Monday , Apr , 17 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

National Basketball Association Game Capsules

Miami, FL (Sports Network) – Luol Deng celebrated his 21st birthday in style
with a game-high 26 points, as the Chicago Bulls clinched a spot in the
playoffs with a 117-93 victory over the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena.
It was also the Bulls first victory at Miami since January 18, 2000, ending
an 11-game road skid versus the Heat. Ben Gordon and Andres Nocioni each
added 18 points, while Kirk Hinrich finished with 17 points, eight assists
and six rebounds for the Bulls, winners in eight of their last nine games.
Because the Bulls won, Orlando was officially eliminated from postseason
contention. Since Washington beat Cleveland on Sunday, the Wizards became
the final team to clinch a playoff spot in the East, eliminating
the Philadelphia 76ers from postseason contention. Antoine Walker had 22
points for the Heat, who are locked in the second seed in the Eastern
Conference. Shaquille O’Neal added 14 points, but Dwyane Wade struggled with
just eight points on 2-of-12 shooting. Wade had his franchise-record streak
of 78 straight games of double figures snapped, as the Heat had a two-game win
streak broken.

Final Score: LA Lakers 109, Phoenix 89

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Kobe Bryant poured in 43 points, eight
rebounds and five assists as the Lakers clinched a playoff spot by beating the
Phoenix Suns, 109-89, at the Staples Center. Lamar Odom fell just short of
a third consecutive triple-double with 14 points, 11 boards and seven
assists for the Lakers, who have won four straight and 10 of their last 13
games. Smush Parker netted 12 and also grabbed eight rebounds in the victory.
Los Angeles has a one-game lead over the Sacramento Kings, who clinched a
playoff berth by beating New Orleans/Oklahoma City on Sunday, for the
seventh spot in the Western Conference. The Lakers are returning to the
playoffs following a one-year absence. Shawn Marion totaled 29 points and
seven boards while Boris Diaw recorded a triple-double with 11 points, 10
rebounds and 12 assists for the Suns, who were playing without reigning MVP
Steve Nash (right thigh contusion) and Raja Bell (left thigh strain). Leandro
Barbosa added 16 points in the loss, Phoenix’s second in a row and fifth in
its last eight attempts.

Final Score: Washington 104, Cleveland 92

Washington, DC (Sports Network) – Gilbert Arenas scored a game-high 35 points
to lead the Washington Wizards to the playoffs with a 104-92 win over the
Cleveland Cavaliers at the Verizon Center. Caron Butler netted 21 points
and also grabbed eight rebounds while Antawn Jamison had 16 points and 11
boards for the Wizards, who snapped a five-game losing streak. The Wizards
moved one game in front of the idle Indiana Pacers and Milwaukee Bucks for
the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Washington’s win
eliminated the Philadelphia 76ers from playoff contention. LeBron James
returned to the lineup with a team-high 17 points for the Cavaliers,
who have lost two of their last three contests. James missed Thursday’s
game with a sprained left ankle. Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Flip Murray each
scored 14 points in the loss.

Final Score: Detroit 103, New York 97

Auburn Hills, MI (Sports Network) – Richard Hamilton scored 28 points as
Detroit downed New York, 103-97, at the Palace of Auburn Hills and set the
franchise record for victories in a season with its 64th win, breaking the
mark set by the 1988-89 squad. In addition, the Pistons tied the franchise
record for home wins with 37, also set by the 1988-89 team. Detroit won the
Central Division and is the top seed for the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points for the Pistons, who have won three of four.
Rasheed Wallace netted 10 points while Chauncey Billups added 11 assists. Nate
Robinson scored 23 points to pace the Knicks, who lost their fourth
straight. Jamal Crawford and Jackie Butler scored 18 points apiece, and David
Lee added 13.

