Atlanta Hawks clinch top seed in East with win over Heat
DeMarre Carroll scored 24 points, Paul Millsap had 21 and the Atlanta Hawks clinched the top seed in the NBA`s Eastern Conference with a 99-86 win over Miami on Friday.
Al Horford added 15 points and Dennis Schroder had 12 points and 11 assists for Atlanta, who have bounced back from a three-game losing streak with two straight victories.
The Hawks had already secured the Southeast Division title.
With the win, Atlanta secured the top seed and home court advantage throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs with 19 days left in the regular season.
Luol Deng scored 17 points to lead Miami, who finished their four-game road trip 1-3.
Dwyane Wade returned from a knee injury to score 13 points, but the Heat were without Hassan Whiteside, who needed stitches after cutting his hand on the basket rim in a game on Tuesday.
Miami also had to make do without Chris Andersen, who is nursing a calf injury.
The Heat remained in seventh place in the Eastern Conference, one game ahead of the Boston Celtics who occupy the eighth and final playoff spot.
Boston kept pace with a 96-92 win over New York on Friday, but Brooklyn, Indiana and Charlotte were well within striking distance.
The Nets buoyed their hopes with a crucial 106-98 win over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Brooklyn.
The Nets` reserves out-scored their counterparts 54-20, led by Bojan Bogdanovic`s 18 points.
Jarrett Jack added 16 points and Alan Anderson scored 13.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 26 points, while James finished with 24, nine assists and five steals.