WASHINGTON -- Ray Allen scored 23 points, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade chilled at the end of the bench, and the Miami Heat's B-squad gave the resting A-team the gift of home-court advantage throughout the playoffs Wednesday night, clinching the best record in the NBA with a 103-98 victory over the Washington Wizards.
With James (right hamstring) and Wade (sprained ankle and bruised knee) looking like two guys sitting at a bus stop, and Chris Bosh at home with flu-like symptoms, plus Udonis Haslem getting the night off because of a sore right ankle, the what-was-left-over of the Heat committed 25 turnovers but still managed the win that assured they'll finish better than the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs.
A.J. Price tied a career high with 23 points for the Wizards (see full recap).
Williams carries Nets past Celtics
BOSTON -- Deron Williams had 29 points and 12 assists to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 101-93 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
Brook Lopez scored 21 points and Joe Johnson added 20 for Brooklyn, which won for the 12 time in 18 games overall and beat the Celtics for the third time in four meetings this season.
The Nets moved closer to wrapping up fourth place in the Eastern Conference and clinching homecourt advantage in the first round. Brooklyn owns a 3 1/2-game edge over idle Chicago with four games left to play in the regular season.
Paul Pierce led Boston with 23 points, Jeff Green added 11 and Kevin Garnett had 11 points and eight rebounds in his second game back after missing the previous eight with an inflamed left ankle (see full recap).
Suns push Mavs to brink of elimination
DALLAS -- P.J. Tucker scored 17 points, including two key baskets in the closing minutes, and the Phoenix Suns pushed the Dallas Mavericks to the brink of playoff elimination for the first time since 2000 with a 102-91 victory Wednesday night.
The Suns blew a 14-point lead in the second quarter and almost did it again in the fourth before hanging on to snap a 10-game losing streak that was their longest in 16 years.
The loss meant a 12-season streak of playoff trips for the Mavericks (38-40) could officially end with a win by the Los Angeles Lakers, who played at Portland later Wednesday (see full recap).