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NBA RECAPS
FROM TUESDAY, APRIL 5

Wednesday, April 6, 2:10 AM

LA CLIPPERS 104, CHARLOTTE 102
------------------------------

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- In a thrilling battle of
point guards, rookie Shaun Livingston outshined veteran Brevin
Knight when it mattered most. Livingston scored the game-winning
basket with one second left and posted career highs in points,
rebounds and steals as the Los Angeles Clippers recorded a
104-102 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats. After Knight tied
the game for Charlotte at 102-102 with a 3-pointer with seven
seconds remaining, Rick Brunson drove the length of the court
and fed the 19-year-old Livingston, who put in the game-winning
layup. The winning basket inexplicably came on a 2-on-1 fast
break as the Bobcats' defense was nowhere to be found. The
Bobcats attempted a desperation full-court pass which did not
result in a shot. With back-to-back road victories for the first
time since November, the Clippers improved to 2-4 on their
seven-game trip. Livingston finished with 17 points, eight
rebounds and six steals, all career bests.  The 6-7 point guard,
who narrowly missed a triple-double with nine assists, directed
the team late in the fourth quarter, setting up three of the
Clippers' final four baskets. Knight, Charlotte's 5-10 guard who
leads the NBA in assist-to-turnover ratio, finished with 21
points and 13 assists but committed a late turnover - his lone
giveaway of the game - and directed several late sloppy
possessions as the expansion Bobcats lost their fifth
consecutive game. Corey Maggette scored 34 points for the
Clippers, sinking 15-of-16 free throws. Elton Brand added 27
points and 10 boards. Gerald Wallace scored 19 points and rookie
Emeka Okafor added 17 with 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who
have lost five games this season on the final possession.  They
dropped to 5-13 in games decided by three points or less.

NEW JERSEY 111, CLEVELAND 80
----------------------------

CLEVELAND (Ticker) -- The New Jersey Nets were bombing away. The
Cleveland Cavaliers are bombing out. The Nets continued their
postseason push as they made 13 3-pointers in a 111-80 rout of
the dispirited Cavaliers, who continued their slide in the
Eastern Conference standings. Vince Carter made three 3-pointers
and scored 27 points for New Jersey (36-39), which shot a
season-high 57 percent (47-of-82) from the field and bounced 
back nicely from Saturday's discouraging home loss to Orlando to 
win for the fourth time in five games. Seemingly out of it less 
than four weeks ago, the Nets have won nine of 12 to climb within 
a game of Philadelphia for the final playoff berth in the East.  
They have just seven games left and need some help but are doing 
all they can to help themselves. New Jersey was 8-of-12 from the 
arc in the first half, when it opened a 58-40 lead. Carter made 
three 3-pointers and scored 15 points and reserve Cliff Robinson 
sank two and tallied 12. The Cavaliers scored the first six 
points of the second half before Kidd made a pair from the arc 
to rebuild the lead to 18 points, signifying the beginning of the 
end. A telltale sign came when 6-11 Jason Collins - who had not 
made a 3-pointer since his 2001-02 rookie season - beat the shot 
clock by banking in one from the top of the arc for an 82-57 lead 
with 3:33 left in the third quarter. The Nets cruised thereafter 
and won the season series, 3-1, giving them the tiebreaker over 
the Cavaliers. When told the Nets had won their last five road
games, Carter wishfully forecasted, "We should be OK in the
first round of the playoffs." Two days after ending a two-game
skid with an erratic home win over Dallas, Cleveland (38-35)
suffered its worst home loss since March 20, 2001, and fell one
game behind sixth-place Indiana in the East. All the blame may
not be on Malone.  After the game, rumors were circulating that
general manager Jim Paxson's job was in jeopardy. LeBron James
scored 24 meaningless points for the Cavaliers, who have lost 14
of their last 21 games, changing coaches and point guards
during that stretch. Cavaliers All-star center Zydrunas
Ilgauskas sprained his right ring finger and is doubtful for
Wednesday's game at Indiana. Forward Drew Gooden injured his
left shoulder and is probable.