Final Score: San Antonio 103, Minnesota 90

Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) – Beno Udrih led the way with 15 points and
every Spur in uniform scored, as San Antonio moved closer to clinching the
Southwest Division title and the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs
with a comfortable 103-90 victory over Minnesota at the Target Center. Manu
Ginobili and Brent Barry each added 14 points while Tony Parker
contributed 11 points and Tim Duncan donated 10 points and eight rebounds in
the victory. Both Parker and Duncan played sparingly with the large lead
during the second half, as San Antonio won for the third time in four games.
San Antonio still sits 1 1/2 games in front of Dallas, which defeated Utah
111-95 on Sunday. In case of a tie, the clubs split four games this season,
but Dallas would hold a better division record. Marcus Banks scored 25
points, including a 10-of-11 effort from the charity stripe, while Rashad
McCants added 20 points and six rebounds off the bench. Star forward Kevin
Garnett (right knee tendinitis) did not play. Mark Blount sprang for 14 points
and Bracey Wright donated 13 points in Minnesota’s second straight loss.

Final Score: New Jersey 95, Boston 93

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) – Nenad Krstic had 18 points and six
rebounds to lead the New Jersey Nets to a 95-93 win over the Boston Celtics at
Continental Airlines Arena. Richard Jefferson posted 15 points and Vince
Carter and Zoran Planinic each netted 13 for the Nets, who have won two
straight and three of their last five contests. Clifford Robinson chipped in
11 points and six rebounds as New Jersey swept the home-and-home series.
The Nets are locked into the third position in the Eastern Conference playoff
push and will visit Philadelphia on Tuesday and close out the regular season
versus New York on Wednesday. Gerald Green contributed 19 points and six
assists and Kendrick Perkins totaled 16 points and nine rebounds for the
Celtics, who played without Paul Pierce (left elbow bursitis) and Delonte
West (left calf strain). Ryan Gomes scored 15 in the loss, Boston’s fourth
consecutive and fifth in its last six attempts.

Final Score: Dallas 111, Utah 95

Dallas, TX (Sports Network) – Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and seven rebounds
to lead the Dallas Mavericks to a 111-95 win over the Utah Jazz at American
Airlines Center. Jason Terry added 16 points and six assists and Josh Howard
had 18 points for the Mavericks, who remain only 1 1/2 games behind San
Antonio for the top spot in the Western Conference. Jerry Stackhouse scored
20 points and Erick Dampier had 13 points and 12 boards for Dallas, which
ended a two-game slide and can at best only tie the Spurs for the best record
in the conference. Carlos Boozer had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz,
who were eliminated from the Western Conference playoff race due to their
loss and Sacramento’s win against the Hornets on Sunday. Mehmet Okur added 17
points and Deron Williams scored 16 and dished out nine assists for Utah,
which had a five-game winning streak halted.

Final Score: Seattle 114, LA Clippers 98

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) – Ray Allen paved the way with 21 points,
seven rebounds and six assists, as Seattle comfortably defeated the Los
Angeles Clippers, 114-98, at Staples Center. Nick Collison scored 19 points,
Luke Ridnour tallied 17 points and dished out seven assists and Rashard
Lewis donated 15 points in the victory, as the SuperSonics halted a three-
game slide. Elton Brand led all scorers with 22 points and pulled down
seven rebounds while Shaun Livingston sprang for 18 points off the bench
in the loss. Sam Cassell totaled 12 points, seven rebounds and seven
assists, as the Clippers saw their brief two-game winning streak come to an
end. With the loss, the Clippers sit one game behind idle Memphis in the
race for the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoff race.
However, if the Clippers end up as the sixth seed, they will hold homecourt
advantage in round one of the playoffs against Denver.

Final Score: Sacramento 96, New Orleans/Oklahoma City 79

Sacramento, CA (Sports Network) – Mike Bibby scored 23 points to lead the
Sacramento Kings over the Hornets, 96-79, and secure a spot in the upcoming
Western Conference playoffs. Bonzi Wells added 16 points and Ron Artest had 13
points, six rebounds and six assists for the Kings, who have won two in a
row and can at best clinch the seven seed if the Lakers lose their season
finale and Sacramento wins its finale. Chris Paul had 12 points and seven
assists for the Hornets, who have lost two straight and four of five.