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Pacers' power pounds Pistons

DANNY Granger scored 24 points to spark the Indiana Pacers to a 106-102 victory over the playoff-bound Detroit Pistons on Saturday.

Granger iced the win with two free throws with five seconds left while Brandon Rush added 21 points for Indiana, which at 35-45 is out of the running for a playoff spot.

"When they (the Pistons) took the lead we hung tough and did what we had to," Pacers coach Jim O'Brien said.

Jarrett Jack and T.J. Ford also recorded 18 points apiece for the home team.

Richard Hamilton scored 23 points to lead Detroit (39-41), which clinched an eighth consecutive postseason berth on Friday.

The Pistons hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and trail the Chicago Bulls by one game in the race for seventh with two games left in the regular season.

The Pistons host Chicago tomorrow.

"We're already near the bottom in the playoffs and we can't worry about who we play," Hamilton said. "We just need to know we've made it to the playoffs and we need to make a run."

In other National Basketball Association games, it was: Magic 103, Nets 93; Warriors 118, Jazz 108; Bulls 113, Bobcats 106; Trail Blazers 87, Clippers 72; Suns 110, Timberwolves 97; and Bucks 115, Thunder 98.

In Indianapolis, Tayshaun Prince contributed 18 points, Antonio McDyess had 16 points and 15 rebounds and Will Bynum finished with 16 points.

"There is no worst-case scenario for us right now," said Prince. "Hopefully we can go in there and do some damage (in the playoffs). I don't think being the eighth-seed that we're in a situation we can't handle."

Detroit, which trailed by 12 points with nine minutes to play, grabbed the lead at 100-99 on Hamilton's three-pointer with two minutes remaining.

With the Pistons ahead 102-101, the Pacers scored the next five points, Jack sinking the game-clinching basket on a lay-up with 37 seconds to play.

"It's hard playing a team with nothing to lose," Bynum said. "You have to match their energy and try to grind it out."

In East Rutherford, New Jersey, the Orlando Magic's desperate bid for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference was ended by a loss to the New Jersey Nets.

The Magic may have lost more than the No. 2 seed. Star forward Hedo Turkoglu hurt his left ankle with 6:51 left in the game and he had to be helped to the locker room. There was no immediate word on his condition.

Vince Carter had 27 points and nine assists for the Nets, who played without All-Star guard Devin Harris, suffering from shoulder injury.

In Salt Lake City, C.J. Watson scored a career-high 38 points as an undermanned Golden State downed playoff-bound Utah.

Robert Kurz also had a career best with 21 points, and Golden State won despite only being able to use seven players.

Watson made all 16 foul shots and had nine assists and seven rebounds.


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