Spurs rise over Lakers
LOS ANGELES — The San Antonio Spurs want to do everything they can to avoid facing the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. They took a step forward by beating the defending NBA champions on their home court.
Manu Ginobili scored 32 points, Tim Duncan added 24 and the Spurs clinched their 13th consecutive playoff berth with a 100-81 win yesterday. They moved into the seventh spot in the West, a half-game ahead of idle Portland.
"They're playoff-tested, so we want to stay away from them as long as possible," Duncan said of the Lakers.
The Lakers got a season-high 32 points from Pau Gasol and 22 from Kobe Bryant, but failed to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West and heard boos from their fans.
As a result, Cleveland earned home-court advantage through the NBA finals despite losing 117-113 at Boston earlier in the day.
"They controlled the tempo," Bryant said. "We didn't make shots. There were stretches with opportunities to get back in the ballgame and we just couldn't put the ball in the hole."
Richard Jefferson added 14 points and Duncan had 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who won their third straight and 15th of 20. They've notched recent wins over four of the NBA's top teams: Cleveland, Boston, Orlando and now the Lakers.
CELTICS 117, CAVALIERS 113
Ray Allen scored a season-high 33 points, hitting his sixth 3-pointer to give the host Celtics a four-point lead with 48 seconds left, and Boston held on to beat Cleveland despite 42 points from LeBron James.
James scored 20 in the fourth quarter, when the Cavs erased a 17-point lead and took their first lead at 104-103 with 2:58 left. But he missed two free throws in the last 16 seconds and a 3-point attempt on a fast break with 3.2 seconds left when a 2-pointer would have tied it.
WARRIORS 113, RAPTORS 112
Don Nelson tied Lenny Wilkens for the most wins by an NBA coach when Golden State held off host Toronto for its second straight victory.
The victory was the 1,332nd for Nelson, who can pass Wilkens when Golden State plays at Washington tomorrow. The wild finish saw Chris Bosh steal the inbounds pass only to have his layup attempt roll off the rim as time expired.
MAGIC 107, GRIZZLIES 92
Vince Carter had 26 points and seven rebounds, and host Orlando beat Memphis after an on-court scuffle.
The scrum between Matt Barnes and Hasheem Thabeet escalated into a near 10-player shoving match. There were six technical fouls by game's end, plenty of pop for an Easter matchup that had little meaning in the standings.
THUNDER 116, TIMBERWOLVES 108
Kevin Durant scored 40 points to break the franchise record for scoring in a season and host Oklahoma City beat Minnesota.
Durant hit a jumper and then threw down a two-handed alley-oop jam with 5 minutes left to restore Oklahoma City's lead to double digits and break the franchise scoring record set by Dale Ellis (2,253 points in 1988-89).
WIZARDS 109, NETS 99
Andray Blatche had 20 points, a career-high 13 assists and nine rebounds, and host Washington beat New Jersey in a matchup of two of the NBA's worst teams.
Blatche's performance overshadowed a game between two clubs with a combined record of 34-119. He missed 13 of 18 shots from the field, but hit all 10 of his free throw attempts.
PACERS 133, ROCKETS 102
Roy Hibbert had 20 points and 11 rebounds, leading host Indiana over Houston for its ninth home win in 10 games.
Josh McRoberts had a career-high 18 points and tied a career high with 12 rebounds, and Danny Granger scored 18 for the Pacers.
KNICKS 113, CLIPPERS 107
David Lee had 29 points and 10 rebounds, Al Harrington scored six of his 26 points in the final 1:12, and New York beat host Los Angeles at Staples Center for the first time in 11 tries.
Baron Davis had 23 points and 11 assists for the Clippers, who reached the 50-loss mark for the 18th time since the franchise moved from San Diego to Los Angeles for the 1984-85 season. Chris Kaman had 22 points and 16 rebounds.