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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bulls clinch top seed with win over Cavs

CLEVELAND (AP) For the first time since the final year of the Michael Jordan era, the road through the Eastern Conference playoffs will go through Chicago.

News photo
Swoop to the hoop: Eric Gordon of the Clippers goes up for a layup in front of Dallas' Jose Barea in the first half on Friday night. The Mavericks beat Los Angeles 107-96. AP PHOTO

Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the Bulls clinched the top seed in the East with a 93-82 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

Chicago, which has won six straight and 18 of 20, will have home-court advantage through the first three rounds of the playoffs. The Bulls hadn't finished with the best record in the East since 1997-98, the most recent of their six NBA championships with Jordan.

Despite wrapping up the top seed, there were no celebrations in Chicago's locker room.

"It's good to be the No. 1 seed, but at the end of the day we understand that there is a bigger picture," center Joakim Noah said. "We're staying focused. It's definitely an achievement and we're excited about it."

The Bulls, winners of five in a row and nine of 10 on the road, had six players score in double figures. Ronnie Brewer had 12 points while Derrick Rose added 11 points and eight assists. Noah scored 11 points while Luol Deng and Kyle Korver had 10 points apiece.

J.J. Hickson led Cleveland with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Daniel Gibson scored 14 points while Ramon Sessions added 13. The Cavaliers, who had won their previous two games, fell into a tie with Minnesota for the league's worst record.

Celtics 104, Wizards 88

In Boston, Rajon Rondo had 20 points and 14 assists, and Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett also had double-doubles for the Celtics, who remain tied with Miami for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Andray Blatche led Washington with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Heat 112, Bobcats 103

In Miami, Dwyane Wade returned from injury to score 27 to help the Heat maintain their tie with Boston for second place in the East.

LeBron James added 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for Miami.

Kwame Brown finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds for Charlotte.

Knicks 116, Nets 93

In Newark, N.J., Carmelo Anthony had 25 points and 14 rebounds, and New York ended a franchise-worst streak of nine straight losing seasons with its sixth consecutive victory.

Brook Lopez scored 27 points for the Nets, who were without All-Star guard Deron Williams.

Trail Blazers 93, Lakers 86

In Portland, LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 11 rebounds to help the Blazers prevent Los Angeles from locking up the second playoff seed in the West.

Kobe Bryant scored 24 points for the Lakers, who lost their fourth straight.

76ers 98, Raptors 93

In Philadelphia, Elton Brand scored 22 points and Thaddeus Young added 20 to help the 76ers snap a three-game losing streak.

DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 27 points.

Pacers 114, Hawks 102

In Indianapolis, Danny Granger scored 28 points to help Indiana remain in the No. 8 playoff spot in the East.

Jeff Teague scored 21 points for Atlanta.

Pistons 110, Bucks 100

In Auburn Hills, Mich., Chris Wilcox scored a season-high 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Detroit.

Brandon Jennings paced Milwaukee with 31 points.

Mavericks 107, Clippers 96

In Dallas, Corey Brewer had 20 points and Peja Stojakovic scored all 10 of his points in the fourth quarter to help the Mavericks maintain their hold on the No. 3 spot in the West.

Mo Williams scored 29 points for Los Angeles.

Thunder 104, Nuggets 89

In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 28 points and the Thunder beat Denver for their second win this week over a potential first-round playoff opponent.

Nene had 18 points and nine rebounds for the Nuggets.

Grizzlies 101, Kings 96

In Memphis, Zach Randolph had 27 points and 15 rebounds to help the Grizzlies clinch the final playoff spot in the West, eliminating Houston from the race in the process.

Hornets 109, Suns 97

In New Orleans, Willie Green hit his first 12 shots and finished with a season-high 31 points to lead the Hornets.

Jared Dudley had 18 points for Phoenix.

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