Fri, Mar 28, 2014 - Page 19 News List

Pacers beat Heat to clinch division title

AP, INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George, front right, dunks the ball in the fourth quarter on Wednesday against the Miami Heat at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

Photo: USA TODAY

Paul George scored 23 points and Roy Hibbert had 21 to lead the Indiana Pacers back from a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit for an 84-83 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday.

The NBA’s best home team ended a two-game losing streak, took a 2-1 lead in the season series against the two-time defending champions and rebuilt a three-game advantage in the race for the Eastern Conference’s top seed. Indiana (52-20) also clinched their second straight Central Division crown, something they had not done since 1998-99 and 1999-2000.

LeBron James scored 38 points, but missed a potential go-ahead three-pointer late. Chris Bosh had a jump shot at the buzzer to win it, but it hit nothing except air.

George had two monster dunks — one over LeBron James — to get the Pacers back in the game.

San Antonio’s Tim Duncan had 29 points, 13 rebounds and five assists as the Spurs overcame a fourth-quarter collapse to beat the Denver Nuggets 108-103 for their 15th straight victory.

Danny Green scored 16 points before leaving with a foot injury early in the second half. Tiago Splitter, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili had 10 points each for San Antonio (55-16), who maintained the league’s best record.

Aaron Brooks scored 25 points and Kenneth Faried had 24 points, including 15 points in a frenzied final quarter for Denver.

At Sacramento, California, Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points and J.R. Smith 29 points as the New York Knicks held off a furious rally to beat the Kings 107-99 and move a game closer to a playoff berth.

New York led by 24 in the third quarter before Sacramento surged back, and the Knicks needed a scintillating shooting performance from Anthony and Smith to end a two-game losing streak.

DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points, 15 rebounds and eight assists for the Kings.

New York (30-42) are two games behind Atlanta for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after the Atlanta Hawks (31-39) lost 107-83 to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Toronto Raptors edged closer to their first playoff berth since 2008 after Terrence Ross scored 24 points and Kyle Lowry had 23 in a 99-90 win over the Boston Celtics.

DeMar DeRozan added 20 points for Toronto, which increased their Atlantic Division lead to two games over Brooklyn, which lost in Charlotte.

Jared Sullinger led Boston with 26 points.

Zach Randolph had 22 points and 13 rebounds, along with two game-clinching free throws as the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Utah Jazz 91-87, while the under-manned New Orleans Pelicans beat the Los Angeles Clippers 98-96 for their fourth straight win.

In other games, the Phoenix Suns beat the Washington Wizards 99-93, the Cleveland Cavaliers edged the Detroit Pistons 97-96 and the Charlotte Bobcats were 116-111 overtime winners against the Brooklyn Nets.

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