Archive for April 12th, 2008

Apr. 12: Jazz 124, Nuggets 97

The AP reports: Mehmet Okur had 20 points and 15 rebounds, Deron Williams added 19 points and 11 assists, and the Utah Jazz beat the Denver Nuggets 124-97 Saturday night to strengthen their hopes of home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs… Carlos Boozer and Ronnie Brewer each scored 20 points and Jason Hart added 12 for the Jazz, who improved to 53-27 and have their most wins since going 53-29 in 2000-01. Allen Iverson scored 28 and Carmelo Anthony had 22 points for the Nuggets, who rallied from a 16-point deficit to take a brief lead but never recovered after a 12-2 run by the Jazz late in the third quarter.

Apr. 12: Nets 111, Bucks 98

The AP reports: Richard Jefferson scored 24 points and Vince Carter added 21 as the Nets beat Milwaukee 111-98 on Saturday night, spoiling Bucks general manager John Hammond’s first game watching his new team play… The Nets had 34 assists and 14 turnovers, with three of their leading scorers spending the game making plenty of passes. Carter had 10 assists, Devin Harris had nine and Jefferson had seven… Stat Note: For the Bucks, Ramon Sessions had 12 points, 6 rebounds and 13 assists.

Apr. 12: Wolves 114, Grizzlies 105

The AP reports: In a game pitting two of the NBA’s worst teams, the Minnesota Timberwolves came out with confidence and showed more desire than the Memphis Grizzlies. Kirk Snyder had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Al Jefferson added 21 points and 10 boards, and the Timberwolves beat the Grizzlies 114-105 on Saturday night… Ryan Gomes was the third Minnesota player with a double-double, finishing with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Rashad McCants led Minnesota with 23 points and Randy Foye scored 16. Snyder’s points, on 9-of-11 shooting, were a season high and the rebounding total was the best of his career… Mike Conley led Memphis with a career-high 25 points, while Rudy Gay finished with 22. Hakim Warrick scored 16 points, and Andre Brown added career highs of 13 points and 18 rebounds.

Apr. 12: Wizards 109, Sixers 93

The AP reports: Gilbert Arenas finally looked like Agent Zero again, just in time for the Washington Wizards to put the Philadelphia 76ers out of reach. After a week-and-a-half of passive basketball since returning from a knee injury, Arenas took over the game by scoring 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter Saturday night in a 109-93 victory over the 76ers… Arenas was a sub again Saturday, playing 25 minutes, but he was 7-for-14 with seven rebounds and five assists… Antawn Jamison added 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards, who have won four of five. Washington recovered well from a 102-74 loss at Detroit on Friday night. Andre Iguodala had 22 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead Philadelphia. His 3-pointer with 8:29 to play was the only field goal of the final quarter for the 76ers, who have lost three of four to dampen a strong surge over the second half of the season.

Apr. 12: Celtics 99, Hawks 89

The AP reports: Sam Cassell and Boston’s backups outplayed Atlanta’s starters in the fourth quarter, and the Celtics prevented the Hawks from clinching their first playoff berth since 1999 with a 99-89 victory Saturday night… Cassell, 38, scored 20 points, including 15 in the fourth quarter, as the Celtics outscored the Hawks 21-5 down the stretch… Kevin Garnett sat out the fourth quarter but led Boston with 24 points. Pierce and Ray Allen each had 14, also in three quarters… Joe Johnson scored 21 and Smith and Horford each had 17 for Atlanta. Bibby added 16.

Apr. 12: Bobcats 107, Pacers 103

The AP reports: Jason Richardson scored 26 points, and the Charlotte Bobcats beat the Pacers 107-103 on Saturday night to deal a severe blow to Indiana’s playoff hopes. The Pacers entered the night two games behind Atlanta for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with three games to play… Indiana’s Danny Granger scored a career-high 37 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter while playing with five fouls… Mike Dunleavy added 22 points and seven assists for Indiana, which had its four-game winning streak end… Nazr Mohammed had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Emeka Okafor had 14 points and 18 rebounds and rookie Jared Dudley scored a career-high 19 points for the Bobcats, who outrebounded the Pacers 59-46.

