Thursday, April 10, 2003
Spurs overtake Mavs for best record
The Associated Press
There's a team from Texas atop the NBA overall standings. It's just not the Dallas Mavericks any more. After leading the league all season, the Mavs slipped a game behind their fellow Texans from San Antonio when the Spurs beat Portland 84-79 Wednesday night, and Dallas lost at Phoenix 112-89.
The Spurs, winners of 10 straight games, are 58-20 and lead the Midwest Division. They aren't thinking about the guys down the road in Big D.
"We are not worried about Dallas," said Spurs star Tim Duncan, who struggled with 11 points and 11 rebounds in the victory. "We are concerned with taking care of our business, and see where it goes from there."
Their business against the Blazers was taken care of by Duncan's defense on Rasheed Wallace, who had only eight points on 4-for-16 shooting. And by reserve Manu Ginobili, who led the Spurs with 17 points.
"It's definitely a fun time of the year," Ginobili said.
Especially when you are ahead of everyone.
That's where Dallas was since Game 1. Now, with four games remaining, the Mavericks are looking up at San Antonio and are a half-game in front of Sacramento in the Western Conference.
"I thought for us to have a chance we'd have to win two out of three on this road trip," Dallas coach Don Nelson said. "We've already lost the first two and it's not going to be an easy game (at Utah on Friday). Nothing's easy at this point. We were a tired team tonight."
Dallas is 6-5 since Michael Finley strained his left hamstring. Nelson said Finley might be ready to play by Sunday.
"We've got to get a mind-set to start playing good basketball going into the playoffs," Nick Van Exel said. "No matter who we play, it's going to be tough for us the way we're playing right now."
The Suns moved 21/2 games in front of Houston for the final Western playoff spot. Seattle is three back.
Penny Hardaway got his first triple-double in 11/2 years (a symmetrical 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) and Shawn Marion had 31 points and 15 rebounds for Phoenix.
"We're hungry. We're starving. We want it bad," Phoenix's Stephon Marbury said. "I don't know about those other teams, but we want it bad. We want it real bad."
Elsewhere, Boston clinched an Eastern Conference playoff berth by beating Washington 87-83. Milwaukee moved closer to one with a 112-92 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Also, it was New Orleans 100, Cleveland 81; Detroit 111, Chicago 102 in overtime; Atlanta 97, New Jersey 92; Utah 94, Houston 73; Seattle 100, Minnesota 92; and Orlando 88, Toronto 82.
Celtics 87, Wizards 83
At Washington, the Celtics moved into the postseason as 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.
Washington fell 21/2 games behind eighth-place Milwaukee in the East.
Michael Jordan scored 21 points for Washington, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the last NBA title for the city.
Bucks 112, Clippers 92
At 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. Elton Brand scored 21 points and Corey Maggette 20 for the Clippers.
Magic 88, Raptors 82
At 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 season.
Coupled with Washington's loss, Orlando's magic number for a playoff berth fell to one.
Hornets 100, Cavaliers 81
At New Orleans, Jamal Mashburn scored 28 points as the Hornets won without starters Baron Davis (left knee) and P.J. Brown (right ankle). David Wesley (left foot), 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.
Reserve Jumaine Jones scored 21 to lead Cleveland, which has lost seven of eight games.
Jazz 94, Rockets 73
At 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.
Utah can finish no worse than seventh in the Western Conference, but also will have a difficult time moving up. The Jazz close out the season against the top three teams in the West: Dallas, San Antonio and Sacramento.
Houston's chances of making the playoffs continued to drop with the Rockets' fourth loss in six games.
Pistons 111, Bulls 102, OT
At 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, playing without all-star Ben Wallace, 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.
Hawks 97, Nets 92
At Atlanta, Ira Newble hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and the Hawks held off a furious rally. Newble, who started in place of Glenn Robinson, finished with a season-high 16 points.
Jason Terry scored 24 points for the Hawks, and Shareef Abdur-Rahim added 18 points and 15 rebounds.
Jason Kidd had his fourth triple-double of the season, totaling 23 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds. The Nets lost for only the second time in eight games, but are just 16-23 on the road.
SuperSonics 100, Timberwolves 92
At 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 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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