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NBA ROUNDUP

Raptors almost home

The Toronto Raptors moved a step closer to clinching home court in the first round of the playoffs. If they later meet the Detroit Pistons, they know they'll have to play better.

Anthony Parker scored 21 points and the Raptors moved within a win or a Miami loss of clinching the third seed in the Eastern Conference with an 87-84 victory over the Pistons last night in Toronto.

"It was a good win for us, it just puts us a step closer to what we are trying to do to get to the third spot," Toronto coach Sam Mitchell said. "That is a good basketball team."

Richard Hamilton had 24 points for the Pistons, who clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference Wednesday.

Chris Bosh added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Raptors, who could capture home-court advantage for the first time in their history with a win in their last three games or a loss by the Heat in their final two.

Heat 100, Pacers 96 -- Dwyane Wade scored 14 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter, plus made a steal that set up James Posey's go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:29 left, to carry host Miami. The Heat rallied from a 7-point deficit over the final 4:02 to push Indiana 1 1/2 games behind Orlando for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.

Wizards 98, Hawks 85 -- DeShawn Stevenson scored 25 points and visiting Washington used a 14-0 run at the end of the first half to end its longest losing streak in three years. A six-game skid had the playoff-bound Wizards (40-39) on the verge of falling below .500 for the first time since mid-December.

Bulls 100, Bobcats 81 -- Ben Gordon scored 20 points and host Chicago tightened its grip on the second seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. The win was the Bulls' ninth in 11 games.

Nets 100, Knicks 86 -- Jason Kidd's 87th triple-double helped host New Jersey eliminate New York from the playoff race. The Nets clinched a playoff spot after Indiana's loss to Miami. Kidd had 13 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists.

Nuggets 107, Hornets 105 -- Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points, Allen Iverson added 23, and Denver spoiled New Orleans's final game in its temporary Oklahoma City home. The Nuggets clinched the sixth spot in the Western Conference.

Suns 93, Lakers 85 -- Steve Nash had 26 points and 14 assists, and host Phoenix sent a weary Kobe Bryant and LA to their sixth loss in seven games. Bryant, who played all 48 minutes and scored 50 points in Thursday night's 118-110 loss to the Clippers, was 7 for 26 from the field for 17 points against Phoenix. With two to play, the Lakers (40-40) have the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of Golden State and the Clippers.

Clippers 107, Trail Blazers 89 -- Cuttino Mobley had 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists, Elton Brand added 20 points and seven rebounds, and the host Clippers (39-40) won for the ninth time in 13 games. The Clippers (39-40) remained tied with Golden State for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference with three games remaining.

Warriors 125, Kings 108 -- Baron Davis scored 25 points on his 28th birthday, Stephen Jackson had 26, and visiting Golden State (39-40) kept pace in its playoff chase.

Jazz 104, Mavericks 89 -- Carlos Boozer had 32 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists as visiting Utah snapped a five-game losing streak. The Mavericks (65-14) already have clinched the best record in the NBA and played as if their top priority was avoiding injuries.

Spurs 110, Timberwolves 91 -- Manu Ginobili scored 21 points to help visiting San Antonio win its sixth straight game.

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