Monday's NBA Capsules

ATLANTA (AP) — LeBron James scored 34 points and Miami locked up the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 98-90 win over the Atlanta Hawks, who nearly rallied from a 20-point deficit while going with their backups in the fourth quarter Monday night.

Miami played its starters all the way, looking to clinch the second spot behind Chicago in the East. Shortly after beating the Hawks, the Heat got the news they wanted: third-place Boston lost at Washington in overtime.

The Hawks went with a makeshift lineup with the fifth see already locked up.

Atlanta tied the game at 88 in the closing minutes, but Miami outscored the Hawks 10-2 the rest of the way, with James Jones making two huge 3-pointers — including one that turned into a four-play when he was fouled by a leaping Josh Powell.

Cavaliers 110, Pistons 101

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Daniel Gibson scored 17 points, including a five-point play late in the third quarter, and the Cavaliers won a testy game in which Ryan Hollins and the Pistons’ Charlie Villanueva were ejected after a skirmish.

The two players became entangled with 5:47 left in the game, and appeared to push each other in the face. Both were ejected, and Villanueva had to be restrained as he headed off.

Later, Villanueva came out of the Pistons’ locker room and sprinted toward Cleveland’s locker room, but was stopped by police on a loading dock.

Magic 95, 76ers 85

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Dwight Howard returned from a suspension to score 19 points and grab 13 rebounds, and Ryan Anderson added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic.

Howard served an NBA suspension Sunday after picking up his 18th technical foul.

Jameer Nelson also scored 13 for Orlando, which had a 23-rebound edge at one point in the second quarter and used a 16-2 run in the third to shake off the pesky Sixers.

Elton Brand led the Sixers with 22 points. Philadelphia is stuck on 41 wins and needs one in Wednesday’s finale for its first winning record since 2004-05.

Jazz 90, Hornets 78

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — C.J. Miles and Devin Harris each scored 18 points, Paul Millsap added 16 and the Jazz won for only the second time in 12 games.

Chris Paul, who went scoreless for the first time in his career in a loss at Memphis a night earlier, had 15 points. Marco Belinelli, who had 13 points, was the only other starter in double figures for New Orleans, which shot 37.8 percent (28 of 74) while dropping its second straight.

The Hornets (46-35), who are already playoff-bound, now hold the eighth seed in the Western Conference, a half game behind Memphis (46-34) and 1 1/2 games behind Portland (46-33).

Bucks 93, Raptors 86

MILWAUKEE (AP) — Brandon Jennings broke free for three straight fast-break scores to give Milwaukee the lead in the fourth quarter, and the Bucks held on to beat undermanned Toronto.

John Salmons scored 24 points and Jennings added 21 for the Bucks in their final home game of what has been a disappointing season.

It may have been the final game at the Bradley Center in a Bucks uniform for Michael Redd, the team’s longest-tenured player. Redd played 14 minutes, scoring two points on 1-for-6 shooting.

Jerryd Bayless scored 20 for Toronto in a matchup between two teams eliminated from playoff contention. The injury-riddled Raptors used only eight players.

Bobcats 105, Nets 103

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — D.J. Augustin hit a jumper with 1.1 seconds remaining, leading Charlotte over New Jersey.

Nets guard Sasha Vujacic, who finished with 19 points, hit a long 3-pointer to tie the game at 103 with 10.9 seconds remaining.

Augustin, who had 19 points and 11 assists, brought the ball down the floor. With 5 seconds left, he used a crossover dribble to get some distance, then made the 19-foot jumper while falling down.

Nets center Brook Lopez, who scored a game-high 31 points, heaved a desperation shot at the buzzer that was wide left.

Wizards 95, Celtics 94, OT

WASHINGTON (AP) — Boston didn’t play four of its usual starters, essentially setting aside its bid for a better playoff seed for the chance to give its top players some rest, and the result was an overtime loss to Washington that handed the Miami Heat the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.

With Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo watching from the bench, Celtics coach Doc Rivers made it clear that a fresh crew ready for the postseason was more important that using up energy to try to climb one rung in the standings in the season’s final days.

Boston’s loss, combined with Miami’s 98-90 win over Atlanta, guaranteed the Heat will finish second and the Celtics will place third.

John Wall had 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists to lead the lottery-bound Wizards in their home finale.

Jeff Green scored 20 points and tied his career high with 15 rebounds in his first Celtics start. Glen Davis also had 20 points. Jermaine O’Neal, who needed the playing time after missing much of the season with a sore knee, had seasons highs in both points (15) and rebounds (13).

Mavericks 98, Rockets 91, OT

HOUSTON (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki had 23 points and 12 rebounds, and the Mavericks moved a half game ahead of Los Angeles for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Shawn Marion and Jason Terry scored 21 points each, and Tyson Chandler had 12 rebounds for the Mavs, who snapped a three-game road losing streak by beating Houston for the fourth straight time.

Kevin Martin scored 28 for the Rockets, who were eliminated from playoff contention Friday.

Terry had a chance to win the game in regulation, but missed the second of two free throws with 1.5 seconds remaining. The Rockets missed their first four shots of overtime, and Chandler dunked and Terry hit a jumper from the wing to put Dallas in front to stay.

Nuggets 134, Warriors 111

DENVER (AP) — J.R. Smith’s 22 points led nine Nuggets in double figures and Kosta Koufos tied his career high with 18 points in Denver’s win over Golden State.

The injury-riddled Nuggets reached 50 wins for the fourth straight season and clinched the fifth seed in the Western Conference. Yet, they’re limping into the playoffs.

On the same night forward Arron Afflalo and center Chris “Birdman” Andersen returned to action, center Nene strained his left groin and missed the second half. The Nuggets said he’s day to day.

Stephen Curry and Dorell Wright each scored 27 for Golden State.

Thunder 120, Kings 112

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Kevin Durant scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook had 30 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who won their fifth straight game.

Oklahoma City (55-26) has clinched the Northwest Division and will be seeded no worse than fourth in the playoffs. It trails Dallas by a game and the Los Angeles Lakers by a half game.

DeMarcus Cousins made 18 of 21 free throws and had a career-high 30 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who have dropped six straight to the Thunder. Marcus Thornton had 21 points and nine rebounds, Beno Udrih also scored 21 and Jason Thompson added 16.

Suns 135, Timberwolves 127, OT

PHOENIX (AP) — Channing Frye scored a game-high 33 points and hit a 3-pointer with 2:05 left in overtime to start an 8-0 run and Phoenix handed Minnesota its 14th consecutive loss.

After Anthony Randolph missed an 18-footer, Grant Hill scored on a 12-foot jumper with 1:27 remaining to give the Suns a four-point lead. Jared Dudley added a 3-pointer from the right corner with 47.2 seconds left to make it 131-124.

Hill had a chance to end the game in regulation but his catch-and-shoot 6-footer at the buzzer rolled off the back of the rim to keep the game tied at 121-121.

Dudley scored 26 points and Hill had 21 for the Suns, who snapped a two-game losing streak.

Michael Beasley scored 16 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter and overtime and Randolph added 24 for the Timberwolves, who led by 12 in the first half.

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