Celtics now 36-1 against losing teams

The Boston Herald (Mark Murphy) reports: The Celtics are now a remarkable 36-1 against sub-.500 teams, which goes a long way toward explaining why they have the best record in basketball. “We play for ourselves, not other teams,” said Kevin Garnett. “That’s what (coach) Doc Rivers says to us. That comes to life when we play teams that don’t have any significance. “We tend to not play to the competition’s level, because we are playing for the postseason. We must experience the reps. If we go in thinking we have to take care of business, and give other players the chance to play, we need nothing more and nothing less.”

Heat to get worst record in league

The Miami Herald (Sarah Rothschild) reports: The Heat lost 96-91 to the Memphis Grizzlies at AmericanAirlines Arena on Friday, assuring itself of the worst record in the league when the season ends and, more importantly, the best chance to secure the top pick in the NBA Draft. By finishing with the fewest wins, the Heat has a 25 percent chance of getting the top overall pick and a 44 percent chance of landing the first or second pick. The team is guaranteed no worse than the fourth pick. The Heat will learn its fate May 20 in the NBA lottery drawing, which determines the order for the June 26 draft. A projected top pick, Kansas State forward Michael Beasley has scheduled a news conference for 5 p.m. Monday, when he likely will announce he intends to enter the NBA Draft. Memphis point guard Derrick Rose, another projected top pick, has not revealed his plans but is expected to turn pro.

Nets officially miss playoffs

The New York Post (Fred Kerber) reports: Now, next season unofficially starts for the Nets. Their 2007-08 playoff dreams are finished. They have been eliminated. That is official. The Nets were living on borrowed time with little hope. They had to win their final four games while hoping eighth-place Atlanta went 0-4 to even smell a chance. The Nets went 0-for-2 last night. “After having six years of tasting the post-season, to not be able to play in the post-season is extremely disappointing. We apologize to our fans, to our management, to our ownership that we didn’t fulfill our responsibility,” said coach Lawrence Frank. “We feel like we’ve let a lot of people down. This won’t ever happen again.”

Apr. 11: Kings 103, Blazers 86

The AP reports: Kings coach Reggie Theus let John Salmons know how unimpressed he was with his performance in the first half. After the break, the sub-turned-starter took over the game. Salmons scored all of his 18 points in the second half, leading the Sacramento Kings to a 103-86 win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night… Francisco Garcia scored 16 points, Spencer Hawes had 15 points and seven rebounds, and Beno Udrih had 11 points for the Kings, who are now 25-14 at home this season… LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 13 rebounds for Portland, who only led in the game’s opening minutes. Travis Outlaw scored 18 points, Channing Frye had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Brandon Roy had 12 points.

Apr. 11: Spurs 95, Sonics 74

The AP reports: With one of their top scorers out and the other having a mediocre night, the San Antonio Spurs were still able to grab an easy—and important—victory over the Seattle SuperSonics. San Antonio’s 95-74 win Friday night strengthened its chances at getting home-court advantage, at least for the first round of the playoffs. Tony Parker scored 20 points, while Tim Duncan added 12 points and six rebounds on 4-of-12 shooting for the Spurs… Kevin Durant scored 20 points and Earl Watson had 17 for the Sonics, who dropped all three of their games in a swing through Texas… Jeff Green scored 10 points for Seattle and Nick Collison grabbed 14 rebounds.

Apr. 11: Rockets 101, Suns 90

The AP reports: Tracy McGrady had 22 points, six rebounds and seven assists, and Luis Scola added 19 points as the Rockets cruised to a 101-90 win over the Phoenix Suns on Friday night… Rookie Carl Landry added 14 points and seven rebounds, and reserve guard Bobby Jackson had 13 points as the Rockets stayed in the hunt for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They moved 1 1/2 games ahead of the Suns in the standings… Amare Stoudemire scored 37 points and Shaquille O’Neal added 16 points for the Suns, who mustered their lowest point total since a 116-86 loss to Detroit on Feb. 24.

Apr. 11: Pistons 102, Wizards 74

The AP reports: With Cleveland and Philadelphia having already lost and facing a Detroit team that is coasting toward the playoffs, the Wizards came out with one of their worst performances of the season, shooting just 27 percent in a lopsided 102-74 loss to the Pistons on Friday night… Detroit, which has clinched the Eastern Conference’s second seed, had played poorly in back-to-back losses to New York and Philadelphia, but Jason Maxiell’s career-high 28 points helped them regain their focus… Antwan Jamison led Washington with 15 and DeShawn Stevenson added 11.

