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NBA: Wizards Secure Playoff Spot With Win Over Pistons


The final remaining playoff positions in the National Basketball Association were locked up Wednesday in the final day of the regular season.

The Washington Wizards secured the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs with a 96-80 victory over the Detroit Pistons, who sat out most of their starters. Washington's Caron Butler had 33 points and 12 rebounds, while teammates Antawn Jamison had 21 points and Gilbert Arenas added 18 more.

The Wizards are now looking forward to a first-round playoff contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who rested stars LeBron James and Larry Hughes during their 100-99 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

The Indiana Pacers locked up the sixth seed in the East as they beat the Orlando Magic 89-83. Jermaine O'Neal scored 24 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and blocked six shots for the Pacers, who go on to face the New Jersey Nets.

The New York Knicks avoided their first ever 60-loss season as they defeated New Jersey 90-83 Thursday.

The Chicago Bulls routed the Toronto Raptors 127-106 to earn the seventh playoff spot in the East. Ben Gordon scored 24 points to lead the Bulls, who will face the Miami Heat in the first round. The Heat fell to the Boston Celtics 85-78, as Miami rested star players Shaquille O'Neal and Dwayne Wade.

In the Western Conference, Kobe Bryant scored 35 points to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 115-95 victory over the New Orleans Hornets. The Lakers locked up the seventh playoff spot and the chance to take on the Phoenix Suns, who beat the Portland Trail Blazers 106-96.

In other NBA games, the San Antonio Spurs beat the Houston Rockets 89-87. The Memphis Grizzlies downed the Minnesota Timberwolves 102-92, while the Los Angeles Clippers earned a 87-71 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. The Utah Jazz finished the season with a 105-102 win over the Golden State Warriors, the Seattle Super Sonics beat the playoff bound Denver Nuggets 109-98, and the Charlotte Bobcats defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 96-86.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.
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