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NBA roundup: Thunder rout Mavs, claim No. 1 seed in West

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points in just 16 minutes as the Oklahoma City Thunder left no doubt, blowing out the visiting Dallas Mavericks 135-86 on Sunday.

The Thunder finished the regular season with a five-game winning streak to claim the top seed in the Western Conference for the first time since the 2012-13 season. They held both the tiebreaker with the Nuggets and the three-way tiebreaker; Denver winning sealed the Thunder's playoff position.

Oklahoma City had seven players finish in double figures, with Aaron Wiggins scoring 14 off the bench and Ousmane Dieng contributing 13. Rookie Chet Holmgren scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting with nine rebounds in just 11:32.

With the Mavericks' playoff position set, they sat all of their starters other than Tim Hardaway Jr. Brandon Williams led the Mavericks with 22 points and Olivier-Maxence Prosper added 15 as Dallas finished a season-low 33 percent from the field.

Suns 125, Timberwolves 106

Bradley Beal scored 36 points on 14-for-21 shooting, including 6-for-6 from beyond the arc, and Phoenix cruised past Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Devin Booker added 23 points and seven assists for the Suns, who moved past New Orleans for the sixth seed in the Western Conference, escaping the play-in tournament.

Rudy Gobert scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Minnesota. The Timberwolves entered the game in a three-way tie for the best record in the Western Conference, but they dropped to the No. 3 seed after losing on Sunday while the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets both won to secure the top two spots.

Knicks 120, Bulls 119 (OT)

Jalen Brunson recorded 40 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and New York landed the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference by holding off visiting Chicago in overtime.

A loss to the Orlando Magic by the Milwaukee Bucks aided the Knicks, who registered their second 50-win season in 24 seasons. Donte DiVincenzo added 25 points for the Knicks, who took the lead for good after DiVincenzo's 3-pointer gave them a 114-112 lead with 3:13 remaining in overtime.

DeMar DeRozan paced the Bulls with 30 points, five rebounds and five assists. Nikola Vucevic finished with a 29-point, 11-rebound double-double and Coby White had 26 points.

Celtics 132, Wizards 122

Payton Pritchard scored a career-high 38 points and added 12 assists and nine rebounds as Boston beat visiting Washington.

Pritchard made 15 of 21 field-goal attempts. Svi Mykhailiuk had 26 points for the Celtics, who received 19 points and nine rebounds from Neemias Queta.

Eugene Omoruyi led Washington with 26 points, and Jared Butler added 22. The Wizards ended their season on a six-game losing streak.

Pacers 157, Hawks 115

Myles Turner racked up 31 points and 12 rebounds as Indiana clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot with a lopsided victory over Atlanta in Indianapolis.

By matching their highest-scoring performance in franchise history, the Pacers earned the No. 6 seed in the East and will play the third-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the playoffs. Pascal Siakam added 28 points as seven Pacers scored in double figures. Indiana shot a stunning 65 percent overall (65 of 100) and went 19-for-36 from beyond the arc (52.8 percent).

Dejounte Murray scored 32 points to pace the Hawks, who are set to face the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the play-in tournament.

Warriors 123, Jazz 116

Klay Thompson scored 25 points, but Golden State couldn't improve from 10th place in the Western Conference despite a victory over visiting Utah in the regular-season finale.

The Warriors will face the Sacramento Kings in an elimination game on Tuesday to tip off the Western play-in event. Golden State elected to rest Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on the eve of the playoffs, and limited Thompson to 20 minutes, during which he had enough time to shoot 6-for-12 on 3-pointers en route to his game-high point total. Gui Santos finished with 13 points and Lester Quinones 12 among Golden State's game-ending group. Andrew Wiggins had 19 in a starting role, while Dario Saric chipped in with 12.

Keyonte George paced Utah with 21 points, while Omer Yurtseven put up a double-double with 11 points to complement a game-high 18 rebounds.

Nuggets 126, Grizzlies 111

Jamal Murray scored 21 points, Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 15 rebounds and visiting Denver beat Memphis to secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Denver moved past Minnesota, which lost at home to Phoenix on Sunday, and will begin the first round of the playoffs against the winner of Tuesday night's play-in game between the No. 7 New Orleans Pelicans and No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers. The Nuggets bounced back from a disappointing loss at San Antonio on Friday night to tie the franchise record for wins set in the 2012-13 season and give head coach Michael Malone his 424th career win. Christian Braun had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Aaron Gordon had 15 points, Michael Porter Jr. added 12 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson and Peyton Watson scored 11 each.

GG Jackson scored a career-high 44 points, Jake LaRavia had 29 and Scotty Pippen Jr. finished with 15 for the Grizzlies.

Magic 113, Bucks 88

Paolo Banchero had 26 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and Orlando clinched a playoff spot with a rout of visiting Milwaukee.

Franz Wagner added 25 points and three steals as the Magic earned their first playoff berth since the 2019-20 season. Orlando is the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.

The Bucks lost for the eighth time in the past 11 games. Milwaukee will be the 3 seed in the East and will face the Indiana Pacers in the first round.

Heat 118, Raptors 103

Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro scored 17 points each as host Miami routed out-of-contention Toronto.

With the game virtually decided after three quarters, the Heat went to their bench, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. finished with 18 points. Reserve Thomas Bryant also had 18 points and added 10 rebounds. Despite the win, the Heat will have to settle for the play-in round as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. They will face the No. 7 Philadelphia 76ers in the play-in round on Wednesday.

Toronto was led by Gary Trent Jr., who had 18 points. Toronto was missing several injured standouts, including starters Scottie Barnes (hand), RJ Barrett (knee) and Immanuel Quickley (adductor).