Apr. 11: Grizzlies 96, Heat 91

The AP reports: Hakim Warrick and Kyle Lowry each scored 17 points, Mike Conley and Juan Carlos Navarro scored 15 points apiece as the Grizzlies shot 42 percent from the floor (33-of-78) while holding the Heat to 38 percent shooting (33-of-88)… Rudy Gay was quiet for most of the first half until his two-handed baseline dunk gave the Grizzlies a 52-36 lead. It was his first field goal of the game. Gay finished with 14 points on 5-of-18 shooting… Earl Barron scored 22 points to lead the Heat, who failed to win back-to-back games for the first time since Dec. 9-10, when they defeated the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns.

Apr. 11: Hawks 116, Knicks 104

The AP reports: Joe Johnson kept the Hawks in control of the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, scoring 34 points Friday night in a 116-104 victory over the New York Knicks… Josh Smith and Mike Bibby added 24 points apiece for the Hawks, who won all four meetings with the Knicks this season, sweeping the series for the first time since moving to Atlanta for the 1968-69 season. Al Horford finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds… Jamal Crawford scored 20 points for the Knicks, who were trying for their first four-game winning streak of the season… Wilson Chandler added 18 points and Zach Randolph had 17 for the Knicks, who outrebounded Atlanta 49-35 but allowed the Hawks to shoot 55 percent from the field.

Apr. 11: Celtics 102, Bucks 86

The AP reports: Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 10 assists and the Celtics coasted to a 102-86 victory over Milwaukee on Friday night. The Bucks made more moves off the court than on it: They announced the hiring of former Pistons vice president John Hammond as general manager during the third quarter… Kevin Garnett scored 12 points with eight assists, leaving with 5:30 left in the third and Boston leading 72-47… Michael Redd scored 18 for the Bucks, Andrew Bogut had 14 and Ramon Sessions scored eight with 14 assists as the Bucks lost their fifth consecutive game. Michael Ruffin had nine rebounds off the bench despite a sprained ankle.

Apr. 11: Pacers 85, Sixers 76

The AP reports: Danny Granger scored 15 of his 30 points in the third quarter as the Pacers kept their slim Eastern Conference playoff hopes alive with an 85-76 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night… “We knew Atlanta was winning,” said Granger, who also had 12 rebounds. “We knew we had to have this one.” … While Andre Miller paced the 76ers with 23 points and Thaddeus Young scored 21, three of the young players who have contributed to Philadelphia’s surprising midseason resurgence struggled with miserable nights from the floor. Willie Green (2-for-14), Lou Williams (2-for-12), and Rodney Carney (1-for-11) combined to hit five of 37 shots.

Apr. 11: Raptors 113, Nets 85

The AP reports: After New Jersey was eliminated from playoff contention, Nets coach Lawrence Frank was apologetic for the Nets’ poor play. Carlos Delfino scored 24 points, Chris Bosh had 21 and the Toronto Raptors beat the Nets 113-85 victory Friday night… Vince Carter had 21 points and Devin Harris added 19 for the Nets, who last missed the playoffs in 2001 season… T.J. Ford and Andrea Bargnani each scored 14 as the Raptors rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second quarter to beat the Nets for the third time in four games this season… Toronto’s Jose Calderon finished with 11 points and 10 assists.

Apr. 11: Bulls 100, Cavs 95

The AP reports: While LeBron James made it look easy early on, tying his team record by scoring 24 of his 34 points in the first quarter, the Chicago Bulls eventually found a clear path to the rim and beat Cleveland 100-95 on Friday night… Luol Deng led the Bulls with 21 points. Tyrus Thomas added 20 points and 14 rebounds, Joakim Noah chipped in 17 and 11 for Chicago, and both delivered ferocious dunks that left James and coach Mike Brown saying they were embarrassed… James, who finished 13-for-21 from the field, wowed the crowd midway through the first quarter when he drove up court and past Thomas for a hard dunk, and the acrobatics continued.

Apr. 11: Wolves 102, Magic 101

The AP reports: Ryan Gomes made a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to give the Timberwolves a 102-101 victory over the playoff-bound Orlando Magic on Friday night, snapping a six-game losing streak… Minnesota’s Randy Foye had a game-high 25 points and reserve Rashad McCants added 19. Turkoglu scored 23 points to lead the Magic, who were just 8-for-21 from the field in the fourth quarter. Dwight Howard had 20 points and 14 rebounds for his 68th double-double of the season, tying Shaquille O’Neal’s franchise record set in 1992-93, and Rashard Lewis added 18.

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