WASHINGTON — LeBron James’ only visible significant role was that of postgame heckler, interrupting Michael Beasley’s interview amid a loose, upbeat locker room that normally wouldn’t jibe with a 21-point loss — or throwing in a towel in the race for a No. 1 seed.
James and Chris Bosh took the night off Monday, and the Heat were beaten 114-93 by the Washington Wizards in a no-contest game that guaranteed the Eastern Conference’s top seed for the Indiana Pacers.
So, no disappointment at all?
“There would be no disappointment,” said Dwyane Wade, who played because he needed some minutes after his recent nine-game layoff with a hamstring injury. “When the playoffs start, we have a new season and we will be looking forward to it.”
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So the Pacers are locked in to a first-round series against the eighth-seeded Atlanta Hawks, while the two-time defending champion Heat get the No. 2 seed and either the Wizards or the Charlotte Bobcats. Miami began the day still in contention for the top spot, but it would have needed to win its last two games and have Indiana lose to Orlando on Wednesday because the Pacers hold the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Figuring it would be better to be fresh for the postseason, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra sat two of his Big Three, saying they were dealing with “minor ailments” from “the residual of a long season.”
“It was out of our control. Those guys put in a lot of mileage,” Spoelstra said. “Our schedule was fairly extreme down the stretch. I’ve never been a part of a group that’s played that many games in that few of days down the stretch. That’s not an excuse, but we want to just make sure our guys are sharp and feeling healthy.”
Grizzlies clinch final playoff berth
PHOENIX — Zach Randolph had 32 points and nine rebounds to help Memphis clinch the final Western Conference playoff berth with a 97-91 victory over Phoenix, eliminating the Suns from postseason contention.
The Grizzlies scored the last six points of an intense fourth quarter.
Mike Conley sank a three-pointer to put Memphis ahead for good 93-91 with 1:08 to play.
Goran Dragic threw the ball away on the Suns’ next possession and Randolph scored inside to make it 95-91 with 47.1 seconds left.
• Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut has a fractured rib that could keep him out for the start of the playoffs.
Warriors coach Mark Jackson said that an X-ray revealed the fractured rib. Jackson said Bogut is out “indefinitely” and there is no timetable for his return.
• Tyreke Evans scored a career-high 41 points to go with nine rebounds, eight assists and three steals, and host New Orleans snapped an eight-game skid with a 101-89 victory over Oklahoma City, which rested Russell Westbrook. New Orleans beat the Thunder for the first time in 11 meetings, dating to Jan. 24, 2011. Kevin Durant scored 25 for the Thunder.
• Michael Carter-Williams had 21 points and 14 rebounds, former Husky Tony Wroten scored 20 points, and Philadelphia beat visiting Boston 113-108.
Former Gonzaga standout Kelly Olynyk scored 28 points to lead the Celtics.
• Greivis Vasquez scored 25 points, Kyle Lowry had 24 and host Toronto set a franchise record with its 48th win, beating Milwaukee 110-100.
• For the first time in nearly three decades, Joe Dumars won’t play a major role in shaping the future of the Detroit Pistons.
Dumars stepped down as Detroit’s president of basketball operations Monday, a day after the Pistons lost their home finale and fell to 29-52 with one game remaining in the season. Detroit will miss the postseason for a fifth consecutive year.
“It’s time to turn the page on a wonderful chapter and begin writing a new one,” Dumars said in a statement.
• Nick Young scored a season-high 43 points and helped the Los Angeles Lakers snap a seven-game losing streak with a 119-104 victory at Utah.
• Stephen Curry had 32 points and 15 assists, and host Golden State rallied from 19 points down in the first half to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 130-120 and secure the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
• The Pacers’ biggest win so far this season came Monday — off the court.
One day after breaking out of a slump by beating Oklahoma City and hours before Miami rested its star players, essentially ceding the top seed in the East, the city’s Capital Improvement Board approved a new deal that would help the Pacers stay financially competitive in one of the NBA’s smallest markets.
In exchange for providing $164 million to pay for operating costs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse over the next 10 years, the Pacers agreed to extend a lease agreement that will keep them in Indy for up to 13 more seasons.
• The season is over for Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. The NBA announced that it upheld his 16th technical foul of the season.