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NBA Today

March 24, 2006

Detroit at Indiana (7 p.m. EST). The Pistons have wrapped up the Central Division; the Pacers are fifth in the Eastern Conference.

STARS

Thursday

_ Jason Richardson, Warriors, scored 40 points, including a 3-pointer with less than a second remaining to lift Golden State over Dallas 122-121.

_ Gilbert Arenas, Wizards, scored 31 points to help Washington beat Utah 109-97.

HE’S BACK

Amare Stoudemire, who missed the Suns’ first 66 games after undergoing surgery on his left knee Oct. 11, returned to the lineup and had 20 points and nine rebounds in Phoenix’s 125-108 win over Portland on Thursday night.

NET GAINS

New Jersey beat Minnesota 86-82 Thursday night for the Nets’ seventh straight victory and 15th in 18 home games. New Jersey also snapped a four-game losing streak to Minnesota.

IT’S A FIRST

Washington set a franchise record with 16 3-pointers in its 109-97 win over Utah on Thursday night.

SPIRIT OF 76

Phoenix scored 76 first-half points, most in the NBA this season, in its 125-108 win over Portland on Thursday night.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki scored 51 points in the Mavericks’ 122-121 loss Thursday night to Golden State.

SPEAKING

``It is too early to be talking about the playoffs. When do you pay attention to the playoffs? You pay attention when there is an asterisk by your name that says you have clinched a spot.″ _ Memphis coach Mike Fratello after the Grizzlies’ 95-85 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.

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