Pistons top Knicks 115-89, clinch final playoff spot in East
NEW YORK (AP) — Luke Kennard scored 27 points, Reggie Jackson had 21 and Andre Drummond added 20 points and 18 rebounds as the Detroit Pistons locked up the Eastern Conference’s final playoff spot with a 115-89 victory over the New York Knicks on Wednesday night.
The Pistons will face the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round.
Jackson scored 14 points and Drummond had 10 points and seven rebounds in the first quarter as the Pistons never trailed and led by as many as 16 points. Neither Jackson nor Drummond played in the fourth quarter.
Wayne Ellington added 12 points for the Pistons, who hadn’t made the playoffs since the 2015-16 season, the last time they finished over .500 (44-38). Before, Detroit hadn’t made the postseason since 2008-09.
John Jenkins led the Knicks with 16 points, and Kadeem Allen added 13. Henry Ellenson scored 12 points, and Mitchell Robinson and Isaiah Hicks each had 11.
NUGGETS 99, TIMBERWOLVES 95
DENVER (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 29 points, 14 rebounds and had a key strip in the closing seconds as Denver scored the game’s final 15 points and secured the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
James Murray added 17 for the Nuggets, who are in the postseason for the first time in six years and will face seventh-seeded San Antonio.
Gorgui Dieng added 18 points for the Timberwolves backups and rookie Cameron Reynolds scored a career-best 17 points, including a 3-pointer that put Minnesota ahead 95-84 with 4:01 left.
TRAIL BLAZERS 136, KINGS 131
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Rookie Anfernee Simons scored a career-high 37 points in his first start of the season and Portland secured the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference using just six players in a win over Sacramento.
The Blazers have won 14 of 17 games en route to their sixth straight trip to the playoffs. Portland will open the postseason against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who finished in sixth.
Marvin Bagley III had 20 points to lead the Kings, who lost their 11th straight game in Portland.
CLIPPERS 143, JAZZ 137, OT
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Montrezl Harrell scored 24 points to lead seven players in double figures and the Clippers beat Utah in overtime, snapping a three-game skid to close the regular season.
Ivica Zubac added 22 points and 11 rebounds and Patrick Beverley had 14 points in his return from injury.
The Clippers’ losing streak had already dropped them from the sixth seed to No. 8 in the playoffs, where they’ll open against the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
Grayson Allen led Utah with a career-high 40 points. The rookie made 13 of 14 free throws and five 3-pointers, but was limited to four points in overtime.
The Jazz earned the fifth seed and they’ll play No. 4 Houston in the first round.
THUNDER 127, BUCKS 116
MILWAUKEE (AP) — Russell Westbrook got his 34th triple-double of the season and Oklahoma City beat Milwaukee to lock up the sixth seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Oklahoma City played without injured Paul George, but Westbrook, Jerami Grant and Dennis Schroder led a hot-shooting effort from 3-point range. Westbrook had 15 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds. He moved into a tie with Magic Johnson for second place on the career triple-double list with 138. Schroder had 32 points, and Grant added a career-best 28.
The Bucks had already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference and rested star Giannis Antetokounmpo and some other key players.
Khris Middleton scored 21 points in 17 minutes. Tim Frazier scored a career-high 29 points and D.J. Wilson added a career-high 18 while grabbing 17 rebounds. Rookie Bonzie Colson started and scored 21 points.
MAGIC 122, HORNETS 114
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kemba Walker scored 43 points in what may be his final game with Charlotte, a loss to Orlando that eliminated the Hornets from playoff contention.
Terrence Ross scored a season-high 35 points, Aaron Gordon added 27 and the Magic clinched the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and will face the Toronto Raptors in the first round.
Aside from Walker’s sharp shooting, nothing went right for Charlotte on the final night of the regular season. The loss also means Tony Parker’s string of 17 straight playoff appearances is over.
NETS 113, HEAT 94
NEW YORK (AP) — Dwyane Wade recorded one last triple-double before heading off to retirement, and Brooklyn headed to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs after securing the win and the No. 6 seed.
Wade had 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in his final NBA game with close friends LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony leading the cheers from their courtside seats.
D’Angelo Russell had 21 points on seven 3-pointers for the Nets, who will face the third-seeded 76ers beginning this weekend in their first postseason appearance since 2015.
SPURS 105, MAVERICKS 94
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 34 points and 16 rebounds and San Antonio beat Dallas in Dirk Nowitzki’s final game.
Nowitzki finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds in the finale of his storied 21-season career — all with the Mavericks.
The Spurs head into the Western Conference playoffs as the No. 7 seed.
DeMar Derozan finished with 19 points and Derrick White added 14 for the Spurs, who finished with a 49-34 record.
GRIZZLIES 132, WARRIORS 117
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jevon Carter scored a career-high 32 points, Justin Holiday added 22 and Memphis beat Golden State in the teams’ regular-season finale.
Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 21 points, while Klay Thompson finished with 19. Durant and Thompson, who sat out Tuesday’s win at New Orleans, were the only Golden State starters to play. Both saw action only in the first half.
Golden State entered the game with its playoff position set atop of the Western Conference and sat most of its stars.
Carter, a rookie from West Virginia who was averaging 3.7 points, was 10 of 18 from the field and 8 of 12 from 3-point range. Memphis was helped by 21-of-46 shooting from 3-point range.
Bruno Caboclo scored 21 points, and Delon Wright recorded his third triple-double in the last four games with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists.
76ERS 125, BULLS 109
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jonathon Simmons scored 20 points to lead Philadelphia over Chicago in the regular-season finale for both teams.
In preparation for the playoffs, the 76ers rested all five starters, and star center Joel Embiid’s status for the opener is in question. The third-seeded Sixers said the 7-foot center’s achy left knee may prevent him from playing in the postseason opener this weekend against sixth-seeded Brooklyn.
Walt Lemon Jr. scored 20 points to lead the Bulls, who were without Denzel Valentine, Wendell Carter Jr., Chandler Hutchison, Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Otto Porter Jr. and Kris Dunn.
PACERS 135, HAWKS 134
ATLANTA (AP) — Edmond Sumner sank three free throws with three-tenths of a second remaining, lifting playoff-bound Indiana past Atlanta.
Taurean Prince’s 3-pointer with 1.1 seconds remaining gave Atlanta the lead, but DeAndre Bembry’s foul on Sumner’s last-second 3-point attempt changed the game.
TJ Leaf set career highs with 28 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana.
Tyreke Evans scored 27 points and Sumner had 22 as the Pacers won despite resting most of their top scorers.
Prince and Trae Young each scored 23 points for Atlanta. John Collins scored 20 points and set a career high with 25 rebounds.