Danny Granger scored 29 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the visiting Milwaukee Bucks, 118-109, Thursday night and clinch home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
George Hill had 22 points and eight assists and David West added 21 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists for the Pacers, who won their seventh straight and 11th of 12. The Pacers have scored at least 100 points in 12 of their last 13 games.
Brandon Jennings scored 27 points and former Pacer Mike Dunleavy added 23 for the Bucks. Monta Ellis, one of Milwaukee's top scorers, finished with 12 points on 5-for-14 shooting.
Milwaukee, which lost its third straight, is running out of time to catch the 76ers for the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.
T'wolves end losing streak
Nikola Pekovic scored 23 points as the Minnesota Timberwolves ended an 11-game losing streak with a 91-80 win over their hosts, the Detroit Pistons.
The Timberwolves never trailed and took a 49-31 halftime lead after shooting 57 percent (21 of 37) from the field. An 8-0 run pushed the lead to over 20 points midway through the third quarter but the Pistons rallied in the fourth to make it close.
Tayshaun Prince had 18 points to lead to lead Detroit.
Howard out for season
According to an ESPN report, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard will undergo back surgery Friday morning in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk, effectively ending his season and eliminating him from participation in the Olympics this summer.
"It hurts. . . . I tried to play through it and it just made my back worse," Howard.
Dan Fegan, Howard's agent, said he hopes this development debunks any thoughts that his client - who has been feuding with Magic coach Stan Van Gundy and had missed six consecutive games - has been using a slight back problem as an excuse not to play.
Howard told ESPN he has been told by his doctor that he will be able to "start rehab right away and be back to full contact in four months."
- Inquirer wire services