Pistons Open Lead...Mavs Drive 55 Again

Wednesday, March 21st 2007, 8:21 am
By: News On 6

UNDATED (AP) _ Things are a little more interesting in the NBA's Western Conference standings, where five teams are separated by just two and a-half games in the race for the final playoff berth.

Golden State had sole possession of the 8th seed before losing at Utah 104-100. Carlos Boozer had 25 points and tied his career high with 21 rebounds as the Jazz snapped a four-game skid and move closer to wrapping up the Northwest Division title.

The Los Angeles Clippers beat the Bulls in Chicago 103-89 to pull even with the Warriors in the West standings. Cuttino Mobley finished with 25 points, Corey Maggette had 22 and Elton Brand contributed 21 as the Clippers won for only the third time in ten games.

New Orleans is within a half-game of the Warriors following the Hornets' 114-103 win at Memphis. David West dropped in 26 points and Chris Paul added 23 as New Orleans won for the third time in four games.

Minnesota fell two and a-half games off the pace while allowing Phoenix to clinch its third straight Pacific Division title. Raja Bell scored 16 of his 22 points in the 3rd quarter of the Suns' 108-90 win over the Timberwolves. Steve Nash added 18 points and 11-assists for the Suns, who pulled away with a 14-0 run in the 3rd period.

The Detroit Pistons have expanded their Eastern Conference lead to two and a-half games over Cleveland. Tayshaun Prince scored 30 points and the Pistons halted a three-game home losing streak by crushing Philadelphia 96-75. Richard Hamilton added 18 points for the Pistons.

The Cavaliers ended an eight-game winning streak with a 108-100 overtime loss at Charlotte. Gerald Wallace scored 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, while Walter Herrmann added a career-high 19 points.

The NBA schedule included the Houston Rockets' fourth straight win, 86-76, over Indiana. Yao Ming finished with 32 points and 14 rebounds while Tracy McGrady added 20 points and 10 assists.

Washington's Southeast Division lead is down to a-half game over Miami after LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points to lead Portland past the Wizards 100-98. Brandon Roy had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who trailed by 9 at halftime.

The Dallas Mavericks beat New York 92-77 to reach the 55-win mark for the third straight year. Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard scored 24 points apiece as the Mavericks won their third in a row to move closer to clinching home court throughout the NBA playoffs.

Carmelo Anthony scored 12 of his 30 points in the 4th quarter of the Denver Nuggets' fifth straight win, a 94-90 triumph at New Jersey. Allen Iverson added 20 points, including a clinching free throw in the final seconds to help the Nuggets win at New Jersey for the first time since 2000.