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76ers clinch playoff spot with win

THE Philadelphia 76ers clinched an NBA playoffs spot by beating the visiting Detroit Pistons 95-90 yesterday.

Philadelphia will use its final seven games to determine its seed in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers are fifth in the conference.

Andre Iguodala scored a season-high 31 points, and Andre Miller had a triple-double with 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds.

Detroit led 88-87 with 2:17 left after Rodney Stuckey made two free throws. Miller made three free throws and Reggie Evans added two more with 39 seconds left for a 92-88 lead.

Stuckey scored 23 points for Detroit, which was a half-game behind New Jersey for the seventh spot.

Magic 88, Hawks 82

At Atlanta, Dwight Howard scored 21 points and tied a season high with 23 rebounds to help Orlando pull within a half-game of tying for second place in the East.

Howard's performance marked the ninth time this season, and 23rd of his five-year career, that he's had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game.

The Magic are four games behind Cleveland and trail second-place Boston by percentage points.

Joe Johnson scored 21 points for the Hawks, who have dropped three straight.

Heat 118, Wizards 104

At Washington, Dwyane Wade scored 33 points as Miami broke a franchise record with eight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to put away Washington.

Wade and James Jones each made three 3-pointers in the final period, finally blowing open the game after the last of several Wizards comebacks. Miami made a season-high 14 3-pointers in 32 attempts, including going 8-for-13 in the fourth.

Miami completed a 4-0 season sweep of the Wizards, who finished 1-15 against the Southeast Division.

Caron Butler scored 27 points to lead the Wizards.

Bulls 103, Nets 94

At Chicago, Ben Gordon scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter and John Salmons added 17 as Chicago won for the eighth time in 11 games and held on to eighth and the final playoff spot in the East.

Gordon missed his first 10 shots and was just 3-for-14 overall, but he hit a key 3-pointer and two free throws during a game-ending 10-0 run.

Raptors 102, Knicks 95

At New York, Toronto's won its sixth straight game to stay alive in the playoff race while eliminating New York.

Andrea Bargnani scored 23 points, Chris Bosh had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Shawn Marion added 12 points and 13 boards for the Raptors, whose longest winning run since April 2007 was almost certain to be too little, too late. Toronto would have been eliminated with a loss and a victory by Chicago.

Instead, the Raptors eliminated the Knicks, who haven't made the playoffs since 2004.

Grizzlies 107, Bucks 102

At Milwaukee, Rudy Gay scored 26 points to help Memphis hold off Milwaukee.

Marc Gasol added 19 for Memphis.

Richard Jefferson scored 24 for the Bucks, who remain mathematically alive - just barely - for the playoffs but now would need to win their final four games and wind up in an unlikely multiteam tie for the final spot to get in.

Nuggets 120, Clippers 104

At Denver, the Nuggets had plenty of firepower and defense even without Kenyon Martin to beat the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers for their 11th win in 12 games.

J.R. Smith led the Nuggets in scoring for the second straight game with a scintillating 34-point performance off the bench, and Carmelo Anthony added 18 points.

Zach Randolph led L.A. with 22 points, and DeAndre Jordan added 21.

The Nuggets' winning ways have them on the cusp of earning home-court advantage in a playoff series for the first time since the 1988 Western Conference semifinals.


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