Hornets 120, Cavaliers 110

Nick Smith Jr. pumped in 24 points to lead a bunch of backups as Charlotte ended the season by beating playoff-bound host Cleveland.

The Hornets were sparked on a late 15-2 burst by Smith, Amari Bailey and JT Thor (20 points), surging to a 117-110 lead with less than two minutes to play. It was the final game for Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, who will move into a front-office role with the organization.

Max Strus recorded his first career triple-double with 14 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who finished fourth in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs beginning Saturday against the Orlando Magic. Cleveland also used a largely makeshift lineup and had reduced minutes for several who did play.

76ers 107, Nets 86

Tyrese Maxey scored 26 points as Philadelphia led virtually the entire way to beat visiting Brooklyn.

The Sixers ended the regular season with eight straight wins and survived another absence by Joel Embiid, who sat out after tweaking his surgically repaired left knee in the first half against the Orlando Magic on Friday. Embiid appeared in 39 games and the Sixers went 31-8 when he played.

Cam Thomas led the Nets with 18 points and rookie Noah Clowney added 16. Trendon Watford contributed 14 and Lonnie Walker IV finished with 12 as Brooklyn shot 38.6 percent and misfired on 25 of 34 3-point tries.

Spurs 123, Pistons 95

Sandro Mamukelashvili poured in 18 points to lead eight players in double figures as host San Antonio rolled over Detroit, both long since eliminated from the postseason.

The Spurs, despite being without six injured players who started games this season, finished strong, winning four of their final six games to end up in 14th place in the West, one spot out of the cellar.

James Wiseman racked up game highs of 21 points and 17 rebounds for Detroit. The Pistons dropped 15 of its last 17 games and finished as the worst team in the NBA after setting a team-low mark for wins in a season, supplanting the 16 wins produced by the 1979-80 squad.

Lakers 124, Pelicans 108

LeBron James had a triple-double, Anthony Davis had a double-double and visiting Los Angeles dominated New Orleans.

James finished with 28 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds and Davis had 30 points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers clinched the No. 8 seed and set up a rematch with the seventh-seeded Pelicans in a play-in game Tuesday night in New Orleans.

CJ McCollum scored 25 points to lead New Orleans. Herbert Jones added 18, while Larry Nance Jr. and Brandon Ingram, returning from a 12-game absence due to a hyper-extended knee, scored 13 each.

Kings 121, Blazers 82

De'Aaron Fox scored 24 points in three quarters as host Sacramento cruised past Portland.

After finishing with the third seed in the Western Conference last season -- when they made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 -- the Kings will be the No. 9 seed this time. Sacramento will host the Warriors in a play-in game on Tuesday.

Dalano Banton led the Trail Blazers with 17 points before being ejected for a flagrant 2 foul late in the fourth quarter. He went 6-for-26 from the field and missed all 15 of his 3-point tries, becoming the first player in NBA history to go 0-for-15 from behind the arc. Eric Gordon, Brook Lopez and Justin Anderson shared the previous mark of futility by going 0-for-12 from 3-point range.

Rockets 116, Clippers 105

Cam Whitmore scored 21 points and Amen Thompson recorded his first career triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists as Houston defeated host Los Angeles.

Jabari Smith Jr. had 15 points for Houston, which won for the third time in its last four games and avoided a fourth straight losing season.

Terance Mann led the Clippers with a season-high 24 points. Both teams relied on reserve players in a game that did not have postseason implications. The Clippers trailed 105-102 with 3:09 remaining before Houston went on a 14-0 run to put the game away.

Anthony Davis (back) says he’ll play when Lakers start play-in round

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis said he will be ready for the start of the team's postseason on Tuesday after leaving Sunday's regular-season final early due to back spasms.

The Lakers are in the Western Conference play-in tournament as the No. 8 seed and will face the No. 7 New Orleans Pelicans.

It will be a rematch of Sunday's game, when Los Angeles beat host New Orleans 124-108 despite Davis leaving during the fourth quarter to receive treatment for back spasms.

Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. pushed Davis from behind while Davis jumped for a rebound. The oft-injured Davis later explained his "back just locked up" as a result.

"I was in the air," Davis said. "Obviously it's a dangerous play. I know he's not a dirty player."

Davis, who started his career with the Pelicans, finished with a team-high 30 points on 13-of-17 shooting and 11 rebounds for the Lakers. He finished the season averaging 24.7 points and 12.6 rebounds over 76 games.

NBA playoffs, play-in tournament set as Thunder grab West’s top seed

The last day of the regular season finalized seeding for the NBA playoffs and play-in tournament, with the Oklahoma City Thunder earning the top seed out West and the play-in set to begin on Tuesday.

The eighth-seeded Lakers will face the No. 7 Pelicans in New Orleans, a familiar matchup after Los Angeles initiated that game by winning 124-108 in New Orleans on Sunday. That win prevented the Pelicans from avoiding the play-in tournament altogether, and the Lakers ended up winning the regular-season series 3-1.

"We have to come back with the right mentality," New Orleans coach Willie Green said. "We have to be the aggressive team. We have to be the more physical team. We have to keep them out of our paint."

The No. 9 Sacramento Kings will host the 10th-seeded Golden State Warriors later Tuesday, and those teams won't have that same level of familiarity, as they haven't faced one another since Jan. 25, a 134-133 Kings win. Their regular-season series ended tied at 2-2.

On Wednesday, the league's attention turns to the Eastern Conference, as the No. 7 Philadelphia 76ers host the eighth-seeded Miami Heat.

