In a close race for a playoff spot, the Charlotte Bobcats needed a victory, and what could be better than facing the woebegone Washington Wizards?
Not so fast. Charlotte wasted a 20-point lead and fell behind by eight midway through the fourth quarter, Gerald Wallace missed a free throw that would have tied the score with 6.5 seconds left, and the eight-man Wizards beat the visiting Bobcats, 95-93, on Wednesday night.
Wallace led Charlotte (31-40) with 21 points and 11 rebounds, and his layup while getting fouled cut Charlotte's deficit to 94-93. But he failed to complete a three-point play, and Emeka Okafor and Boris Diaw grabbed offensive rebounds but missed the put-back tries. Washington improved to 17-56.
Cavaliers 98, Nets 87: : LeBron James had 22 points and 11 assists and made all the right moves in the closing minutes as too-tough-at-home Cleveland set a franchise record with its 58th win - and 10th straight - by beating New Jersey (30-41). The Cavaliers improved to 58-13.
Magic 84, Celtics 82: : Dwight Howard blocked a potential go-ahead layup by Paul Pierce with 3.8 seconds left, and Orlando (53-18) clinched its second straight Southeast Division title with a home win over Boston (54-19).
Nuggets 101, Hornets 88: : Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) scored 29 points as visiting Denver (46-26) defeated New Orleans (44-26).
Spurs 102, Hawks 92: : Tony Parker scored 42 and visiting San Antonio (47-24), playing without Tim Duncan, ended an eight-game home winning streak for Atlanta (42-30).
Pacers 90, Heat 88: : Danny Granger scored 28 and Indiana (30-42) won its 17th straight home game against Miami (38-33).
76ers 96, Timberwolves 88: : Thaddeus Young scored 29 to lead host Philadelphia (37-33) over Minnesota (20-52).
Clippers 140, Knicks 135, OT: : Mike Taylor more than doubled his career high with 35 points and visiting Los Angeles (18-54) beat New York (28-43) in overtime.