Bobcats clinch playoff berth with win over Cavaliers

Al Jefferson, Kyrie Irving
Charlotte’s Al Jefferson backs in on Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving during the overtime period of the Bobcats’ 96-94 victory on Saturday night.
(Mark Duncan / Associated Press)

Al Jefferson scored 24 points, including seven in overtime, and the Charlotte Bobcats clinched a playoff spot with a 96-94 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.

Charlotte is in the postseason for the second time in its 10-year history and the first time since 2010. The Bobcats (39-38) are over .500 for the second time this season and hold seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Kyrie Irving scored a career-high 44 points for Cleveland. The Cavaliers (31-47) trail eighth-place Atlanta by 31/2 games for the final playoff spot in the East.

Irving was 16 for 31 from the field, including five three-pointers. He added eight assists and seven rebounds.


Toronto 102, at Milwaukee 98: DeMar DeRozan scored 15 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and the Raptors beat the Bucks to keep pace in the hunt for playoff position. Toronto and the Chicago Bulls are 45-32 and tied for the third seed in the Eastern Conference with five games to play.

Chicago 96, at Washington 78: D.J. Augustin scored 25 points, Joakim Noah had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and the Bulls turned a possible first-round playoff preview into a laugher, never trailing in a win over the Wizards. Augustin made six of 11 three-pointers and Carlos Boozer added 16 points for the Bulls.

at Detroit 115, Boston 111: Rodney Stuckey came off the bench to score 26 points and help the Pistons rally for a win over the Celtics. The Pistons trailed by as many as 19 points in the third quarter and were down, 95-85, at the start of the fourth before going on a 15-4 run that gave them their first lead since early in the game.

at Orlando 100, Minnesota 92: Arron Afflalo scored 18 points and Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless added 17 apiece to lead the Magic to a victory over the Timberwolves. Rookie Victor Oladipo contributed 16 points and six assists to help Orlando end a three-game losing streak.


Brooklyn 105, at Philadelphia 101: Kevin Garnett scored 10 points in his first game in more than five weeks to help the Nets beat the 76ers. The 37-year-old Garnett missed 19 straight games since Feb. 27 because of back spasms.

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