The Sixers saw their chances of grabbing a top-six seed evaporate on Sunday despite their 107-86 win over the Brooklyn Nets, as the Indiana Pacers also won. The Heat have lost their last two games with Philadelphia, including a 109-105 decision on April 4.

The nightcap on Wednesday will feature the No. 10 seed Atlanta Hawks traveling to Chicago to take on the ninth-seeded Bulls, a matchup that has been in the making for quite some time with neither team finishing within less than three games of another team in the standings. The Bulls won the season series 2-1, but the Hawks took the most recent contest, 113-101, on April 1.

The winners of both 7-8 games will advance to the playoffs as No. 7 seeds to face the Denver Nuggets in the West and the New York Knicks in the East.

Friday will see the loser of Miami-Philadelphia take on the winner of Atlanta-Chicago. In the West, it will be the winner of Golden State-Sacramento facing the loser of Los Angeles-New Orleans.

The NBA playoffs will begin the next day on Saturday, with the second-seeded Nuggets and Knicks hosting their respective series. The Orlando Magic (No. 5 seed) and Cavaliers (4) will also begin their series in Cleveland, while the Minnesota Timberwolves (3) will host the Phoenix Suns (6) in Game 1 of their series.

Sunday, the playoffs continue with the Thunder playing host to the West's final play-in winner. Oklahoma City earned the top seed in the West on Sunday with its 135-86 blowout win over the Dallas Mavericks. Those Mavericks, the fifth seed out West, travel to take on the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers.

The No. 1 seed Boston Celtics will be hosting Friday's play-in winner in the East, while No. 6 Indiana will take on the No. 3 Bucks in Milwaukee.

Kings bully Blazers, now turn attention to play-in

De'Aaron Fox scored 24 points in three quarters as the host Sacramento Kings cruised to a 121-82 rout of the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday afternoon in the regular-season finale for both teams.

After finishing with the third seed in the Western Conference last season -- when they made the playoffs for the first time since 2006 -- the Kings (46-36) will be the No. 9 seed this time around. Sacramento will host the Warriors in a play-in game on Tuesday.

Golden State beat the Kings in seven games in a first-round playoff series last year.

Fox made 10 of 14 shots from the floor in just 26 minutes of action, helping Sacramento take a commanding 99-58 lead into the final quarter.

Domantas Sabonis added 18 points and 11 rebounds for his NBA-best 77th double-double, tying Moses Malone (1978-79) for the most in a single season since the ABA-NBA merger. Sabonis went 7-for-10 from the field and finished one assist shy of his 27th triple-double of 2023-24.

Harrison Barnes contributed 17 points, Keon Ellis chipped in 13 and Keegan Murray finished with 12 as the Kings won for the second time in their past seven games. Sacramento shot 49.4 percent overall and led by as many as 44.

Dalano Banton led the Trail Blazers with 17 points before being ejected for a flagrant 2 foul late in the fourth quarter. He went 6-for-26 from the field and missed all 15 of his 3-point tries, becoming the first player in NBA history to go 0-for-15 from behind the arc. Eric Gordon, Brook Lopez and Justin Anderson shared the previous mark of futility by going 0-for-12 from 3-point range.

Duop Reath added 14 points and Taze Moore contributed 12 as the Blazers shot a dreadful 31.6 percent from the floor and were 7 of 45 from behind the arc. Kris Murray pulled down 18 rebounds for Portland.

Portland (21-61) finished its worst season since 2005-06 by losing five games in a row and 15 of its final 17. The Trail Blazers played without rookie Scoot Henderson (hip) and Deandre Ayton (back).

Sacramento shot 61.1 percent in the opening quarter to grab a 30-18 advantage. The Kings opened their first 20-point lead when Trey Lyles sank a 3-pointer with 9:33 remaining in the second, and they held a 65-37 lead at halftime.

Rockets defeat Clippers to earn .500 season

Cam Whitmore scored 21 points and Amen Thompson recorded his first career triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists as the visiting Houston Rockets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-105 in the regular season finale for both teams on Sunday.

Jabari Smith Jr. had 15 points for Houston (41-41), which won for the third time in its last four games and avoided a fourth straight losing season. Jalen Green, Nate Williams and Boban Marjanovic each added 13 points apiece.

Terance Mann led the Clippers (51-31) with a season-high 24 points. Amir Coffey scored 18 points, Daniel Theis added 16 points and 11 rebounds, Brandon Boston Jr. had 15 points, and Xavier Moon finished with a season-high 14.

Both teams relied on reserve players in a game that did not have any postseason implications. The Clippers trailed 105-102 with 3:09 remaining before Houston closed on a 14-0 run to secure the victory.

The Clippers played minus multiple players with their playoff seed already secured prior to the contest. Paul George, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, and Bones Hyland were each rested, while Kawhi Leonard missed his eighth straight game due to right knee soreness.

The Clippers will face the No. 5 seed Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs for the third time in the past five years.

Houston was also without numerous players, including Fred VanVleet (right hip contusion) and Dillon Brooks (left adductor soreness).

The Rockets led 24-21 after one quarter and 44-35 with 5:19 left in the first half, but the Clippers held a 51-48 advantage at intermission after closing on a 16-4 run.

Moon made his first career start and scored 10 points in the first half to lead the Clippers. The teams combined to shoot 8 of 33 (24.2 percent) from 3-point range for the half.

Houston led 85-83 at the end of the third quarter after shooting 57.1 percent from the field for the period. Mann scored 16 points in the quarter for the Clippers.

The game marked the Clippers' final regular-season contest in the Crypto.com Arena before relocating to the new Intuit Dome in nearby Inglewood next season.

