NBA: Danilo Gallinari scored 22 points, Kenyon Martin scored six of his 18 in the final 3:24, and the visiting Denver Nuggets hung on for their sixth straight win, 95-90 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday.
Kobe Bryant scored 28 points for the Lakers, who snapped a nine-game winning streak to fall 2 1/2 games behind San Antonio in the Western Conference.
Los Angeles has six games left to try and overtake the Spurs and earn homecourt advantage throughout the playoffs. The Lakers face the Spurs for the fourth and final time this season on April 12 in their next-to-last regular-season game.
The Lakers need five more wins to reach 60 for the 12th time and third under coach Phil Jackson. All seven of Jackson’s teams to reach 60 victories won the NBA title, including five times with Chicago.
• Spurs end skid: George Hill scored 29 points and the San Antonio Spurs stopped the longest skid of Tim Duncan’s career, beating up the visiting Phoenix Suns 114-97 and ending a six-game losing streak.
Aaron Brooks and Channing Frye had 14 points apiece for the Suns. The loss guaranteed Phoenix will miss the playoffs for the second time in three seasons.
Matt Bonner added 16 points for San Antonio.
• Knicks clinch playoffs: The New York Knicks are back in the playoffs, clinching their first postseason berth since 2004 with a 123-107 victory over the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers behind 28 points from Amare Stoudemire.
Shortly after Charlotte’s home loss to Washington, the Knicks snapped an 11-game losing streak against the Cavaliers to secure their spot. They are seventh in the Eastern Conference, but closed within 1 1/2 games of the 76ers and have a game in Philadelphia this week.
Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points and Chauncey Billups added 23 for New York.
• Blazers down Mavs: Gerald Wallace scored 19 points and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the visiting Dallas Mavericks 104-96.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 18 points for the Blazers, who have won eight straight at home.
Shawn Marion had 19 points for Dallas.
Red Wings clinch Central Division
NHL: Nicklas Lidstrom scored and Jimmy Howard made 27 saves, helping the Detroit Red Wings beat the visiting Minnesota Wild 4-2 and clinch the Central Division title.
Darren Helm, Tomas Holmstrom and Johan Franzen also scored for the Red Wings.
Brad Staubitz scored his third goal of the season to pull Minnesota within a goal early in the second period and helped set up Carson McMillan’s goal in his NHL debut with 3:06 left to make it 4-2.
• Wolski’s SO goal lifts Rangers over Flyers: Wojtek Wolski’s shootout goal lifted the visiting New York Rangers to a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers.
Wolski’s goal came in the second round of the shootout after Erik Christensen had scored in the first. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist stopped Nikolay Zherdev and Claude Giroux on both of the Flyers’ shootout chances at the Wells Fargo Center.
Bryan McCabe scored for the Rangers in regulation.
The Flyers pulled even with the Washington Capitals for first place in the Eastern Conference with 103 points.
• Gragnani lifts Sabres past Hurricanes in OT: Marc-Andre Gragnani scored 2:56 into overtime to lift the Buffalo Sabres to a 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes at Raleigh, N.C.
Chris Butler also scored and Jhonas Enroth made 35 saves for the Sabres.
Buffalo, which has 90 points, kept hold of seventh place in the Eastern Conference and put the Hurricanes’ playoff hopes in peril.
Djokovic beats Nadal to win Key Biscayne
Miscellany: Novak Djokovic won his fourth consecutive tournament, beating top-ranked Rafael Nadal 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (4) in a grueling final at the Sony Ericsson Open at Key Biscayne, Fla.
The No. 2-ranked Djokovic was pushed the distance by Nadal on a sunny, 85-degree afternoon. They played for nearly 3 1/2 hours, and it was Djokovic who looked fresher at the finish.
He pulled a forehand winner cross-court on the final point for his second Key Biscayne title. He also won in 2007.
• Shiffrin, Granstrom win slalom titles: Youngsters Mikaela Shiffrin and Colby Granstrom turned in smooth performances in sloppy conditions to win slalom titles at the U.S. championships at Winter Park, Colo.
The 16-year-old Shiffrin flew down the mushy course in a combined time of 1 minute, 42.14 seconds, holding off Sarah Schleper by 0.52 seconds. Resi Stiegler finished third.
Earlier in the day, the 20-year-old Granstrom broke up Tommy Ford’s monopoly at nationals, taking the men’s title. Granstrom, of Lake Stevens, Wash., had a two-run time of 1:42.67, beating Ford by 1.33 seconds. Seppi Stiegler was third, just like his older sister.
• Dayton hires Miller: Archie Miller was hired to lead the Dayton basketball program, less than a week after Brian Gregory left to take over at Georgia Tech.
The 32-year-old Miller has been associate head coach the last two seasons for older brother Sean Miller at Arizona. He started as an assistant under Herb Sendek, spending three years at North Carolina State and two at Arizona State. He also was one of Thad Matta’s assistants at Ohio State for two years before joining his brother’s staff.
• LSU hires Caldwell: LSU has hired Nikki Caldwell away from UCLA as its new women’s basketball coach, vice chancellor and director of athletics Joe Alleva announced.
Caldwell, who also spent three seasons as an assistant at Virginia, will be formally introduced at a news conference today.
• Dialed In finishes strong to take Florida Derby: In Hallandale, Fla., Dialed In won the $1 million Florida Derby, likely cementing his status as a major contender in the upcoming Triple Crown season.
Dialed In made up more than 10 lengths to win, covering the mile-and-an-eighth at Gulfstream Park in 1 minute, 50.07 seconds.
• Female boxer shot by stepdad before bout: An undefeated female boxer from Germany was shot in her dressing room by her stepfather before a title fight in Berlin, leaving her with injuries to her hand, knee and feet.
Rola El-Halabi’s injuries are not life-threatening but could imperil her career.
El-Halabi split from her stepfather as a manager in January.
Lisa Benson/Washington Post Writers Group
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