Derrick Rose might have already done enough to wrap up the MVP award.
The race for the NBA’s best record will go to the final day.
Rose scored 26 points for the Bulls, who opened the third quarter with a 26-2 spurt over the first 7-plus minutes and improved to 61-20. Luol Deng added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Carlos Boozer had 14 points and 22 boards as Chicago outrebounded New York, 51-33.
“We came out kind of soft,’’ Rose said. “Second half, Tibs [coach Tom Thibodeau] came in at halftime and talked to us and we changed things.’’
Chicago, already assured the best record in the Eastern Conference, entered play a game behind San Antonio for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The tiebreakers are all even, so a random drawing would be held if they finish with the same record as the Spurs, who played Los Angeles Lakers last night.
“That’s something special. It’s definitely something that we want, but we have to look at the bigger picture. For us it’s all about improvement and just focusing on the next opponent and the results will take care of themselves,’’ Joakim Noah said.
Lakers 102, Spurs 93 — Kobe Bryant scored 27 points and host Los Angeles snapped its five-game losing streak at a potentially high cost, losing center Andrew Bynum to a hyperextended right knee in a win over San Antonio’s role players.
The Lakers’ hopes for a third straight NBA title might have taken a significant blow when Bynum fell to the court after stepping on DeJuan Blair’s foot during the second period. The shot-blocking 7-footer will have an MRI today while the Lakers wrap up the regular season at Sacramento.
Lamar Odom scored 23 points as the Lakers struggled to hold off the Spurs, who rested stars Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker with the Western Conference’s top seed already wrapped up.
Trail Blazers 102, Grizzlies 89 — LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and 11 rebounds and host Portland locked up the sixth seed in the Western Conference with a victory over Memphis.
The Blazers, who won their third straight, will have to wait until the regular season’s final games tonight to learn their opponent for the first round of the playoffs.
Memphis, which played without starters Zach Randolph and Tony Allen, was still jockeying for seeding. The Grizzlies and New Orleans are wrestling between the final two spots with just one game to play apiece.