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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hill ignites Spurs

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Even without Tony Parker, the San Antonio Spurs are making up ground in the playoff race.

News photo
Moving for the hoop: Atlanta's Joe Johnson drives against Milwaukee's John Salmons on Monday night. The Bucks beat the Hawks 98-95. AP PHOTO

George Hill stepped into Parker's starring role and scored a career-high 27 points, and the Spurs overcame Kevin Durant's 45 to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 99-96 on Monday night and forge a tie between the teams for sixth place in the Western Conference standings.

"Every game right now is important and big," said Hill, who surpassed 20 points for the eighth time this season.

The game could be a pivotal one in the race for playoff positioning in the Western Conference. The teams entered with only a game separating them in the standings, and each ends the season with a brutal schedule, facing 11 opponents with winning records in their final 14 games.

Next up for San Antonio: visits from the West-leading Los Angeles Lakers and East-leading Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Spurs have won 10 of 13 heading into the homestretch, despite playing without Parker for the last nine games.

Hornets 115, Mavericks 99

In New Orleans, Chris Paul played for the first time in 25 games, and Marcus Thornton scored 28 points to help the Hornets beat Dallas.

Returning from a left knee injury, Paul started but was limited to 21 minutes and had 11 points.

Heat 98, Nets 89

In East Rutherford, N.J., Dwyane Wade had 27 points and 12 assists, and Miami continued its good play in March with a win over the Nets.

Jazz 110, Celtics 97

In Salt Lake City, Mehmet Okur scored all of his 14 points in the second half and pulled down 15 rebounds, Deron Williams added 22 points and 11 assists, and Utah ended Boston's four-game winning streak.

Magic 109, 76ers 93

In Philadelphia, Rashard Lewis scored 24 points, Dwight Howard added 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Orlando notched its third straight 50-win season.

Bulls 98, Rockets 88

In Chicago, Derrick Rose had 27 points, eight assists and seven rebounds to lead the Bulls over Houston.

Bucks 98, Hawks 95

In Milwaukee, John Salmons scored 32 points, including the tiebreaking free throws with 21.8 seconds remaining, to lead the Bucks to a win over Atlanta.

Raptors 106, T-Wolves 100

In Minneapolis, Chris Bosh had 21 points and 10 rebounds to help sluggish Toronto hand Minnesota its 13th straight loss.

Grizzlies 102, Kings 85

In Sacramento, Zach Randolph had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Memphis used the streaky shooting of O.J. Mayo in the fourth quarter to beat the Kings.

Suns 133, Warriors 131

In Oakland, Amare Stoudemire scored 37 points, Jason Richardson had a season-high 34, and Phoenix held off Golden State for its fifth straight win.

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