The Portland Trail Blazers and Memphis Grizzlies claimed critical wins on Thursday night to clinch their places in the Western Conference Play-In.
Thursday's night's seeding game scores
- Portland Trail Blazers 134-133 Brooklyn Nets
- Milwaukee Bucks 106-119 Memphis Grizzlies
- Dallas Mavericks 102-128 Phoenix Suns
- San Antonio Spurs 112-118 Utah Jazz
- Sacramento Kings 136-122 Los Angeles Lakers
- Washington Wizards 96-90 Boston Celtics
- New Orleans Pelicans 127-133 Orlando Magic
Portland Trail Blazers 134-133 Brooklyn Nets
Damian Lillard scored 42 points as the Portland Trail Blazers escaped with a 134-133 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night to clinch the eighth seed in the Western Conference and a berth in the Western Confrerence Play-In against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Following games of 51 and 61 points, Lillard helped Portland (35-39) seal their place by scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a three-pointer from the edge of the NBA logo at halfcourt. He produced his 11th game of at least 40 points this season by shooting 13-of-22, including 8-of-14 on three-point attempts.
Portland will host the ninth-seeded Grizzlies on Saturday at 7:30pm - live on Sky Sports - needing just one win to ensure a playoff berth. If the Blazers lose, the teams will play again Sunday, with the winner claiming the final playoff spot. The winner will face the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.
Lillard's biggest play down the stretch actually came on the defensive end. Portland took a 134-130 lead on a jumper by CJ McCollum with 53.4 seconds left, after Lillard poked the ball from behind while defending Caris LeVert just past midcourt.
Rebounding from Lillard's steal, LeVert converted a three-point play with 37.7 seconds left to cut the deficit to one. Following a missed three-pointer by Carmelo Anthony, the dramatic game ended when LeVert missed a step-back jumper over McCollum with three-tenths of a second remaining.
McCollum added 25 points, while Jusuf Nurkic collected 22 along with 10 rebounds for Portland. Gary Trent Jr and Hassan Whiteside contributed 16 apiece for the Trail Blazers, who shot 48.1 per cent.
LeVert led the Nets with 37 points on 16-of-29 shooting, including a jumper with 4:18 remaining that gave Brooklyn a 124-119 lead. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Joe Harris added 19 points each, and Tyler Johnson chipped in 16 for Brooklyn (35-37), who will face the second-seeded Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of a first round playoff series on Monday.
Milwaukee Bucks 106-119 Memphis Grizzlies
Jonas Valanciunas and Ja Morant each recorded a triple-double, helping the Memphis Grizzlies gain a spot in the Western Conference Play-In with a 119-106 victory over the Giannis Antetokounmpo-less Milwaukee Bucks.
Dillon Brooks led all scorers with 31 points for the Grizzlies (34-39), who ended their seeding campaign with the ninth seed. The Portland Trail Blazers rallied past the Brooklyn Nets later in the evening, claiming the eighth seed and relegating the Grizzlies to the ninth.
Portland and Memphis will meet on Saturday and, if necessary, Sunday to decide the West's final playoff spot. The Grizzlies must beat the Blazers twice, while Portland must win only once.
The Bucks are expected to get Antetokounmpo back for the playoffs. He was suspended for one game for head-butting Washington's Moritz Wagner on Tuesday.
After a tight first quarter that saw Memphis lead 22-21, the Grizzlies distanced themselves from the East's top team in the second and third periods. Memphis took a 60-50 advantage into the break, then ran off by as many as 23 points in the third period before coasting home.
Valanciunas finished with 26 points, a game-high 19 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists for his first career triple-double. He had never previously had more than five assists in a game. Morant complemented Valanciunas' feat with his second triple-double of the season, going for 12 points, a career-high 13 rebounds and 10 assists.
Brook Lopez had team-highs in points with 19 and rebounds with nine for the Bucks, who suffered their fifth loss since the restart in eight games.
Dallas Mavericks 102-128 Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker scored 23 of his game-high 27 points in the first half as the Phoenix Suns completed an unexpected undefeated run through the NBA bubble with a 128-102 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.
The Suns (34-39) finished their bubble experience as the only undefeated team among all participants, going an improbable 8-0. But with the Grizzlies beating the short-handed Bucks in a game that took place simultaneously, and the Trail Blazers (34-39) beating the Nets later in the evening, the Suns were ultimately eliminated.
Dario Saric added 16 points, Cameron Johnson and Cameron Payne each had 15 and Ricky Rubio dished out 12 assists for the Suns. Booker watched the fourth quarter from the bench.
Dallas played without one of their top scorers, Kristaps Porzingis, who was held out. Boban Marjanovic led the Mavericks with 18 points and 20 rebounds while Luka Doncic tallied 18 points in only 13 minutes of action.
The Suns ran out to a 13-point lead with a 10-0 run late in the first quarter, highlighted by three-pointers from Payne and Jevon Carter. The Mavericks turned things around in the second quarter. They trimmed the Suns' lead to 45-42 on Delon Wright's lay-up with 7:36 left.
But the Suns took over for good, pushing their lead to 17 at 64-47 after Booker banked in a fall-away jumper, was fouled and hit the free throw. The Suns held a double-digit lead throughout the second half.
San Antonio Spurs 112-118 Utah Jazz
Rayjon Tucker scored a career-high 18 points to lead the Utah Jazz to a 118-112 victory over the San Antonio Spurs.
