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NBA ROUNDUP

Cavaliers win, climb past Bulls for 2d seed

Baron Davis had 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 14 assists, and the Golden State Warriors beat the host Portland Trail Blazers, 120-98, last night to earn a playoff berth for the first time since 1994.

Golden State (42-40) claimed the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference and will play Dallas.

The Warriors went into the season finale one game up on the Clippers, but made sure LA's game against New Orleans didn't matter.

"Last day! Can you believe it?" coach Don Nelson exclaimed afterward.

It was decided early, with the Warriors going up, 64-46, at the half and leading by as many as 28 points. Stephen Jackson had 31 points, Jason Richardson added 25, and Al Harrington had 24.

After the game, the Warriors lingered on the floor with Nelson, hopping and dancing.

"It was crazy," Richardson said of the postgame celebration. "Guys were laughing, having a good time, yelling at each other. It just felt amazing."

Golden State's 12-year playoff drought was the longest current stretch in the league.

The Blazers (32-50), out of the playoff picture for the fourth straight season, had only nine available players because of various late-season injuries.

Golden State won nine of 10 down the stretch to make it to the postseason. The Warriors had finished with losing records the previous 13 seasons. Nelson, in his second stint with the Warriors, was also the team's coach the last time they went to the playoffs. "Each one of these last games has been bigger and bigger. This was the biggest because if we win, we're in. We needed to win," Nelson said.

Cavaliers 109, Bucks 96 -- LeBron James scored 24 points and capped a decisive run to open the fourth quarter with one of his powerhouse dunks, sending host Cleveland over Milwaukee.

The Cavaliers (50-32) pulled away by outscoring the Bucks, 12-3, to open the final period, giving Cleveland its second straight 50-win season and the second seed in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers have a first-round matchup with Washington, the seventh seed.

James finished the regular season averaging 27.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 6.0 assists. He and Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson are the only players in league history to average at least 27-6-6 for three straight years.

Nets 106, Bulls 97 -- Vince Carter had 24 points, 10 rebounds, and 9 assists to power host New Jersey.

Mikki Moore had 22 points and Jason Kidd added 11 assists and 11 rebounds as the Nets clinched the No. 6 seed in the East and dropped the Bulls to No. 5, where they face a tough matchup with the defending champion Heat.

New Jersey, which won 8 of 11 to finish at .500, will face Toronto.

Magic 94, Heat 68 -- Grant Hill scored 17 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 15 to power host Orlando, which finished eighth in the East and will face Detroit.

The Magic certainly got a break in the finale, playing the Heat without stars Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade. Coach Pat Riley also rested guard Jason Williams and forward Eddie Jones.

Lakers 117, Kings 104 -- Kobe Bryant scored 34 points and keyed a big third-quarter run that helped visiting Los Angeles sew up the seventh seed in the Western Conference.

The win sets up a first-round matchup with the Suns, who knocked out Los Angeles in seven games in the opening round a year ago.

Grizzlies 116, Timberwolves 94 -- Pau Gasol had 25 points and 16 rebounds, and Tarence Kinsey added 22 points to lead visiting Memphis. The loss assured the Timberwolves of a lottery pick.

Wizards 98, Pacers 95 -- Antawn Jamison had 19 points and 11 rebounds to help visiting Washington clinch the No. 7 seed in the East.

76ers 122, Raptors 119 -- Willie Green had a career-high 37 points to lead visiting Philadelphia. Andre Miller had 29 points and Joe Smith added 26 points for the 76ers, who finished 35-47.

Knicks 94, Bobcats 93 -- Eddy Curry scored 28 points and tipped in a miss with 0.6 seconds left to lift New York over host Charlotte, spoiling the final game for Bobcats coach Bernie Bickerstaff.

Nuggets 100, Spurs 77 -- Reggie Evans had 19 points and 20 rebounds to help Denver beat host San Antonio in a playoff preview of their first-round matchup.

Jazz 101, Rockets 91 -- Rookie Dee Brown had 13 points and eight assists, and host Utah won a battle of reserves, days before the teams meet in the first round of the playoffs.

Mavericks 106, SuperSonics 75 -- Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points to spark Dallas past host Seattle in a meaningless game.

Hornets 86, Clippers 83 -- Rasual Butler hit the tiebreaking jumper with 1.5 seconds left to give New Orleans the win over host Los Angeles, which had been eliminated from playoff contention even before the final NBA regular-season game ended.

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