Cumberland Times-News

April 27, 2012

Wizards streak into offseason

Associated Press

— WASHINGTON — Playing without their Big Three, the Miami Heat suffered their worst defeat of the season with a 104-70 loss to the Washington Wizards in the regular-season finale Thursday night.

With their first playoff game just two days away, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra rested LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh for the second straight game. The Heat are locked into the Eastern Conference's second playoff spot and will open the postseason Saturday against the New York Knicks.

Mo Evans had a season-high 18 points, Nene and Kevin Seraphin each scored 15, and John Wall had seven points and 12 assists for the Wizards, who closed the season with their first six-game win streak since Nov. 11-21, 2007.

Bulls 107, Cavs 75

CHICAGO — John Lucas III scored a career-high 25 points, Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls clinched the top overall seed in the NBA playoffs.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau rested Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver. Chicago will host Philadelphia on Saturday.

Celtics 87, Bucks 74

BOSTON — Paul Pierce scored all 12 of his points in the first half despite missing most of it with a sprained toe and Rajon Rondo had 15 assists as the Boston Celtics closed the regular season with an 87-74 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night.

Avery Bradley added 14 points for the Celtics, who  open the playoffs at Atlanta on Sunday.

Hawks 106, Mavs 89

ATLANTA — Josh Smith scored 23 points and the Hawks clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, racing to a 23-point lead in the opening quarter .

The Hawks (40-26) wrapped up the fourth-best record in the East and host Boston on Sunday. The defending NBA champion Mavericks (36-30) open the playoffs Saturday at Oklahoma City.

Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 22 points.

Pistons 108, 76ers 86

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Ben Gordon scored 26 points, including eight 3-pointers, to help the Pistons rout the short-handed 76ers.

Philadelphia (35-31) entered the game with a mathematical chance at the Eastern Conference's seventh seed, but didn't make much of an effort. Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams all sat out the game in order to rest for Saturday's postseason opener against top-seeded Chicago.

Spencer Hawes led the 76ers with 16, while Jodie Meeks had 15.

Nuggets 131, T-wolves 102

MINNEAPOLIS — JaVale McGee scored 19 points to help the Denver Nuggets lock down the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a victory over the Timberwolves.

Arron Afflalo scored 18 points and Danilo Gallinari had 17 points for the Nuggets, who won their fourth straight game and eighth in their last 10 as they surge into the postseason.

The Nuggets will face the third-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.