– The Associated Press

ATLANTA – Joe Johnson scored 25 points Wednesday night as the Atlanta Hawks handed Los Angeles its second straight loss, breezing past the Lakers, 109-92.

Kobe Bryant scored 28 points but only eight in the second half as Los Angeles lost back-to-back games for just the fourth time this season. The Lakers won twice on a five-game trip and missed a chance to possibly clinch the Pacific Division title before heading home.

“We’re not playing well defensively,” Bryant said. “This trip was consistently bad, so we’ve got to get back to work.”

The Hawks won their ninth straight at home — their longest run since a 20-game streak at the old Omni in the 1996-97 season.

RAPTORS 114, CLIPPERS 92: Chris Bosh had 34 points and 11 rebounds, and Andrea Bargnani added 21 points and eight rebounds as Toronto won at home.

Sonny Weems scored 17 points, and Antoine Wright and Jose Calderon each had 11 for the Raptors, who snapped a three-game home losing streak.

BOBCATS 103, 76ERS 84: Gerald Wallace had 24 points and 12 rebounds, Tyson Chandler added a season-high 15 points, and Charlotte won at home to move a step closer to its first playoff berth.

Bouncing back from a home loss two nights earlier to Toronto, the Bobcats forced 25 turnovers, took 24 more free throws than the 76ers and dominated the second half to move four games ahead of ninth-place Chicago in the Eastern Conference with eight games left. The top eight teams make the playoffs.

CAVALIERS 101, BUCKS 98: Mo Williams made four free throws in the final 12.8 seconds as Cleveland held on at home.

LeBron James scored 23 points and Williams 21 for the Cavs, who have won 10 of their past 11 and are closing in on the league’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the postseason.

SUNS 116, NETS 105: Steve Nash had 24 points and 14 assists, Jason Richardson scored 23 points and Phoenix won at East Rutherford, N.J., to run its winning streak to nine games.

Amare Stoudemire had 15 points and three reserves were in double figures for the Suns, who followed a sluggish first half by hitting all six 3-point attempts in a 38-point third quarter that turned around the game.

MAVERICKS 106, GRIZZLIES 102: Dirk Nowitzki overcame a poor shooting night, scoring 28 points and leading a late rally as Dallas won in overtime at Memphis, Tenn., for its 50th victory of the season.

Jason Terry scored 29 points for the Mavericks, who have won 50 games in each of the last 10 seasons. Jason Kidd had 12 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, and Caron Butler had 11 points and a season-high 13 rebounds.

TIMBERWOLVES 108, KINGS 99: Al Jefferson had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Darko Milicic also got a double-double at Minneapolis to help Minnesota snap a 16-game losing streak.

Jonny Flynn added 18 points and Corey Brewer scored 19 for Minnesota. Carl Landry scored 22 points and Donte Greene added 21 for the Kings.

HEAT 98, PISTONS 81: Michael Beasley snapped out of a slump with 28 points and nine rebounds at Auburn Hills, Mich., as Miami won its sixth straight.

Beasley came into the game averaging 10.1 points in his last seven games, but scored eight in the first quarter against the struggling Pistons.

WIZARDS 96, HORNETS 91: Mike Miller scored a season-high 27 points and Washington won at New Orleans to snap a franchise-record 16-game losing streak.

The Wizards avoided an 0-17 March with their first win since beating New Jersey on Feb. 28.

SPURS 119, ROCKETS 102: George Hill scored a career-high 30 points and led two second-half pushes that led San Antonio at home.

Manu Ginobili added 18 points and 10 assists, and Tim Duncan had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who started the night in the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference.


CAVALIERS: Cleveland center Shaquille O’Neal said his surgically repaired thumb is healing ahead of schedule.

Looking remarkably fit, O’Neal, who has been out since tearing a ligament in his thumb Feb. 25 and having surgery, said he plans to resume basketball activities soon.

LAKERS: Los Angeles Coach Phil Jackson said backup guard Sasha Vujacic hasn’t played the last two games because of “a little run-in” with the coaching staff.

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