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Torrid Pacers Clinch Final Playoff Berth

April 12, 2001|From Associated Press

Forgive the Indiana Pacers for thinking about old times Wednesday night.

But New York was in town and it was close enough to the playoffs that it certainly had that old-time feel.

Jalen Rose scored 25 points and had seven assists, while Reggie Miller scored 24 points and made seven three-point baskets at Indianapolis as the Pacers held on for a 100-93 victory over the Knicks--clinching the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot.

"New York-Indiana: That's enough said. It's one of the great rivalries in sports," Pacer Coach Isiah Thomas said. "I think the primary reason is probably because of Reggie. He lights up and does special things when he sees the Knicks."

Miller was doing that all night Wednesday.

He made five of his first six three-pointers, matched a season-high with seven three-pointers, and his free throw with 16.5 seconds left, following a technical foul, helped Indiana seal the victory.

The Pacers couldn't have asked for much more--except to get into the playoffs. They managed that by winning their fifth straight game, their ninth straight at home, coupled with Boston's loss to Miami.

"New York is a team that will give up an occasional three," Rose said. "Fortunately, we have the ultimate three-point shooter in the game."

It was more than Miller, though.

The Pacers matched a record-high with 14 three-pointers against the NBA's top defensive unit.

The Knicks began the game without two starters--Larry Johnson and Allan Houston--and lost a third, Marcus Camby, only 47 seconds into it. Camby suffered a bruised hip on a dunk and did not return.

Kurt Thomas led the Knicks with 22 points.

Miami 102, Boston 97--Alonzo Mourning had 21 points and nine rebounds and Tim Hardaway made a pair of three-pointers in the final minutes in the Heat's victory at Boston.

Paul Pierce scored 41 points for Boston.

Anthony Mason had a team-high 23 points for the Heat, which improved to 6-3--including five consecutive victories--since Mourning returned from a kidney ailment.

Asked if it was getting better with each game, Mourning said, "I would like to think so."

Phoenix 111, Dallas 106--Shawn Marion tied his career high with 38 points in a victory at Phoenix.

The Suns' Jason Kidd, who played all but eight seconds, fell one point short of a triple-double, finishing with nine points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds. Michael Finley led Dallas with 34 points.

Dallas lost its third in a row, matching its longest losing streak of the season, and fell into a tie for fifth in the Western Conference with the Portland Trail Blazers. The Mavericks and Trail Blazers are 2 1/2 games behind No. 4 Utah with four games to play.

Atlanta 107, Cleveland 102--Jason Terry scored 38 points and Nazr Mohammed added a career-high 24 as the Hawks won at Atlanta.

Atlanta's Lorenzen Wright and Cleveland's Chris Gatling were ejected after a tussle with 4:23 left the second quarter.

They were battling for position under the Cleveland basket when Wright grabbed Gatling in a bear hug. The players slammed to the floor behind the baseline, knocking over a cameraman and nearly spilling into the stands.

Chicago 113, Washington 109--Elton Brand had 26 points as the Bulls ended a franchise-record 25-game road losing streak at Washington.

Chicago (13-65) still needs to win its last four to match last year's all-time franchise-worst 17-65 record. If the Wizards (18-60) lose their remaining four games, their record will be worse than the 18-62 mark set by the first-year Chicago Packers in 1961-62, two years before the franchise moved to the Baltimore-Washington area.

Detroit 99, Toronto 87--Jerry Stackhouse scored 20 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter as the Pistons overcame a 17-point deficit at Auburn Hills, Mich.

Toronto had its four-game winning streak snapped, and lost for the second time in three games against Detroit this season.

Vince Carter led the Raptors with 22 points.

Seattle 107, Golden State 101--One night after being eliminated from the playoffs, the SuperSonics got 32 points from Gary Payton in a victory at Seattle.

Golden State, which has the worst record in the West, dropped to 2-27 since the All-Star break.

The SuperSonics swept their four-game season series and beat Golden State for the eighth consecutive time. Seattle has won 11 straight home games against Warriors.

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