Mavs defeat Spurs in physical, albeit meaningless, clash

Associated Press • Apr 15, 2007 at 11:33 AM

DALLAS - There's no such thing as a meaningless game when the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs play.

Although their meeting Sunday had little bearing on the playoff picture, the Western Conference powers played a tense, emotional game that saw bodies flying, emotions overheating, Tim Duncan getting ejected and the Mavericks beating the Spurs 91-86 to end San Antonio's six-game winning streak.

The loss - only the second in the Spurs' past 14 games - locks them into the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. They have only themselves to blame, going without a field goal the last 6:32, missing nine straight shots, and not scoring any points over the last 4:17.

Dirk Nowitzki and Devin Harris each scored 21 points for the Mavericks, who won for the 66th time this season - tying the 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks for ninth best in league history - and finished 36-5 at home.

OAKLAND, Calif. - Jason Richardson had 32 points and 12 rebounds, and surging Golden State took sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference standings with a victory.

The Warriors (40-40) did it with one eye on the out-of-town scoreboard, where they watched the Clippers (39-41) fall out of their eighth-place tie with Golden State in a 105-100 loss to Sacramento. The Warriors, who got back to .500 for the first time since mid-January, briefly moved into a seventh-place tie with the Lakers, who played later Sunday.

Al Harrington scored 18 points and Baron Davis had 17 for Golden State, which took a 20-point lead on the undermanned Timberwolves in the first half, then poured it on with 20 consecutive points in the third quarter of its seventh victory in eight games.

LOS ANGELES - Reserve swingman Francisco Garcia scored 16 points, including a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch, and Ron Artest had a career-high 10 assists to lead Sacramento.

Mike Bibby, one of six Sacramento players in double digits, scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half as the Kings dealt a severe blow to the Clippers' playoff hopes. Artest had 15 points, including an 18-foot jumper with 36 seconds remaining after the Clippers had closed to 96-92 with a pair of 3-pointers by Tim Thomas 26 seconds apart.

Playing in front of their 13th sellout crowd of the season, the Clippers fell flat on their faces in the first half against the last-place team in the Pacific Division and fell behind by 23 points midway through the second quarter before making it close at the end.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Hedo Turkoglu blocked Delonte West's driving layup at the buzzer to help the Magic clinch their first playoff berth in four years. The win and Indiana's 111-107 loss to New Jersey combined to clinch the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs for Orlando.

The Magic nearly blew a 17-point lead in the final 6:41 before Turkoglu clinched the win. He led the Magic with 20 points. Grant Hill and Jameer Nelson had 16 points each and Dwight Howard added 10 points and 14 rebounds.

Al Jefferson scored 28 for Boston, which lost its seventh straight game.

INDIANAPOLIS - Vince Carter scored 35 points for New Jersey and Indiana was eliminated from the playoff picture.

Bostjan Nachbar scored 25 points and shot 6-for-6 from 3-point range and Jason Kidd had 12 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds for the Nets.

Jermaine O'Neal led the Pacers with 20 points and Troy Murphy and Danny Granger each scored 17.

The Nets shot 51 percent from the field and made 13 of 23 3-pointers to sweep the season series 4-0. The Pacers shot 12-for-20 from 3-point range and had seven players score in double figures.

WASHINGTON - Gilbert Arenas limped into the Wizards' locker room for a pregame visit for the first time since he had season-ending knee surgery. He left the premises before tipoff, which might have been for the better.

He didn't have to watch Chicago's typically stifling defense limit Washington to a season-low point total.

Ben Gordon scored 30 points, Chicago held Washington to 34 percent shooting, and the Bulls beat the depleted Wizards for their third consecutive victory.

TORONTO - Chris Bosh scored 23 points and the Raptors earned home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a victory over New York.

Anthony Parker and Joey Graham each added 19 points for Toronto, which won its season- high sixth straight game and will be the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors matched the franchise record of 47 wins, accomplished in 2000-01.

Eddy Curry had 30 points and Steve Francis had 28 for the Knicks, who were eliminated from the playoffs last Friday.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - Willie Green scored 26 points to lead Philadelphia.

The game was meaningless for both teams - Detroit has clinched the Eastern Conference's top seed while Philadelphia was eliminated from playoff contention on Saturday - and it showed.

Tayshaun Prince led the Pistons with 15 points.

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