WASHINGTON (AP) The Miami Heat opted for rest for LeBron James and Chris Bosh over the pursuit of the Eastern Conference’s top seed, and the Washington Wizards capitalized in a 114-93 breeze of a game Monday night that clinched the No. 1 seed for the Indiana Pacers.
Trevor Ariza scored 25 points for the Wizards, who shot 59 percent and made 14 3-pointers and remained one game ahead of the Charlotte Bobcats in the race for the East’s No. 6 seed. Washington is trying to avoid dropping to seventh so that it can avoid the Heat in the first round of the playoffs – when LeBron and Co. will be back.
Michael Beasley scored 18 points for the Heat, who will be the No. 2 seed when the playoffs begin this weekend.
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The Heat began the day still in contention for the top spot, but they would have needed to win their last two games and have Indiana lose to Orlando on Wednesday because the Pacers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker. Figuring it would be better to be fresh for the postseason, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra sat James and Bosh, saying they were dealing with ”the residual of a long season.”
BOBCATS 95, HAWKS 93
ATLANTA (AP) – Chris Douglas-Roberts dribbled into the lane and sank a short jumper as time expired, and the Charlotte Bobcats overcame a 15-point deficit in the final period to beat the Atlanta Hawks.
Al Jefferson had 27 points and 15 rebounds for Charlotte, which remained one game behind Washington in the race for the sixth spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Gary Neal had 17. Jefferson’s turnaround jumper gave the Bobcats a 93-91 lead before Lou Williams answered with a tying jumper for Atlanta with 2.6 seconds remaining.
Following a timeout, Douglas-Roberts penetrated and lobbed the soft jumper as the buzzer sounded.
The Hawks rested starters Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap and DeMarre Carroll. Mike Scott led Atlanta with 20 points.
RAPTORS 110, BUCKS 100
TORONTO (AP) – Greivis Vasquez scored 25 points, Kyle Lowry had 24 and the Toronto Raptors set a franchise record with their 48th win, beating the Milwaukee Bucks.
Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 13 rebounds and Tyler Hansbrough had 12 points and 11 rebounds as the Raptors won for the sixth time in seven games and completed the first season sweep of Milwaukee in franchise history.
Toronto had dropped 11 consecutive games against the Bucks coming into this season, but has since won four straight.
Ramon Sessions scored 21 points, Jeff Adrien had 19 points and Brandon Knight 18 as the Bucks lost their 14th straight road game, matching a record for futility set in the 2004-05 season. Milwaukee has not won away from home since beating Philadelphia on Feb. 24.
76ERS 113, Celtics 108
PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Michael Carter-Williams had 21 points and 14 rebounds, Tony Wroten scored 20 points, and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Boston Celtics.
Chris Johnson appeared to hit the tying 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds remaining, but stepped out of bounds before attempting the desperation shot. James Anderson made two free throws a half-second later to seal Philadelphia’s win.
Kelly Olynyk scored 28 points to lead the Celtics. Jeff Green had 27 points and Avery Bradley added 23. Rajon Rondo finished with eight points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds.
BULLS 108, MAGIC 95
CHICAGO (AP) – Joakim Noah had 18 points and 10 rebounds and eight assists, Mike Dunleavy scored 22 points and the Chicago Bulls pulled away late for a victory over the Orlando Magic.
With one game left in the regular season, the Bulls are fourth in the Eastern Conference playoff race and looking at a first-round matchup with Brooklyn. To catch Toronto and finish third, the Bulls would need to win the season finale at Charlotte on Wednesday and have the Raptors lose at New York
Kyle O’Quinn led Orlando with 20 points on 9-for-11 shooting, and Andrew Nicholson added 19. Rookie Victor Oladipo was limited to 10 points after scoring a career-high 35 points against the Bulls earlier this season.
ROCKETS 104, SPURS 98
HOUSTON (AP) – Chandler Parsons scored 21 points and Dwight Howard and Terrence Jones added 20 apiece to lift the Houston Rockets to a win over the San Antonio Spurs.
The victory gave No. 4 seed Houston home-court advantage in their first-round playoff series with Portland.
San Antonio used a big run at the beginning of the fourth quarter to go on top and was up by three later in the period when Houston scored eight straight to regain the lead, 95-90.
A layup by Jeff Ayres got the Spurs within four points before James Harden knocked down a long 2-pointer with less than a minute left to make it 100-94.
Marco Belinelli had 17 points to lead the Spurs, who limited the minutes of stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili with their top seed in the Western Conference playoffs already secure.
PELICANS 101, THUNDER 89
NEW ORLEANS (AP) – Tyreke Evans scored a career-high 41 points to go with nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals, and the New Orleans Pelicans snapped an eight-game skid by shocking the playoff-bound Thunder.
New Orleans beat the Thunder for the first time in 11 meetings, dating to Jan. 24, 2011.
Evans made 14 of 26 shots while scoring mostly on quick, powerful bursts to the hoop. He also scored 12 points at the foul line and made a 3 that put the Pelicans ahead 90-82 with 4:21 left.
Kevin Durant scored 25 for the Thunder, who have lost two straight and won’t lock up the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs without at least one more win or a Los Angeles Clippers loss.
Oklahoma City played without Russell Westbrook, who was given the night off to rest.
LAKERS 119, JAZZ 104
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Nick Young scored a season-high 41 points and helped the Los Angeles Lakers snap a seven-game losing streak with a victory against the Utah Jazz.
Jodie Meeks had 23 points and Jordan Hill added 21 for Lakers, who had only eight healthy players.
Alec Burks scored 22 points and Gordon Hayward had 21 points for Utah. Enes Kanter had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Trey Burke chipped in 17 for the Jazz, who have lost 10 of 11 games.
GRIZZLIES 97, SUNS 91
PHOENIX (AP) – Zach Randolph scored 32 points and the Memphis Grizzlies clinched the final playoff berth in the Western Conference with a victory over Phoenix that eliminated the Suns from postseason contention.
The Grizzlies scored the last six points of an intense fourth quarter.
Mike Conley sank a 3-pointer to put Memphis ahead for good 93-91 with 1:08 to play. Goran Dragic threw the ball away on the Suns’ next possession and Randolph scored inside to make it 95-91 with 47.1 seconds left.
Markieff Morris had 21 points, and Channing Frye and Dragic 14 apiece for Phoenix.
Memphis swept the season series from the Suns 4-0.
WARRIORS 130, TIMBERWOLVES 120
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) – Stephen Curry had 32 points and 15 assists, and the reeling Golden State Warriors rallied from 19 points down in the first half to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves.
After learning that center Andrew Bogut could miss extended time with a fractured right rib, the Warriors (50-31) withstood a strong start by Kevin Love to secure the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoffs. They finish the regular season Wednesday at Denver before beginning the postseason at the Los Angeles Clippers or Oklahoma City this weekend.
Love scored 22 of his 40 points in the first quarter. He finished with 14 rebounds and nine assists for the Timberwolves (40-41), who will need to win at Utah on Wednesday to clinch the franchise’s first non-losing season since 2004-05.