Battle in Big D

MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2007

There’s no such thing as a meaningless game when the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs play.

Although their meeting Sunday had little bearing on the playoff picture, the Western Conference powers played a tense, emotional game that saw bodies flying, emotions overheating, Tim Duncan getting ejected and the Mavericks beating the Spurs 91-86 Sunday in Dallas, to end San Antonio’s six-game winning streak.

The loss – only the second in the Spurs’ past 14 games – locks them into the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. They have only themselves to blame, going without a field goal the last 6:32, missing nine straight shots, and not scoring any points over the last 4:17.

Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris each scored 21 points in a game the Mavericks may have used as their dress rehearsal for the playoffs. They won for the 66th time this season, tying the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks for ninth-best in league history, and finished 36-5 at home.

Bulls 101, Wizards 68: At Washington, Ben Gordon scored 30 points, Chicago held Washington to 34 percent shooting, and the Bulls beat the depleted Wizards.

The Bulls are trying to lock down the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Wizards are hoping to hold on to the No. 6 spot.

Warriors 121, Timberwolves 108: At Oakland, Calif., Jason Richardson had 32 points and 12 rebounds, and Golden State took sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference standings with a victory over Minnesota.

Golden State took a 20-point lead on the undermanned Timberwolves in the first half, then poured it on with 20 consecutive points in the third quarter.

Kings 105, Clippers 100: At Los Angeles, reserve swingman Francisco Garcia scored 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch, and Ron Artest had a career-high 10 assists to lead Sacramento over the Clippers.

Mike Bibby, one of six Sacramento players in double digits, scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half.

Nets 111, Pacers 107: At Indianapolis, Vince Carter scored 35 points to help New Jersey beat Indiana to put the Pacers on the brink of elimination from the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

The Nets shot 51 percent from the field and made 13 of 23 3-pointers to sweep the season series 4-0. The Pacers shot 12 for 20 from 3-point range.

76ers 102, Pistons 91: At Auburn Hills, Mich., Willie Green scored 26 points in his hometown to lead Philadelphia to a lackluster victory over Detroit.

The game was meaningless for both teams – Detroit has clinched the Eastern Conference’s top seed while Philadelphia was eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday.

Raptors 107, Knicks 105: At Toronto, Chris Bosh scored 23 points and the Raptors earned home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a victory over New York.

Anthony Parker and Joey Graham each added 19 points for Toronto, who will be the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

Magic 88, Celtics 86: At Orlando, Fla., Hedo Turkoglu blocked Delonte West’s driving layup at the buzzer to help the Magic clinch their first playoff berth in four years with a win over Boston.

Turkoglu led the Magic with 20 points. Grant Hill and Jameer Nelson had 16 points a piece.


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