BOSTON 116, WASHINGTON 108
--------------------------

WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- The Boston Celtics got a total team
effort to overcome Antoine Walker's absence and the Washington
Wizards' All-Stars. Paul Pierce scored 23 points to lead seven
players in double figures as the Celtics posted a 116-108
victory over the Wizards. Despite playing their second
consecutive game without Walker (bruised left knee), Boston shot
51 percent (40-of-79) and moved 3 1/2 games ahead of
Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division. Rookie Delonte West
scored 15 points, Ricky Davis added 13 and rookie Al Jefferson
12 for the Celtics, who improved to 8-0 when getting seven
players in double figures. However, Gary Payton was the catalyst
with 14 points and 11 of the Celtics' 25 assists. Celtics coach
Doc Rivers said Payton was determined to get Raef LaFrentz
involved in the offense from the start. LaFrentz, who scored
eight of his 21 points in the first quarter, enjoyed being given
the green light. Payton's efforts helped Boston survive a pair
of outstanding performances from Washington's duo of Gilbert
Arenas and Antawn Jamison. Arenas matched a career-high with 43
points and fellow All-Star Jamison - activated from the injured
list prior to the game - added 30 for the Wizards (41-32), who
lost their second straight game but remained tied with Chicago
for fourth place in the Eastern Conference. Trailing by 15
points in the second half, the Wizards surged ahead with a 10-0
run in the final period. Arenas had four points and an assist
during the spurt, which was capped by Jamison's layup at the
7:35 mark that gave Washington a 92-91 advantage. The lead
traded hands five times over the next three minutes before
Boston pulled away. After a pair of free throws by Jamison drew
Washington within 99-98 with 4:26 to play, Jefferson scored four
straight points to ignite an 11-3 burst. Davis and Payton hit a
pair of free throws around a jumper by Larry Hughes to make it
107-100 with 2:34 on the clock. Hughes made 1-of-2 from the line
on the other end before Mark Blount converted a three-point
play to push the lead to 110-101, and Washington got no closer
than five thereafter. LaFrentz scored 13 points in the first
half, when the Celtics shot 53 percent (24-of-45) from the field
to take a 60-51 lead. Boston pushed its edge to 82-67 with just
over four minutes left in the third period before Jamison
scored eight points to cut Washington's deficit to 87-78
entering the final quarter.

NEW ORLEANS 96, ATLANTA 86
--------------------------

ATLANTA (Ticker) - With the starters struggling, the New Orleans
Hornets got big games off the bench from Lee Nailon, Chris
Andersen and P.J. Brown. Nailon scored 19 points and Brown and
Andersen took over down the stretch to lead the Hornets to 96-86
victory over the reeling Atlanta Hawks, who have lost 13
straight games. In the fourth quarter, Brown scored eight of his
13 points and Andersen had seven of his 12. Andersen collected
eight rebounds and six blocks as he picked up the slack for the
starters, none of whom scored in double figures for the second
time in three games. The same could not be said for the hapless
Hawks, who crumbled once again down the stretch. Atlanta held a
three-point lead late in the third quarter when New Orleans went
on a 13-2 run capped by Nailon's basket that made it 76-68 with
8:40 left in the fourth period. Tony Delk's 3-pointer cut the
deficit to 90-86 with 2:09 remaining, but second-chance baskets
by Brown and Andersen rebuilt the lead to eight points and
sealed the game. The game between the worst teams in each
conference lived up to its billing, including an embarrassing
stretch in the fourth quarter where rookie Josh Smith and Tyronn
Lue of Atlanta missed successive uncontested layups and
Nailon's errant pass to Andersen nailed a fan seated in the
front row. The Hawks jumped out to an early 14-4 lead before New
Orleans went on a 12-0 run to claim a 26-22 edge in the second
period. Atlanta pulled even at the break at 38-38 before
sputtering in the fourth quarter. Tony Delk scored 18 points and
rookie Smith added 17 and 10 rebounds for Atlanta, who have
dropped 26 of their last 27 games.

