Bobcats edge Cleveland to secure playoff spot
(The Sports Xchange) — All-Star guard Kyrie Irving scored a career-high 44 points for Cleveland, but it was not enough as the Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Cavaliers 96-94 in overtime to secure a playoff spot.
The Bobcats (39-38) will be in the playoffs for just the second time in franchise history. The other came in 2009-2010.
Center Al Jefferson paced the Bobcats with 24 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. His free throw with 2.3 seconds left gave the Bobcats a two-point final margin.
The loss just about extinguished Cleveland’s playoff hopes as the Cavaliers dropped to 31-47 with four to play.
It was the Cavs’ eighth overtime game this season, a franchise record. They are 5-3 in those games. The Bobcats improved to 4-3 in OT.
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Magic 100, Timberwolves 92
Rookie reserve guard Victor Oladipo had 16 points, including 10 in the decisive fourth quarter as the Orlando Magic (22-55) snapped a three-game losing streak.
The lead changed hands five times in the fourth quarter, before Oladipo hit a three-pointer with 4:03 remaining to give Orlando the lead for good.
The Timberwolves, who beat the Miami Heat in double overtime on Friday, were without their three leading scorers, Kevin Love, Kevin Martin and Nikola Pekovic.
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Bulls 96, Wizards 78
Guard D.J. Augustin scored 25 points as the Chicago Bulls used a dominant first half to win their fifth straight game in a canter over the Washington Wizards.
Augustin made six three-pointers and Joakim Noah recorded his fifth straight double-double for the Bulls (45-32), who led by 28 points in the first half and 52-26 at halftime.
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Pistons 115, Celtics 111
Reserve guard Rodney Stuckey had 26 points as the Detroit Pistons staved off playoff elimination with a home victory over the short-handed Boston Celtics.
Pistons center Andre Drummond notched his fourth consecutive double-double and Eastern Conference-high 52nd this season with 19 points and 20 rebounds.
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Nets 105, 76ers 101
Guard Deron Williams had 19 points and nine assists as the Brooklyn Nets held off a furious finish by the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Nets (42-34) won their second straight, snapped a three-game road losing streak and improved to 32-13 since opening the season 10-21.
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Raptors 102, Bucks 98
Guard DeMar DeRozan scored 15 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Toronto Raptors pulled away late for a road victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.
The lead changed hands nine times over the first seven minutes of the last quarter with the Raptors finally building some separation on guard Greivis Vasquez’s three-pointer with 5:24 to play.
The Raptors shot 44 percent from the field but made 12 of 27 from long distance and were 18-for-22 from the free throw line.