Thu, Apr 15, 2010 - Page 19 News List

NBA: Bulls defeat Celtics to bolster playoff chances

AFP AND AP , CHICAGO

Derrick Rose finished with a career-high 39 points and Kirk Hinrich added 30 as Chicago beat Boston 101-93 on Tuesday to boost their National Basketball Association playoff chances.

“I thought we played hard in stretches,” coach Doc Rivers said. “Rose was spectacular tonight. Him and Hinrich single-handedly carried the game for them.”

The eighth-place Bulls lead Toronto by a game in the Eastern Conference and will make the playoffs as long as they finish with a better regular season record.

The Bulls needed to beat Charlotte yesterday or for the Raptors to lose to New York.

The Celtics, who got Kevin Garnett back on Tuesday, lost their sixth game in the past nine and now have no hope of catching third seed Atlanta.

Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 28 points, and Ray Allen scored 25. Garnett finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. The coaching staff decided to rest him in the last game.

“One game left and we’ve got everyone healthy going into the playoffs, which was the No. 1 goal of the season,” Pierce said.

The Bulls seized control with a 14-4 run to start the final quarter.

Rose finished with 17 points in the fourth. Hinrich chipped in 10, including a jumper that made it 95-88 with 43.7 seconds left.

Chicago trailed 68-67 entering the fourth, but scored the first six points.

LAKERS 106, KINGS 100

At Los Angeles, Pau Gasol had 28 points and eight rebounds, Shannon Brown scored 24 points and Kobe Bryant rested as the Lakers finished their regular-season home schedule with a 106-100 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Sasha Vujacic scored 13 points for the Lakers, who had lost six of nine heading into Tuesday’s game.

“Pau and Shannon led us in scoring and we had some help off the bench,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said.

Tyreke Evans scored 10 points before his superb rookie season ended with a third-quarter ejection.

Sacramento wrapped up their fourth straight losing season with their 11th defeat in 12 games.

Bryant sat out with a sprained ankle and a broken finger. Lakers giant center Andrew Bynum missed his 12th straight game with a strained Achilles’ tendon. Both players should suit up this weekend when the top-seeded Lakers open defense of their NBA title.

JAZZ 103, WARRIORS 94

At Oakland, California, Mehmet Okur had 23 points and seven rebounds, and Paul Millsap grabbed a career-high 24 rebounds as Utah swept the three-game season series against Golden State despite losing leading scorer Carlos Boozer to an early injury.

Boozer strained his right ribcage while playing all 12 minutes of the opening period. He was taken to the locker room for X-rays at the start of the second quarter, but didn’t return. He had five points and four rebounds before departing.

The Jazz were to wrap up the season yesterday at home against Phoenix in a game that will determine both teams’ playoff seedings. Utah, riding a 10-game home winning streak, could be as high as the No. 2 seed or fall to fifth.

SUNS 123, NUGGETS 101

At Phoenix, Amare Stoudemire scored 26 points, and Steve Nash had 18 points and 10 assists before sitting out the fourth quarter as Phoenix completed a rout of Denver to earn homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Suns made 14 of 24 3-pointers, 11 of 17 in the first three quarters. Phoenix jumped to an 18-2 lead and the Nuggets never cut it to single digits after the first quarter.

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