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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Spurs beat Lakers to seal playoff spot

LOS ANGELES (AP) The San Antonio Spurs want to do everything they can to avoid facing the Lakers in the first round of the playoffs. They took a step forward by beating the defending NBA champions on their home court.

News photo
Spur of the moment: Spurs guard Manu Ginobili goes in for a layup over Lakers center D.J. Mbenga during their game on Sunday in Los Angeles. The Spurs won 100-81. AP PHOTO

Manu Ginobili scored 32 points, Tim Duncan added 24 and the Spurs clinched their 13th consecutive playoff berth with a 100-81 win Sunday. They moved into the seventh spot in the West, a half-game ahead of idle Portland.

"They're playoff-tested, so we want to stay away from them as long as possible," Tim Duncan said of the Lakers.

The Lakers got a season-high 32 points from Pau Gasol and 22 from Kobe Bryant, but failed to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West and heard boos from their fans.

As a result, Cleveland earned home-court advantage through the NBA finals despite losing 117-113 at Boston earlier in the day.

"They controlled the tempo," Bryant said. "We didn't make shots. There were stretches with opportunities to get back in the ballgame and we just couldn't put the ball in the hole."

Richard Jefferson added 14 points and Duncan had 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who won their third straight and 15th of 20. They've notched recent wins over four of the NBA's top teams: Cleveland, Boston, Orlando and now the Lakers.

"It was an unbelievable victory," Ginobili said. "Two months ago, it wasn't even in our wildest dreams to come here and win a game by 18 against the Lakers. But we're doing better now and we're playing hard. Our defense has really stepped up, and the difference was that we made the shots we had to make."

Celtics 117, Cavaliers 113

In Boston, Ray Allen scored a season-high 33 points, hitting his sixth 3-pointer to give the Celtics a four-point lead with 48 seconds left, and Boston held on despite 42 points from LeBron James.

Warriors 113, Raptors 112

In Toronto, Don Nelson tied Lenny Wilkens for the most wins by an NBA coach when Golden State held off the Raptors for its second straight victory.

Magic 107, Grizzlies 92

In Orlando, Vince Carter had 26 points and seven rebounds, and the Magic beat Memphis after an on-court scuffle.

Thunder 116, T-Wolves 108

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 40 points to break the franchise record for scoring in a season and the Thunder fought off a spirited charge by Minnesota.

Wizards 109, Nets 99

In Washington, Andray Blatche had 20 points, a career-high 13 assists and nine rebounds, and the Wizards beat New Jersey in a matchup of two of the NBA's worst teams.

Pacers 133, Rockets 102

In Indianapolis, Roy Hibbert had 20 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Pacers over Houston for their ninth home win in 10 games.

Knicks 113, Clippers 107

In Los Angeles, David Lee had 29 points and 10 rebounds, Al Harrington scored six of his 26 points in the final 1:12, and the Knicks beat the Clippers at Staples Center for the first time in 11 tries.

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