Bulls in sight of top spot
CHICAGO THE Chicago Bulls held off a fourthquarter rally to beat the Dallas Mavericks 93-83 on Friday and extend its lead atop the NBA Eastern Conference to 2-1/2 games.
Luol Deng scored 22 point and Richard Hamilton added 19 for the Bulls, who have two games left in the regular season - against Indiana and lowly Cleveland - and nearest rival Miami has three.
Defending NBA champion Dallas, which has already secured a playoff berth, rested veteran guards Jason Kidd and Jason Terry.
Dirk Nowitzki scored 17 points to lead the Mavericks.
76ers 109, Pacers 106 In Indianapolis, Philadelphia edged closer to clinching a playoff spot by beating Indiana in overtime, ending the Pacers’ seven-game winning streak.
Elton Brand scored 20 points and Lou Williams added 19 for the 76ers, who need win only one of their remaining three games or have Milwaukee lose one in order to clinch a playoff berth.
David West had a season-high 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for Indiana, who missed a chance to lock up the No.3 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Jazz 117, Magic 107 In Salt Lake City, Utah firmed up its hold on the last playoff spot in the Western Conference by beating Orlando in overtime.
The Jazz moved a game ahead of Phoenix for the eighth and final spot, but the two teams meet on Tuesday and the Suns hold the advantage in the tiebreaker.
Devin Harris scored 21 points and had a key block that forced overtime, with the Jazz having recovered from a 14-point deficit in the first half.
The Magic dropped their first game since All-Star center Dwight Howard’s back surgery which will keep him out for the rest of the season.
Jameer Nelson led Orlando with 23 points, including three 3-pointers, but had his shot blocked at the end of regulation.
Nuggets 118, Suns 107 In Phoenix, Denver clinched a playoff berth by defeating Phoenix.
Ty Lawson went 5 of 5 on 3-pointers and had 29 points and 10 assists for the Nuggets.
Steve Nash of the Suns had 13 assists, nine in the first quarter, and passed Oscar Robertson into fifth place on the NBA’s career list.
Shannon Brown scored 28 points, including a career-best 6 3-pointers, for Phoenix, which lost Channing Frye to a shoulder injury in the second quarter.
Grizzlies 93, Trail Blazers 89 In Memphis, Rudy Gay scored 21 points and had a key block in the final seconds as playoff-bound Memphis edged Portland and won its fourth straight.
Gay, who was 9 of 16 from the field, blocked Wesley Matthews’ 3-point attempt with about 5 seconds left to seal the win and send the undermanned Blazers to their fifth straight loss.
OJ Mayo scored 14 points for Memphis. JJ Hickson scored 23 points to lead Portland.
Wizards 86, Heat 84 In Miami, the hosts lost to lowly Washington, paying the price for resting LeBron James and Chris Bosh while losing Dwyane Wade to a dislocated finger inside three minutes.
Wade appeared to get his finger caught in another player’s jersey and went to the locker room grimacing in pain.
There was no immediate estimate as to how long Wade might be out, but with the playoffs beginning next weekend, the Heat will hope for a speedy recovery. He has already missed 14 games this season because of injuries; yet the Heat is 13-1 without him.
Rockets 99, Warriors 96 In Houston, the hosts ended a sixgame losing skid by edging Golden State.
Courtney Lee scored 20 points and Goran Dragic added 18 points and seven assists for the Rockets, who remained a game behind Utah for the final playoff spot in the West.
Klay Thompson scored 24 points for the Warriors, who have lost eight straight.
Bucks 106, Nets 95 In Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings scored 30 points to lead Milwaukee to a victory over New Jersey that kept the Bucks’ slim playoff hopes alive.
Jennings, who hit three straight 3- pointers late in the game, was 9 of 18 from the field and finished with six rebounds, six assists and four steals.
Ersan Ilyasova added 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Bucks, who beat New Jersey for the 11th straight time.
Gerald Wallace finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets.