THE SIXERS got some unexpected help in their bid for a playoff berth.

Jordan Crawford equaled a season-high with 32 points, and John Wall had 14 points and 10 assists Wednesday night as the Washington Wizards dealt the visiting Milwaukee Bucks a crucial, 121-112, defeat in their attempt for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Milwaukee began the day 1 1/2 games behind Philadelphia for eighth place in the East, but lost a game as the Sixers won in Cleveland.

Monta Ellis had 31 points for Milwaukee, which has lost four of five, while Brandon Jennings had 25 points and Drew Gooden added 21 points and 12 rebounds.

Nene and Kevin Seraphin both had 14 points for Washington, which has won four of six. On Monday, the Wizards beat Eastern Conference-leading Chicago on the road.

Milwaukee coach Scott Skiles was fully aware of the implications of the game. The Bucks host the Sixers in 1 week. Milwaukee finishes with six games in eight nights.

"We have one fortunate thing going for us in that we do play Philadelphia," Skiles said. "There is a night coming up here where we have full control. We need to make sure that we're in position for that night."

In other games * 

At Miami, LeBron James scored 28 points as the Heat beat Toronto, 96-72.

* At Atlanta, the Hawks beat Detroit by 32 points, 116-84, the night after the Pistons beat Cleveland by 39 points.

* At Newark, N.J., Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points as New York beat the Nets, 104-95.

* At Charlotte, the Chicago Bulls handed the Bobcats their franchise-record 18th straight loss, 100-68.

Also, the Bobcats confirmed there was an altercation Sunday in the locker room between coach Paul Silas and forward Tyrus Thomas.

* At Memphis, the Grizzlies clinched a playoff berth for the second straight season with a 103-91 victory over New Orleans.

* At Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki's 35 points lifted the Mavericks over Houston, 117-110.

* At Boston, Paul Pierce had 29 points and a career-high 14 assists as the Celtics clinched at least a tie for the Atlantic Division title by beating Orlando,102-98.

* At Denver, Kenyon Martin's tip-in and blocked shot in the final half-minute led the Los Angeles Clippers past the Nuggets, 104-98.

* At Portland, Devin Harris' 27 points led Utah to a 112-91 win over the Trail Blazers.

* At Sacramento, San Antonio beat the Kings, 127-102.

Noteworthy * 

Dallas guard Delonte West was fined $25,000 by the NBA for jabbing his finger into the ear of Utah's Gordon Hayward in Monday's game.