ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 11: Josh Smith #5 of the Atlanta Hawks passes the ball around LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat at Philips Arena on April 11, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

NBA Scores And More: Heat Clinch With Win, Celtics Loss; Pressure Heaps On Idle Lakers

The Heat won and Celtics lost, giving Miami the No. 2 seed in the East. Meanwhile, the Hornets continued to shoot themselves in the foot, and every team who could put more pressure on the Lakers.

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Heat Vs. Hawks: LeBron James Leads Miami To Win Over Atlanta

LeBron James scored 34 points and added 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Miami Heat beat the Atlanta Hawks 98-90. The Celtics simultaneously lost their game to the Wizards, meaning that the Heat clinched the No. 2 seed in the East and home court advantage over the Celtics.

LeBron started and finished the game strong. He had 12 on 4-7 shooting in the first quarter, and wrapped the fourth with 10 more, six of them from the line. Dwyane Wade handled much of the work in between, scoring 17 points over the second and third quarters.

Atlanta actually came back to threaten in the fourth after trailing by as many as 20, but seven points in about 30 seconds from James Jones (including a four-point play) ended that noise. Josh Smith led Atlanta with 17, and the Hawks had a strong 15 offensive rebounds. Getting those will be of utmost importance against the Magic in the first round.


Celics Vs. Wizards: Boston's B-Team Loses Headsmacker In Overtime To Washington, Falls To No. 3 Seed

The Boston Celtics will finish with the No. 3 seed in the East bracket of the 2011 NBA Playoffs after a headsmacking 95-94 overtime loss to the Washington Wizards on Monday. The Celtics continue to skid, now 3-4 in April after going 8-7 in March. The team is just 14-12 since the All-Star break. On Monday as is per usual, offense did the C's in.

Of course, there's a serious asterisk here: Doc Rivers played Boston's B-team. All four Celtics' All-Stars sat, as Rivers decided that rest for the weary was more important than a potential Game 7 against the Miami Heat being in Boston. It's an odd choice, I must say, considering that Boston's A-team just played in Miami, and lost by 23. Frankly, the league slows down dramatically in the playoffs. There will be time for rest -- a game off on Monday can't possibly pay dividends when the first playoff game is Saturday at the earliest, with only one other game in between. It's a bit mad.

Home court advantage matters in the NBA, and Doc disrespected the Heat by all-but-conceding that advantage. The C's could have won this game with the reserves in charge, but they definitely would have won it with the stars out there, even if just for a half. Instead, if that Game 7 comes around, don't forget this decision.


Jazz Vs. Hornets: New Orleans Falls Apart At Exactly The Wrong Time

The New Orleans Hornets lost a second-straight game by double-digits Monday, falling 90-78 to the Utah Jazz. Just as the Hornets took control of their own destiny in NBA Playoffs seeding, the team imploded with the back-to-back losses to Memphis and Utah. N.O.'s excellent defense allowed Utah to shoot a scorching 55 percent from the floor, and the Hornets' starting frontcourt -- Emeka Okafor, Carl Landry and Trevor Ariza -- combined for just 15 points on 4-16 shooting.

The Hornets aren't limping into the playoffs, they are scuffing. There's little excuse for not being able to rack up points against a defense as French as Utah's, but even Chris Paul struggled to break through consistently. Meanwhile, Ariza allowed C.J. Miles to score 18 points on 6-9 shooting, and Gordon Hayward needed just eight shots to drop 14. Just ugly.

The Hornets will now likely land in the No. 8 spot in the West. The Spurs await.

In other action:

Mavericks 98, Rockets 91: Dallas won to heap pressure on the Lakers; the Mavericks are now a half-game ahead of L.A. as the champs take on the Spurs on Tuesday. The Mavs were sloppy (4-17 on threes, 20 turnovers) but their defense held it down. No Rockets shot 50 percent or better.

Thunder 120, Kings 112: The Thunder also moved a game closer to overtaking the Lakers. Kevin Durant scored 32 and Russell Westbrook added 30; the Kings simply don't guard any position outside of the frontline very well consistently. DeMarcus Cousins was a monster with 30 points, 18 of which game from the free throw line. That's what happens when you park in the paint!

Nuggets 134, Warriors 111: Let's keep the Lakers' theme to In other action alive, shall we? Why do the Lakers need to avoid slipping to No. 4? Because the Nuggets await. Denver shot 53 percent, hit 10 of 23 three-pointers and committed just eight turnovers in a high-octane victory over Golden State. Nine -- count them, nine -- Nuggets scored in double-digits. Even Kosta Koufos!

/Lakers schadenfreude

Magic 95, Sixers 85: Dwight Howard had a tidy 19 points and 13 rebounds against the good 76ers. Elton Brand broke out for 22, and Philly committed just 11 turnovers. But Orlando hit their threes (11-25), and it's tough to beat 'em when that happens.

Bobcats 105, Nets 103: Boris Diaw is playing his best ball of the year since the Bobcats have been eliminated from playoff contention. That is so perfectly Boris Diaw.

Cavaliers 110, Pistons 101: Unbelievably, the Cavaliers now have a better record than the Minnesota Timberwolves. Cleveland got to win No. 18 against Detroit, thanks to some really solid bench play and a strong night from J.J. Hickson. Speaking of the Wolves ...

Suns 135, Wolves 127: How do Channing Frye and Jared Dudley go a combined 14-19 on three-pointers in a single game? They play the Wolves, of course!

Bucks 93, Raptors 86: John Salmons scored 24 points, and Drew Gooden had 19 points and 11 rebounds. All Milwaukee's preseason dreams are coming true!

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