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Pistons clinch NBA play-off spot

By AP - Apr 09,2016 - Last updated at Apr 09,2016

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan — Detroit clinched an NBA play-off berth for the first time in seven years by beating Washington 112-99 on Friday, led by 39 points from Reggie Jackson.

The Pistons became the seventh team in the Eastern Conference to clinch a play-off spot, while eighth-placed Indiana will have to wait a little longer after losing at Toronto.

Elsewhere, Denver defeated a second-string San Antonio team to complete the unique feat of beating both the league’s top two teams — the Spurs and Golden State — and a Jamal Crawford shot with two tenths of a second left in overtime gave the Los Angeles Clippers victory over Utah.

Detroit’s last play-off berth came in 2009 when it was swept in the first round by LeBron James and Cleveland. The Pistons are likely to face the same opponents this year.

Denver ended a run of 10 straight losses to San Antonio — dating back to 2013 — by downing the Spurs 102-98.

Tim Duncan was the only regular starter to play for the Spurs, and finished with a season-high 21 points. Coming off a loss to Golden State, they dropped two straight for the first time this season.

Toronto rookie Norman Powell scored a season-high 27 points as the Raptors beat Indiana 111-98, delaying the Pacers’ bid for a play-off berth.

The Pacers need one more win or a Chicago loss to qualify for the postseason. They will clinch if the Bulls lose to Cleveland on Saturday, or by beating Brooklyn on Sunday.

Another rookie in Delon Wright added 19 points for the Raptors, who rested usual starters DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry and Luis Scola but still brought up the franchise record for home wins with 31.

The Clippers rested four starters at Utah, and needed the last-gasp 3-pointer from Crawford to snatch a 102-99 win.

Crawford finished with 30 points and Cole Aldrich added 21 points and 18 rebounds — both season highs — for Los Angeles, which have won eight of their past nine games.

Gordon Hayward had 24 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Jazz, for whom defeat complicated their push for a play-off spot.

Dallas closed in on another play-off spot by beating Memphis 103-93.

The Mavericks, who had already slowed their pace considerably because of injuries, had to reconfigure their offence again when J.J. Barea left with a right groin strain in the first half.

The Mavericks matched a season best with a sixth straight win. The Mavericks will make the postseason for the 15th time in 16 seasons with a win or Houston loss in the final three games.

Tony Allen scored 25 points to lead injury-riddled Memphis. They lost for the seventh time in eight games, a night after clinching a play-off spot.

Orlando put a dent in Miami’s push for a top-four spot in the East play-offs by beating the Heat 112-109, with Nikola Vucevic scoring the go-ahead basket in the closing seconds on his way to 29 points.

Boston continued its play-off charge with a 124-109 win against Milwaukee, as Tyler Zeller tied his career high with 26 points.

Charlotte completed a four-game season sweep of Brooklyn by downing the Nets 113-99.

New Orleans dominated Los Angeles in retiring Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s final game in the Big Easy, winning 110-102.


New York also completed a four-game sweep of Philadelphia — for the first time in 21 years — as Robin Lopez had 24 points and 15 rebounds in a 109-102 win.

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