MIAMI 104, CHICAGO 86
---------------------

MIAMI (Ticker) -- No Shaq?  No problem. Even without Shaquille
O'Neal and facing a team that had won nine straight games, the
Miami Heat again looked unbeatable at home. Dwyane Wade matched
a career high with 39 points as the Heat won their 18th straight
game at American Airlines Arena and clinched home-court
advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs with a
104-86 triumph over the undermanned Chicago Bulls. O'Neal, the
Heat's superstar center and a leading MVP candidate, sat out
with a stomach ailment.  It didn't matter as the Heat - who have
not lost here since January 21 vs. Indiana - rolled to another
home victory. For most of the night, it was all about Wade.  The
second-year guard, an All-Star selection this season, notched
his third straight 30-point game, joining Glen Rice as the only
other player to do that in the Heat's 17-year history. Wade made
13-of-20 shots and 13-of-17 free throws with seven assists.
With O'Neal missing his fifth game this season, the Heat seemed
unaffected by his absence in the first quarter, shooting 80
percent (12-of-15) from the field to race to a 38-24 lead. Damon
Jones scored 12 points and Wade 11 in the period. Miami pushed
its advantage to 64-44 at the break, finishing the half at 68
percent (23-of-34) from the floor.  Wade had 17 points at
intermission and Jones 15 on 5-of-5 shooting from the arc. With
the Heat holding a 95-82 lead with 2:52 left, Bulls rookie
Andres Nocioni committed a hard foul on Wade with 2:52
remaining, then shoved the All-Star guard to the floor.  Miami
forward Udonis Haslem, who collected 16 points and 15 rebounds,
shoved Nocioni into the crowd, and both players were ejected.
Wade declined to comment on the hard foul from Nocioni, but his
teammates and coach came to his rescue. Nocioni and fellow
rookie Ben Gordon scored 14 points apiece to pace the Bulls, but
point guard Kirk Hinrich was held scoreless on 0-of-7 shooting
in just 16 minutes.  The Bulls shot just 36 percent (32-of-88)
and allowed the Heat to connect on 54 percent (37-of-68).
Earlier Tuesday, the Bulls placed rookie forward Luol Deng on
the injured list with a torn ligament in his right wrist, an
injury that will keep him out for the rest of the regular
season.  Starting center Eddy Curry missed his fifth straight
game with an irregular heartbeat, while power forward Othella
Harrington was with his pregnant wife in Chicago.

INDIANA 97, NEW YORK 79
-----------------------

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- Reggie Miller's last game at Madison Square
Garden was much quieter than some of his previous performances
at the famed venue. Miller scored just 13 points on 3-of-15
shooting and ceded center stage to Stephen Jackson, who scored
33 points to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 97-79 victory over the
reeling New York Knicks. The 39-year-old Miller was introduced
first and got a mixed reaction from the fans while some held up
signs that said "Reggie, thanks for the memories" and "Reggie
don't retire." Playing the 18th and final season of his Hall of
Fame career, Miller has had many exploits here, trash-talking
with filmmaker Spike Lee while shooting down the playoff hopes
of the Knicks. Among them were 25 points in the fourth quarter
of a win in Game Five of the 1994 Eastern Conference finals,
eight in the final 8.9 seconds to steal a win in Game One of the
1995 conference semifinals and 34 as the Pacers beat the
Knicks, 93-80, in the conference finals clincher in 2000. Asked
in his postgame news conference to select his favorite moment in
New York, Miller picked the 1995 conference semifinals, which
was clinched here in game Seven and marked the Pacers' first
series victory over the Knicks. The quiet game was of little
concern to Miller as the Pacers (39-34), who won their fourth
game in a row, inched ahead of Cleveland for sixth place in the
East and gained ground on Washington and Chicago. Indiana
trailed, 41-36, with just over six minutes left in the second
quarter before a pair of free throws by Miller triggered a 19-4
burst that gave the Pacers the lead for good.  Miller and
Jackson each scored five points during the run. On his 27th
birthday, Jackson helped put away the game in the third period,
scoring 13 points during a 15-3 spurt that gave the Pacers a
75-57 advantage with four minutes left in the quarter. Jackson,
who came in averaging 22 points in his previous 15 games, put on
a Milleresque performance.  He scored 17 points in the period,
including three open 3-pointers that were similar to the ones
Miller hit during the mid-1990s. With the game under control,
Miller sat out the last seven minutes while the Garden crowd
chanted "Reggie, Reggie" to acknowledge its nemesis.  As he
walked off, Miller saluted the cheering fans and went over to
hug Lee. Stephon Marbury scored 19 points for the Knicks, who
shot 4-of-19 in the fourth quarter en route to their seventh
straight loss.

