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Cavaliers slam Wizards 98-86

LEBRON James scored 21 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers avenged an embarrassing loss to one of the league's worst teams by thumping the rival Washington Wizards 98-86 yesterday.

The Cavs improved to 38 wins and won loss at home and became the first team in NBA history to have two 15-game winning streaks at home in the same season. If Cleveland can beat Boston (Sunday) and Philadelphia (next Wednesday) in its final two games at Quicken Loans Arena, the Cavs will match the 1985-86 Celtics, whose 40-1 home mark is the league's all-time best.

Mo Williams scored 14 points and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 13 rebounds for the Cavs, who also inched closer to locking up the best record in East.

Nick Young scored 16 to lead the Wizards, who stunned Cleveland last week and handed the Cavs two of their 15 losses this season.

Celtics 106, Nets 104

At Boston, Rajon Rondo had 31 points, nine rebounds and five assists as Boston overcame an early 10-point deficit and a last-minute scare to beat New Jersey.

The Celtics, coming off four days of rest, assured themselves of a lead over the Orlando Magic in the race for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, and kept the Cavs from locking up best record in the East.

Vince Carter had 33 points and 12 rebounds for the Nets, who were eliminated from the playoff race when Detroit beat New York earlier last night.

Mavericks 130, Jazz 101

At Dallas, the Mavericks clinched the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and took a huge step to possibly avoiding 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, for the Mavericks.

Dallas and Utah are tied seventh place, a game behind sixth-place New Orleans, with four games left. The season series is even.

The Mavs' victory eliminated Phoenix from the playoff contention.

Deron Williams scored 18 points to lead all five Utah starters in double figures, and also had 12 assists. Andrei Kirilenko had 17 points.

Nuggets 122, Thunder 112

At Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points to help Denver beat 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.

Nene added 23 points and Chauncey Billups 18, while Chris Andersen blocked seven shots.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 31 points and Jeff Green added 24.

Trail Blazers 95, Spurs 83

At San Antonio, Brandon Roy scored 26 points as Portland took a big stride in the race for home-court advantage with a win over San Antonio.

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

Roger Mason scored 18 points for the Spurs.

Suns 105, Hornets 100

At New Orleans, Steve Nash had 24 points and 17 assists as Phoenix survived a late rally by New Orleans.

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.

Chris Paul had 29 points and 16 assists, and David West had 28 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans.

Magic 81, Grizzlies 78

At Orlando, Florida, Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points and Dwight Howard added 14 as Orlando rallied to beat Memphis.

J.J. Redick had all nine 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.

Rudy Gay had 18 points, and Mike Conley and O.J. Mayo had 17 points each for the Grizzlies.

Hawks 113, Bucks 105

At Milwaukee, Atlanta beat Milwaukee to take another step toward earning home-court advantage for the first round of the playoffs.

Joe Johnson scored 30 points and made a pair of big shots down the stretch for the Hawks.

Keith Bogans scored 22 for the Bucks, who were eliminated from playoff contention over the weekend and have lost four straight.

Pistons 113, Knicks 86

At New York, Richard Hamilton scored 22 points, and Rasheed Wallace had 14 points and 12 rebounds as Detroit rolled into a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

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.

Al Harrington scored 26 points and Wilson Chandler had 23 for New York, which lost for the 12th time in 14 games and will need to win its final three to avoid another 50-loss season.

Pacers 130, Raptors 101

At Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored 29 points, and Indiana had its highest point total and largest margin of victory of the season in a win over 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.

Chris Bosh had 21 points and nine rebounds in Toronto's third straight loss.

Timberwolves 105, Warriors 97

At Oakland, California, Sebastian Telfair scored 21 points, including a pair of key 3-pointers down the stretch, and Kevin Love added 20 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota.

Love, who didn't play in Sunday's game against Denver due to the flu, sat out the entire fourth quarter but still finished with his 18th double-doubles in the last 32 games.

Jamal Crawford scored 31 points to pace Golden State.


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