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Archive for Thursday, April 11, 2002

NBA Roundup: Celtics clinch home court in first round

April 11, 2002

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— The Celtics' first playoff appearance since 1995 will begin in Boston.

Antoine Walker hit a three-pointer to tie the game and a baby hook to give the Celtics the lead for good Wednesday night as they clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a 70-65 victory over the Miami Heat.

"My first playoff. It's nice we don't have to start out on the road," said Walker, who joined the Celtics in 1996. "Hopefully, that will be the edge we need."

With the loss, Miami was eliminated from playoff contention  the first quiet postseason in coach Pat Riley's 20-year career.

"I am a tremendous admirer of Pat Riley and their players," Celtics' coach Jim O'Brien said. "They faced unbelievable adversity and never blinked and just kept playing hard."

It was the lowest-scoring game in the NBA this season, slipping under Toronto's 72-70 victory over Philadelphia on March 31. Boston scored only 12 points in the third quarter and Miami had just nine in the fourth.

"After the game, (assistant coach) Dick Harter said, 'This is what playoff basketball is going to be like, so get ready for it,'" Walker said.

Paul Pierce had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Walker scored 21, coming alive in the fourth as Boston went on a 13-3 run over the final 4:32 to turn a five-point deficit into a five-point win. Alonzo Mourning and Eddie Jones each had 16 points for the Heat, who arrived in Boston at 4:30 a.m. after beating Houston in double-overtime on Tuesday night.

Kings 118, Warriors 116

Oakland, Calif. Â Chris Webber had 31 points and 12 rebounds as Sacramento clinched at least a tie for the NBA's best record with its 10th straight victory. Sacramento led by 20 points just eight minutes in, but the Kings barely held off the inspired Warriors, who have the league's second-worst record.

Spurs 87, Nuggets 79

San Antonio  Tim Duncan had 16 points and 11 rebounds, ending his streak of 24 consecutive games with at least 20 points, as San Antonio defeated Denver. San Antonio, which won its fifth straight game overall and its 12th consecutive home game.

Bulls 102, Pistons 101

Auburn Hills, Mich. Â Jalen Rose scored 24 points and rookie Tyson Chandler added a career-best 21 points and 12 rebounds to help Chicago defeat Detroit. The win was Chicago's first against the newly-crowed Central Division champs since Jan. 22, 2000, ending an eight-game losing streak.

Pacers 98, Raptors 82

Indianapolis  Indiana's slim playoff hopes are still alive. Jermaine O'Neal scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds and Brad Miller added 23 points and 11 rebounds as the Pacers beat Toronto.

Wizards 90, 76ers 77

Washington  Michael Jordan emerged from the locker room at the start of the second half, took a seat at the end of the bench and watched his Washington Wizards hold off Philadelphia. Washington blew a 17-point halftime lead before closing the game with a 13-0 run over the last three minutes. Richard Hamilton scored 21 points.

Cavaliers 106, Bucks 81

Cleveland  Wesley Person scored 23 points to lead Cleveland over Milwaukee, extending the Bucks' road losing streak to 10 games. Milwaukee lost for the 14th time in 18 games overall.

Hawks 101, Hornets 95

Charlotte, N.C. Â Shareef Abdur-Rahim scored 33 points, including a dunk with 17 seconds to play that sealed Atlanta's victory over Charlotte and prevented the Hornets from clinching a playoff spot.

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