Mavericks pound struggling Kings
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) – Dirk Nowitzki scored 39 points to help the Dallas Mavericks rout the struggling Sacramento Kings 126-108 on Saturday night.
The lopsided victory, combined with Denver’s loss to San Antonio, moved the Mavericks into sole possession of second place in the Western Conference playoff race.
Dallas is one game ahead of Denver with two games remaining for both teams. The Mavericks visit the Clippers on Monday night and conclude the regular season Wednesday at home against San Antonio. The Mavericks clinched the Southwest Division on Friday night and can finish no worse than the fourth seed.
Jason Kidd had his second triple-double of the season and the 105th of his career, finishing 11 points, 13 assists and 10 rebounds. Jason Terry scored 25 points, and Caron Butler had 15 for Dallas, which has won three straight.
Carl Landry scored 30 points, and Tyreke Evans had 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists for Sacramento. The Kings have lost nine of 10 games.
Pacers 115, Nets 102
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Troy Murphy had 25 points and nine rebounds to lead the streaking Indiana past New Jersey.
Danny Granger scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half, and Dahntay Jones had 18 points for the Pacers, who won their fourth straight game to improve to 32-48. Indiana has won 10 of 12 to continue its last-season surge.
Brook Lopez had 20 points and Yi Jianlian added 18 points and seven rebounds for New Jersey. An NBA-worst 12-68, the Nets won five of their previous nine games.
Bobcats 99, Pistons 95
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Larry Hughes scored 18 points, and D.J. Augustin hit the go-ahead jumper with just over a minute left for Charlotte.
Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson added 14 points apiece and Augustin had 13 for the Bobcats, who kept their slim hopes alive for overtaking Miami for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference and avoiding a first-round playoff matchup with Orlando.
Ben Gordon scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half for Detroit.
Celtics 105, Bucks 90
MILWAUKEE (AP) – Paul Pierce scored 18 of his 24 points in the second half and Boston beat Milwaukee while resting Kevin Garnett.
After a rough game in Milwaukee last month, this one featured more pushing and shoving late and could be a sign of things to come in a first-round matchup in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Bucks coach Scott Skiles was ejected, Celtics forward Glen Davis squared off with Kurt Thomas, and Bucks rookie Brandon Jennings was inadvertently kicked between the legs in the fourth quarter.
John Salmons overcame his stomach flu to score 21 points for the Bucks.
Spurs 104, Nuggets 85
DENVER (AP) – Tim Duncan had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and San Antonio spoiled Kenyon Martin’s return to Denver’s lineup.
Richard Jefferson and Manu Ginobili each added 15 points to help the Spurs rebound from a loss the night before against Memphis.
Chauncey Billups led Denver with 27 points. Martin was back in the starting lineup after missing 18 games because of patellar tendinitis in his left knee. He had six points and 10 rebounds in nearly 23 minutes.
Hawks 105, Wizards 95
WASHINGTON (AP) – Jamal Crawford scored 23 of his 28 points in the second half and Atlanta snapped a six-game road losing streak.
Joe Johnson scored 20 points to help the Hawks remain in third place in the Eastern Conference and beat the Wizards for the ninth straight time.
Andray Blatche scored 24 points for Washington.
76ers 120, Grizzlies 101
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Marreese Speights scored 22 points, Philadelphia matched a franchise record with 14 3-pointers and the 76ers snapped a six-game losing streak.
Jason Kapono and Andre Iguodala added 15 points apiece for Philadelphia. The 76ers were 14 of 26 from 3-point range and shot 57 percent overall. Mike Conley led Memphis with 23 points, and Zach Randolph had 19 points and 10 rebounds.