Nets Expand Conference Lead
Washington Wizards guard John Wall (2) goes up for a dunk as Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert (55) looks on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert, right, goes to the basket against Washington Wizards center Emeka Okafor (50) and Nene (42), of Brazil, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (24) goes to the basket against Washington Wizards guard John Wall, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, April 6, 2013, in Washington. Wall was called for a foul on the play. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
New York (ap) — Deron Williams had 32 points and six assists, and the Brooklyn Nets strengthened their hold on fourth place in the Eastern Conference by beating the Charlotte Bobcats 105-96 last night.
Brook Lopez added 19 points and backup Andray Blatche had 16 as the Nets completed a four-game sweep of the NBA-worst Bobcats.
Brooklyn moved 1 ½ games ahead of Chicago for the No. 4 seed and home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
Heat 106, Sixers 87
Miami — LeBron James scored 27 points in his return from a strained right hamstring, five other Miami players reached double figures and Miami moved closer to securing home-court advantage for the entire NBA playoffs by topping Philadelphia.
Rashard Lewis scored 14 and Norris Cole added 13 for the Heat, whose magic number for clinching the league’s best regular-season record was trimmed to two.
Miami moved to 60-16, one win shy of matching the franchise single-season record. The Heat got there after outscoring Philadelphia 29-11 in the fourth quarter.
Wizards 104, Pacers 85
Washington — John Wall scored 37 points in a display of speed and flair to lead Washington over Indiana.
Wall made 16 of 25 shots, throwing his palms up after making an improbable 14-foot sideways runner and flexing his muscles to the fans on the first row after banking in a fast-break layup. He even blocked a layup attempt by Roy Hibbert, the 6-foot-4 point guard rising to swat the ball away from the 7-foot-2 Pacers center.
Wall also had five assists, four rebounds and two blocks for the lottery-bound Wizards, who have won nine straight at home and are 18-4 at the Verizon Center this season when he’s on the floor.