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Bobcats wear ugly crown

THE WORST season in NBA history is over for the Charlotte Bobcats. Meanwhile, the New York Knicks are looking ahead to the playoffs.

THE WORST season in NBA history is over for the Charlotte Bobcats.

Meanwhile, the New York Knicks are looking ahead to the playoffs.

The Bobcats couldn't even beat a Knicks team resting most of its starters, finishing with the lowest winning percentage in league history after a 104-84 loss Thursday.

J.R. Smith scored 22 points for the Knicks, who pulled away in the second half to clinch the Eastern Conference's No. 7 seed and a first-round playoff matchup against No. 2 Miami beginning Saturday.

"I couldn't be happier," said Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson, now 18-6 since taking over for Mike D'Antoni. "It was a great regular season and now it's playoff basketball time. They will be ready."

Gerald Henderson had 21 points for the Bobcats, whose 23rd consecutive loss left them with a winning percentage of .106 (7-59) in the lockout-shortened season. The record was set 39 years ago, when the 1972-73 76ers finished 9-73 (.110) in a full regular season.

"Going 7-59 like we did is not what we planned on doing," Henderson said. "This doesn't sit very well with me. These last 10 games, we've really tried to get after it, compete and not get that record. It just didn't happen for us. We just didn't have enough. We couldn't come up with the plays.

"When you look back at it and see we lost 59 games, you always think, 'We could've won one more.' "

Kemba Walker had 13 points, D.J. Augustin 12 and D.J. White added 11 for Charlotte, which now faces an offseason of uncertainty.

"I have to commend the guys," said Paul Silas, whose future as the Bobcats' coach is in doubt. "They gave me everything they had and I can't fault them one bit for what happened. If they hadn't played hard for me and their attitudes hadn't been right then that's different, but they were positive and did everything that they needed to do."

The Knicks held out starters Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis, while Amare Stoudemire had 21 points over two quarters.

With owner Michael Jordan watching from his private box, the Bobcats played nearly even with the Knicks in the first half, leading twice and only trailing 46-44 at halftime.

"I thought we had a shot, I really did," Silas said. "I thought we gave it our all in the first half."

In other games * 

At Chicago, John Lucas III scored a career-high 25 points, Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and the Bulls clinched the top overall seed in the playoffs with a 107-75 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau rested Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver. Chicago will host the Sixers on Saturday.

* At Toronto, Ben Uzoh had 12 points, a career-high 12 assists and 11 rebounds for his first career triple-double, and the Raptors routed New Jersey, 98-67. Uzoh's triple-double was the first by a Toronto player since 2001.

* At Minneapolis, JaVale McGee scored 19 points to help the Denver Nuggets lock down the sixth seed in the West with a 131-102 victory over Minnesota. The Nuggets will face the third-seeded Lakers in the first round.

* At Atlanta, Josh Smith scored 23 points and the Hawks clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, racing to a 23-point lead in the opening quarter on the way to a 106-89 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

The Hawks wrapped up the fourth-best record in the East and host Boston on Sunday. The Mavericks open the playoffs Saturday at Oklahoma City.

* At Washington, playing without their Big Three, the Miami Heat suffered their worst defeat of the season with a 104-70 loss to the Wizards. The Heat will open the postseason Saturday against the New York Knicks.

* At Boston, Paul Pierce scored all 12 of his points in the first half despite missing most of it with a sprained toe and Rajon Rondo had 15 assists as the Celtics closed with a 87-74 win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

Avery Bradley added 14 points for the Celtics, who open the playoffs at Atlanta on Sunday.

* At Houston, Chase Budinger scored a season-high 27 points and Marcus Morris hit the go-ahead three-pointer to lift the Rockets to an 84-77 victory over the New Orleans Hornets.

* At Salt Lake City, rookie Alec Burks scored 18 points and NBA Slam Dunk champ Jeremy Evans led a 10-0 fourth-quarter run as the playoff-bound Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers, 96-94.

Utah finished the season on a five-game win streak and face top-seeded San Antonio on Sunday.

* At Memphis, Marc Gasol scored 22 points, Rudy Gay added 20 and the Grizzlies claimed the No. 4 seed in the West with an 88-76 win over Orlando.

The Grizzlies have won a franchise-best 11 straight home games and open the playoffs at home Sunday vs. the Clippers. The Magic rested the starters after earning the No. 6 seed in the East.