Warriors, Clippers Go To The Wire For Last Playoff Berth
Wednesday, April 18th 2007, 7:43 am
News On 6
The Warriors and Clippers are taking it to the limit in pursuit of an NBA playoff berth.
Going into the final night of the season, Golden State leads Los Angeles by one game in the Western Conference race. The Warriors beat Dallas 111-82 Tuesday night and heads to Portland for its finale. The Clippers won 103-99 at Phoenix and finish at home against New Orleans.
``Win or go home. What better way?'' asked Warriors guard Baron Davis. ``Who would have thought we would be in this position at the end of the year? The mission is not over. We win tomorrow, that's when the mission starts.''
The Warriors haven't been on such a mission since 1994, the last time they made the playoffs. So after the Mavericks, who have the league's best record, rested Dirk Nowitzki, Jerry Stackhouse, Erick Dampier and Josh Howard, Golden State romped. And began looking to Portland.
``Y'all are going to see us next week, playing Dallas or Phoenix,'' Al Harrington told the crowd.
The Warriors actually could finish seventh in the West if they win and the Lakers lose to Sacramento. And, of course, Golden State (41-40) can go home early if its falls against the Trail Blazers while the Clippers (40-41, but with the tiebreaker) beat the Hornets.
``I think it's going to be one of the toughest games we'll have all year,'' Warriors coach Don Nelson said. ``It's just a feeling that I have.''
Mickael Pietrus scored 22 points and Matt Barnes had 19 against Dallas.
Elsewhere on Tuesday night, it was: Orlando 95, Washington 889; Cleveland 98, Philadelphia 92; Detroit 100, Toronto 84; and Atlanta 118, Indiana 102.
Phoenix wasn't as easy on the Clippers as Dallas was on the Warriors, playing its regulars all night. But the desperate Clippers responded with a strong effort.
Elton Brand scored 21 points to lead six Clippers in double figures. Jason Hart made two free throws with 7.8 seconds left to seal the win and deprive the Suns of a 62nd victory in their regular-season finale. That would have tied the franchise record.
Brand said the Clippers should never have found themselves in this precarious situation anyway.
``Just two weeks ago we were fighting for seventh,'' he said. ``We still have to go out and handle our business tomorrow. All in all, it's still disappointing that it had to come down to this.''
Leandro Barbosa scored 22 for the Suns.
Cavaliers 98, 76ers 92
Larry Hughes scored 22 points and LeBron James had 18, preserving visiting Cleveland's chances for the second seed in the Eastern Conference.
The Cavaliers could move up to No. 2 if they beat Milwaukee on Wednesday night and New Jersey beats Chicago.
James added six assists in an all-around solid game and led a well-balanced Cavaliers attack that had six players score in double figures.
Joe Smith had 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Sixers. Willie Green scored 24 points.
Magic 95, Wizards 89
Orlando overcame Antawn Jamison's 48 points and kept up a last-minute push to improve its playoff seeding.
Hedo Turkoglu scored 26 points to lead the Magic, who are eighth in the East, but could move up to seventh if they beat Miami.
If they do move up, it will be largely at the expense of the Wizards, who have lost eight of nine and six straight at home _ most of them without their two injured All-Stars, Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler.
Pistons 100, Raptors 84
Neither team had anything to play for _ the Pistons are locked into the East's top seed and the Raptors will be No. 3, but Detroit coach Flip Saunders didn't want a repeat of his team's feeble loss to Philadelphia.
So, while Toronto's Chris Bosh and Anthony Parker spent the night in street clothes, host Detroit played its normal rotation until the game got out of hand.
Unfortunately for the Raptors, Morris Peterson was still on the floor in the final minutes when he appeared to hyperextend his right knee. He limped off the floor, and was helped back to the locker room.
Hawks 118, Pacers 102
At Atlanta, the Hawks set season highs for points in a quarter and a half as they finished another disappointing season by beating the Pacers. The Hawks missed the playoffs for the eighth straight season, but reached 30 wins for the first time since the 2002-03 season.
Tyronn Lue and Josh Smith each scored 25 points to lead four Hawks with more than 20. Marvin Williams added 23 and rookie Shelden Williams set a career high with 21.
Backup forward Ike Diogu led Indiana with 20 points.