Lakers’ OT win earns matchup with Spurs
NBA: Steve Blake scored 24 points, Pau Gasol added his seventh career triple-double, and the Los Angeles Lakers secured the seventh playoff seed in the Western Conference with a 99-95 overtime victory over the visiting Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
Dwight Howard had 16 points and 18 rebounds, and the All-Star center blocked James Harden’s shot in the final seconds of overtime for the Lakers (45-37), who only clinched a playoff berth about 10 minutes before tipoff in their season finale.
After winning once more without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, Los Angeles will face second-seeded San Antonio in the first round.
• Grizzlies eliminate Jazz: Zach Randolph had 25 points and 19 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies ended Utah’s playoff hopes with an 86-70 victory over the visiting Jazz.
The Jazz managed only 32 percent shooting and were outrebounded 57-47.
• Bulls earn fifth seed: Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 15 rebounds to help the host Chicago Bulls clinch the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 95-92 win over the Washington Wizards.
• Wade leads Heat: Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and handed out 10 assists, Mike Miller added 21 points and the Miami Heat wrapped up the regular season with a 105-93 win over the visiting Orlando Magic.
• Clippers secure fourth seed: Jamal Crawford scored 24 points, including several big shots down the stretch, and the Los Angeles Clippers locked up home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, holding off the Sacramento Kings 112-108 at Sacramento, Calif.
Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists for the Pacific Division champion Clippers (56-26), who earned the Western Conference’s fourth seed and will open against fifth-seeded Memphis (56-26) in Los Angeles.
• Minnesota ends skid at San Antonio: Derrick Williams had 21 points to help the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the San Antonio Spurs 108-95, ending a 16-game losing streak at San Antonio.
• Collins expected to be fired: Dorell Wright scored 23 points and Evan Turner added 16, leading Philadelphia to a 105-95 victory over short-handed Indiana at Indianapolis in what was likely Doug Collins’ final game as the 76ers coach.
The organization has already scheduled morning news conferences with the managing owner and Collins, who spent almost the entire game glued to his seat and spoke mostly with a hand covering his mouth.
• Nuggets clinch third seed: The Denver Nuggets secured the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs by routing the visiting Phoenix Suns 118-98 behind 21 points from Wilson Chandler and 20 from Andre Iguodala.
The Nuggets won a franchise-best 23 straight home games to finish with a mark of 38-3.
Morrow scores twice in Penguins’ victory
NHL: Brenden Morrow scored two goals for the second straight game and Pittsburgh beat visiting Montreal 6-4 to move closer to clinching the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
The Penguins lead the Canadiens by nine points in the fight for the top seed. Both teams have five games remaining.
• Begin connects for Calgary: Steve Begin scored two goals in the third period, and the Calgary Flames held on to hand the playoff-hopeful Detroit Red Wings a 3-2 loss at Calgary, Alberta.
Nielsen posts fifth straight shutout
Soccer: Jimmy Nielsen extended his scoreless streak to 519 minutes with his fifth straight shutout in Sporting Kansas City’s 1-0 victory over the host New York Red Bulls.
• West Ham ties United: Manchester United was slowed in its drive to a 20th English league title when it was held to a 2-2 tie at West Ham.
• Stuttgart reaches final: Host Stuttgart beat Freiberg 2-1 and advanced to the German Cup final against Bayern Munich at Berlin in June 1.
Nadal, Djokovic win at Monaco
Miscellany: Eight-time champion Rafael Nadal extended his Monte Carlo Masters winning streak to 43 matches and top-ranked Novak Djokovic won at the Monte Carlo Masters at Monaco.
Nadal cruised past Marinko Matosevic 6-1, 6-2. Djokovic spent twice as long on court, defeating Mikhail Youzhny 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in 2 hours, 15 minutes.
• Teen leads LPGA event: Thai teen Ariya Jutanugarn shot an 8-under 64 at Ko Olina to take a one-stroke lead over Suzann Pettersen and Hee Kyung Seo after one round of the LPGA Lotte Championship at Kapolei, Hawaii.