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Los Angeles Lakers guard Jodie Meeks (second from left), has his shot blocked by New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith (second from right), as center Tyson Chandler (left), and forward Amar’e Stoudemire defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game
Lakers rip Knicks in Phil return to LA Cavs prevent Raptors from getting closer to playoffs

LOS ANGELES, March 26, (AFP): Reserve Xavier Henry scored 22 points and the Los Angeles Lakers routed the New York Knicks 127-96 Tuesday in a showdown of Phil Jackson’s current and former clubs.
Jackson, who coached a record 11 NBA championship clubs, was named the president of basketball operations for the Knicks earlier this month. Jackson, who is engaged to top Lakers executive Jeanie Buss, guided the Lakers to five NBA crowns after coaching the Chicago Bulls to six NBA crowns in the 1990s with Michael Jordan leading the way on the court. The man charged with turning New York into a winner had a luxury box seat to view the Knicks, who desperately need every victory to try and reach the playoffs, being outclassed by the Lakers, who are already assured of missing the playoffs.

“(This) gives us confidence,” Lakers playmaker Xavier Henry said. “We’re going to keep pushing. We’re still building. We’re wanting to show these fans we’re still building up. We’re not quitters. We’re going to show up and do the best we can. “We’ve got guys who are young who want to come out here and play hard and help this team win.” The Lakers, who led 50-42 at half-time, scored a season-high point total and produced 51 points in the third quarter, the most by the Lakers in any quarter in team history. The Lakers hit 18-of-28 3-point shots, with Nick Young connecting on 5-of-6 on his way to 19 points, while Kent Bazemore added 18 points and Chris Kaman added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which shot 58 percent from the floor.

Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 29 points while Tim Hardaway Jnr came off the bench to score 17 points and Amare Stoudemire added 16 points for New York. The Lakers improved to 24-46 while the Knicks sank to 29-42, three games behind Atlanta for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth with 11 games to play.

Mavericks 128, Thunder 119
In Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki scored seven of his 32 points in overtime, leading the Dallas Mavericks to a 128-119 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. Nowitzki also had 10 rebounds and six assists. In Dallas’ loss to Brooklyn on Sunday, he was 2 for 12 from the field in his worst shooting performance of the season. Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 43 points. He has scored at least 25 in 36 consecutive games in the longest such streak since Michael Jordan’s 40-game run during the 1986-87 season. Dallas had seven players score in double figures. Jose Calderon went 6 for 8 from 3-point range and finished with 22 points. Russell Westbrook scored 23 for Oklahoma City. All of his points came in regulation, when he played 31:50. He added another minute in overtime. Westbrook is limited to 30 to 32 minutes per game because of his oft-injured right knee. The Mavericks scored the first five points of the extra period on two free throws by Nowitzki and a 3-pointer by Calderon. They never trailed again.

Cavaliers 102, Raptors 100
In Cleveland, Dion Waiters scored 24 points and Luol Deng added 19 as Cleveland prevented Toronto from getting closer to a playoff spot. Dion Waiters scored 24 points and Luol Deng added 19 as the Cleveland Cavaliers prevented Toronto from getting closer to a playoff spot with a 102-100 win over the Raptors on Tuesday night. The Cavs blew a 21-point lead, but made just enough plays down the stretch to snap a five-game losing streak at home. They did it without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who missed his fifth straight game with a strained biceps tendon. Kyle Lowry scored 22 for the Raptors, who had a chance to tie it in the final seconds but guard Greivis Vasquez lost his footing and committed a turnover with 1.9 seconds left. Toronto led 95-94 with 6:45 remaining, but went just 1 of 9 from the floor and scored five points the rest of the way. Tristan Thompson added 15 points and 13 rebounds for Cleveland.

Magic 95, Trail Blazers 85
In Orlando, Florida,Tobias Harris had 25 points and 11 rebounds as Orlando stopped a nine-game losing streak. Nik Vucevic added 22 points and 10 boards for the Magic, who led by just eight at the half but used scoring spurts in the third and fourth quarters to put the game away. Victor Oladipo had 13 points and six assists. Robin Lopez led Portland with 20 points and 13 rebounds. The Blazers, who entered the night in fifth place in the West, have lost three straight. They were without forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who missed his seventh consecutive game with a lower back contusion. The Magic closed the third quarter on an 11-2 run and increased their lead to 19 in the opening minutes of the fourth.

NBA Results/Standings

WASHINGTON, March 26, (Agencies): Results and standings on Tuesday in the NBA:
LA Lakers    127    New York Knicks    96
Cleveland    102    Toronto    100
Orlando    95    Portland    85
Dallas    128    Oklahoma    119 (OT)

Eastern Conference
Atlantic Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
Toronto    39    31    .557    -
Brooklyn    37    32    .536    1-1/2
NY Knicks    29    42    .408    10-1/2
Boston    23    47    .329    16
Philadelphia    15    56    .211    24-1/2
Central Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
Indiana    51    20    .718    -
Chicago    40    31    .563    11
Cleveland    28    44    .389    23-1/2
Detroit    26    44    .371    24-1/2
Milwaukee    13    58    .183    38
Southeast Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
Miami    48    21    .696    -
Washington    36    34    .514    12-1/2
Charlotte    34    37    .479    15
Atlanta    31    38    .449    17
Orlando    20    52    .278    29-1/2
Western Conference
Northwest Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
Oklahoma City    52    19    .732    -
Portland    45    27    .625    7-1/2
Minnesota    34    35    .493    17
Denver    32    39    .451    20
Utah    23    48    .324    29
Pacific Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
LA Clippers    50    21    .704    -
Golden State    44    27    .620    6
Phoenix    42    29    .592    8
Sacramento    25    45    .357    24-1/2
LA Lakers    24    46    .343    25-1/2
Southwest Division
    W    L    PCT    GB
San Antonio    54    16    .771    -
Houston    48    22    .686    6
Memphis    42    28    .600    12
Dallas    43    29    .597    12
New Orleans    30    40    .429    24

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