Pistons and Heat Win Division Titles
Thursday, April 12th 2007, 8:13 am
News On 6
The Detroit Pistons clinched the Central Division and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, but skipped the celebration after beating the Orlando Magic 104-99 on Wednesday night.
``That's nothing,'' Tayshaun Prince said in a low-key locker room after the game. ``After what Joe Dumars has brought here, and what we've accomplished on the floor, we're not going to get excited about this.
``We're not going to celebrate a thing unless we win it all.''
The Miami Heat are also repeat division champions, locking up the Southeast Division with an 85-82 victory over the Washington Wizards.
That's not the repeat the Heat are looking for.
``Of course our goal is higher,'' Dwyane Wade said. ``Our goal is to get to the championship and defend our title. This was something we expected coming in, but it was hard on us.''
It's too late for the Nuggets to be a division champion, but they might scare one in the playoffs. Denver clinched a playoff spot with a 115-106 victory at Utah.
``It's a situation where we know we're dangerous and we have a lot of weapons and we continue to keep our composure and have some mental toughness in the fourth quarter,'' Denver coach George Karl said.
In other games, it was: Philadelphia 102, Boston 94; Indiana 104, Milwaukee 98; San Antonio 109, Sacramento 100; Dallas 105, Minnesota 88; Phoenix 109, Seattle 91; and Houston 99, Portland 95.
Allen Iverson had 22 points and 12 assists, and Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points for the Nuggets, who have won seven straight games to climb into sixth place in the West.
``What I'm happy about is we're just approaching every game the same way,'' Iverson said. ``We won six games in a row, but we didn't care about that. We was concerned about this game here tonight.''
The Jazz have lost a season-high five in a row and could be starting the playoffs on the road despite being the Northwest Division champion.
``There are lessons to be learned from the last two or three weeks. We've kind of destroyed a little bit of a great season,'' Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. ``Look at where this team could have been if we just had a little more effort on three or four different occasions.''
Miami also could be opening the playoffs on the road despite a division title. But considering how much the Heat struggled earlier this season, that won't seem so bad.
``To battle back from six games under .500, to come back and win the division is a tremendous confidence boost for everybody,'' Antoine Walker said.
Pacers 104, Bucks 98
At Milwaukee, Mike Dunleavy scored 25 points, including four free throws in the final 7.7 seconds, and Indiana pulled within a game of eighth-place Orlando.
Mavericks 105, Timberwolves 88
With Dirk Nowitzki and Jerry Stackhouse resting at home, Josh Howard and Jason Terry scored 16 points apiece to lead Dallas to its franchise-record 30th road victory.
Minnesota announced shortly before game time that All-Star Kevin Garnett is out indefinitely with an injured right quadriceps. The Timberwolves lost their sixth straight home game, their longest skid since a franchise-record 14-game streak in 1994.
Spurs 109, Kings 100
Tim Duncan scored 26 points, Michael Finley added 19, and San Antonio won its season-best ninth straight at home.
With four games remaining, the Spurs (57-21) have a shot at their second consecutive 60-win season and their third in the last five seasons. They have won five straight and 11 of 12.
Suns 109, SuperSonics 91
At Phoenix, Shawn Marion had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and the Suns stayed two games ahead of San Antonio for the No. 2 playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Leandro Barbosa added 20 points as six Suns reached double figures in the team's 59th victory of the season. Rashard Lewis scored 30 for the Sonics and Mike Wilks added a career-high 20 points.
Rockets 99, Blazers 95
Tracy McGrady scored 32 points and Houston defeated short-handed Portland for its 50th win. Yao Ming added 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Rockets, who won their fifth straight road game.
Portland, which trailed by as many as 25 points, has lost seven of nine. The Blazers had just 10 players available for the game.
76ers 102, Celtics 94
At Boston, Steven Hunter tied a career high with 20 points and Louis Williams also tied a career high with 18 to lead Philadelphia to its third straight victory.
Ryan Gomes scored a game-high 26 points to lead the Celtics, who lost their fifth straight after announcing that leading scorer Paul Pierce would miss the rest of the season with a sore left elbow.