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NBA:Iverson Helps 76ers Keep Playoff Hopes Alive


76ers' Alan Iverson clenches his fist as time expires against Indiana Pacers in Indianapolis, Friday
National Basketball Association leading scorer Allen Iverson of Philadelphia netted 43 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter, to keep his 76ers' playoff hopes alive with a 90-86 win over the host Indiana Pacers.

Philadelphia is in sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference with less than a week left in the regular season. The Sixers are trying to stay ahead of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who currently are in the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. Cleveland fell Friday to the host Washington Wizards 119-111. Washington has already clinched a playoff spot.

The Cavs have lost five of their last seven games, and are only one game ahead of the surging New Jersey Nets, who rallied from a 14-point halftime deficit to trounce the Raptors 101-90 in Toronto. New Jersey's Vince Carter scored 39 points against his former team.

Meanwhile, the Memphis Grizzlies still hold on to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, despite losing 111-102 Friday to the Denver Nuggets. Playoff-bound Denver has won its last 10 games - the third longest winning streak in club history.

The ninth place Minnesota Timberwolves kept their slim playoff hopes alive Friday with a 110-84 win over the host Utah Jazz.

Other NBA winners were the Pistons, Celtics, Bulls, Kings, Warriors, SuperSonics and Suns.

The defending champion Detroit Pistons won their ninth consecutive game, 99-73 over the Milwaukee Bucks. The Boston Celtics edged the Eastern Conference regular-season champion Miami Heat 101-99, the Chicago Bulls crushed the Orlando Magic 117-77, and the Sacramento Kings defeated the cross-state rival Los Angeles Lakers 115-106. The Golden State Warriors thumped the Portland Trail Blazers 108-88, the Seattle SuperSonics eased past the New Orleans Hornets 97-72, and the Phoenix Suns downed the Los Angeles Clippers 98-91.

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