April 11 – Klay Thompson scored a season-high 41 points and led a 3-point shooting barrage as the visiting Golden State Warriors defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 128-107 in the regular-season finale for both teams Sunday night.
Thompson, playing in just his 32nd game after returning from Achilles surgery, scored more than 30 points for the fourth time in his last six games and topped his previous high of 38 points. He made 7 of 14 3-pointers as the Warriors (53-29) made 19 of 33 from beyond the arc.
Golden State won its fifth consecutive game and clinched the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. The Warriors will face sixth-seeded Denver in the first round.
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The Pelicans (36-46), locked into ninth-place and a play-in home game against San Antonio on Wednesday night, held out Brandon Ingram (hamstring), Jonas Valanciunas (ankle), Herbert Jones Jr. (tibia contusion) and Devonte’ Graham (knee). Naji Marshall scored 19 points, Gary Clark had 17, Trey Murphy III 15, Jose Alvarado 12 and Jared Harper 10 for the Pelicans.
Cavaliers 133, Bucks 115
Kevin Love came off the bench to score a game-high 32 points and pull down 10 rebounds as Cleveland beat visiting Milwaukee in the regular-season finale.
The No. 8 Cavs will travel to No. 7 Brooklyn on Tuesday for an Eastern Conference play-in game. Milwaukee (51-31) finished third in the East after the second-place Boston Celtics beat the Memphis Grizzlies 139-110 on Sunday night.
Lauri Markkanen fired in 23 points for the Cavs (44-38), while Rookie of the Year candidate Evan Mobley contributed 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. Sandro Mamukelashvili paced Milwaukee with 28 points, 13 rebounds and four assists, Thanasis Antetokounmpo had a career-high 27 points and Jordan Nwora added 24.
Nets 134, Pacers 126
Kyrie Irving scored 35 points as Brooklyn clinched the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference with a victory over skidding Indiana in New York.
Irving was 15 of 20 from the floor in his sixth home game of the season as the Nets shot 64.2 percent and ended the regular season with a four-game winning streak. Kevin Durant posted a triple-double of 20 points, a career-high 16 assists and 10 rebounds despite 5-for-17 shooting.
Oshae Brissett scored 28 points and Buddy Hield added 21 as Indiana ended the season on a 10-game losing streak. It was the Pacers’ worst season since finishing 28-54 in 1988-89 — Reggie Miller’s second season.
Kings 116, Suns 109
Davion Mitchell posted 18 points and 15 assists, Justin Holiday, Donte DiVincenzo and Damian Jones each scored 19 points, and visiting Sacramento closed its season by beating NBA-leading Phoenix.
Sacramento led throughout, pouncing on a short-handed Phoenix lineup that was missing four starters and building a lead of as many as 19 points. The Kings shot a red-hot 14-of-26 from 3-point range.
The only Suns starter to appear in the game was Mikal Bridges, and he played fewer than six minutes in completing a regular season with 82 starts. Landry Shamet led Phoenix with a season-high 27 points, including 5-of-12 from 3-point range.
Magic 125, Heat 111
R.J. Hampton scored a career-high 21 points, making four of Orlando’s franchise-record-tying 23 3-pointers, and the host Magic defeated Sunshine State rival Miami in the final regular-season game for both teams.
Chuma Okeke’s 17-point performance included five triples as Orlando snapped a five-game losing streak against the Heat. The Magic shot 23-for-58 from behind the arc — a new franchise mark for 3-point attempts — as Hampton went 4-for-7 and center Mo Bamba (21 points, 10 rebounds) made 5 of 9 attempts.
Miami, the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed heading into the postseason, watched its six-game winning streak end despite 40 points from former Orlando first-round pick Victor Oladipo.
Knicks 105, Raptors 94
Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin each capped their season-ending surges in style as Quickley posted a triple-double and Toppin scored a career-high 42 points as New York beat visiting Toronto in the regular-season finale for both teams.
The Raptors are locked into the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference and will open the playoffs against the fourth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. The Knicks, who ended a seven-year postseason drought last spring, finished 11th in the East, six games out of a spot in the play-in tournament.
Chris Boucher scored 21 points off the bench for the Raptors while Gary Trent Jr. had 17 points and Malachi Flynn added 10 points.
76ers 118, Pistons 106
Shake Milton came off of the bench to score a season-high 30 points to lead Philadelphia over Detroit in the regular-season finale.
