Spurs, Thunder, Pelicans secure playoff spots
The final NBA playoff place will be decided on the final day of the regular season.
The Spurs, Thunder and Pelicans all clinched Western Conference playoff spots on Monday, leaving Wednesday's matchup between the Nuggets and Timberwolves in Minnesota as a play-in game to reach the playoffs.
Nikola Jokic recorded a triple-double on Monday and Gary Harris knocked down clutch free throws in his return from an 11-game absence as Denver won their sixth straight match in an 88-82 win over the Blazers that puts Portland in danger of losing the number three seed.
The Spurs came from behind to beat the lowly Kings 98-85 to mark their 21st straight playoff berth. San Antonio improved to 33-8 at home this season and currently hold the number five seed in the West due to tiebreakers over the Thunder.
Speaking of Oklahoma City, with a 115-93 road win over the Heat, the Thunder clinched their eighth playoff berth in 10 seasons since moving to Oklahoma. The Thunder outscored Miami 39-12 in the final quarter and Dwyane Wade registered a minus-31 to fuel the win.
Russell Westbrook posted a monster triple-double (23-18-13) - despite a poor shooting night - and he needs 16 rebounds in his final game to average a triple-double for the season.
That's the 5th time this season the Thunder has come back from 15 or more points down to win. Tonight it was 18. pic.twitter.com/zksyofupsD-- OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) April 10, 2018
New Orleans capped Monday's slate with a 113-100 rout of the Clippers behind a barrage of dunks and 28 points from Anthony Davis.
With two nights remaining in the regular season, there are plenty of seeding scenarios still in play across the league. In fact, the Pelicans can still move up to the number four seed if they beat the Spurs on Wednesday, and if Utah lose to Golden State on Tuesday and Portland a day later.
CAVS CLAIM CENTRAL CROWN
The Cavs coasted past the Knicks for a 123-109 win that also gave Cleveland the Central Division title.It marks LeBron James' 10th consecutive division title. He is the first player in NBA history to win 10 straight division championships.
PISTONS SLUMP CONTINUES
The Pistons are ready for the season to be over. Stan Van Gundy's public reprimand of the team's effort did little to motivate on the second leg of a back-to-back.
Andre Drummond (Achilles) sat out and Stanley Johnson registered a minus-21 and was two for 10 shooting in a 108-98 loss to the Raptors.
Tonight's Winning Numbers presented by PROoLINE. pic.twitter.com/3htiG1SFiU-- Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) April 10, 2018
Detroit Pistons 98-108 Toronto Raptors
Brooklyn Nets 114-105 Chicago Bulls
Miami Heat 93-115 Oklahoma City Thunder
New York Knicks 109-123 Cleveland Cavaliers
Milwaukee Bucks 102-86 Orlando Magic
Minnesota Timberwolves 113-94 Memphis Grizzlies
San Antonio Spurs 98-85 Sacramento Kings
Denver Nuggets 88-82 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Clippers 100-113 New Orleans Pelicans
Tuesday's slate of six games mark the penultimate night of the regular season. The playoffs cannot come soon enough for a red-hot Philadelphia team who will go for a franchise-record 15th straight win.
The Sixers have beat just three teams above .500 (all at home) during the win streak and two of those three were on a back-to-back (Cavs, Wolves).