Wed, Apr 15, 2009 - Page 19 News List

NBA: Cavaliers pound Pacers to secure best record in NBA

FINAL STRETCH: The win gave Cleveland the home-court advantage in the playoffs. The Cavs have a 39-1 record at home, with just one game left today

AFP AND AP , INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James, right, is fouled by the Indiana Pacers’ Brandon Rush in the first half of their NBA game in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Monday.

PHOTO: AP

The Cleveland Cavaliers locked up the best record in the National Basketball Association and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs on Monday with a victory over Indiana.

LeBron James scored 37 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 117-109 victory.

Home-court advantage is especially valuable to the Cavaliers, who own a 39-1 record on their home floor. A win by the Cavaliers in their season finale today would tie them for the NBA record for best home mark, 40-1, set by the Boston Celtics in 1985-86.

The Cleveland Cavaliers locked up the best record in the National Basketball Association and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs on Monday with a victory over Indiana.

LeBron James scored 37 points to lead the Cavaliers to a 117-109 victory.

Home-court advantage is especially valuable to the Cavaliers, who own a 39-1 record on their home floor. A win by the Cavaliers in their season finale today would tie them for the NBA record for best home mark, 40-1, set by the Boston Celtics in 1985-86.

But James, who could yet sit out that contest resting up for the playoffs, said that record didn’t matter.

“We’ve got to do what’s best for the ring,” he said. “We’ve got home-court advantage already. We’re not fighting for breaking a record anymore. We’re fighting for that ring.”

Delonte West scored 20 points, Mo Williams had 18 and Zydrunas Ilgauskas chipped in 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who won their fifth straight game.

Danny Granger scored 38 points, rookie Brandon Rush scored 27 and Troy Murphy had 17 points and 13 rebounds for Indiana, who had already been eliminated from playoff contention.

Even with the postseason out of their grasp, the Pacers had been playing well, winning seven of their previous 10 games. Cleveland had reason to take them seriously after falling 96-95 to the Pacers on Feb. 10. But the Cavaliers stayed focused, suffering no let-down a day after their 31-point victory over reigning NBA champions Boston.

ROCKETS 86, HORNETS 66

At Houston, the Houston Rockets moved within one win of the NBA’s Southwest Division title with an 86-66 win over the New Orleans Hornets.

Yao Ming (姚明) scored 22 points to lead the way for Houston, while Luis Scola grabbed 15 rebounds.

If the Rockets win their ­regular-season finale in Dallas today, they will secure their first division championship for 15 years. But in the tight Western Conference, Houston could also slip to fifth place — and lose home-court advantage in the first round — with a loss to the Mavericks.

BUCKS 98, MAGIC 80

In Milwaukee, Orlando slipped to a third straight loss by a lowly opponent, beaten easily by Milwaukee.

Richard Jefferson scored 24 points for the Bucks in their home finale, providing a late hight note to an otherwise offkey season.

Orlando was coming off losses to New York and New Jersey, but are locked in the No. 3 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference.

SPURS 101, WARRIORS 72

In Oakland, California, San Antonio kept pace with Houston atop the Southwest Division by crushing Golden State.

Tony Parker scored 17 points and Tim Duncan added 16 points and 13 rebounds before both stars sat out the fourth quarter.

The Spurs won their third straight to pull even at 53-28 with the Rockets and Portland.

If Houston and San Antonio both win their regular-season finales, the Rockets will win a tiebreaker and get the No. 3 playoff seed, while San Antonio could end up starting the postseason on the road against the Trail Blazers unless Dallas knock off Houston.

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