Tyrese Maxey and Paul Reed each scored 25 points for Philadelphia (51-31) in a game that saw each team rest their best players. Detroit didn’t dress its leading scorer in Cade Cunningham, while Philadelphia didn’t play the NBA’s leading scorer, Joel Embid, or James Harden.
Luka Garza had 20 points and 10 rebounds and Isaiah Livers had 14 points for Detroit (23-59), which solidified one of the three worst records in the league and has a 14% chance of winning the top overall pick in the draft lottery next month.
Celtics 139, Grizzlies 110
Jayson Tatum scored 26 of his 31 points in the first half in a blowout of host Memphis that, coupled with Milwaukee’s loss at Cleveland earlier in the day, powered Boston to the Eastern Conference’s No. 2 seed.
Boston closed out a strong final two-plus months to the 2021-22 regular season with a wire-to-wire win over the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed, albeit a short-handed Grizzlies bunch. Tatum finished at 11-of-14 shooting from the floor in just 26:03 played, leading the Celtics to a 54.5 percent performance at 54 of 99.
Memphis, having clinched its playoff position more than a week ago, did not play the usual starting five of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Steven Adams, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Dillon Brooks. The Grizzlies instead started Ziaire Wiliams, Kyle Anderson, Xavier Tillman, De’Anthony Melton and John Konchar.
Bulls 124, Timberwolves 120
Patrick Williams scored 35 points and rookie Ayo Dosunmu added 26, both career highs, as Chicago ended a four-game losing streak with a victory over Minnesota in Minneapolis to close out the regular season for a pair of teams headed into postseason play.
Troy Brown Jr. added 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who already were locked into the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs and are scheduled to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round.
Nathan Knight scored 17 points for the Timberwolves, who already had clinched the No. 7 spot in the Western Conference and will face the Los Angeles Clippers in a play-in game on Tuesday.
Mavericks 130, Spurs 120
Luka Doncic scored 26 points despite sitting the entire fourth quarter, leading Dallas to a win over visiting San Antonio on the final day of the NBA’s regular season.
Dallas blew open a game that was tied 59-59 at halftime and at 66-66 with 8:50 to play in the third period with Dorian Finney-Smith scoring all 16 of his points in the quarter and Jalen Brunson hitting for 10, allowing the Mavericks to carry a 97-82 lead into the final 12 minutes. The Mavericks finished fourth and will face fifth-seeded Utah in the first round of the playoffs.
The Spurs had little to play for in the season finale after having secured the 10th seed in the West and a spot in the play-in tournament at New Orleans on Wednesday. Keldon San Johnson led the Spurs with 24 points in the loss.
Jazz 111, Trail Blazers 80
Juancho Hernangomez scored 22 points with eight rebounds and Rudy Gobert totaled 18 points and 13 boards to lead Utah past host Portland in the regular-season finale.
Utah, playing without starters Donovan Mitchell (non-COVID illness) and Bojan Bogdanovic (rest), clinched the No. 5 seed with the easy victory. The Jazz, who clinched the Northwest Division title, will face the No. 4 Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs beginning next weekend.
Reggie Perry led the Blazers with 20 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Portland (27-55) finished with the sixth-worst record in the NBA. Portland was missing its seven leading scorers.
Clippers 138, Thunder 88
Amir Coffey scored a career-high 35 points to lead Los Angeles to a home blowout win over Oklahoma City.
The Clippers closed the regular season on a five-game winning streak and won two of three meetings with the Thunder this season. Los Angeles will play at Minnesota on Tuesday in the play-in tournament after finishing above .500 for the 11th consecutive season.
Oklahoma City finished its season on a three-game losing streak, to finish with the fourth-worst record in the league.
Lakers 146, Nuggets 141 (OT)
Austin Reaves established career highs of 31 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists and excelled in overtime as Los Angeles overcame a 17-point fourth-quarter deficit to knock off host Denver.
Malik Monk scored a career-best 41 points and made seven 3-pointers for Los Angeles, which won its second straight game following an eight-game slide. Wayne Ellington had 18 points in a game that was contested primarily with second- and third-teamers.
Markus Howard scored a career-high 25 points and Bryn Forbes added 24 points for the Nuggets, who are the sixth-seeded team in the Western Conference and will meet the third-seeded Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs.
–Field Level Media
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George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism