CLEVELAND - LeBron James got his nose bloodied. The Atlanta Hawks got it even worse.
James shook off an early elbow to the face and scored 23 points, Sasha Pavlovic added 15 and the Cleveland Cavaliers ran up and down the floor at will in a 110-76 win Saturday night against the painfully pathetic Hawks.
Cleveland's 48th - and most lopsided win since 1998 - this season kept the Cavs on pace with idle Chicago (48-32) for the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Both teams have two games left with the Bulls holding the tiebreaker because of a better record in the division.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 14 points and 11 rebounds and Larry Hughes 13 points for the Cavs, who built a 28-point lead by halftime over the overmatched Hawks, missing several key players because of injuries.
For most of the night the Cavaliers did whatever they pleased against the Hawks, who looked more like a group of guys going through the motions of a pickup game at the local YMCA than an NBA squad.
"I like that our sense of urgency has picked up," Cavs guard Eric Snow said. "That's what you need to do going into the playoffs."
The Cavs, who have had a tendency to play down to lesser teams, made sure this one was over early and beat Atlanta for the 12th time 14 games. Up by 30 points after three quarters, Cavs coach Mike Brown rested James and Cleveland's other starters for most of the fourth.
"We were very business like," said James, accidentally clobbered in the nose by Josh Smith. "It was one of our most complete games because we were able to hold onto the lead we had."
Smith returned from a two-game suspension for an expletive-filled tirade at coach Mike Woodson to lead the Hawks with 23 points.
Atlanta, which has dropped 10 of 12, was in trouble before the opening tip.
Woodson, who has had to deal with injuries all season, said leading scorer Joe Johnson (bruised calf) and Speedy Claxton (sore knee) will miss the final week. Atlanta was already without Josh Childress (broken foot), and forward Zaza Pachulia (lower right leg) and guard Salim Stoudamire (sprained ankle) are both nursing injuries.
Even at full speed, the Hawks may not have had enough to handle the Cavaliers, who played their second straight solid game as they gear up for what they hope will be a lengthy run in the postseason.
HOUSTON - Yao Ming scored 30 points, Tracy McGrady got 11 of his 25 points in the final five minutes and the Rockets snapped a three-game home losing streak.
Rafer Alston added 21 points and a season-high 13 assists for the Rockets, who started the night one game ahead of Utah in the race for home-court advantage in their first-round playoff series.
McGrady had 10 assists for the Rockets, who reached a season-high point total at the Toyota Center. Houston's 33 assists were also a season high.
David West matched his season high with 33 points and Chris Paul added 20 points and 15 assists for the Hornets, who are all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention. New Orleans started the night two games behind Golden State and the Los Angeles Clippers in the race for the No. 8 playoff spot in the West.
New Orleans center Tyson Chandler missed his fifth straight game with an injured left big toe. The 7-foot-1 Chandler defended Yao well in two previous matchups this season. Without him, the Hornets struggled to stop the 7-foot-6 Yao, who hit 11 of 16 shots and went 8-for-11 from the free-throw line.
PHILADELPHIA - Dwight Howard was perfect for a half and dominant the whole game, scoring a career-high 35 points with 11 rebounds as Orlando eliminated Philadelphia from the Eastern Conference playoff race.
Orlando strengthened its hold on eighth place, moving two games ahead of Indiana.
Howard made all 10 shots in the first half and passed his previous high of 32 points with a free throw late in the fourth quarter. He scored 18 in the first period.
Andre Miller led the Sixers with 18 points.
The Sixers (33-46) missed the playoffs for the third time in four seasons, but played well following an 11-30 start.
MEMPHIS - Chucky Atkins had 28 points and 12 assists, Tarence Kinsey scored a career-high 28 and the Grizzlies snapped Denver's season-best eight-game winning streak.
Memphis ended a six-game losing skid and had six players score in double-figures.
Hakim Warrick scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Dahntay Jones and Pau Gasol finished with 15 points apiece for Memphis. Stromile Swift added 12 points.
Carmelo Anthony led Denver with 28 points, and Nene scored 22 on 10-for-12 shooting.
MILWAUKEE - Rookie Walter Herrmann scored a season-high 30 points and Charlotte hit a flurry of open 3-point shots to beat the Bucks.
The Bobcats shot 9-for-17 from 3-point range as Milwaukee's perimeter defenders often got stuck trying to help out their undermanned interior defense.
Herrmann's previous season high was 23, also set against the Bucks on March 30. Alan Anderson scored a career-high 24 and Derek Anderson added 21 for the Bobcats in the next-to- last game for coach Bernie Bickerstaff.
Mo Williams scored 16 to lead Milwaukee.