Klay Thompson makes six 3s as Warriors defeat Jazz

Klay Thompson set two franchise records on a 25-point day, but the Golden State Warriors couldn't improve from 10th place in the Western Conference despite a 123-116 victory over the visiting Utah Jazz in the regular-season finale Sunday afternoon.

The Warriors (46-36) needed help from either the New Orleans Pelicans or Portland Trail Blazers in order to escape the final play-in position in the West, but got neither when the Los Angeles Lakers wrapped up the No. 8 seed with a win and the Sacramento Kings earned the No. 9 with a victory and a tie-breaker edge over Golden State.

The Warriors will face the Kings in an elimination game on Tuesday to tip off the Western play-in event.

Golden State elected to rest Stephen Curry and Draymond Green on the eve of the playoffs, and limited Thompson to 20 minutes, during which he had enough time to shoot 6-for-12 on 3-pointers en route to his game-high point total.

Along the way, he increased his season scoring total against Utah to 118, three better than World B. Free's record of 115 for a four-game season series set in 1980-81. And his six 3-pointers gave him 22 for the season against Utah, five better than the previous record he shared with Curry.

The Jazz finished 31-51 while missing the playoffs for the second straight season.

With all the Golden State regulars on the bench, the game was decided in the final 4:10, which began with Utah leading 114-113 after a three-point play by Luka Samanic.

But the Warriors finished the game on a 10-2 run, with Gui Santos giving Golden State the lead for good on two free throws with 3:48 to go before Jerome Robinson scored five of the last eight points, including a critical three-point play with 1:29 to go.

Santos finished with 13 points and Lester Quinones 12 among Golden State's game-ending group. Andrew Wiggins had 19 in a starting role, while Dario Saric chipped in with 12.

Returning from a bruised tailbone that forced him to sit out Friday's loss to New Orleans, Jonathan Kuminga was the Warriors' top assist man with seven in a scoreless 23 minutes. Brandin Podziemski led the team in rebounds with nine.

Keyonte George paced Utah with 21 points, while Omer Yurtseven put up a double-double with 11 points to complement a game-high 18 rebounds.

Taylor Hendricks (16), Samanic (14), Brice Sensabaugh (14), Kira Lewis Jr. (13) and Micah Potter (10) also scored in double figures for the Jazz, which was hoping to finish the season on a three-game winning streak.

Spurs finish on upward swing, beat NBA-worst Pistons

Sandro Mamukelashvili poured in 18 points to lead eight players in double figures as the host San Antonio Spurs rolled over the Detroit Pistons 123-95 on Sunday afternoon in the season finale for both teams.

Both the Spurs (22-60) and the Pistons (14-68) have long been eliminated from the postseason.

San Antonio, despite being without six injured players that started games this season, finished strong, winning four of their final six games to end up in 14th place in the West, one spot out of the cellar.

Detroit dropped 15 of its last 17 games and finished as the worst team in the NBA after setting a team-low mark for wins in a season, supplanting the 16 wins produced by the 1979-80 squad.

Likely rookie of the year Victor Wembanyama sat out after playing in 71 of the Spurs' 82 contests, ending the season as the only rookie in NBA history with 1,500 points, 250 assists and 250 blocked shots. He averaged 21.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game and led the league with 3.6 blocks per contest.

San Antonio led by six after one quarter before blowing open the game in the second period, outscoring the Pelicans by 17 while taking a 63-40 into intermission. The Spurs pushed the margin to 31 midway through the third and cruised to the finish.

Zach Collins and Blake Wesley added 17 each for San Antonio, with David Duke Jr. scoring 15, Devonte' Graham hitting for 12 points, Tre Jones and Julian Champagnie tallying 11 and RayQuan Gray contributing 10.

James Wiseman racked up a game-high 21 points and 18 rebounds for Detroit while Marcus Sasser had 17 points, Jared Rhoden scored 16 and Jaden Ivey hit for 13.

San Antonio poured in on in the second period, leading by 20 after a 3-pointer by Champagnie with 6:34 to play in the quarter and then by 25 after Jones hit a 3-pointer and then drove the lane for a layup, the latter with 3:21 to go until halftime. The Spurs led by 23 at the break after outshooting Detroit 54.3 percent to 32.7 percent from the floor in the first half.

Collins led all scorers with 15 points before halftime. Wiseman led the Pistons with 10 points and 11 rebounds in an otherwise dismal first half for Detroit.

Thunder earn West's No. 1 seed in blowout win vs. Mavericks

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points in just 15 minutes as the Oklahoma City Thunder left no doubt, blowing out the Dallas Mavericks 135-86 on Sunday in Oklahoma City.

The Thunder (57-25) finished the regular season with a five-game winning streak to claim the top spot in the Western Conference for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

With the Mavericks' (50-32) playoff position set, they sat all of their starters other than Tim Hardaway Jr.

That included Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving, who rested for the second consecutive game as Dallas prepares for its playoff opener against the Clippers.

Oklahoma City had no such certainty going into the day, as they were part of a three-way tie with Denver and Minnesota for the top spot in the West.

The Thunder held both the tiebreaker with the Nuggets and the three-way tiebreaker. Denver winning sealed the Thunder's playoff position.

Oklahoma City quickly made it apparent they would take care of their part, scoring the game's first 11 points to build a lead it would never relinquish.

The Mavericks pulled within four before the Thunder closed the first quarter with a 17-4 run to quickly regain control and build a 39-22 lead after the first.

Oklahoma City kept pouring it on in the second, outscoring Dallas 43-19 to lead 82-41 at halftime.

Other than a few third-quarter minutes from Josh Giddey, the Thunder's starters sat in the second half.

That didn't stop Oklahoma City from stretching its lead.

