Raptors end nets playoff hopes

Toronto comeback to defeat New Jersey.

    Chris Bosh dunks it home for the Raptors [AFP]
    The Toronto Raptors eliminated the New Jersey Nets from NBA playoff contention with a 113-85 victory.

    Carlos Delfino scored 24 points and Chris Bosh had 21 for Toronto as the Nets missed the playoffs for the first time since 2001.

    The Raptors moved back into equal sixth place with Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference with three games remaining.

    Toronto rallied from a 14-point deficit in the second quarter.

    Celtics 102, Bucks 86

    In Boston, Rajon Rondo had 16 points and 10 assists, then joined the rest of Boston starters on the bench for the fourth quarter in an easy win over Milwaukee.

    The Bucks made more moves off the court than on it, hiring former Detroit Pistons vice president John Hammond as general manager and making the announcement during the third quarter.

    Milwaukee lost its fifth consecutive game.

    None of Boston's starters played more than 25 minutes, and all sat out the entire fourth quarter again.

    Hawks 116, Knicks 104

    In New York, Atlanta stayed in control of the race for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference by beating New York.

    Joe Johnson scored 34 points for the Hawks, who remained two games ahead of Indiana in the race for eighth, with three games to play for each team.

    Atlanta has not made the playoffs for nine years.

    The Hawks won all four meetings with the Knicks this season, sweeping the series for the first time since moving to Atlanta for the 1968-69 season.

    New York failed to complete its first four-game winning streak in two years.

    Pacers 85, 76ers 76

    In Philadelphia, Indiana won its fourth straight by downing Philadelphia. Danny Granger had 30 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers.

    Grizziles 96, Heat 91

    In Miami, Memphis beat Miami to ensure the Heat will finish with the league's worst record.

    Hakim Warrick and Kyle Lowry each scored 17 points for the Grizzlies.

    With the NBA's worst record, the Heat will have the best chance to win the lottery for the number one draft pick.

    Andres Nocioni pulls down a rebound
    for the Bulls [AFP]
    Bulls 100, Cavaliers 95

    In Chicago, LeBron James tied a Cleveland record by scoring 24 of his 34 points in the first quarter of the loss to Chicago.

    Luol Deng finished with 21 points to lead the Bulls.

    James made all 10 of his shots in the first quarter, dazzling the crowd with dunks and jumpers.

    By the end of the quarter, he had tied the club record he set in the fourth against Toronto on January 6.

    Timberwolves 102, Magic 101

    In Orlando, Florida, Ryan Gomes made a pair of free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to give Minnesota victory over Orlando.

    The Timberwolves snapped a six-game losing streak.

    Hedo Turkoglu attempted a winning 3-pointer as time expired but missed as Orlando failed to get its 50th win of the season.

    The Magic's Dwight Howard got his 68th double-double of the season, tying the franchise record.

    Pistons 102, Wizards 74

    In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Jason Maxiell scored a career-high 28 points as Detroit routed Washington.

    Chauncey Billups added 13 for the Pistons.

    The loss cost the Wizards a chance to better their playoff position.

    Washington is fifth in the Eastern Conference, a game ahead of Philadelphia and Toronto, and two games off fourth-placed Cleveland and home advantage in the first round of playoffs.

    Rafer Alston takes off for the Rockets [AFP]
    Rockets 101, Suns 90

    In Houston, the home side downed Phoenix to move 1-1/2 games ahead of the Suns and level with San Antonio in the Western Conference playoff race.

    Tracy McGrady had 22 points, six rebounds and seven assists, and Luis Scola added 19 points as the Rockets won easily to stay equal fourth in the West.

    Spurs 95, SuperSonics 74

    In San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 20 points and San Antonio easily beat Seattle.

    After struggling offensively for their last three games, the Spurs were able to put up big numbers against the SuperSonics, who have the West's worst record.

    Kings 103, Trail Blazers 86

    In Sacramento, California, John Salmons scored 18 points in the second half to lead Sacramento over Portland.

    Salmons, who started in place of the injured Ron Artest, also added six rebounds, four assists and two steals. He did not score and had just one rebound in the first half.

    Lakers 107, Hornets 104

    In Los Angeles, the home side beat New Orleans to move within a half-game of the Western Conference leaders.

    Kobe Bryant, making a push for his first MVP award, had 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakers, who never trailed but weren't assured of victory until the final minute.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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