Celtics ignore perception that Cavaliers are still No. 1 in East

Cleveland, which fell to the No. 2 seed in the East with the loss at 51-30, played without All-Stars Kyrie Irving and LeBron James, who took the night off to rest after losing in overtime Sunday in Atlanta. The Bulls are, somehow, 4-0 against the Cavs this season.

James sat with a right calf strain.

Jones was popular with his teammates, who mobbed him when they received their championship rings before the season even though he was no longer on Cleveland's roster.

The Cavaliers' 126-125 overtime loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday afternoon qualifies as a tough loss.

Against the Heat they took a 91-80 lead into the fourth, but Miami stormed back to force overtime and claim the win.

The person who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because the team hasn't announced any deal says Jones, who helped the Cavaliers win a title a year ago, will join the team on Wednesday. The Hawks will have nothing to play for in this game if they win Tuesday's game against the Hornets.

Hassan Whiteside scored 23 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for Miami, which would have been eliminated with a loss.

On the flip side, as a team LeBron James and his crew are having the worst regular season they've had in years.

US, Mexico, Canada submit joint bid to host 2026 World Cup
Having pushed through his plan to expand the World Cup from 32 teams in January, Infantino is said to be supportive of joint bids. Technically FIFA will draw up a shortlist for its 211 member nations to vote in 2020 but that may end up being a formality.

Kevin Love scored 25 points, Channing Frye had 21 and Kyle Korver had 18 for Cleveland, which wasted a double-digit, fourth-quarter lead and lost in OT for the second straight day. The referee whistled for a jumpball, which the league determined was an incorrect call because both Millsap and Bazemore were standing out of bounds when they touched the ball, which should have awarded the possession back to the Cavs.

Cleveland entered Monday tied with Boston for the best record in the East. I think everyone's just ready for the regular season to be done and I think we've shown when we're focused that we can be a really good team, and when we're not we're not a very good team. The Celtics were 28-10 at home before that game against Cleveland last week. Clapping could be heard from the TD Garden locker room, where Boston players were tuned in after their win on Monday.

Isaiah Thomas again led the way for the Celtics, recording 27 points in the win against the Nets.

"He did well. He played aggressively and in running the game for us", Lue said of Williams' performance.

The list of potential opponents for Boston was essentially narrowed down to three teams on Monday night: the Bulls, Pacers and Heat.

Western Conference leaders the Golden State Warriors suffered a first defeat in 15 games as they were beaten 105-99 by the Utah Jazz. Kevin Love is also likely to play, and Thompson is expected to return, according to Lue.

The Cavaliers have already clinched a playoff spot, but could miss out on the top seed with this decision.

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