Fri, Apr 27, 2012 - Page 19 News List

NBA: Bulls beat Pacers to close on No. 1 seed

TOP DOGS:The Bulls need only a win over Cleveland or a loss by the Spurs to claim top overall seed. San Antonio stayed tied with Chicago for best record by beating Phoenix

AP, INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns lays up a shot against the San Antonio Spurs during their NBA game at the US Airways Center in Phoenix, Arizona, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

The Chicago Bulls inched closer to claiming the top overall seed in the NBA playoffs by beating the Indiana Pacers 92-87 on Wednesday.

Kyle Korver scored 20 points and Carlos Boozer added 16 for the Bulls, who need just a win over Cleveland or a loss by the San Antonio Spurs to clinch the league’s top spot.

Lance Stephenson scored 22 points in his first career start for Indiana, who rested Danny Granger and Leandro Barbosa with the No. 3 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference locked up.

NUGGETS 106, THUNDER 101

In Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Denver are guaranteed to finish higher than No. 8 in the Western Conference after beating Oklahoma City.

Ty Lawson scored 25 points and Kenneth Faried added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Nuggets, who will be No. 6 if they win against Minnesota and therefore face the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of playoffs, or No. 7 and take on the Thunder.

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant scored 32 points to extend his lead in the NBA scoring race, leaving Kobe Bryant in need of 38 points in his season finale yesterday to prevent Durant from becoming the seventh player to win three straight scoring titles.

WIZARDS 96, CAVALIERS 85

In Cleveland, Ohio, Washington extended their winning streak to five games by defeating Cleveland.

John Wall had 21 points and 13 assists — including 12 points, six assists and four steals in the third quarter, in which he accounted for 24 of his team’s 28 points and helped the Wizards open a 14-point lead.

Washington’s winning streak is their longest in five years.

D.J. Kennedy led Cleveland with 12 points in his NBA debut.

SPURS 110, SUNS 106

In Phoenix, Arizona, San Antonio stayed tied with Chicago for the NBA’s best record with one game to play by beating Phoenix.

Patty Mills scored 27 points for the Spurs, who won despite resting Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, taking their ninth straight victory. San Antonio must win against Golden State and rely on Chicago losing, otherwise the Bulls will claim the tiebreaker.

The result of the game was overshadowed by the fact it could have been Steve Nash’s last in a Suns uniform. The 38-year-old point guard received rousing cheers. He is a free agent after this season.

76ERS 90, BUCKS 85

In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Evan Turner scored a career-high 29 points as Philadelphia beat Milwaukee despite resting some key players for the playoffs.

Jodie Meeks added 27 points for the 76ers, who rested Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young.

Brandon Jennings scored 19 points for the Bucks, who were already out of playoff contention and had only one regular starter in the game and nine players available in all.

KNICKS 99, CLIPPERS 93

In New York, the hosts closed in on the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference by downing Los Angeles.

J.R. Smith scored 21 points and Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points for the Knicks, who need only beat lowly Charlotte or have Philadelphia lose in their respective last games to move up to No. 7 and face Miami in the first playoff round. If the Knicks lose and the Sixers win, New York will be No. 8 and take on Chicago.

The loss dropped the Clippers a half-game behind Memphis for the No. 4 seed in the West. Los Angeles needs the Grizzlies to lose to Orlando to open the playoffs at home.

MAGIC 102, BOBCATS 95

In Orlando, Florida, the hosts sent Charlotte to their 22nd straight loss.

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