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Basketball: Pistons Clinch NBA Central Division Title


The Detroit Pistons clinched their fourth Central Division title in the last five seasons with a win Monday in National Basketball Association action. The Pistons got 26 points from Rasheed Wallace to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 91-84.

Kobe Bryant scored 16 of his 43 points in the fourth quarter as the Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Boston Celtics 105-97. It was the 20th time this season that Bryant has scored at least 40 points.

The Los Angeles Clippers won for the sixth time in the last seven games, defeating the Houston Rockets 99-91. Sam Cassell had 24 and Corey Maggette scored 20 for the Clippers, who are on pace to make their first playoff appearance since the 1996-97 season.

T.J. Ford had 19 points and 10 assists to lead the Milwaukee Bucks past the Portland Trail Blazers 100-93 in Portland. Michael Redd had 23 for the Bucks, who completed a home-and-home sweep of the Blazers.

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