Thursday's NBA Capsules
Originally published April 27, 2012 at 12:01 a.m., updated April 27, 2012 at 12:58 a.m.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Charlotte Bobcats couldn't even beat a New York Knicks team resting most of its starters, finishing with the worst winning percentage in NBA history after a 104-84 loss on Thursday night.
J.R. Smith scored 22 points for the Knicks, who pulled away in the second half to clinch the Eastern Conference's No. 7 seed and a first-round playoff matchup against No. 2 Miami beginning Saturday.
Gerald Henderson had 21 points for the Bobcats, whose 23rd consecutive loss left them with a winning percentage of .106 (7-59) in the lockout-shortened season. The record was set 39 years ago, when the 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers finished 9-73 (.110) in a full regular season.
The Knicks held out Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis, while Amare Stoudemire had 21 points over two quarters.
BULLS 107, CAVALIERS 75
CHICAGO (AP) — John Lucas III scored a career-high 25 points, Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and Chicago Bulls clinched the top overall seed in the NBA playoffs.
With the No. 1 seed in the East already in hand and the playoffs beginning on Saturday, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau took no chances in the regular-season finale. He rested Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver.
Chicago will host Philadelphia on Saturday.
Tristan Thompson scored 13 points for the Cavaliers, who lost four straight games to end the season, their second straight last-place finish in the Central Division.
Kyrie Irving, who had a late-season sprained right shoulder and is recovering from the flu, did not play.
HAWKS 106, MAVERICKS 89
ATLANTA (AP) — Josh Smith scored 23 points and Atlanta clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs after racing to a 23-point lead in the opening quarter.
The Hawks wrapped up the fourth-best record in the East and host fourth-seeded Boston on Sunday. The defending NBA champion Mavericks open the playoffs Saturday at Oklahoma City.
Atlanta pounced on the Mavericks right from the tip, making 16 of 23 shots (69.6 percent) in the opening period. Smith scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds, dished out five assists and had a steal. A 28-7 run, capped by Willie Green's 3-pointer, pushed the lead to 36-13.
Dirk Nowitzki led the Mavericks with 22 points.
NUGGETS 131, TIMBERWOLVES 102
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — JaVale McGee scored 19 points to help Denver lock down the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
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.
Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 10 rebounds and J.J. Barea had 20 points and five assists for the Timberwolves, who will miss the playoffs for the seventh consecutive season. The Wolves lost 13 of their last 14 games of the season.
CELTICS 87, BUCKS 74
BOSTON (AP) — 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 for Boston.
Avery Bradley added 14 points for the Celtics, who were nearly back at full strength in their final tuneup before the playoffs.
Tobias Harris led Milwaukee with 17 points. Jon Leuer added 15 points and Brandon Jennings scored 12 for the Bucks, who were 28-28 on April 7 but never could return to .500, finishing the season at 31-35 with two straight losses.
WIZARDS 104, HEAT 70
WASHINGTON (AP) — Playing without its Big Three, Miami suffered their worst defeat of the season.
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.
With a lineup featuring only one usual starter — Mario Chalmers — the Heat had only two players in double figures: Norris Cole had 14 and Eddy Curry 10.
GRIZZLIES 88, MAGIC 76
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Marc Gasol scored 22 points, Rudy Gay added 20 and Memphis claimed the No. 4 seed in the West.
O.J. Mayo had 15 points and Zach Randolph, returning to the starting lineup, finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds to help the Grizzlies win their sixth straight and 11th in 13 games.
Memphis won a franchise-best 11 straight home games and will open the playoffs at home Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers, who dropped to the fifth seed.
Hedo Turkoglu, playing for the first time in 10 games because of a facial fracture, led the Magic with 18 points, hitting 7 of 13 shots from the field. Justin Harper scored 16 points and Von Wafer added 11, although he was 4 of 13 from the field.
The Magic rested all their starters after earning the No. 6 seed in the East.
RAPTORS 98, NETS 67
TORONTO (AP) — Ben Uzoh had 12 points, a career-high 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his first career triple-double, and Toronto handed New Jersey a loss that slightly improves the Nets' chances in the NBA draft lottery.
Uzoh's triple-double was the first by a Toronto player since Alvin Williams did it against Atlanta on March 23, 2001.
Ed Davis had a career-best 24 points to go with 12 rebounds, Gary Forbes had 23 points and Alan Anderson scored 20 as Toronto snapped a four-game skid and beat New Jersey for the ninth time in 12 meetings north of the border.
Anthony Morrow and Armon Johnson each had 11 points for the Nets, who lost their fifth straight and finish last in the Atlantic division, one game behind Toronto.
PISTONS 108, 76ERS 86
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Ben Gordon scored 26 points, including eight 3-pointers, to help Detroit rout short-handed Philadelphia.
The 76ers 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 Philadelphia with 16 points, while Jodie Meeks had 15.
The night was filled with tributes to Detroit's Ben Wallace, who announced his retirement earlier in the season. Wallace, who set an NBA record for games by an undrafted player, finished with seven points and a season-high 12 rebounds.
ROCKETS 84, HORNETS 77
HOUSTON (AP) — Chase Budinger scored a season-high 27 points and Marcus Morris hit the go-ahead 3-pointer to lift Houston.
The Hornets end the season in last place in the Southwest Division but finished strong, winning eight of their last 13 games.
Houston finished one spot above New Orleans in the standings with a 34-32 record after a late-season collapse that cost the team a playoff spot.
Jerome Dyson scored 15 points to lead the Hornets. Darryl Watkins added career highs of 13 points and three steals.
JAZZ 96, TRAIL BLAZERS 94
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Rookie Alec Burks scored 18 points and NBA Slam Dunk champ Jeremy Evans led a 10-0 fourth-quarter run as playoff-bound Utah beat Portland.
The Jazz finished the season on a five-game winning streak and will face top-seeded San Antonio in a first-round Western Conference matchup starting Sunday.
J.J. Hickson scored 20 points and Jonny Flynn added 18 to lead the injury-depleted Blazers, who didn't qualify for the postseason for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
Evans rarely plays but saw extensive action as Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin played his starters sparingly. Evans finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks.
Wesley Matthews had a chance to win it for Portland but his 3-pointer missed with 2.4 seconds left.
KINGS 113, LAKERS 96
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins had 23 points and 19 rebounds, Tyreke Evans scored 17 points and Sacramento beat the Lakers' backups in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Kobe Bryant sat out along with four other Lakers' starters, conceding the NBA scoring title to Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant. Los Angeles opens its first-round playoff series Sunday at home against Denver.
Josh McRoberts had 16 points and nine rebounds and Ramon Sessions scored 14 to lead Los Angeles, also playing without Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.
The atmosphere had a remarkably different feel than last season's Lakers-Kings finale, when the Kings appeared to be headed to Anaheim. While the doom and gloom of the town's only professional team leaving has somewhat subsided with the Kings promising to stay next season, it still lingers until a deal is signed and a new arena is constructed.
SPURS 107, WARRIORS 101
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Patty Mills had career highs of 34 points and 12 assists, DeJuan Blair added 22 points and 13 rebounds, and short-handed San Antonio beat Golden State.
James Anderson added 19 points for the Spurs, who finished with the best record in the Western Conference despite having one of the league's oldest rosters. San Antonio hosts Utah in the first round of the playoffs beginning Sunday.
Mills took over the scoring load for the Spurs after the team sent its Big Three of Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker home on Wednesday to rest for the postseason.
The Warriors, decimated by injuries, were also short-handed and became the first NBA team in modern history to start five rookies in one game.