Eight different Jazz players scored in double figures. Jarrell Brantley (13 points) and Nigel Williams-Goss (10 points) reached double figures for the first time in their NBA careers.
Ed Davis scored a season-high 11 points and added six rebounds in only seven minutes for the Jazz before exiting with a left knee injury in the second quarter. He did not return.
Sixth-seeded Utah (44-28) will face third-seeded Denver (46-26) in the first round of the playoffs. The Spurs (32-39) missed out on the postseason for the first time since 1997, snapping a streak of 22 consecutive seasons participating in the NBA playoffs.
Keldon Johnson led San Antonio with 24 points. Dejounte Murray added 12 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.
Tucker scored back-to-back baskets to help Utah build up an 87-74 lead late in the third quarter. The Spurs made one more run, cutting the Jazz lead to 105-102 on a pair of free throws from Drew Eubanks with 4:29 left.
Utah answered with a 9-0 run, punctuated by a hammer dunk from Brantley, to boost the lead to 114-102 with 3:01 remaining.
Sacramento Kings 136-122 Los Angeles Lakers
Buddy Hield scored 28 points as the Sacramento Kings capped their season with a 136-122 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bogdan Bogdanovic had 27 points, nine assists and six rebounds, while Nemanja Bjelica contributed 15 points, 13 assists and eight boards for the Kings (31-41). Jabari Parker added 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting and eight rebounds and Cory Joseph chipped in 13 points.
Dion Waiters led the Lakers (52-19) with 19 points. LeBron James finished with 17 points and four assists in 15 minutes. He left the contest late in the second quarter and did not return. Markieff Morris had 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-5 on three-pointers.
Both teams played without several key performers. Anthony Davis (knee), Kyle Kuzma (rest), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (ribs) and Alex Caruso (neck) did not play for the Lakers. Sacramento's De'Aaron Fox (shoulder) missed his second game in a row, Richaun Holmes (hip) sat out his third straight and Kent Bazemore (calf) missed his fourth consecutive contest.
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The Lakers led 40-30 after one quarter before the Kings used a 31-12 swing for a 61-52 edge after a three-pointer by Hield with 2:15 left in the second. The Kings outscored the Lakers 36-16 in the second for a 66-56 lead at the break.
In the third, the Lakers sliced the gap to six after a tip-in by JaVale McGee less than three minutes into the quarter but the Kings blew the game open with a 24-6 surge after a three-pointer by Joseph with 4:10 remaining for a 93-69 advantage.
Washington Wizards 96-90 Boston Celtics
Thomas Bryant scored 26 points as the Washington Wizards earned their first win in the NBA bubble, beating the Boston Celtics 96-90 in both teams' regular-season finale.
Bryant's two free throws with 6:02 remaining broke the game's ninth and final tie and the Wizards (25-47) held off the Celtics (48-24), who rested all five starters in preparation for the start of next week's playoffs. Third-seeded Boston opens against the sixth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers.
In a tightly contested game that featured 14 lead changes, the Wizards trailed 85-83 after a Tacko Fall hoop with 7:10 remaining. Bryant then hit a game-tying jumper, the go-ahead free throws and a lay-up in a personal six-point run that gave Washington an 89-85 advantage with 5:32 to go. Ish Smith's jumper at the 4:48 mark and his free throw 27 seconds later made it a seven-point game.
Boston pulled within 94-90 on a three-point play by Semi Ojeleye with 1:18 to go, but the Celtics never scored again. Troy Brown Jr iced the win with two free throws with 14.7 seconds left.
Bryant's 26 points came on 10-for-15 shooting. He added nine rebounds, four steals and two blocks. Brown added 17 points, Smith had 11 to go with a game-high eight assists and Jerome Robinson added 10 points for the Wizards, who beat the Celtics for the second time this season.
Javonte Green had 23 points and Ojeleye 13 for the Celtics, who played without Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart, Kemba Walker and Daniel Theis.
New Orleans Pelicans 127-133 Orlando Magic
Nikola Vucevic scored 23 points as the Orlando Magic tuned up for the playoffs with a 133-127 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, as a pair of short-handed teams concluded their seeding schedule.
The eighth-seeded Magic (33-40) ended a five-game losing streak in their final game before opening their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series against top-seeded Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Orlando played without three of their top four scorers as Aaron Gordon (strained left hamstring), Evan Fournier (non-COVID illness) and Terrence Ross (NBA quarantine protocol) were sidelined, as was Michael Carter-Williams (left foot tendon strain).
DJ Augustin added 22 points, James Ennis scored 16, Wes Iwundu had 15, Markelle Fultz had 11 and Melvin Frazier and Vic Law 10 each.
Frank Jackson led New Orleans with 31 points, rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker had 29 points, Josh Hart added 23 points, 14 rebounds and six assists and rookie Jaxson Hayes scored 13 points.
The Magic led by 16 points at half-time and pushed the lead to 22 before the Pelicans started a comeback. Jackson scored the final six points of a 9-0 run that pulled New Orleans within 99-87 at the end of the third quarter.
Alexander-Walker converted a three-point play to get New Orleans within 106-96 with more than eight minutes remaining. The Magic rebuilt the lead to 13 before the Pelicans pulled within five points with 24.4 seconds left, but they couldn't get any closer.