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Pistons continue to motor

Detroit moves one win from a postseason berth

Associated Press / April 9, 2009
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This didn't look like a club fighting for a No. 7 or 8 seed. These resembled the old Detroit Pistons, who used to beat up on those types of teams in the playoffs.

Richard Hamilton scored 22 points, Rasheed Wallace had 14 points and 12 rebounds, and the Pistons rolled into a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference by beating the host New York Knicks, 113-86, last night.

Antonio McDyess added 13 points and 16 rebounds for the Pistons, who pulled even with Chicago for the No. 7 seed and lowered their magic number to one to clinch their eighth consecutive playoff berth. Detroit will be back in the postseason with its next victory or one more loss by Charlotte.

With the Allen Iverson experiment over because of his bad back and with Hamilton and Wallace healthy again, the Pistons believe there's still time to find their form for the playoffs after a disappointing regular season.

"We know we're a lot better. We let a lot of games slip away this year, we'll take any seed though," guard Rodney Stuckey said. "I think our main focus right now is getting into the playoffs and just getting in the groove before we get there."

The seventh spot means avoiding a first-round matchup with Cleveland, which is on the verge of locking up the top seed in the East.

Tayshaun Prince scored 15 points and Stuckey finished with 14 for the Pistons in a game that was never competitive. Detroit scored the first 10 points and led by double digits for the final 43-plus minutes. Detroit shot 54 percent, led by as much as 32, and won its second straight following a three-game losing streak.

Trail Blazers 95, Spurs 83 - Brandon Roy scored 26 points and visiting Portland took a big stride in the race for home-court advantage.

Clawing back from an early 19-point deficit, Portland won in San Antonio for the first time since 2002.

Portland moved into a three-way tie with the Spurs and Houston for the third-best record (50-28) in the West with four games left. The Trail Blazers also took the season series, 3-1, which could pay dividends if the seedings come down to tiebreakers.

Cavaliers 98, Wizards 86 - LeBron James scored 21 points before spending the fourth quarter playing air guitar on the bench as Cleveland avenged an embarrassing loss to one of the league's weaker teams by thumping Washington to go to 38-1 at home.

Nick Young scored 16 to lead the Wizards, who stunned Cleveland last week and handed the Cavs two of their 15 losses this season. Washington's Gilbert Arenas didn't play, choosing to rest his surgically repaired right knee.

Pacers 130, Raptors 101 - Danny Granger scored 29 points, and Indiana had its highest point total and margin of victory of the season, beating visiting Toronto.

Jarrett Jack added 23 points, Roy Hibbert had 17, and Troy Murphy finished with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Josh McRoberts had his first career double-double with career highs of 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Mavericks 130, Jazz 101 - Dallas clinched the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and has taken a huge step to possibly avoid the No. 8 seed - and a first-round series against the Lakers.

Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points, with a dozen in a row in one stretch, and the Mavericks matched visiting Utah for seventh place with four games left. The season series is even.

Magic 81, Grizzlies 78 - Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points, Dwight Howard added 14 and host Orlando rallied to beat pesky Memphis.

J.J. Redick had all 9 of his points in the fourth quarter to spark a 19-7 run, helping the Magic overcome an eight-point deficit and stay in the hunt for the Eastern Conference's second seed.

Suns 105, Hornets 100 - Steve Nash had 24 points and 17 assists, and visiting Phoenix survived a late New Orleans rally for the victory.

Shaquille O'Neal had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Nash made six free throws in the final 42 seconds to give the Suns the cushion they needed to hold on.

Nuggets 122, Thunder 112 - Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points, helping host Denver stave off Oklahoma City for its eighth straight win.

Linas Kleiza scored 12 of his 17 points in the fourth quarter for the Nuggets, who inched closer to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with their ninth straight win at the Pepsi Center.

Hawks 113, Bucks 105 - Atlanta took another step toward earning home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs, fending off a late rally in Milwaukee.

Timberwolves 105, Warriors 97 - Sebastian Telfair scored 21 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers down the stretch, and Kevin Love added 20 points and 12 rebounds as visiting Minnesota beat Golden State.

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