Cavs clinch Central Division
CLEVELAND — The Cavaliers clinched their second straight outright Central Division championship last night — and Mo Williams went home disappointed.
LeBron James had 32 points, nine rebounds and nine assists in Cleveland's 99-94 victory over the Indiana Pacers. With the win, Cleveland (54-15) became the first team this season to clinch a division title.
Williams spent last summer and the early part of this season trying to cherish the little things along Cleveland's bid to win an NBA championship. The first milestone passed by yesterday without him realizing it.
"We have to cherish these moments and celebrate these moments," Williams said. "Our goal (last year) was so focused on a championship, we looked past clinching the division, clinching the playoffs and clinching home-court advantage. All that makes the main goal that much sweeter.
"That's kind of funny that we didn't come in here and acknowledge it. I'm kind of disappointed in that."
James made sure that was the only reason to go home disappointed, taking over late after Indiana cut an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter to one. James had six points, two blocks, two steals and an assist in the final 4 minutes, including a nifty dunk behind his head after catching an alley-oop pass from Anderson Varejao. James fell a rebound and an assist shy of his second triple-double in two nights.
"That's all phases of my game in a couple possessions," James said. "That solidifies who I am on both sides of the floor."
Troy Murphy had 19 points and 15 rebounds — but just four points and five rebounds in the second half for the last-place Pacers, who were trying to win consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 2-5. Roy Hibbert added 20 points for Indiana, which was without leading scorer Danny Granger.
Granger, averaging 23.1 points a game, did not make the trip after spending the night in an Indianapolis hospital Tuesday. He took an inadvertent elbow to his upper right cheek in the final minute Tuesday night against Charlotte. CT scans on his head and neck found no problems.
BOBCATS 100, THUNDER 92
Stephen Jackson scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half and host Charlotte rallied to beat Oklahoma City to give Michael Jordan a victory in his first game as Bobcats majority owner.
Hours after the NBA's Board of Governors approved Jordan's $275 million purchase, he watched his team come back from a 19-point, second-quarter deficit to match the largest in franchise history.
RAPTORS 106, HAWKS 105
Chris Bosh hit a 16-foot jumper with 2.1 seconds left and host Toronto beat Atlanta to end a five-game losing streak.
Bosh was 6 of 19 from the field and finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
He made a second-quarter layup to become the first player in franchise history to reach the 10,000-point plateau.
MAGIC 110, SPURS 84
Vince Carter had 24 points and eight assists, and host Orlando smothered San Antonio star Tim Duncan.
Duncan had two points and was 1 for 10 from the field in the worst shooting percentage game of his career.
The Magic won for the ninth time in 10 games.
76ERS 108, NETS 97
Andre Iguodala scored 20 points, and Jrue Holiday added 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to help host Philadelphia snap a five-game losing streak.
At 7-61, the Nets are in danger of breaking the 1972-73 76ers' record for fewest victories (9-73).
MAVERICKS 113, BULLS 106
Caron Butler scored 27 points, Dirk Nowitzki had 26, and J.J. Barea scored 10 straight when things tightened up in the fourth quarter for host Dallas.
The Bulls scored on 11 of their first 12 possessions in the fourth quarter and were within 98-90 when Barea got rolling. He hit a jumper, two 3-pointers and a layup to give Dallas some breathing room.
ROCKETS 107, GRIZZLIES 94
Aaron Brooks set a Houston record by hitting seven 3-pointers without a miss and scored 31 points, and the Rockets snapped Memphis' seven-game road winning streak.
Luis Scola scored 20 points, and Kevin Martin added 18 for the Rockets.
JAZZ 122, TIMBERWOLVES 100
Paul Millsap had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Carlos Boozer added 19 points and 11 rebounds and host Utah beat Minnesota.
Kyle Korver added a season-high 20 points on his 29th birthday to help the Jazz extend Minnesota's losing streak to 11.
WARRIORS 131, HORNETS 121
Monta Ellis had 28 points and tied his career high with 13 assists, Anthony Tolliver had a career-high 30 points and host Golden State overcame a 21-point deficit to beat New Orleans.
Reggie Williams added 22 points for the Warriors, who tied a team record with nine 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
CLIPPERS 101, BUCKS 93
Chris Kaman had 20 points and seven rebounds, Drew Gooden added 16 points and 11 rebounds and host Los Angeles snapped an eight-game losing streak.
Brandon Jennings had 21 points for Milwaukee.
CELTICS 109, KNICKS 97
Paul Pierce scored 29 points, Kevin Garnett had 22 and host Boston beat New York.
The Celtics led 32-19 after the first quarter, 68-49 at halftime and 92-69 after the third. David Lee led the Knicks with 29 points, and Al Harrington had 16.