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NBA Roundup : Dumars Has 42 Points as Pistons Win 60th by Beating Cavaliers

Although the Detroit Pistons came close to beating the Lakers in the National Basketball Assn. championship series last season, there were some who thought the Pistons were not really that good.

No more. There is not much doubt that, at the moment, Detroit is the league’s best team. The Pistons also are peaking at the right time.

Joe Dumars scored 24 of his 42 points in the third quarter Tuesday night at Richfield, Ohio, to lead the Pistons to a 118-102 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The seventh victory in the last eight games clinched the Central Division title for the second consecutive year and the overall best record for the first time. The Pistons will have the home-court advantage throughout the playoffs.

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The Pistons, who were surprised by last season’s success, expected to win this season.

“We only have ginger ale in here,” Dumars said after getting his career high. “We won’t celebrate until we win the championship. We have done what we expected so far.

“In the third quarter I felt all I needed was a little room. I thought I could hit everything.”

The Pistons started quickly. They built a 20-3 lead when the Cavaliers went six minutes without a field goal. The Cavaliers were within four at halftime, but then Dumars went to work. He made 10 of 14 shots in the third quarter.

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The result gave Detroit 60 victories for the first time. The Pistons ended the Cavaliers’ home winning streak at nine. It was only the fourth loss in 41 games at home.

The Cavaliers also lost outstanding guard Mark Price, who suffered a groin injury in the fourth quarter.

Washington 121, Boston 113--On the brink of elimination, the Bullets kept their playoff hopes alive when Jeff Malone led them to victory at Boston.

Although the Celtics hold a two-game lead in the battle for eighth place in the Eastern Conference, they are not a shoo-in.

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The Celtics, with a 10-29 road record, have games at New York and Indiana and a home game against Charlotte. The Bullets, who would win the playoff spot if they tie the Celtics, play home-and-home games against the Chicago Bulls and play at Philadelphia.

“We talked before the game,” said Bernard King, the leader of the Bullets’ late-season rally. “If we lose, let’s be beaten. Let’s not beat ourselves. We have a chance to win our last three. So, it’s up to Boston.”

Ledell Eackles, a rookie guard, and veteran forward Mark Alarie, combined to score 21 points off the bench in the second quarter to give the Bullets the lead for good.

“The Bullets wanted it more than we did,” said Reggie Lewis, who had 34 points for the Celtics.

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Philadelphia 124, Milwaukee 102--Another team that seems to be peaking for the playoffs is the 76ers. Charles Barkley made 15 of 16 shots from the field at Philadelphia to lead the 76ers to their first victory over the Bucks in four tries.

The 76ers, trying to overtake Chicago and finish fifth, made their first 10 shots in the second quarter, then broke it open with a 16-1 run in the third quarter.

In the second and third quarters, the 76ers were 30 for 36 from the field.

Milwaukee center Jack Sikma, who missed Sunday’s game with a sore right ankle, sprained his left ankle late in the second quarter and never returned.

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Atlanta 121, Indiana 114--Dominique Wilkins scored 15 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter at Indianapolis to give the Hawks an important victory. His short jumper broke a 97-97 tie halfway through the fourth quarter put the Hawks in front to stay.

One more victory will assure the Hawks of fourth place in the East and the home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

Dallas 103, Miami 99--Adrian Dantley and Derek Harper each scored 23 points at Miami to help the Mavericks stave off the Heat.

Seattle 122, Golden State 118--Dale Ellis and Xavier McDaniel each scored 35 points at Seattle as the SuperSonics beat the Warriors for the second night in a row.

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McDaniel scored 11 of Seattle’s last 13 points and blocked two Warrior shots in the closing seconds.

Charlotte 121, New Jersey 105--Dell Curry came off the bench to score 31 points at East Rutherford, N.J., to help the Hornets win their 20th game.

The Hornets took the lead early in the second quarter and never yielded it. They pulled steadily away in the last quarter.

Sacramento 120, Portland 118--The Trail Blazers, needing only one victory to clinch a playoff spot, couldn’t stop Danny Ainge at Sacramento.

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Ainge, only 1 for 12 Monday night when the Kings were overwhelmed by Phoenix, was 10 for 16 and scored 32 points.


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