The Thunder led by as many as 55 in the third quarter and led by as many as 58 in the fourth.

Brandon Williams led the Mavericks with 22 points as the Mavericks finished a season-low 33% from the field.

Olivier-Maxence Prosper added 15.

Dallas' 86 points were its fewest this season. The Mavericks scored 87 in a Jan. 31 loss at Minnesota.

Oklahoma City had seven players finish in double figures, with Aaron Wiggins scoring 14 off the bench and Ousmane Dieng contributing 13.

Rookie Chet Holmgren scored 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting in just 11:32.

The Thunder shot 55.7% from the field.

Lakers set up play-in rematch with Pelicans by dominating in New Orleans

LeBron James had a triple-double, Anthony Davis had a double-double and the visiting Los Angeles Lakers dominated the New Orleans Pelicans 124-108 in the regular-season finale Sunday.

James finished with 28 points, 17 assists and 11 rebounds and Davis had 30 points and 11 rebounds as the Lakers (47-35) clinched the No. 8 seed and set up a rematch with the seventh-seeded Pelicans (49-33) in a play-in game Tuesday night in New Orleans.

Austin Reaves added 20 points, D'Angelo Russell scored 19 and Rui Hachimura had 11 for L.A.

CJ McCollum scored 25 points to lead New Orleans. Herbert Jones added 18, while Larry Nance Jr. and Brandon Ingram, returning from a 12-game absence due to a hyper-extended knee, scored 13 each.

Zion Williamson had 12, Trey Murphy III 11 and Jose Alvarado 10 for New Orleans, which saw its four-game winning streak end. The Pelicans fell from No. 6 in the West and into the play-in because Phoenix defeated Minnesota 125-106 and won the tie-breaker with the Pelicans for No. 6.

L.A. never trailed in the game, leading by as many as 23 points in the first half and outscoring New Orleans 68-42 in points in the paint for the game. The Lakers won the season series 3-1 as the visiting team prevailed for the first time.

Reaves made one 3-pointer and Russell added two to start L.A.'s third-quarter scoring and help the Lakers expand their lead to 85-57.

Davis scored eight of his 14 first-quarter points as the Lakers opened a 17-7 lead. Ingram scored the Pelicans' final nine points as they trimmed the lead to 30-24 at the end of the period.

Taurean Prince and James each made a pair of layups and L.A. increased the lead to 15 points early in the second quarter. New Orleans twice got within 12 before Reeves scored five points, James had a three-point play and an assist and the Lakers matched their biggest lead of the half, 60-37.

Nance scored seven points, making one of four 3-pointers that helped the Pelicans creep within 70-53 at halftime.

Suns clobber Wolves in playoff preview

Bradley Beal scored 36 points on 14-for-21 shooting, including a perfect 6-for-6 showing from beyond the arc, and the Phoenix Suns cruised to a 125-106 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon in Minneapolis.

Devin Booker added 23 points and seven assists for Phoenix (49-33), which moved past New Orleans for the sixth seed in the Western Conference. The Suns needed to beat the Timberwolves and the Pelicans had to lose against the Los Angeles Lakers in order for Phoenix to secure a top-six seed in the West and escape the play-in tournament.

Rudy Gobert scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Minnesota (56-26). The Timberwolves entered the game in a three-way tie for the best record in the Western Conference, but they dropped to the No. 3 seed after losing on Sunday while the Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets both won to secure the top two spots.

The Suns' last-day ascent and the Timberwolves' drop in the standings means the teams will match up against one another in the first round of the playoffs.

Phoenix shot 54.7 percent (47 of 86) from the field and 55.2 percent (16 of 29) from 3-point range. Minnesota shot 51.4 percent (36 of 70) overall and 34.6 percent (9 of 26) from deep.

The Suns played with desperation from the opening tipoff. They surged to a 44-22 lead at the end of the first quarter and held a 66-53 advantage at the half.

Beal led the way for Phoenix as Kevin Durant played more of a complementary role. Beal drained a 3-pointer to lift the Suns to a 20-11 advantage less than five minutes into the game.

Beal hit another 3-pointer to increase the Suns' lead to 38-22 with 1:30 left in the first quarter. That started a 9-0 run that also featured a 3-pointer by Booker and another by Beal to finish the frame.

Minnesota struggled to keep pace. It cut its deficit to 89-78 at the end of the third quarter, but Phoenix outscored the hosts 36-28 in the fourth to hold the Timberwolves at bay.

Nuggets secure No. 2 seed with win over Grizzlies

Jamal Murray scored 21 points, Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 15 rebounds and the visiting Denver Nuggets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 126-111 on Sunday to secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.

Denver (57-25) moved past Minnesota, which lost at home to Phoenix on Sunday, and will begin the first round of the playoffs against the winner of Tuesday night's play-in game between the No. 7 New Orleans Pelicans and No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers.

The Nuggets bounced back from a disappointing loss at San Antonio on Friday night to tie the franchise record for wins set in the 2012-13 season and give head coach Michael Malone his 424th career win. Malone broke a tie with George Karl to move into second in club history for wins and trails franchise leader Doug Moe, who has 432.

Christian Braun had 19 points and 10 rebounds, Aaron Gordon had 15 points, Michael Porter Jr. added 12 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Reggie Jackson and Peyton Watson scored 11 each for Denver, which swept the four-game season-series against injury-riddled Memphis.

GG Jackson scored a career-high 44 points, Jake LaRavia had 29 and Scotty Pippen Jr. finished with 15 for the Grizzlies (27-55).

The Nuggets built a 66-54 halftime lead behind 19 points from Murray and a double-double by Jokic (10 points, 11 rebounds). They quickly stretched it in the third quarter.