DENVER 94, MEMPHIS 91
---------------------

MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Kenyon Martin returned to the
lineup and got the Denver Nuggets a big win in the Western
Conference playoff race. Martin scored 20 points to back 24 from
Carmelo Anthony as the surging Nuggets posted a 94-91 victory
over the Memphis Grizzlies. After missing the previous four
games with a chest injury, Martin made 8-of-11 shots as Denver
(42-31) moved one game ahead of Memphis (41-32) for seventh
place in the Western Conference. The Nuggets also clinched the
season series with Grizzlies. With the Nuggets trailing, 75-66,
with 1:51 left in the third period, Martin and Anthony combined
for 12 points in an 18-5 spurt that gave Denver an 84-80 lead
with just over three minutes remaining. Memphis never led
thereafter but did draw within 91-88 on a pair of free throws by
Pau Gasol with 39 seconds to play.  After Earl Boykins missed a
jumper on the other end, Gasol had a chance to forge a tie but
missed a wide-open 3-pointer with five seconds on the clock.
Marcus Camby grabbed the rebound and made two from the line
before Shane Battier's 3-pointer cut the deficit to 93-91 with
two seconds to go.  Andre Miller made 1-of-2 free throws to give
Memphis a chance at the buzzer, but Brian Cardinal's
desperation 3-pointer failed to hit the rim. In the final
period, Memphis shot just 29 percent (6-of-21) and scored only
four points in the paint after collecting 29 inside through
three quarters. Martin scored 14 points in the second half,
including a follow of Miller's missed free throw with 1:24
remaining for an 89-84 advantage. Miller scored 18 points for
the Nuggets, who have won seven of their last eight road games
and 18 of their last 20 overall, with both losses to
league-leading Phoenix. Gasol scored 18 points and Lorenzen
Wright chipped in 14 and 12 rebounds for Memphis, which leads
ninth-place Minnesota by 2 1/2 games.

DALLAS 114, ORLANDO 105
-----------------------

DALLAS (Ticker) -- Just when the Dallas Mavericks appeared
finally healthy, Dirk Nowitzki came up hobbling. Nowitzki missed
portions of the third and fourth quarter with a sore right
ankle and as the Mavericks won their fifth straight home game, a
114-105 victory over the Orlando Magic. The Mavericks (50-24)
reached 50 wins for the fifth straight season, and Nowitzki has
been the driving force behind that success.  A perennial
All-Star, the 7-foot German is having the best season of his
career, averaging 26.6 points and 10.0 rebounds. Nowitzki hung
around long enough to collect 21 points and nine rebounds.  He
scored 14 points in the first half, helping Dallas open a 57-44
lead. But early in the third quarter, Nowitzki took a seat with
a sore ankle.  He returned later in the period but left for good
with 3:39 remaining in the game, flexing his right knee and
wincing. Nowitzki will have an MRI on Wednesday morning to check
out his ankle and knee. Although Nowitzki is their leader, the
Mavericks are much more than him.  They had six players in
double figures, including Jason Terry, who had 18 points and 13
assists. Stackhouse scored 17 points off the bench and Erick
Dampier added 16 for Dallas. Stackhouse and Dampier both
returned last month from prolonged absences and were among a
number of injured pivotal players for the Mavericks this season.
DeShawn Stevenson scored a career-high 29 points for the Magic
(35-39), who fell one-half game behind New Jersey into 10th
place in the Eastern Conference.  They are 1 1/2 games behind
Philadelphia for the final playoff berth.

UTAH 90, PORTLAND 79
--------------------

SALT LAKE CITY (Ticker) -- The Utah Jazz used a decisive
third-quarter run to bring the Portland Trail Blazers one step
closer to a place they have not been in a long time. Matt
Harpring scored 17 points and the Jazz got 47 more from their
bench in a 90-79 rout of the Trail Blazers. Utah pushed a
six-point halftime lead to 61-43 with a 13-1 third-quarter
burst, during which Gordan Giricek scored seven of his nine
points. After rookie Sebastian Telfair cut Portland's deficit to
86-77 with 1:08 remaining, Harpring made a layup to end the
half-hearted rally. The Blazers (24-49), who have lost five
straight and 12 of 13, are just one game ahead of the last-place
Jazz in the Northwest Division.  Portland is in danger of
slipping into the cellar for the first time since the 1975-76
season. Rookie Kris Humphries and Ben Handlogten added 11 points
apiece off the bench for Utah, which ranks second in the NBA in
bench points. Portland, which scored just 10 points and
committed eight turnovers in the third period, has not defeated
a Western Conference team on the road since the season opener.
Joel Przybilla was the lone bright spot for the Trail Blazers.
The 7-1 center had 13 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks.

