Thu, Apr 13, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Hawks defeat Hornets to secure Eastern fifth seed

AP, ATLANTA, Georgia

The Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kyle Singler dunks the ball in their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Tuesday.

Photo: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY

Dwight Howard had 19 points and 12 rebounds as the resurgent Atlanta Hawks won their fourth straight game, routing the listless Charlotte Hornets 103-76 on Tuesday night to wrap up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Hawks are to face the Washington Wizards in the opening round of the playoffs.

A week ago, Atlanta’s playoff hopes were in jeopardy after a dismal stretch that included two losses to Brooklyn, the NBA’s worst team.

Then, in a sudden turnaround that epitomized the team’s maddening inconsistency this season, the Hawks knocked off East-leading Boston and recorded two straight stunning victories over defending NBA champions the Cleveland Cavaliers, including Sunday’s comeback from a 26-point deficit.

Charlotte played their regular-season finale already eliminated from the playoffs and without their best player, Kemba Walker.

NUGGETS 109, MAVERICKS 91

In Dallas, Gary Harris scored 20 points as Denver beat Dallas, with the Mavericks honoring retiring Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo as a ceremonial player.

With nothing at stake in a lost season that will be the worst for Dallas (32-49) since going 20-62 in 1997-1998, the Mavericks followed through with an idea hatched in part by star Dirk Nowitzki weeks ago when it was clear Romo was not returning to the Cowboys.

Romo was honored exactly one week after announcing he was leaving football to become the No. 1 NFL analyst at CBS.

The soon-to-be-37-year-old had the crowd on its feet in the final minute hoping he could play, but Romo was not on the roster or under contract.

After breaking a bone in his back last pre-season, the career passing leader for the Cowboys lost the starting job he held for 10 years to rookie Dak Prescott and decided not to play for another team.

Mason Plumlee and Malik Beasley scored 16 apiece in the first game for the Nuggets (39-42) since getting eliminated from the post-season. Nowitzki scored 21 for Dallas.

THUNDER 100, TIMBERWOLVES 98

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Victor Oladipo scored 20 points and hit a jumper with 6.3 seconds to play to lift Russell Westbrook-less Oklahoma City over Minnesota.

With Westbrook resting for the first time this season, Oladipo also had nine rebounds and six assists, and the Thunder outrebounded Minnesota 54-35.

Starters Taj Gibson and Andre Roberson also sat out as the Thunder prepare for a first-round series against Houston. Domantas Sabonis added 19 points and nine rebounds.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Andrew Wiggins overcame a one-for-11 start to finish with 18 points for Minnesota.

However, the Timberwolves again struggled to get stops down the stretch and Wiggins missed a three-pointer at the buzzer as they lost their fifth straight game.

In other results, it was:

‧ Lakers 108, Pelicans 96

‧ Kings 129, Suns 104

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