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Saturday, April 28, 2012
Knicks deal Bobcats 23rd straight loss
CHARLOTTE, North Carolina — The worst season in NBA history is over for the Charlotte Bobcats.
Meanwhile, the New York Knicks are looking ahead to the playoffs.
The Bobcats couldn't even beat a Knicks team resting most of its starters, finishing with the lowest winning percentage in league 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.
"I couldn't be happier," said Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson, now 18-6 since taking over for Mike D'Antoni. "It was a great regular season and now it's playoff basketball time. They will be ready."
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.
"Going 7-59 like we did is not what we planned on doing," Henderson said. "This doesn't sit very well with me. These last 10 games, we've really tried to get after it, compete and not get that record. It just didn't happen for us. We just didn't have enough. We couldn't come up with the plays.
"When you look back at it and see we lost 59 games, you always think, 'We could've won one more.' "
Kemba Walker had 13 points, D.J. Augustin 12 and D.J. White added 11 for Charlotte, which now faces an offseason of uncertainty.
"I have to commend the guys," said Paul Silas, whose future as the Bobcats coach is in doubt. "They gave me everything they had and I can't fault them one bit for what happened. If they hadn't played hard for me and their attitudes hadn't been right then that's different, but they were positive and did everything that they needed to do."
The Knicks held out starters Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis, while Amare Stoudemire had 21 points over two quarters.
That put the pressure on New York's reserves to make up the difference, and they didn't disappoint. Josh Harrellson added 18 points, Jerome Jordan 13 and Iman Shumpert 12 for the Knicks. Mike Bibby also had 12 assists.
Bulls 107, Cavaliers 75
In Chicago, John Lucas III scored a career-high 25 points, Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls clinched the top overall seed in the NBA playoffs.
The Bulls will play host to Philadelphia on Saturday.
Hawks 106, Mavericks 89
In Atlanta, Josh Smith scored 23 points and the Hawks clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs after racing to a 23-point lead in the opening quarter.
Nuggets 131, Timberwolves 102
In Minneapolis, JaVale McGee scored 19 points to help Denver lock down the sixth seed in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets will face the third-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.
Celtics 87, Bucks 74
In Boston, 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 the Celtics.
Wizards 104, Heat 70
In Washington, playing without its Big Three, Miami suffered its worst defeat of the season.
With their first playoff game just two days away, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra rested LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh for the second straight game.
Mo Evans had a season-high 18 points for the Wizards.
Grizzlies 88, Magic 76
In Memphis, Marc Gasol scored 22 points, Rudy Gay added 20 and the hosts claimed the No. 4 seed in the West.
The Grizzlies will open the playoffs at home Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers, who dropped to the fifth seed.
Raptors 98, Nets 67
In Toronto, Ben Uzoh had 12 points, a career-high 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his first career triple-double, and the Raptors handed New Jersey a loss that slightly improves the Nets' chances in the NBA draft lottery.
Pistons 108, 76ers 86
In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Ben Gordon scored 26 points, including eight 3-pointers, to help Detroit rout short-handed Philadelphia.
Rockets 84, Hornets 77
In Houston, Chase Budinger scored a season-high 27 points and Marcus Morris hit the go-ahead 3-pointer to lift the Rockets.
Jazz 96, Trail Blazers 94
In Salt Lake City, 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.
Kings 113, Lakers 96
In Sacramento, DeMarcus Cousins had 23 points and 19 rebounds, Tyreke Evans scored 17 points and the Kings beat Los Angeles' 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.
Spurs 107, Warriors 101
In Oakland, 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.
The Warriors, decimated by injuries, were also short-handed and became the first NBA team in modern history to start five rookies, including former Tokyo Apache big man Jeremy Tyler (season-best 16 points, nine rebounds in 43-plus minutes), in one game.