Hawks beat Timberwolves, end long skid

Posted: Sunday, April 10, 2005

ATLANTA — Tyronn Lue scored 23 points, including 12 straight in the fourth quarter, and the Atlanta Hawks beat Minnesota 105-98 Saturday night to end a 14-game losing streak and hand the Timberwolves a devastating blow to their dwindling playoff hopes.

Minnesota, led by Kevin Garnett's 31 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists, fell four games behind eighth-place Memphis in the race for the final playoff spot in the West with five games remaining.

Atlanta, the league's worst team, hadn't won since March 11 at Toronto and had dropped 27 of its last 28 games. The Hawks' last home victory was Feb. 7 against the Los Angeles Lakers.

Tony Delk added 18 points for Atlanta.

Cavaliers 98, Bucks 81

CLEVELAND — LeBron James scored 40 points and recorded his third triple-double of the season to help Cleveland keep its weak grasp on a playoff spot.

By snapping a three-game losing streak and winning for just the fifth time in 15 games, Cleveland slowed its freefall through the Central Division standings. With six games left, the Cavaliers are tied with Philadelphia for the No. 7 spot in the East, 1 1/2 games ahead of New Jersey.

James made seven 3-pointers to go with his 10 assists and 10 rebounds. Drew Gooden added 24 points and Jeff McInnis 22 for Cleveland.

Michael Redd led Milwaukee with 26 points.

Nets 99, Celtics 86

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Vince Carter scored a season-best 45 points, including 24 in the first quarter, and New Jersey continued their late playoff push.

Jason Kidd added a season-high 17 assists and rookie center Nenad Krstic had 17 points in leading the Nets to their 11th win in 14 games.

Carter finished 18-of-32 from the field, including 7-of-9 from 3-point range.

Paul Pierce had 16 points to lead the Celtics.

76ers 112, Wizards 106

WASHINGTON — Andre Iguodala, Willie Green and Marc Jackson scored 20 points each for Philadelphia, which won its fourth straight.

Allen Iverson, the NBA scoring leader, sprained both thumbs in Friday night's win over Cleveland and did not play. Chris Webber missed his fourth straight game with a sprained left shoulder.

Gilbert Arenas scored a career-high 44 points for the Wizards, who have lost five straight.

Bulls 110, Raptors 97

CHICAGO — The Chicago Bulls secured their first playoff berth since the Michael Jordan era.

Chicago is headed to the playoffs for the first time since the 1997-98 season, when Jordan led the Bulls to their sixth NBA title. The Bulls, winners of 12 of 13, are fourth in the Eastern Conference.

Kirk Hinrich scored 25 points and five Bulls scored in double figures. Tyson Chandler had a season-high 18 points and finished with 21 rebounds in a reserve role.

Jalen Rose led the Raptors with 19 points against his former team.

Nuggets 121, SuperSonics 105

DENVER — Carmelo Anthony had 24 points, Earl Boykins added 23 and Denver won its seventh straight.

Andre Miller had 14 points and a season-high 17 assists, helping the Nuggets shoot 57 percent in their 21st win in 23 games — the franchise's best stretch since going 27-2 in 1974, when they were still in the ABA.

Ray Allen had 32 points and Ronald Murray 20 for Seattle, which has lost four straight — all with a chance to clinch the division.

Mavericks 88, Jazz 81

DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points to help Dallas secure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Jason Terry added 14 points and Michael Finley had 13 for the Mavericks (52-24), who hold a 5 1/2-game lead over fifth-place Sacramento. (47-30) and won the season series against the Kings 3-1.

Kris Humphries scored 15 points to pace Utah.

Rockets 98, Suns 97

PHOENIX — Tracy McGrady scored 34 points and Houston held off a fierce Phoenix rally to secure a playoff berth.

The Suns, down by 14 with 9:51 to go, had a chance to win it at the finish but Steve Nash missed an 18-footer, and Steven Hunter's attempt to slam home the rebound bounced out.

Amare Stoudemire had 32 points and 12 rebounds for the Suns, but fouled out with 2:01 to play.

Spurs 125, Clippers 124, 2OT

LOS ANGELES — Robert Horry made a 3-pointer with 22.2 seconds remaining in the second overtime period, then preserved the victory with a block. The ball was batted around before rolling to Horry, who didn't hesitate putting up the winning shot. Horry then blocked a dunk attempt by Mikki Moore in the final seconds, enabling the Spurs to snap a six-game road losing streak.

Rookie Shaun Livingston, who scored a career high 18 points, had given the Clippers a 124-122 lead by making a layup with 32.4 seconds to play.

By winning, the Spurs (56-20) moved within one game of the Phoenix Suns for the top seed in the Western Conference. San Antonio leads Dallas by four games in the Southwest Division.

Manu Ginobili had 40 points, six rebounds and nine assists, and Tony Parker had 27 points and nine assists for the Spurs. The Spurs have beaten the Clippers seven straight times, including four this season, and have won 27 of the last 30 games between the teams.

Corey Maggette led the Clippers with 24 points before fouling out with 4:16 left in the first overtime.

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