Cavs beat Hawks for 60th victory Kobe signs $90M extension
CLEVELAND — LeBron James was stumped. Asked if he could name the other eight NBA franchises to post consecutive 60-win seasons, James struggled as he attempted to rattle them off.
"The Bulls, for sure," he said. "Boston. The Lakers. Detroit?"
James didn't know them all. He was certain of the latest one, though.
James scored 27 points and Cleveland entered an elite fraternity with its 60th win by scoring 14 straight points in the fourth quarter to pull away and beat the Atlanta Hawks, 93-88, last night.
The Cavaliers became the ninth team to post back-to-back 60-win seasons and moved within one victory — or a loss by the Los Angeles Lakers — of clinching the league's best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.
"Our goals are huge much bigger than winning 60 games or clinching home court or anything like that," James said. "But you can't take something like that for granted. When those goals happen, you embrace it."
The Cavs, who with Orlando's loss to San Antonio clinched the Eastern Conference's best record, didn't wrap this one up until late. Cleveland's 14-0 spurt during a six-minute stretch finally enabled the Cavs to beat the Hawks for the third straight time this season and ninth in a row overall.
"It's definitely frustrating," Josh Smith said. "You don't want to come close and not win. It's a learning lesson. We have to be able to finish games with the best of them."
Mo Williams scored 24 and J.J. Hickson added a career-high 16 rebounds for the Cavs, who trailed 76-74 before James scored nine and Williams drained a 3-pointer during Cleveland's decisive spurt.
Smith scored 20, Jamal Crawford had 17 and Marvin Williams 15 for the Hawks.
BOBCATS 87, BUCKS 86
CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stephen Jackson scored 32 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with a minute left in overtime, lifting Charlotte over Milwaukee.
The victory moved Charlotte to within a game of the fifth-place Bucks (41-34) in the Eastern Conference. The Bucks got 14 points from Carlos Delfino, in his first game since a scary head injury on March 26.
BULLS 95, WIZARDS 87
WASHINGTON — Derrick Rose scored 24 points and Luol Deng had 14 after missing the last 14 games with a strained calf as Chicago gained ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
The victory put the Bulls 1 1/2 games behind the Toronto Raptors, who currently hold the eighth and final postseason berth in the East.
HEAT 105, PACERS 96
INDIANAPOLIS — Dwyane Wade scored 43 points, eight in overtime, helping Miami rally past Indiana.
Wade hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Heat a 101-93 lead with 1:17 left in overtime. His effort was just one shy of his season high on Jan. 6 at home against Boston.
ROCKETS 119, CELTICS 114
BOSTON — Luis Scola had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and made back-to-back baskets in the last 81 seconds of overtime to lead Houston over Boston.
It was the third consecutive home loss for Boston, which remained in the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
SPURS 112, MAGIC 100
SAN ANTONIO — Manu Ginobili scored 43 points, his fourth 30-plus game since replacing Tony Parker in the starting lineup last month, leading San Antonio over Orlando.
The Spurs pulled themselves out of the last playoff seed in the West, where they are bunched with Portland and Oklahoma City in a race to avoid the No. 8 spot.
WARRIORS 128, KNICKS 117
OAKLAND, Calif. — Don Nelson moved within one win of tying Lenny Wilkens for the most victories by an NBA coach after Golden State beat New York.
Anthony Morrow scored a season-high 35 points to help Nelson secure his 1,331st win. He has seven games left this season to tie and break Wilkens' mark of 1,332.
LAKERS 106, JAZZ 92
LOS ANGELES — Lamar Odom scored 26 points, Kobe Bryant added 25, and both sparked an 18-3 run to start the fourth quarter in beating Utah to avoid a third straight loss.
The Lakers were prevented from clinching the Pacific Division after Phoenix won at Detroit. They were coming off a 2-3 road trip that ended with losses at New Orleans and Atlanta.
SUNS 109, PISTONS 94
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Amare Stoudemire scored 27 points on 13-of-15 shooting and Jared Dudley added 20, leading Phoenix to its 10th straight victory, while handing Detroit its 10th loss in a row and 17th in 19 games.
GRIZZLIES 107, HORNETS 96
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — O.J. Mayo scored 27 points, Rudy Gay added 20 and Memphis beat New Orleans to stay mathematically in the playoffs by the slimmest of margins. Another loss will end the Grizzlies' hopes.