Sixers nail down spot in playoffs

Posted: Tuesday, April 19, 2005

PHILADELPHIA — Allen Iverson had 39 points and 12 assists, and Kyle Korver scored 19 points to lead Philadelphia back into the postseason for the first time in two years with a 122-106 victory over Milwaukee on Monday night.

The Sixers, who blew a chance to clinch a playoff spot a day earlier by losing in New Jersey, raced to a 22-point lead and won for the seventh time in nine games and 10th in the last 15.

Philadelphia (42-39) can finish, sixth, seventh or eighth in the Eastern Conference depending on how Indiana, Cleveland and New Jersey fare in their final two games. If Chicago beats Indiana on Wednesday and the Sixers beat Atlanta, Philadelphia would earn the No. 6 seed.

Grizzlies 94, Spurs 92

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Mike Miller scored 28 points, including a 22-footer at the buzzer, and Memphis' win ensured Phoenix will finish with the best record in the Western Conference.

The Suns, who played at home later Monday night against Denver, will have homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs.

Miller's final shot came from the right wing after the Grizzlies inbounded the ball with 1.4 seconds left. Officials discussed the matter at midcourt for about 5 minutes before referee Steve Javie came to the scorer's table and ruled the basket good.

Memphis coach Mike Fratello said after the game the clock started before Jason Williams inbounded the ball, and the officials ruled Miller would have gotten the ball off on a catch-and-shoot before the horn sounded if not for the inadvertent clock start.

Memphis, which snapped a four-game losing streak with the victory, had clinched the Western Conference's final playoff spot when Minnesota was eliminated with its loss to Seattle on Sunday.

Magic 92, Pacers 88

ORLANDO, Fla. — Steve Francis scored 24 points, including a big jumper with 10 seconds to play, as Orlando snapped a seven-game losing streak.

DeShawn Stevenson added 18 points and rookie Dwight Howard had 17 points and nine rebounds for the Magic.

Indiana got 19 points from reserve point guard Fred Jones and 16 from Jermaine O'Neal, but lost its third straight game. The Pacers remained sixth in the Eastern Conference, one game in front of Philadelphia and both have one game to play.

Timberwolves 102, Hornets 99

NEW ORLEANS — Wally Szczerbiak scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to lead Minnesota's comeback victory.

Sam Cassell scored 16 points and Kevin Garnett had 14 as Minnesota handed New Orleans its eighth straight loss, one that guaranteed the Hornets (18-63) could do no better than tie the franchise's all-time worst record. In 1989-90, the then-Charlotte Hornets, only in their second year in the NBA, went 19-63.

Casey Jacobsen had 15 points for the Hornets.

Rockets 115, Clippers 90

HOUSTON — Yao Ming had 24 points and Tracy McGrady added 16 points and 10 assists to lead Houston to its sixth straight win, one that gave the Rockets their sixth 50-victory season and the first since 1996-97.

The Rockets scored a season-high 40 points in the first quarter on 76 percent shooting (16-of-21), including 5-of-6 from 3-point range.

Suns 128, Nuggets 114

PHOENIX — The Suns clinched homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs before the first quarter against Denver ended on Monday night, then went on to blow out the Nuggets.

Joe Johnson scored 18 of his 26 points in a 44-point first quarter for the Suns, who shot 71 percent (17-for-24) in the quarter to take a 19-point lead.

The Nuggets didn't get closer than 12 points again, and that came in the final minute of the Suns' fifth straight victory. It was a win Phoenix didn't need to clinch the best record in the NBA, and the resulting homecourt postseason edge, because San Antonio lost at Memphis in a game that ended just when Suns' onslaught was gaining steam.

Jazz 92, Kings 82

SALT LAKE CITY — Matt Harpring had 24 points and 13 rebounds and Utah beat Sacramento at home for the first time in five years.

Mehmet Okur got his 22nd double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Jazz, who last beat the Kings in Utah on April 19, 2000.

Mike Bibby had 26 points and six assists and Darius Songaila finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento.

Warriors 126, Lakers 99

OAKLAND, Calif. — Baron Davis had 24 points and 13 assists and Golden State sent Los Angeles to its fifth straight defeat.

The loss assured the Lakers of finishing with a worse record than the Los Angeles Clippers for the first time since 1993.

Kobe Bryant had 22 points, six rebounds, five assists and six turnovers for the Lakers. Mickael Pietrus scored 25 points for the Warriors, who won for the first time this season against the Lakers.

The Warriors' biggest win over the Lakers was by 39, 132-93 on Nov. 11, 1966.

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