Celtics stop Sixers

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PHILADELPHIA – Paul Pierce had 33 points and 12 rebounds, Gerald Green scored a career-high 17 points and the Boston Celtics extended Philadelphia’s late-season misery with a 109-99 win over the sagging 76ers on Friday night.

The Sixers lost their third straight game this week and wasted a fantastic opportunity to gain ground in the Eastern Conference. They lost by 33 at Cleveland, by seven points against Chicago in a game that knocked them out of the final playoff spot and squandered this one against the Celtics.

While Philadelphia (34-41) has shown little reason to believe it can turn its season around down the stretch, it still has a chance to move back into a tie for the eighth spot with a win at Chicago on Saturday night.

Tony Allen had 16 points for the Celtics, Raef LaFrentz punished the Sixers from 3-point range during a critical stretch and scored 12 and Ryan Gomes had 11. Delonte West added 12 assists.

Mavericks 92, Spurs 86

SAN ANTONIO – Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks over the San Antonio Spurs 92-86 in a showdown of the top two teams in the Western Conference on Friday night.

The Mavericks (57-19) cut the Spurs’ lead to one game in the Southwest Division with both teams having six games left to play.

At stake is the top seed in the Western Conference with the team that finishes second getting the No. 4 seed.

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Magic 89, Pistons 87

ORLANDO, Fla. – Jameer Nelson hit two last-minute shots, the second a fadeaway jumper with 6.5 seconds left, and Hedo Turkoglu had 26 points and seven rebounds to help the Orlando Magic beat the Detroit Pistons 89-87 Friday night.

Trailing by two with 3 seconds remaining, Detroit’s Tony Delk missed two free throws. Antonio McDyess corralled the rebound and put up a 12-foot airball, which Dwight Howard grabbed as time expired.

Jazz 103, T-wolves 95

MINNEAPOLIS – The Utah Jazz aren’t out of the playoff hunt just yet.

Carlos Boozer had 30 points and nine rebounds and Mehmet Okur had 19 points and 13 boards to lead the Jazz to a 103-95 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

Deron Williams added 13 points and five assists for the Jazz, who entered the night in 10th place in the West, four games behind eighth-place Sacramento.

Grizzlies 100, Bucks 90

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Pau Gasol had 33 points and 14 rebounds and Chucky Atkins made two key 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 100-90 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night.

Gasol, held to one point in the third quarter, scored six points in the final 3 minutes to help the Grizzlies sweep their three-game homestand and move closer to clinching the franchise’s third straight playoff berth.

Atkins scored 12 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter.

Knicks 98, Pacers 96

NEW YORK – Jamal Crawford hit his second game-winning basket in three nights, making a jumper with 0.5 seconds left to help the New York Knicks beat the Indiana Pacers 98-96 on Friday night.

Though the Knicks (21-54) don’t win often, Crawford is developing a reputation as a clutch player.

All of New York’s last three victories have come with him hitting the go-ahead basket in the closing seconds, including Wednesday’s 96-94 victory over Cleveland.

Hornets 95, Raptors 89

OKLAHOMA CITY – David West scored 19 points and Chris Paul added 16, including a jumper in the final minute, to help the New Orleans Hornets beat the Toronto Raptors 95-89 on Friday night.

New Orleans led the entire game but couldn’t put the Raptors away until a 12-2 run midway through the fourth quarter.

Speedy Claxton hit a jumper, Kirk Snyder made a 3-pointer and P.J. Brown scored when his right-handed dunk attempt bounced off the rim and in. After a jumper by Toronto’s Charlie Villanueva, Desmond Mason scored on a left-handed hook shot and Rasual Butler followed with a 3-pointer to give the Hornets an 88-72 lead.

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