Cleveland wraps up No. 1 in East
The road to the NBA Finals in the East has to go through Cleveland.
LeBron James had 27 points and 10 assists, Wally Szczerbiak scored a season-high 18, and the Cavaliers beat the struggling 76ers, 102-92, last night in Philadelphia to clinch the No. 1 playoff seed and home-court advantage in the conference.
No team has played better at home this season than the Cavaliers. They're 38-1 at Quicken Loans Arena, with the only loss coming against the Los Angeles Lakers Feb. 8. The Lakers lost to the Trail Blazers, dropping Los Angeles 1 1/2 games behind Cleveland for the league's best record and home-court advantage throughout the entire playoffs.
Andre Iguodala led Philadelphia with 26. The Sixers have lost four straight since clinching a playoff berth. They are one game behind fifth-place Miami in the East.
Trail Blazers 106, Lakers 98 - Brandon Roy had 24 points and eight assists, and host Portland held off Los Angeles.
Kobe Bryant scored 32 points for the Lakers, but missed a key 3-pointer, had a crucial turnover, and was off on a jumper in the final minute.
Rockets 113, Warriors 109 - Dikembe Mutombo had 10 points and 15 rebounds, Luis Scola added a career-high 28 points, and visiting Houston beat Golden State to maintain its slim hold on the third seed in the West.
Making a rare start after center Yao Ming was scratched from Houston's lineup during pregame warmups because of lingering soreness in his right foot, the 42-year-old Mutombo blocked four shots and played a season-high 36 minutes. The Rockets remained a half-game in front of Portland and San Antonio for that third seed.
Spurs 105, Jazz 99 - Tony Parker scored 31 points and host San Antonio shook off its funk long enough to bury Utah further back in the playoff race.
The Jazz have lost five of six and slipped closer to having to face the Lakers in the first round. Utah has just three games left to climb out of the No. 8 seed and secure a more favorable matchup.
Knicks 105, Magic 95 - Al Harrington scored 27 points, Wilson Chandler had 22, and visiting New York dealt a crushing blow to Orlando's hopes of earning the East's second seed.
Orlando fell two games back of the Celtics for the East's No. 2 spot. With three games left and Boston owning the tiebreaker, the Magic are likely to finish with the third seed.
Mavericks 100, Hornets 92 - Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki each scored 25 points and host Dallas held off a late rally led by Chris Paul (42 points) to tie New Orleans for the sixth seed in the West. It won't stay that way for long - they meet again tomorrow in New Orleans.
Pistons 100, Nets 93 - Will Bynum scored 20 points and Rasheed Wallace added 15 as host Detroit beat New Jersey to clinch one of the East's last two playoff spots.
Hawks 122, Pacers 118 - Josh Smith scored 30 points and Joe Johnson had 24 to help host Atlanta clinch the fourth spot in the East.
In other games, Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo scored 20 points apiece, and host Memphis beat the Suns, 106-99, snapping a 10-game losing streak against Phoenix . . . Caron Butler (21 points) made a jumper at the buzzer as visiting Washington beat Toronto, 100-98 . . . Kevin Durant had 20 points and 10 rebounds, and host Oklahoma City knocked Charlotte out of the playoffs, 84-81 . . . Brian Skinner scored a season-high 21 points as the Los Angeles Clippers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 109-78 victory over visiting Sacramento.