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Blazers beat Lakers at home yet again

THE Portland Trail Blazers extended their impressive home winning streak over Los Angeles by beating the Lakers 106-98 in the NBA yesterday.

Brandon Roy had 24 points and eight assists for the Trail Blazers, who have won eight in a row over the Lakers at home.

Kobe Bryant scored 32 points for the Lakers, but missed a key 3-pointer, had a crucial turnover and missed a jump shot in the final minute.

The Lakers played without coach Phil Jackson, who didn't travel with the team because of pain in his lower right leg, and fell 1-1/2 games behind Cleveland for the best record in the NBA and home-court advantage throughout the postseason.

Cavaliers 102, 76ers 92

In Philadelphia, Cleveland clinched the No. 1 playoff seed and home-court advantage in the NBA's Eastern Conference playoffs by beating Philadelphia.

LeBron James had 27 points and 10 assists and Wally Szczerbiak scored a season-high 18 for the Cavaliers. Their homecourt advantage in the playoffs is significant given their record there this season is 38-1.

The Sixers have lost four straight since clinching a playoff berth.

Celtics 105, Heat 98

In Boston, Paul Pierce scored 21 of his 28 points in the second half, including the go-ahead late free throws, to lead Boston over Miami.

The Heat tied the game 95-95 with just under two minutes left, but Boston scored the next eight points to pull away.

Spurs 105, Jazz 99

In San Antonio, the hosts won to bury Utah further back in the playoff race.

The Jazz have lost five of six and slipped closer to having to face the dominant Lakers in the first round. Utah has just three games left to climb out of the No. 8 seed and secure a more favorable matchup.

Utah has not won in San Antonio since 1999, a streak spanning 23 games.

Tony Parker scored 31 points for the Spurs.

Mavericks 100, Hornets 92

In Dallas, the hosts beat New Orleans, leaving the teams tied for sixth seed in the Western Conference.

The two teams will meet again Sunday in New Orelans.

Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki each scored 25 points and the Mavericks won their third straight, holding off a late rally led by Chris Paul. Paul had 42 points, one shy of his career high, with nine rebounds and seven assists.

Knicks 105, Magic 95

In Orlando, Florida, New York dealt a crushing blow to Orlando's hopes of getting the Eastern Conference's second seed.

Al Harrington scored 27 points and Wilson Chandler had 22 to help the Knicks avoid a season sweep by the Magic, who won the first three games against New York this season.

Orlando fell two games behind Boston for the East's No. 2 spot. With three games left and Boston owning the tiebreaker, the Magic are likely to finish with the third seed.

Rockets 113, Warriors 109

In Oakland, California, Houston maintained its hold on third seed in the Western Conference by edging Golden State.

Luis Scola had a career-high 28 points, and Dikembe Mutombo had 10 points and 15 rebounds.

Making a rare start after center Yao Ming was scratched because of a sore foot, the 42-year-old Mutombo blocked four shots and played a season-high 36 minutes while helping the Rockets complete a four-game season sweep of the Warriors.

Houston remained a half-game in front of Portland and San Antonio for the third seed in the West.

Golden State overcame a 14-point deficit in the second half before falling short.

Hawks 122, Pacers 118

In Atlanta, the home side edged Indiana to clinch fourth spot in the Eastern Conference.

Josh Smith scored 30 points and Joe Johnson had 24 as the Hawks earned home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Indiana was eliminated from playoff contention.

Pistons 100, Nets 93

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Detroit clinched a playoff spot by defeating New Jersey.

Will Bynum scored 20 points and Rasheed Wallace added 15 for the Pistons, who will be in the postseason for the eighth straight year, but still needs two wins in their final three games to finish with a .500 record.

Grizzlies 106, Suns 89

In Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis snapped a 10-game losing streak by beating Phoenix.

Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo scored 20 points apiece for the Grizzlies.

While shooting 47 percent, Phoenix committed 22 turnovers, only three short of its season high.

Thunder 84, Bobcats 81

In Oklahoma City, the hosts knocked Charlotte out of playoff contention.

Kevin Durant had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, playing the last home game of its inaugural season.

The Bobcats got within two points but missed their final shot with 2.2 seconds left.

Wizards 100, Raptors 98

In Toronto, Caron Butler made a jump shot at the buzzer to give Washington victory over Toronto.

The Wizards nearly blew a six-point lead in the final minute.

Clippers 109, Kings 78

In Los Angeles, the home team snapped a six-game losing streak by thrashing Sacramento.

Brian Skinner scored a season-high 21 points and Eric Gordon added 20 in a clash of two lottery-bound teams hoping to land the first overall pick in the NBA draft.

The Kings shot a miserable 32.6 percent from the field.


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