Wizards rip Heat; Pacers get East top seed
WASHINGTON — 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 to move 1½ games ahead of the Charlotte Bobcats in the race for the East’s No. 6 seed. Washington would secure sixth place if the Bobcats lost at Atlanta later Monday, thus avoiding the Heat in the first round of the playoffs.
Michael Beasley scored 18 points for the Heat, and Toney Douglas had 14 for the two-time defending champs, who will be the No. 2 seed when the playoffs begin this weekend.
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.”
“Just where we are right now, (James is) dealing with some minor ailments,” Spoelstra said. “Nothing that’s significant enough that will keep him out. Same thing with Chris. We made this decision and everyone else is ready to go. Everything is day by day.”
James has made it part of his annual routine to rest before the playoffs. He missed the final game in 2011 and sat out the last two in both 2012 and 2013.
The Heat went with their 20th starting lineup this season and trailed by as many as 36 in the second half. Dwyane Wade, who needs the work after returning Sunday from a sore right hamstring that cost him nine games, started and scored nine points in 18 minutes.
The Heat have lost four of five. Miami is just 11-13 since March 4, including 3-9 on the road.
Marcin Gortat had 10 points and 13 rebounds, and John Wall added 13 assists for the Wizards, who have been hot and cold down the stretch but at least have found a way to escape their 3-point shooting slump. After going 6 for 50 from long range over a three-game span, they’ve since made 22 of 51 in their last two games. Ariza, whose shooting was hampered by a bout with the flu, made 5 of 8 3-pointers Monday night.
Also, Nene, who sat out the Wizards’ previous game after feeling some stiffness in his recently sprained left knee, looked more like his energetic old self as he scored 18 points off the bench.
Nene converted back-to-back three-point plays in the second quarter to give the Wizards their first 10-point lead, overpowering Chris Anderson with a baseline move on the first one and taking a nice feed from Andre Miller to set up the second.
Miller supplied the game’s biggest highlight, making an overhand paint-to-paint pass to Beal that would make an NFL quarterback jealous. Miller hit Beal in stride as if it were a post pattern, and Beal made the layup in one fluid motion while drawing a foul to get a three-point play.
ATLANTA — 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.
TORONTO — 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.
PHILADELPHIA — 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.
CHICAGO — 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
HOUSTON — 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.
NEW ORLEANS — 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.
LAKERS 119, JAZZ 104
SALT LAKE CITY — Nick Young scored a season-high 43 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.
Rules for posting comments
Comments posted below are from readers. In no way do they represent the view of Oahu Publishing Inc. or this newspaper. This is a public forum.
Comments may be monitored for inappropriate content but the newspaper is under no obligation to do so. Comment posters are solely responsible under the Communications Decency Act for comments posted on this Web site. Oahu Publishing Inc. is not liable for messages from third parties.
IP and email addresses of persons who post are not treated as confidential records and will be disclosed in response to valid legal process.
Do not post:
- Potentially libelous statements or damaging innuendo.
- Obscene, explicit, or racist language.
- Copyrighted materials of any sort without the express permission of the copyright holder.
- Personal attacks, insults or threats.
- The use of another person's real name to disguise your identity.
- Comments unrelated to the story.
If you believe that a commenter has not followed these guidelines, please click the FLAG icon below the comment.