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NBA ROUNDUP : Suns Clinch West's Best Record

April 12, 1993|From Associated Press

The Phoenix Suns clinched the home-court advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs with a 112-99 victory over Utah Sunday at Phoenix as Danny Ainge continued his crunch-time heroics.

Ainge, who made the game-winner with 2.9 seconds to play against Denver Friday night, made two three-pointers during an 18-0 run late in the game. With its 11th consecutive victory, Phoenix clinched the Pacific Division title and the best record in the conference.

Kevin Johnson scored 29 points and Ainge 23, helping the Suns overcome a 31-rebound performance that matched the team's worst of the season, set Nov. 27 against Golden State.

Charles Barkley scored 21 points for the Suns.

New York 102, Boston 90--Patrick Ewing scored 26 of his 34 points in the second half at Boston as the Knicks increased their Eastern Conference lead to one game over Chicago, which did not play.

The Celtics lost for the fifth consecutive time after nine consecutive victories and now lead New Jersey by half a game for the fourth playoff spot in the East.

After the game, seven-time All-Star Kevin McHale sounded off for the first time about his diminished playing time. He has become a seldom-used backup in probably his final NBA season and played only eight minutes--none in the first half--against New York.

"I've accomplished a lot and have had some great years, but this is an unfortunate way to go out," McHale said.

"I don't have any control over it. I don't know what Chris (Ford, the coach) is doing. . . I try to hold it in, but sometimes you get upset."

Detroit 106, Washington 94--The Pistons won their sixth consecutive game, beating the Bullets behind a season-high 26 points from Alvin Robertson at Landover, Md.

Terry Mills added 22 points for the Pistons, who reached the .500 mark for the first time since Jan. 14. The victory moved Detroit into a tie with Indiana for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Bullets lost their fourth in a row and also lost guard Michael Adams, who broke a bone in his hand in a first-quarter collision with Detroit guard Isiah Thomas. He is out for the season.

Portland 127, Minnesota 110--Terry Porter scored 20 points at Portland as the Trail Blazers took a one-game lead over San Antonio in the race for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The Trail Blazers took control by outscoring the Timberwolves, 38-22, in the third quarter, giving Portland a 98-79 lead.

Rod Strickland had a season-high 14 assists for the Trail Blazers.

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