Gordon scored off his own miss and fed Caldwell-Pope for a layup, Jokic hit a hook shot, Murray made a layup and Gordon dunked during a 10-2 spurt to open the second half.

Porter and Caldwell-Pope hit from deep to give Denver an 85-60 lead with 5:04 left in the third quarter.

The Grizzlies cut into the lead behind Jackson, who scored 11 points in the final 4:47 of the third to make it 94-75 heading into the fourth.

Denver's bench was able to maintain a comfortable lead in the final quarter. Braun started it with a steal and dunk, split a pair of free throws and fed Watson for a dunk to make it 99-78.

76ers rout Nets for 8th straight win, clinch No. 7 seed

Tyrese Maxey scored 26 points as the Philadelphia 76ers led virtually the entire way in a 107-86 victory over the visiting Brooklyn Nets in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The Sixers (47-35) ended the regular season with eight straight wins and survived another absence by Joel Embiid, who sat out after tweaking his surgically repaired left knee in the first half against Orlando on Friday. Embiid appeared in 39 games and the Sixers went 31-8 when he played.

Philadelphia clinched the seventh seed in the NBA play-in tournament because the Orlando Magic and Indiana Pacers won their games. The Sixers will host the Miami Heat on Wednesday and the winner advances into the main playoff draw.

Maxey, who kept the Sixers afloat during Embiid's two-month absence, made 10 of 20 shots in 29 minutes and had help from Tobias Harris and Buddy Hield. Harris added 21 and eight rebounds while Hield finished with 19 and seven rebounds.

Paul Reed collected 13 points and 12 rebounds and Cameron Payne chipped in 10 points as the Sixers shot 42.7 percent and outrebounded the Nets 57-42.

The Nets (32-50) lost their second straight and finished with 50 losses for the first time since going 28-54 in 2017-18, which also was the last time they missed the playoffs. Brooklyn started 13-10 but finished 19-40 over its final 59 games and likely will seek a new coach to replace interim coach Kevin Ollie, who took over for Jacque Vaughn in February.

Cam Thomas led the Nets with 18 points and rookie Noah Clowney added 16. Trendon Watford contributed 14 and Lonnie Walker IV finished with 12 as the Nets shot 38.6 percent and misfired on 25 of 34 3-point tries.

After giving up the game's first seven points, the Nets held a 23-22 lead through the opening quarter when Clowney sank a 3 with 5.1 seconds left. Maxey and Harris sank 3s on consecutive possessions for a 45-34 lead with 4:34 left and the Sixers held a 55-44 lead by halftime.

Harris hit a 3 to put Philadelphia ahead 70-56 with 4:21 left in the third and Hield hit three 3s in the final minute of the third, including a corner 3 at the buzzer for aan 81-64 lead into the fourth.

Philadelphia finished it off when it scored 10 straight points to get a 95-68 lead on Reed's layup with 7:16 left in the fourth.

Magic crush Bucks to cruise into East playoffs as fifth seed

Paolo Banchero had 26 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and the Orlando Magic clinched a playoff spot with a 113-88 rout of the visiting Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday afternoon.

Franz Wagner added 25 points and three steals as the Magic (47-35) earned their first playoff berth since the 2019-20 season. Orlando is the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and will face the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round.

The Bucks (49-33) lost for the eighth time in the past 11 games. Milwaukee will be the 3 seed in the East as the No. 2 seed New York Knicks defeated the Chicago Bulls 120-119 in overtime on Sunday. The Bucks will face the Indiana Pacers in the first round.

Bobby Portis had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Khris Middleton also scored 17 points for Milwaukee, which again played without star Giannis Antetokounmpo (calf). Damian Lillard was just 2-of-14 shooting while scoring 16 points.

Orlando put the game away with an 18-2 spurt to open the fourth quarter. Cole Anthony scored 11 of his 13 points in the final quarter for the Magic.

Orlando shot 49.4 percent from the field, including 11 of 35 from 3-point range. Jonathan Isaac and Moritz Wagner added 10 points apiece for the Magic.

Milwaukee made just 40.5 percent of its attempts and was a shaky 7 of 27 from behind the arc. Brook Lopez added 11 points for the Bucks.

Orlando led by nine after three quarters before ripping off the first 11 points of the fourth period.

Franz Wagner drained a 3-pointer and Anthony followed with four straight points to push the lead to 87-71 with 9:15 remaining.

Wagner and Anthony then each stole the ball and drove for layups 21 seconds apart as the Magic increased their advantage to 20 with 8:37 left.

After Middleton hit a jumper for Milwaukee's first points of the period with 8:19 remaining, Orlando rattled off seven more points in a row.

Anthony hit a floater, Wagner made two free throws and Joe Ingles swished a 3-pointer to make it 98-73 with 7:10 left.

Orlando's lead reached 30 when Anthony Black drained a trey with 3:20 left in the contest and cruised to the finish.

Milwaukee trailed 66-62 after three free throws by Lillard with 4:20 left in the third quarter. Orlando answered with a 14-4 surge to open up a 14-point lead before the Bucks scored the final five to pull within 80-71 entering the final stanza.

The Magic finished the first half with a 19-3 burst to hold a 47-42 halftime lead. Banchero scored 17 in the half for Orlando, while Portis had 14 in the half for Milwaukee.

Jalen Brunson-led Knicks beat Bulls, grab No. 2 seed in East

Jalen Brunson recorded 40 points, eight rebounds and seven assists and the New York Knicks landed the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference by holding off the visiting Chicago Bulls 120-119 in overtime on Sunday afternoon.

