Allan Houston's second 50-point game of the season kept New York's slim playoff hopes alive.

Houston scored 50 points, reaching that number with the crowd on its feet in the closing seconds last night, as the host New York Knicks handed the Milwaukee Bucks their fourth straight loss, 120-111.

"Walking on the court, someone made mention 'Go get your 50-cent piece,' " said Houston, who wasn't sure which teammate made the fourth-quarter comment. "When I got it my next time, I shot a short five-footer, so it messed me up."

Houston scored on his final chance, though, and his fourth career game with at least 40 points snapped New York's two-game losing streak and moved the Knicks a game closer to one of the teams they are chasing for the eighth playoff spot in the East.

Desmond Mason and Gary Payton each had 23 points, and Tim Thomas added 22 for the Bucks, who dropped a half-game behind the Washington Wizards in the conference standings. The Knicks are three games behind the Wizards.

* MAVERICKS 129, KINGS 123: Steve Nash saved Dallas from getting swept in the season series by one of its primary tormenters.

The all-star point guard hit a game-tying three-pointer with 2.5 seconds left in regulation, then scored 12 points in overtime for visiting Dallas.

Nash finished with 27 points and 10 assists as the Mavericks got their league-high 50th victory of the season -- and one of the most important wins of their impressive campaign.

"I felt we deserved it," Nash said. "I thought we played well enough and hard enough. I've been saying we're good enough to beat these guys for a year now."

* CAVALIERS 122, JAZZ 95: Ricky Davis tried to give himself a triple-double by shooting at the wrong basket, leaving Utah Coach Jerry Sloan fuming after the Jazz's loss in Cleveland.

Davis had 28 points, a career-high 12 assists and missed his first career triple-double by one rebound as Cleveland snapped a seven-game losing streak.

After Utah's Scott Padgett scored with six seconds left, Davis took an inbounds pass and was ready to attempt a shot at the wrong basket to get his 10th rebound. DeShawn Stevenson wrapped his arms around Davis before the attempt and was whistled for a foul. Davis made two free throws to complete the scoring.

"He was trying to embarrass us, and that's not how the game should be played," Sloan said. "This is not schoolyard basketball. Let him try to get it when the game means something. I was proud of DeShawn, and I would have knocked [Davis] down harder."

Davis said his teammates yelled out that he needed one more rebound.

"They should be mad," Davis said. "Any team that gets beat that bad shouldn't be happy. But I wouldn't do it again. I just wouldn't. I'd probably be mad, too, losing by 20."

* 76ERS 92, NETS 87: Moving within a half-game of first place in the Atlantic Division made Philadelphia greedy for more.

"Our goal is to finish on top of the Eastern Conference and I think we have a good shot," Aaron McKie said after the 76ers rallied from a 13-point deficit to win in East Rutherford, N.J.

The victory was Philadelphia's 14th in 16 games since the all-star break and put the 76ers (39-26) right on the heels of the Nets (40-26) and within two games of idle Detroit (41-24) in the race for the conference's best mark.

"This is a big win for us," said Allen Iverson, who scored 31 points and hit the go-ahead layup with just more than a minute to play.

* TIMBERWOLVES 111, TRAIL BLAZERS 95: Kevin Garnett had his fifth triple-double of the season, and Wally Szczerbiak scored 20 points to lead Minnesota at home.

Garnett finished with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the Timberwolves, who had lost two straight.

* SPURS 108, BULLS 97: San Antonio's home win came with a twist -- potentially a costly one.

Tim Duncan sprained his right ankle with about three minutes left. He scored 22 points and had a game-high 12 rebounds.

An X-ray of the ankle was negative. Team officials said Duncan will undergo an MRI today.

* ROCKETS 85, SUNS 75: Yao Ming scored 20 points as Houston, at home, took the season series 3-1 to earn the tiebreaker between the two teams jockeying for eighth place in the West.

Houston (35-30) took a one-game lead in the standings, but the tiebreaker means the Rockets would advance even if they finish tied with the Suns (34-31).

* GRIZZLIES 124, HAWKS 92: Pau Gasol and Shane Battier each scored 22 points as host Memphis set franchise records with its sixth straight win and 24th of the season.

Battier's points were a season high, while Stromile Swift had his sixth straight double-double with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

* SUPERSONICS 92, NUGGETS 84: Rashard Lewis scored 24 points, Ray Allen had 20 and Seattle used an 8-0 run in the fourth quarter to win on the road.

Juwan Howard had 22 points and eight rebounds for Denver.

* CLIPPERS 111, RAPTORS 110: Lamar Odom scored 26 points, including a 17-footer with 2.3 seconds remaining, as host Los Angeles handed Toronto its fifth straight loss.

Eric Piatkowski had 15 points off the bench, including a couple of clutch three-pointers down the stretch.

Allen Iverson has the 76ers playing at their highest level of the season, scoring 31 points as Philadelphia won for the 14th time in 16 games.