Spurs rout Lakers despite Bryant's return
AP Sunday, April 22, 2012, 12:06 am TWN
SAN ANTONIO--The San Antonio Spurs routed Los Angeles 121-97 in the NBA on Friday, with the Lakers receiving no boost from the return of Kobe Bryant from injury.
Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili all scored at least 20 points for the Spurs, who stayed top of the Western Conference with their sixth straight victory.
Bryant had missed the previous seven games with a bruised left shin, and the Lakers went 5-2 without the NBA's scoring leader. Los Angeles missed a chance to clinch home court advantage in the first round of playoffs.
San Antonio has given Los Angeles its two worst losses of the season, the worst Friday night and 112-91 on Tuesday.
Hawks 97, Celtics 92 In Atlanta, the hosts took a stride toward securing homecourt advantage in the playoffs by beating undermanned Boston.
Joe Johnson scored 30 points while Josh Smith had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks, who are in line to be the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference, with Celtics No. 5.
This game, however, looked nothing like a playoff game early. Both teams shot over 50 percent and Atlanta took a 58-49 halftime lead while Boston guard Avery Bradley scored 17 of his career-high 28 points.
Boston left Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen and Mickael Pietrus at home with injuries, and perennial All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce were rested, having played 11 games in 15 days.
Thunder 103, Kings 92 In Sacramento, Kevin Durant had 29 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists to lead Oklahoma City over Sacramento.
Oklahoma City remained half a game behind San Antonio in the race for top spot in the West, with three games remaining.
James Harden had 20 points for the Thunder.
DeMarcus Cousins had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who have lost nine of 10.
Mavericks 104, Warriors 94 In Dallas, Vince Carter had 19 points, including eight straight early in the fourth quarter that propelled Dallas to victory over Golden State.
It was the last regular season home game for the defending NBA champions, who clinched a playoff spot the previous night without even playing. The Mavericks were guaranteed their 12th straight playoff appearance after Houston's sixth consecutive loss.
Brandan Wright had 17 points for Dallas, which finished 23-10 at home and is sixth in the Western Conference.
Klay Thompson, one of four rookie starters for Golden State, led the Warriors with 26 points.
Cavaliers 98, Knicks 90 In Cleveland, Amare Stoudemire's return from a back injury didn't help playoff-bound New York, which was beaten by Cleveland.
Stoudemire had missed the previous 13 games with a bulging disk, but even with him in the lineup, the Knicks couldn't handle the Cavs, who snapped a three-game losing streak.
Stoudemire finished with 15 points and Carmelo Anthony had 12 before sitting out the fourth quarter.
Manny Harris had 19 points and a career-high 12 rebounds to lead the Cavs, and rookie Kyrie Irving scored 21 points in his second game back from a shoulder injury.
Grizzlies 85, Bobcats 80 In Charlotte, Memphis rallied to beat Charlotte and extend the Bobcats' franchise-worst losing streak to 19 games.
Mike Conley had 18 points and seven assists as the Grizzlies overcame an eight-point deficit in the fourth quarter and then held on to get an important victory in terms of playoff seeding in the Western Conference.
If the Bobcats (7-55) lose their final four games they will finish with the worst winning percentage in league history.
Gerald Henderson tied a career high with 32 points for the Bobcats.
Zach Randolph added 14 points for Memphis.
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