CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Charlotte Bobcats couldn't even beat a Knicks team resting most of its starters, finishing with the worst winning percentage in NBA history after a 104-84 loss on Thursday night.
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.
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 Philadelphia 76ers finished 9-73 (.110) in a full regular season.
The Knicks held out Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Baron Davis, while Amare Stoudemire had 21 points over two quarters.
With owner Michael Jordan watching from a box, the Bobcats played nearly even with the Knicks in the first half, leading twice and only trailing 46-44 at halftime.
Charlotte's biggest lead came in the closing minutes of the first quarter, with Bismack Biyombo's dunk with 5:05 remaining putting the Bobcats up 14-11. But the Knicks closed the period with a 12-6 run to go up 23-20.
Charlotte would lead once more in the second quarter, with DeSagana Diop's layup with 9:28 left capping a five-point run to put the Bobcats up 25-23. However, the Knicks responded with six straight points, going ahead 29-25 on Smith's dunk with 8:14 left.
Charlotte managed to tie the score three times in the final minutes of the second quarter, the last at 41-41 with 1:56 left on Henderson's layup. But Smith hit a three-pointer 17 seconds later to put the Knicks ahead, and Jerome Jordan followed with a jumper to give New York a two-point halftime edge.
However, Stoudemire asserted himself in the third quarter, scoring 11 points in the period as the Knicks pushed their lead into double digits.
New York would take its biggest lead late in the fourth quarter, with Jordan's fast-break dunk with 4:38 remaining putting the Knicks up 99-76.
Josh Harrellson added 18 points, Jordan 13 and Iman Shumpert 12 for New York. Mike Bibby also had 12 assists.
Kemba Walker had 13 points, D.J. Augustin 12 and D.J. White added 11 for Charlotte.
Bulls clinch No. 1 overall
CHICAGO -- John Lucas III scored a career-high 25 points, Joakim Noah had 13 points and 13 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls clinched the top overall seed in the NBA playoffs with a 107-75 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
With the No. 1 seed in the East already in hand and the playoffs beginning on Saturday, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau took no chances in the regular-season finale. He rested Derrick Rose, Luol Deng and Kyle Korver.
Chicago will host Philadelphia on Saturday.
Tristan Thompson scored 13 points for the Cavaliers, who lost four straight games to end the season, their second straight last-place finish in the Central Division.
Kyrie Irving, who had a late-season sprained right shoulder and is recovering from the flu, did not play.
Big Three sit for Heat
WASHINGTON -- Playing without their Big Three, the Miami Heat suffered their worst defeat of 2011-2012 with a 104-70 loss to the Washington Wizards in the regular-season finale.
With their first playoff game just two days away, Miami coach Erik Spoelstra rested LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh for the second straight game. The Heat are locked into the East's second playoff spot.
Mo Evans had a season-high 18 points, Nene and Kevin Seraphin each scored 15, and John Wall had seven points and 12 assists for the Wizards, who closed the season with their first six-game win streak since Nov. 11-21, 2007.