Jason Kidd had 19 points, a season-high 20 assists and a major career milestone — all in just three quarters — to help Dallas to a 140-116 victory over Phoenix on Sunday, virtually assuring the Mavericks of grabbing no worse than the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Dallas has a four-game lead with five games left. Because the Mavs won the season series, they hold the tiebreaker over the Suns, so Phoenix must finish 5-0 and Dallas 0-5 for the teams to trade places in the standings.
Put another way, any Mavs win or Suns loss clinches a ninth straight postseason trip for Dallas and ends a streak of four straight playoff trips for Phoenix.
Kidd’s 14th assist gave him 10,142 for his career, passing Magic Johnson for No. 3 on the NBA’s list. Among those who gave him a standing ovation was broadcaster Mark Jackson, who is second with 10,334.
CAVALIERS 101, SPURS 81
At Cleveland, Ohio, LeBron James scored 38 points while Mo Williams and Delonte West added 22 apiece as the NBA’s best home team avoided its first three-game losing streak.
Embarrassed in a 29-point loss in Orlando, a humbling defeat that came one day after a humiliating loss at lowly Washington, Cleveland played with purpose at both ends and improved to 37-1 at home. If they can win their final three home games, the Cavs would match the 1985-1986 Boston Celtics (40-1) for the best home record in NBA history.
Tony Parker scored 24 for San Antonio but got no help from Manu Ginobili (four points) or Tim Duncan, who had just six and didn’t score after the 2:56 mark of the first quarter.
JAZZ 108, HORNETS 94
At New Orleans, Ronnie Brewer scored 23 points as the Utah Jazz completed a convincing season sweep of New Orleans.
In other games it was:
• Pistons 104, Bobcats 97
• Knicks 112, Raptors 103
• Nuggets 110, Timberwolves 87
• Rockets 102, Trail Blazers 88
• Nets 96, 76ers 67
• Warriors 105, Kings 100
• Lakers 88, Clippers 85