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Lakers secure 7th playoff seed Anthony wins scoring title

LOS ANGELES, April 18, (AP): Steve Blake scored 24 points, Pau Gasol added his seventh career triple-double, and the Los Angeles Lakers secured the seventh playoff seed in the Western Conference with a 99-95 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.
Dwight Howard had 16 points and 18 rebounds, and the All-Star center blocked James Harden’s shot in the final seconds of overtime for the Lakers, who only clinched a playoff berth about 10 minutes before tipoff in their season finale.
After winning once more without Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash, Los Angeles will face second-seeded San Antonio in the first round.
Chandler Parsons hit a tying 3-pointer from three steps behind the line at the regulation buzzer for the Rockets, who will face top-seeded Oklahoma City after losing four of six to end the regular season.


Warriors 99, Trail Blazers 88
In Portland, Oregon, Stephen Curry set a NBA single-season record for 3-pointers with 272 and Golden State defeated Portland in the teams’ season finale.
It was the 13th straight loss for the Blazers, equaling the franchise record set in the 1971-72 season.
Curry surpassed Ray Allen’s single-season 3-point total of 269 set in 2005-06. Needing two for the record, Curry opened the game with two straight misses from beyond the arc, but hit his first midway through the first quarter before making the record-breaker with 6:49 to go in the second.
His backcourt teammate Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 24 points. Golden State earned the Western Conference’s sixth seed and will face Denver in the first round of the playoffs.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 30 points and a season-high 21 rebounds for Portland, which lost its eighth straight at home.


Grizzlies 86, Jazz 70
In Memphis, Tennessee, Zach Randolph had 25 points and 19 rebounds and Memphis ended Utah’s playoff hopes.
The Grizzlies’ victory meant the Los Angeles Lakers were assured of making the playoffs even before their late game against the Houston Rockets.
Mike Conley finished with 14 points for Memphis, which won its second straight and fifth in the past six. Darrell Arthur finished with 11 points for the Grizzlies, who took the West’s fifth seed and will facec the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round.


Bulls 95, Wizards 92
In Chicago, Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 15 rebounds to help the Bulls clinch the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a win over the Wizards in the regular-season finale.
Kirk Hinrich added 18 points and Nazr Mohammed had a season-high 17 for the Bulls, who will face the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round of the playoffs.
It sure wasn’t easy.
A.J. Price scored a career-high 24 points and John Wall overcame a slow start to finish with 23 for the Wizards, who kept coming back every time it looked as though the Bulls were ready to put them away.


Heat 105, Magic 93
In Miami, Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and handed out 10 assists, Mike Miller added 21 points and the Miami Heat wrapped up the regular season with a win over the Magic.
The Heat (66-16) became the 14th team in NBA history to finish with a winning percentage over .800, and did so with LeBron James away from the team for the day while tending to a personal matter.
Orlando finished with the NBA’s worst record, 20-62.


Knicks 98, Hawks 92
In New York, Carmelo Anthony won the scoring title without playing, and the Atlanta Hawks lost their chance to move up in the East standings.
Chris Copeland scored 33 points on a night that belonged to the benches, and the Knicks wrapped up their winningest season in 16 years by beating the Hawks.
With Anthony and just about every important player on either side sitting, the Knicks finished 54-28, their most victories since going 57-25 in 1996-97.


Nets 103, Pistons 99
In New York, Brook Lopez scored 20 points and reserve Andray Blatche added 15 as the playoff-bound Nets held off the Pistons.
Kris Humphries had 11 points and Joe Johnson added 10 for Brooklyn, winners of two straight. The Nets wrapped up their first regular season after leaving New Jersey and will open their first playoff series in six years at home against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday.
The Bulls clinched the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference when Atlanta lost to the New York Knicks.


Timberwolves 108, Spurs 95
In San Antonio, Derrick Williams had 21 points to help the Timberwolves beat the Spurs, ending a 16-game losing streak at San Antonio.
Chase Budinger added 15 points and Greg Stiemsma and Ricky Rubio had 12 points apiece for Minnesota, won on the Spurs’ home court for the first time since Jan. 14, 2004.
Gary Neal had 17 points, Tim Duncan had 17 points and 14 rebounds, Tony Parker had 15 points and eight assists for the Spurs, who had previously clinched the Western Conference’s second seed.


Raptors 114, Celtics 90
In Toronto, DeMar DeRozan scored 24 points, Rudy Gay had 19 points and nine rebounds, and the Toronto Raptors routed the Boston Celtics, finishing their season with five straight wins.
Jonas Valanciunas scored 18 points, Alan Anderson had 16 and Kyle Lowry had nine points and eight assists as the Raptors matched their longest winning streak of the season.


Bucks 95, Thunder 89
In Oklahoma City, Rookie John Henson scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, Brandon Jennings had 17 points and the Bucks beat the Thunder in a regular-season finale lacking any postseason implications.
Needing to score 70 points to surpass New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant conceded the NBA scoring title and joined starting center Kendrick Perkins and key reserves Kevin Martin and Nick Collison in suits on the Thunder bench.


Mavericks 99, Hornets 87
In Dallas, Darren Collison scored 25 points, Dirk Nowitzki added 16 and the Dallas Mavericks finished their worst season in 13 years on a winning note, beating New Orleans in its final game as the Hornets.
The Mavericks (41-41) avoided their first losing record since going 40-42 in 1999-2000 — also the last time they missed the playoffs.
Al-Farouq Amini had 16 points and a career-high 20 rebounds for New Orleans, which will become the Pelicans next season. Eric Gordon also scored 16 for the Hornets.


Bobcats 105, Cavaliers 98
In Charlotte, North Carolina, Kemba Walker had 24 points and seven assists, and the Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Cavaliers to avoid finishing in the NBA cellar for a second consecutive season.
The Bobcats (21-61) finished one game ahead of the Orlando Magic, who lost their season finale to the Miami Heat.
Josh McRoberts added 20 points and eight rebounds as the Bobcats closed the season with three straight wins, matching a season high.
Gerald Henderson added 15 points.
Kyrie Irving had 24 points and 10 assists for the Cavaliers, who finished with the third-worst record in the league (24-58) after losing 16 of their last 18 games, including their last six.


76ers 105, Pacers 95

In Indianapolis, Dorell Wright scored 23 points and Evan Turner added 16, leading Philadelphia to a victory over short-handed Indiana in what was likely Doug Collins’ final game as the 76ers coach.
The organization has already scheduled morning news conferences with the managing owner and Collins, who spent almost the entire game glued to his seat and spoke mostly with a hand covering his mouth.
Philadelphia (34-48) finished the season by winning three of its final four games but still out of the playoffs.


Nuggets 118, Suns 98
In Denver, the Denver Nuggets secured the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs by routing the Suns behind 21 points from Wilson Chandler and 20 from Andre Iguodala.
They will face sixth-seeded Golden State in the first round, opening at home-where they’ve won a franchise-best 23 straight games to finish with the league’s best home mark at 38-3, eclipsing the old record of 36-5 set in 1976-77, their first year in the NBA.
They also won an NBA franchise record 57 games overall, besting the 54-win seasons of 1987-88 and 2008-09.


Clippers 112, Kings 108
In Sacramento, California, Jamal Crawford scored 24 points, including several big shots down the stretch, and the Clippers locked up the No. 4 seed in the West and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists for the Pacific Division champion Clippers (56-26), who will open against fifth-seeded Memphis (56-26) in Los Angeles. The Clippers won three of four games against the Grizzlies this season.

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