PHOENIX 125, LA LAKERS 99
-------------------------

PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Quentin Richardson and Amare Stoudemire
ended the Los Angeles Lakers' postseason dreams. Richardson
collected 25 points and 10 rebounds and Stoudemire scored 23
points to lead the Phoenix Suns to a 125-99 victory over the
Lakers, who will miss the playoffs for the first time in 11
years. The defeat dropped Los Angeles (33-41) nine games behind
eighth-place Memphis (41-32) in the loss column.  The Grizzlies
own the tiebreaker over the Lakers by virtue of a 3-0 season
series sweep. Superstar Kobe Bryant could only watch, sidelined
with a bruised right shin.  After orchestrating an overhaul of
the roster in the offseason, he will miss the playoffs for the
first time in his nine-year career. Richardson and Shawn Marion
led Phoenix's high-octane offense, which shot 60 percent
(27-of-45) from the field en route to a 70-59 halftime
advantage.  In the first half, Richardson scored 22 points on
8-of-12 shooting and Marion added 20 of his 22. The pair
combined to make 10 of Phoenix's 17 3-pointers - a team record
and the most ever given up by the Lakers. Stoudemire scored 11
points in the third quarter for Phoenix (57-17), which won its
sixth straight game and moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Miami for the
NBA's best record and home-court advantage throughout the
playoffs. Caron Butler scored 30 points for Los Angeles, which
has lost 12 of its last 13 games.

SACRAMENTO 122, SEATTLE 101
---------------------------

SACRAMENTO, California (Ticker) -- Rashard Lewis cannot come
back soon enough for the Seattle SuperSonics. The SuperSonics
continued to struggle without their All-Star in a 122-101 loss
to the Sacramento Kings, who got 24 points from Peja Stojakovic
and 21 from Cuttino Mobley. Kenny Thomas chipped in 20 points
and Mike Bibby contributed 15 and 10 assists for Sacramento,
which had a season-high 36 assists and strafed Seattle's
defense. Lewis missed his fifth straight game with a sore right
foot. The playoff-bound SuperSonics (50-24) have lost four of
their last six contests since a five-game winning streak and
again failed to clinch the inaugural Northwest Division title.
Sacramento, which had lost its first three meetings with Seattle
this season, held just a 67-63 edge two minutes into the second
half but pushed the advantage to 97-81 entering the fourth
quarter.  Mobley scored 12 points and Stojakovic nine in the
third period. The Kings led by as many as 26 points in the
fourth quarter. Ray Allen scored 23 points to pace the
SuperSonics, who shot 48 percent (39-of-82) but allowed the
Kings to connect on a season-high 59 percent (47-of-80).
Stojakovic made 5-of-6 3-pointers and Mobley 4-of-6 for
Sacramento, which sank 11-of-19 from the arc. Seattle made just
4-of-16 3-pointers. Sacramento is hopeful that both guard Bobby
Jackson and center Brad Miller will return for the playoffs. The
Kings (46-30) are in fifth place in the Western Conference, 1
1/2 games ahead of sixth-place Houston. The Kings used a 17-4
second-quarter run, keyed by seven points from reserve forward
Darius Songaila, to open a 48-32 advantage. Songaila made 6-of-7
shots for 13 points while fellow reserve Eddie House added 12
points on 5-of-7 shooting, leading Sacramento to a 33-20
advantage off the bench. Sacramento shot 67 percent (26-of-39)
over the second and third quarters, outscoring the SuperSonics
in that span, 70-57.

GOLDEN STATE 122, HOUSTON 117
-----------------------------

OAKLAND, California (Ticker) -- The Houston Rockets became the
latest victim of Baron Davis and the resurgent Golden State
Warriors. Davis scored a career-high 40 points and handed out 13
assists as the Warriors extended their winning streak to a
season-high six games with a 122-117 victory over the Rockets.
Over his last 10 games, Davis - the Western Conference Player of
the Week - has averaged 24.1 points and 9.4 assists.  During
that stretch, Golden State has won nine times, beating Phoenix,
Seattle and Sacramento twice. Davis did most of his damage in
the third period, when he scored 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting.
But he was matched by Tracy McGrady, who scored 12 of his 44
points in the period to keep the Rockets within striking
distance at 89-84. Golden State pulled away with Davis on the
bench at the start of the fourth quarter.  Mike Dunleavy Jr.
scored five of his nine points as the Warriors outscored the
Rockets, 16-11, in the opening six minutes, building a 105-95
lead as Davis returned. After Yao Ming hit a pair of free
throws, Davis sank four straight from the line to push the
advantage to 12 points with 4:41 to go. Jason Richardson scored
20 points and Troy Murphy and Derek Fisher added 15 apiece for
the Warriors, who had their highest scoring output of the
season. Yao had 23 points and 11 rebounds for Houston (44-31),
which fell 1 1/2 games behind fifth-place Sacramento in the
Western Conference.  It is one game ahead of seventh-place
Denver.

st 04-06-05 02:02 et





Do you like the new-look Raptors heading into the 2013-14 NBA season?
  Yes, new GM made great moves
  No, they will still be a terrible team
  Unsure what to make of it


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