ATLANTA — LeBron James scored 34 points as Miami locked up second spot in the Eastern Conference with a 98-90 win over the Atlanta Hawks, who nearly rallied from a 20-point deficit while going with their backups in the fourth quarter Monday night.
Miami played its starters all the way, looking to clinch second place behind Chicago in the East. Shortly after beating the Hawks, the Heat got the news they wanted: third-place Boston lost at Washington in overtime.
The Hawks went with a makeshift lineup with the fifth seeding already locked up.
Atlanta leveled the game at 88 in the closing minutes, but Miami outscored the Hawks 10-2 the rest of the way, with James Jones making two huge 3-pointers — including one that turned into a four-play when he was fouled by a leaping Josh Powell.
Cavaliers 110, Pistons 101
At Auburn Hills, Daniel Gibson scored 17 points, including a five-point play late in the third quarter, as the Cavaliers won a testy game in which two players were ejected after a skirmish.
Ryan Hollins and the Pistons' Charlie Villanueva became entangled with 5:47 left in the game, and appeared to push each other in the face. Both were ejected, and Villanueva had to be restrained as he headed off.
Later, Villanueva came out of the Pistons' locker room and sprinted toward Cleveland's locker room, but was stopped by police on a loading dock.
Magic 95, 76ers 85
At Philadelphia, Dwight Howard returned from a suspension to score 19 points and grab 13 rebounds, while Ryan Anderson added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Magic.
Howard served an NBA suspension Sunday after picking up his 18th technical foul.
Jameer Nelson also scored 13 for Orlando, which used a 16-2 run in the third quarter to shake off the Sixers.
Elton Brand led the Sixers with 22 points. Philadelphia is stuck on 41 wins and needs one in Wednesday's finale for its first winning record since 2004-05.
Jazz 90, Hornets 78
At New Orleans, C.J. Miles and Devin Harris each scored 18 points and Paul Millsap added 16 as the Jazz won for only the second time in 12 games.
Chris Paul, who went scoreless for the first time in his career in a loss at Memphis a night earlier, had 15 points. Marco Belinelli, who had 13 points, was the only other starter in double figures for New Orleans, which shot 37.8 percent (28 of 74) while dropping its second straight.
The Hornets (46-35), who are already playoff-bound, now hold the eighth seed in the Western Conference, a half game behind Memphis (46-34) and 1½ games behind Portland (46-33).
Bucks 93, Raptors 86
At Milwaukee, Brandon Jennings broke free for three straight fast-break scores to give Milwaukee the lead in the fourth quarter, and the Bucks held on to beat undermanned Toronto.
John Salmons scored 24 points and Jennings added 21 for the Bucks in their final home game of what has been a disappointing season.
It may have been the final game at the Bradley Center in a Bucks uniform for Michael Redd, the team's longest-tenured player. Redd played 14 minutes, scoring two points on 1-for-6 shooting.
Jerryd Bayless scored 20 for Toronto in a matchup between two teams eliminated from playoff contention. The injury-riddled Raptors used only eight players.
Bobcats 105, Nets 103
At Newark, D.J. Augustin hit a jumper with 1.1 seconds remaining, leading Charlotte over New Jersey.
Nets guard Sasha Vujacic, who finished with 19 points, hit a long 3-pointer to tie the game at 103 with 10.9 seconds remaining.
Augustin, who had 19 points and 11 assists, brought the ball down the floor. With 5 seconds left, he used a crossover dribble to get some distance, then made the 19-foot jumper while falling down.
Nets center Brook Lopez, who scored a game-high 31 points, heaved a desperation shot at the buzzer that was wide left.
Wizards 95, Celtics 94, OT
At Washington, Boston didn't play four of its usual starters, essentially setting aside its bid for a better playoff seed for the chance to give its top players some rest, and the result was an overtime loss to Washington that handed the Miami Heat the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference.
With Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo watching from the bench, Celtics coach Doc Rivers made it clear that a fresh crew ready for the postseason was more important that using up energy to try to climb one rung in the standings in the season's final days.
Boston's loss, combined with Miami's 98-90 win over Atlanta, guaranteed the Heat will finish second and the Celtics will place third.
John Wall had 24 points, nine rebounds and three assists to lead the lottery-bound Wizards in their home finale.
Jeff Green scored 20 points and tied his career high with 15 rebounds in his first Celtics start. Glen Davis also had 20 points. Jermaine O'Neal, who needed the playing time after missing much of the season with a sore knee, had seasons highs in both points (15) and rebounds (13). (AP)