Fri, Apr 20, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Bulls drop to No. 5 after loss to Nets, Cavs clinch No. 2

AP , EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY

Vince Carter had 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, and the New Jersey Nets beat Chicago 106-97 on Wednesday, costing the Bulls the No. 2 seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference playoffs.

Mikki Moore had 22 points and Jason Kidd added 11 assists and 11 rebounds as the Nets clinched the No. 6 seed in the East and dropped the Bulls to No. 5, where they face a tough matchup with the defending champion Miami Heat.

The Cleveland Cavaliers were the beneficiary of only the Bulls' third loss in 13 games. They get the No. 2 spot and will face Washington in the opening round. New Jersey will face the Atlantic Division champion Toronto Raptors.

Cavaliers 109, Bucks 96

At Cleveland, LeBron James scored 24 points and capped a decisive run to open the fourth quarter with one of his powerhouse dunks, sending Cleveland over Milwaukee in its regular-season finale.

The Cavaliers pulled away by outscoring the Bucks 12-3 to open the final period, giving Cleveland its second straight 50-win season and more momentum heading into this weekend's NBA playoffs.

They left the confetti-littered floor of Quicken Loans Arena not knowing who their opponent would be in the opening round. But a little more than an hour later, New Jersey beat Chicago, giving the Cavaliers the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference and a first-round matchup with Washington, the seventh seed.

Magic 94, Heat 68

At Orlando, Florida, Grant Hill scored 17 points, Hedo Turkoglu added 15 and Orlando beat undermanned Miami for its sixth victory in seven games.

The Magic will open the playoffs at Detroit this weekend. They are 0-4 against the Pistons this season.

Orlando certainly got a break in the finale, playing the Heat without stars Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade.

Nuggets 100, Spurs 77

At San Antonio, Reggie Evans had 19 points and 20 rebounds to help Denver beat San Antonio in a game that was more of a tuneup than a playoff preview.

Denver and San Antonio will meet again in the first round of the playoffs, beginning this weekend.

For the regular season finale, both teams rested their top players.

Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili and Fabricio Oberto didn't play for the Spurs, while Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony, Nene and Marcus Camby sat out for Denver.

Wizards 98, Pacers 95

At Indianapolis, Antawn Jamison had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and Washington beat Indiana to clinch the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

In other NBA action it was:

* 76ers 122, Raptors 119

* Pistons 91, Celtics 89

* Grizzlies 116, T'wolves 94

* Knicks 94, Bobcats 93

* Lakers 117, Kings 104

* Jazz 101, Rockets 91

* Mavericks 106, Sonics 75

* Warriors 120, Trail Blazers 98

* Hornets 86, Clippers 83

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