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Pistons Edge Bulls, Win Central Title

Associated Press
Tuesday, April 12, 2005; Page D05

Chauncey Billups scored 28 points, including the game-winning basket with 8.2 seconds left, to help the Detroit Pistons clinch the Central Division with an 85-84 overtime victory over the Bulls last night in Chicago.

Billups scored seven points in the extra session to lead a Pistons' comeback after Chicago scored the first eight points. Detroit scored 12 of the final 15 points to escape with the victory.


Reggie Miller seems oblivious to the Raptors' Jalen Rose as he helps shoot the Pacers within a game of a playoff spot. (Adrian Wyld -- AP)

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The Pistons' division title gives them the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They've won seven straight and handed the Bulls their second loss in 14 games.

Kirk Hinrich scored 15 points to lead the Bulls, who guaranteed themselves a playoff berth on Saturday. Chicago played without Eddy Curry (irregular heartbeat) for the eighth straight game.

Rasheed Wallace added 14 points for Detroit and Ben Wallace had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

• PACERS 94, RAPTORS 90: In Toronto, Reggie Miller scored 19 points to pass Jerry West for 12th on the all-time scoring list.

Miller has 25,201 points, eight more than the man on the NBA logo. Miller passed West with a three-pointer 40 seconds into the second half. The 18-year veteran is retiring at the end of the season, and players and coaches on both sides paid tribute to him before his last game at Air Canada Center.

"For the fans to come out with a lot of the signs and the jerseys, it's very appreciative on my end," Miller said. "It's time to go."

• NUGGETS 122, WARRIORS 106: Carmelo Anthony scored 11 of his 32 points during a key third-quarter run and Andre Miller had 16 assists, helping host Denver clinch consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in a decade.

Denver reached the playoffs last season for the first time since 1995, and followed that run with a dramatic turnaround this year.

Eight games under .500 when George Karl took over as coach, the Nuggets have matched a season high with eight straight wins and have won 22 of 24 overall.

DerMarr Johnson had 20 points and Earl Boykins had 12 points and 10 assists for Denver, which won its ninth straight at home.

• CAVALIERS 114, MAGIC 106: LeBron James scored 33 points and Drew Gooden had 27 in Cleveland's victory in Orlando.

James, playing 48 minutes for the third time in the last six games, also had seven rebounds and six assists. In his last three games, he has averaged 36.7 points, 10 rebounds and 7.7 assists.


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