A loss to the Orlando Magic by the Milwaukee Bucks aided the Knicks (50-32), who registered their first 50-win season in 24 seasons.

Donte DiVincenzo added 25 points for New York.

DeMar DeRozan paced the Bulls (39-43) with 30 points, five rebounds and five assists. Nikola Vucevic finished with a 29-point, 11-rebound double-double and Coby White had 26 points.

The Knicks took the lead for good after a pair of Brunson free throws, followed by DiVincenzo's 3-pointer that gave New York a 114-112 lead with 3:13 remaining in overtime.

The Bulls didn't go away quietly and kept the contest a two-possession game for the remainder of overtime.

New York had a 120-119 lead with 13.4 seconds left, when Josh Hart turned the ball over on an inbounds pass.

DeRozan drove in for a shot, but it was off the mark and the loose rebound was corralled by Brunson, with 2.0 seconds remaining.

The Knicks were able to hold firm from there and conclude the regular season with a five-game winning streak.

Brunson tied the franchise record for most 30-point games in a single season, matching Patrick Ewing and Richie Guerin's mark of 36 games of 30 or more points.

DiVincenzo played a career-high 53 minutes and also had seven rebounds. Bojan Bogdanovic added 13 points off the bench, while Josh Hart had 12 points and 10 rebounds.

For Chicago, Alex Caruso chipped in 15 points, eight assists and five steals, while Javonte Green added 11 points and eight rebounds.

The Bulls are the No. 10 seed in the East and will face the No. 9 Atlanta Hawks in the play-in round on Wednesday.

The Knicks had a 50-47 halftime lead, but fell behind after a strong third-quarter performance from the Bulls.

Chicago led by as much as eight points early in the fourth quarter, when New York chipped away at the deficit and made it a back-and-forth battle down the stretch.

With less than 40 seconds remaining in regulation and the score tied at 109, the Bulls had a pair of opportunities to take the lead, but emerged empty-handed.

Brunson missed a tough shot at the buzzer for the Knicks at the end of regulation, which led to overtime.

Heat rout Raptors, will face 76ers in play-in round

Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro scored 17 points each as the host Miami Heat routed the out-of-contention Toronto Raptors 118-103 on Sunday afternoon.

With the game virtually decided after three quarters, the Heat went to their bench, and Jaime Jaquez Jr. finished with 18 points. Reserve Thomas Bryant also had 18 points, and added 10 rebounds.

Despite the win, the Heat (46-36) will have to settle for the play-in round as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference. With help from other results on Sunday, the Heat could've finished in the top six and qualified them for the playoffs. But that help did not arrive.

The Heat can still reach the playoffs but only through the play-in round. They will face the No. 7 Philadelphia 76ers in the play-in round on Wednesday.

Toronto (25-57) was led by Gary Trent Jr., who had 18 points.

Toronto was missing several injured standouts, including starters Scottie Barnes (hand), RJ Barrett (knee) and Immanuel Quickley (adductor).

Miami was without two key injured players: Duncan Robinson (back) and Terry Rozier (neck).

Neither team shot the ball exceptionally well in a first quarter that ended with a 24-24 tie. Toronto shot just 42.1 percent, including 0-for-8 on 3-pointers. Miami shot 35 percent, including 2-for-8 from deep.

Miami, though, dominated the second quarter, taking a 67-46 lead into halftime. Toronto shot just 1 of 13 on first-half 3-pointers.

The Heat was red-hot in the second quarter, shooting 75 percent overall, including 5 of 9 on 3-pointers. The Heat outscored Toronto 24-14 in the paint in the second period.

Miami extended its lead to 94-71 after three quarters. Toronto finally heated up from deep in the third quarter -- the Raptors made 4-of-9 -- but to no avail. Miami shot 57.9 percent from the floor overall in the third quarter.

For the game, Miami shot 52.9 percent from the floor, including 9-for-36 on 3-pointers (25 percent). The Heat outscored the Raptors in the paint, 68-54.

Toronto shot 42.2 percent overall. After a slow start, the Raptors finished 9-for-34 from deep (26.5 percent).

Pacers rout Hawks to lock up playoff berth

Myles Turner racked up 31 points and 12 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers clinched an Eastern Conference playoff spot with a 157-115 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday in Indianapolis.

By matching its highest-scoring performance in franchise history, Indiana (47-35) guaranteed itself of at least the No. 6 seed in the East, and the Pacers can grab the fifth spot in the conference if the Orlando Magic lose to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Pascal Siakam added 28 points as one of seven Pacers scorers in double figures. T.J. McConnell supplied 17 points, Doug McDermott netted 15 and Tyrese Haliburton finished with 12 to go along with 13 assists.

Indiana shot a stunning 65 percent overall (65 of 100) and went 19-for-36 from beyond the arc (52.8 percent).

Dejounte Murray paced Atlanta (36-46) with 32 points. Mouhamed Gueye had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Bogdan Bogdanovic chipped in 18 points for the Hawks, who are set to face the Chicago Bulls in the first round of the play-in tournament.

It didn't take long for the Pacers to turn the game into a rout once the second half rolled around, with Turner's layup making it 98-76 with 9:29 remaining in the third quarter.

Atlanta trailed by at least 16 the rest of the way.

Indiana came roaring out of the gates, making 20 of 27 shots from the field (74.1 percent) in the first quarter to build a 49-34 lead.

After McConnell knocked down a triple with 8:36 left in the second quarter to lift the Pacers to a 59-45 advantage, Atlanta came to life.

The Hawks proceeded to score 17 of the next 20 points, drawing even at 62-all when Murray sank a free throw with 4:50 to go.

