Grizzlies clinch home court ad in playoffs
MEMPHIS, Tennessee (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies claimed the No.4 seed in the Western Conference and home-court advantage in the first round of NBA playoffs by beating the Orlando Magic 88-76 on Thursday.
Marc Gasol scored 22 points and Rudy Gay added 20 for the Grizzlies, who won their 11th straight home game 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.
The Magic rested all their starters, already guaranteed of being the No. 6 seed in the East.
In Atlanta, the hosts clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs by beating defending champ Dallas.
Josh Smith scored 23 points for the Hawks, who raced to a 23-point lead in the first quarter and wrapped up the fourth-best record in the East and host fourth-seeded Boston on Sunday.
Dirk Nowitzki's 22 points led the Mavericks, who will open the playoffs on Saturday at Oklahoma City.
In Chicago, the hosts clinched the top overall seed in the playoffs by routing Cleveland.
John Lucas III scored a career-high 25 points and Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Bulls, who had already claimed the top seed in the East and with Thursday's win they guaranteed they would finish ahead of San Antonio for the best record overall.
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.
In Boston, Paul Pierce scored all 12 of his points in the first half despite missing most of it with a sprained toe as Boston set up the win over Milwaukee.
Rajon Rondo had 15 assists for the Celtics, who were nearly back at full strength in their final tuneup before the playoffs.
Tobias Harris led Milwaukee with 17 points.
In Washington, the hosts inflicted the heaviest loss of the season on a Miami team that was resting its stars.
Miami 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 New York.
Mo Evans had a season-high 18 points, while Nene and Kevin Seraphin each scored 15 for the Wizards, who closed the season with their first six-game win streak since 2007.
With a lineup featuring only one regular starter the Heat had only two players in double figures: Norris Cole had 14 and Eddy Curry 10.
In Minneapolis, Denver locked up the sixth seed in the West by defeating Minnesota.
JaVale McGee scored 19 points and Arron Afflalo added 18 for the Nuggets, who won their fourth straight game ahead of a clash with the Los Angeles Lakers in the first playoff round.
Nikola Pekovic had 18 points and 10 rebounds 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.
In Salt Lake City, rookie Alec Burks scored 18 points as Utah put together a 10-0 fourth-quarter run that 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 for the injury-depleted Blazers, who didn't qualify for the postseason for the first time since the 2007-08 season.
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Ben Gordon scored 26 points, including eight 3-pointers, to help Detroit cruise past 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, resting several players ahead of Saturday's postseason opener against top-seeded Chicago.
Spencer Hawes led Philadelphia with 16 points, while Jodie Meeks had 15.
In Houston, Chase Budinger scored a season-high 27 points to lead Houston over New Orleans.
Marcus Morris hit the go-ahead 3-pointer for Houston, which finished a spot above New Orleans in the standings after a late-season collapse cost the team a playoff spot.
The Hornets got 13 points apiece from Jerome Dyson, Lance Thomas and Darryl Watkins.
In Toronto, the hosts handed New Jersey a loss that slightly improves the Nets' chances in the NBA draft lottery.
Ben Uzoh had 12 points, a career-high 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his first career triple-double and the first by a Toronto player since Alvin Williams in 2001.
Ed Davis had a career-best 24 points to go with 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who snapped a four-game skid.
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.
In Charlotte, the hosts couldn't even beat a New York team resting most of its starters, suffering a loss that left them with the worst winning percentage in NBA history.
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.
Updated April 26, 2012