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NBA: Spurs, Thunder, Pelicans secure playoff spots

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Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic (left) and Karl-Anthony Towns of Minnesota Timberwolves

Los Angeles, April 10: 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 (April 9), 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.

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 (April 11), and if Utah lose to Golden State on Tuesday (April 10) 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.

MONDAY'S RESULTS

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

76ERS AT HAWKS

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).

Source: OPTA

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    Story first published: Tuesday, April 10, 2018, 11:30 [IST]
    Other articles published on Apr 10, 2018
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