Atlanta never managed to pull in front, though, and, with the help of a 14-0 run, Indiana took an 86-72 lead into the break.

In coach Steve Clifford's final game, Hornets upend Cavs

Nick Smith Jr. pumped in 24 points to lead a bunch of backups for the Charlotte Hornets in their season-ending 120-110 victory against host Cleveland on Sunday afternoon, preventing the Cavaliers from having a chance to share the Central Division title.

The Hornets (21-61) were sparked on a late 15-2 burst by Smith, Amari Bailey and JT Thor (20 points), surging to a 117-110 lead with less than two minutes to play. It was the final game for Charlotte coach Steve Clifford, who'll move into a front-office role with the organization.

The Cavaliers (48-34), who clinched at least a top-four seed in the Eastern Conference for the playoffs Friday night, entered the day a game behind the Milwaukee Bucks in the division. They used a largely makeshift lineup and had reduced minutes for several players who were on the court.

Charlotte's Bryce McGowens added 18 points, Marques Bolden poured in 14 points and Tre Mann, Bailey and Leaky Black all had 11 points. Thor grabbed 10 rebounds.

Georges Niang scored 16 points off the Cleveland bench, while teammates Evan Mobley, Jarrett Allen and Max Strus all finished with 14 points. Isaiah Mobley had 11 points.

Team scoring leaders Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, along with Caris LeVert, didn't play for the Cavaliers.

The Cavaliers were hurt by 14 turnovers, while Charlotte posted a 37-31 rebounding advantage -- a rare boost for a Hornets team that has struggled on the boards for most of the past few months.

The Hornets were behind 103-90 with 10 minutes remaining. Cleveland scored only two points in the final 6 1/2 minutes.

The Cavaliers finished 16-for-33 shooting on 3-pointers, but Charlotte's 19 baskets from beyond the arc made a big difference.

Smith made six 3s, while Thor and Mann both drained three 3-pointers.

The Hornets trailed by 12 points before pulling within 58-57 at the half.

Charlotte made 11 shots from 3-point range in the first half, with eight players with at least one 3.

The Hornets played without recent scoring leaders Miles Bridges, Brandon Miller and Grant Williams, all listed with injuries.

Top-seeded Celtics crush Wizards in regular-season finale

Payton Pritchard scored a career-high 38 points and added 12 assists and nine rebounds as the Boston Celtics beat the visiting Washington Wizards 132-122 Sunday on the final day of the NBA's regular season.

Pritchard made 15 of 21 field goal attempts. He established his previous career high for points Friday when he tossed in 31 points during a 131-98 triumph against Charlotte.

Svi Mykhailiuk had 26 points for the Celtics, who received 19 points and nine rebounds from Neemias Queta.

Eugene Omoruyi led Washington with 26 points and Jared Butler added 22. Patrick Baldwin Jr. (17), Jules Bernard (13) and Anthony Gill (12) were the other Wizards who scored in double figures.

The Wizards (15-67) had eight players listed as out on their injury report, including the team's top two scorers: Kyle Kuzma (22.2) and Jordan Poole (17.4).

The Celtics (64-18) rested most of their top players for the second straight game and were without Jaylen Brown, Jrue Holiday, Al Horford, Jayson Tatum, Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White.

The Celtics secured the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference on March 25 and the NBA's best record on April 4, but won't know their first-round playoff opponent until after the play-in tournament.

Washington ended its season on a six-game losing streak. The Wizards finished with an 8-33 record on the road.

Boston led 34-30 after one quarter and 61-59 with 1:14 remaining in the first half, but the Celtics closed the half on an 8-0 run that was capped by a Pritchard 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds left in the second quarter. Boston's 69-59 advantage at halftime was its largest lead of the half.

The Celtics made 9 of 18 3-pointers in the half. Pritchard had 22 points, including four 3-pointers, in the first two quarters.

Boston stretched its lead to 107-89 after three quarters, and the Wizards were never closer than 10 points in the fourth.

76ers C Joel Embiid (knee) to sit out finale vs. Nets

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid has been ruled out of the team's regular-season finale against the visiting Brooklyn Nets on Sunday afternoon.

Embiid (left knee injury recovery) joins guard De'Anthony Melton (back) and forward KJ Martin (toe) in sitting out for the 76ers (46-35), who currently occupy the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.

Philadelphia, however, sports the same record as the fifth-seeded Orlando Magic and sixth-seeded Indiana Pacers, and results from Sunday's games for the three teams will determine which two advance to the playoffs and which team must try to move on to the postseason via the play-in tournament.

The top six teams in each conference automatically qualify for the postseason.

Embiid, the reigning NBA MVP, is averaging 34.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.6 assists and 1.7 blocks in 39 games (all starts) this season.

Melton is chipping in 11.1 points, 3.7 boards, 3.0 assists and 1.6 steals in 38 games (33 starts) this season.

Martin is contributing 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 58 games (two starts) this season.

Heat's Terry Rozier, Duncan Robinson out vs. Raptors

Miami Heat guard Terry Rozier and forward Duncan Robinson have been ruled out of Sunday's regular-season finale against the visiting Toronto Raptors.

Rozier (neck) has missed three games and Robinson (back) the past two for the Heat (45-36), who will need to defeat the Raptors on Sunday and receive some help in order to avoid competing in the play-in tournament. Miami, which currently occupies the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, trails the Orlando Magic (46-35), Indiana Pacers (46-35) and Philadelphia 76ers (46-35) by one game.

Rozier, 30, is averaging 19.8 points, 5.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds in 61 games (60 starts) this season split between the Charlotte Hornets and Heat this season.

Robinson, 29, is contributing 12.9 points, 2.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 68 games (36 starts) this season.