleans, which lost its previous game Saturday at league-worst Cleveland with starters Baron Davis (left knee), P.J. Brown (right ankle) and David Wesley (left foot) out, were once again without Brown and Davis, who are day-to-day.

Wesley, returning from a nine-game absence, scored the first points of the game on his first shot as the Hornets never trailed. They led by as much as 30 near the end of the third quarter. Wesley finished with 17 points.

Spurs 84, Trail Blazers 79

SAN ANTONIO -- San Antonio won its 10th straight game, fending off a strong second-half rally by Portland.

The win ensured the Spurs would end the day with the best record in the league.

Stephen Jackson made a pair of free throws with 10.6 seconds remaining and Tony Parker added one more a few seconds later to clinch it.

Jazz 94, Rockets 73

SALT LAKE CITY -- Matt Harpring scored 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko had 15 points and three blocks. The Jazz snapped a three-game slide. Karl Malone added 10 points and seven rebounds in three quarters as the Jazz recovered from an embarrassing 128-102 loss at Golden State the night before.

Houston's chances of making the playoffs continued to drop with the Rockets' fourth loss in six games.

Suns 112, Mavericks 89

PHOENIX -- Penny Hardway got his first triple-double in 1 1/2 years, and Shawn Marion had 31 points and 15 rebounds for Phoenix.

Dallas, which got 26 points from Dirk Nowitzki and 22 from Nick Van Exel, lost for the third time in four games to drop one game behind San Antonio for the Midwest Division lead and the No. 1 spot in the playoffs.

SuperSonics 100, Timberwolves 92

SEATTLE -- Ray Allen scored 33 points, and Rashard Lewis had 19 as Seattle stayed alive in pursuit of a playoff berth.

The Sonics, 10th in the Western Conference, remained three games behind Phoenix in the chase for the eighth and final playoff spot. Seattle is a half-game behind No. 9 Houston.

Kevin Garnett had 29 points and 18 rebounds, and Wally Szczerbiak added 26 points for Minnesota.



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