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NBA roundup

Sacramento holds off Nuggets

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Associated Press / April 6, 2008

Kevin Martin scored 36 points despite missing Sacramento's shootaround with the stomach flu, and the Kings dealt a blow to the Nuggets' playoff plans last night with a surprising 118-115 win at the Pepsi Center in Denver.

The Kings, out of playoff contention and missing Ron Artest (thumb) and Brad Miller (leg), won their fourth straight game and snapped Denver's nine-game home winning streak. They took advantage of sloppy play and silly mistakes by the Nuggets, who got 47 points from Carmelo Anthony, 2 shy of his career high.

Instead of moving into a seventh-place tie with Dallas, Denver, which frittered away an early 12-point lead and trailed from the middle of the second quarter on, fell into a tie with idle Golden State for the eighth and final playoff spot in the wild Western Conference.

The Nuggets visit the Warriors Thursday night.

Artest was a late scratch with a strained left thumb, seemingly negating any advantage Sacramento might have had facing a Nuggets team without suspended power forward Kenyon Martin, who had to sit out after picking up his sixth flagrant foul of the season.

Magic 101, Cavaliers 86 - Hedo Turkoglu scored 23 points, Rashard Lewis added 21, and visiting Orlando, one of this season's biggest surprises, locked up the Eastern Conference's No. 3 playoff seed.

The Magic, who have sat behind the Celtics and Detroit in the standings for much of the season, won despite getting only 4 points on 1-of-8 shooting from All-Star center Dwight Howard - 17 below his average. Orlando's defense, though, was the difference.

The Magic held Cleveland to 14 points on 17 percent shooting (4 of 23) in the fourth quarter and didn't let Cavaliers superstar LeBron James get his first points of the final period until there was 1:48 left. By then, Orlando was up by double digits and in cruise control.

James, who has been bothered by back spasms, finished with 17 points (on 6-of-22 shooting), 9 assists, and 7 rebounds.

Wizards 99, Bulls 87 - Brendan Haywood scored a career-high 25 points, Caron Butler added 18, and shorthanded Washington beat host Chicago.

Antawn Jamison missed his second straight game with a sprained right shoulder and Gilbert Arenas rested his surgically repaired left knee for precautionary reasons, but Haywood and Butler picked up the slack.

Hawks 92, 76ers 85 - Joe Johnson scored 22 points, Josh Smith added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and visiting Atlanta built a big lead and held off surging Philadelphia.

Nets 99, Raptors 90 - Vince Carter scored 21 of his 32 points in the second half and host New Jersey beat struggling Toronto, snapping a four-game losing streak and keeping their faint playoff hopes alive.

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