Post Up: Timberwolves Earn Playoff Berth, Westbrook Makes History

by April 12, 2018
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Timberwolves 112 (47-35), Nuggets 106 (46-36) (OT)

The Timberwolves are headed to the playoffs, and they got there in riveting fashion. Hosting the Nuggets in what was essentially a play-in game, Minnesota led 99-91 late in the fourth quarter. Then Jamal Murray led a 10-2 run that forced overtime. But the Timberwolves kept the Nuggets off the board for the final 2:28 of OT as they hit free throws down the stretch to seal the win. Nikola Jokic scored 35 points, including 17 in the third quarter, to lead all scorers, while Jimmy Butler had 31 for Minnesota. Next up for the Timberwolves: the Houston Rockets.

Thunder 137 (48-34), Grizzlies 123 (22-60)

Paul George scored 40 points and Russell Westbrook had 16 rebounds to lead the Thunder. Westbrook’s performance gave him a triple-double average for the season, making him the first player in NBA history to do that more than once in his career. Though he scored just six points on Wednesday, he had a career-high 20 boards and 19 assists. Dillon Brooks ended his rookie season with a 36-point performance. The Thunder will play the Jazz to start the postseason.

Celtics 110 (55-27), Nets 97 (28-54)

With the Celtics resting their regulars, Aron Baynes had himself a night, scoring 26 points and grabbing 14 rebounds. Jonathan Gibson added 18 more off the bench. For the Nets, Alan Crabbe scored 16 and hit five threes to go with seven rebounds and three assists. The Celtics will face the 7 seed Bucks in the First Round.

Knicks 110 (29-53), Cavaliers 98 (50-32)

The Cavs dropped their final game of the regular season, but head into the playoffs with a clean slate after a turbulent campaign. John Holland had 21 points and Ante Zizic had 20 for Cleveland, which only played its regulars for a few minutes early on. Luke Kornet scored 23 for the Knicks. The Cavs draw the Pacers in the First Round.

Heat 116 (44-38), Raptors 109 (59-23) (OT)

Wayne Ellington set the Heat’s single-season record with 227 threes on his way to 32 points Wednesday night. That helped Miami clinch the 6 seed in the East, which means they’ll visit Philadelphia to start the playoffs. Ellington’s final three came with just under 20 seconds in regulation to put Miami ahead, but the Raptors forced overtime on a Jakob Poeltl tip-in a few seconds later. The Heat never trailed in OT as they held on to defeat the No. 1Β  seed in the conference.

Magic 101 (25-57), Wizards 92 (43-39)

The Wizards went just 5-25 in the fourth quarter and as a result dropped to the 8 seed in the East, forcing a matchup with the Toronto Raptors. Rodney Purvis led the victorious Magic with 16 points in their final game of the season, while Jodie Meeks had 18 off the bench to lead all scorers.

76ers 130 (52-30), Bucks 95 (44-38)

The Sixers led 46-18 after a quarter and never looked back, dismantling the Bucks even as Joel Embiid continues to sit out, recovering from injury. Justin Anderson had 25 points to lead Philly, which finished the regular season with 16 straight wins. Jabari Parker led the Bucks with 25 points.

Pistons 119 (39-43), Bulls 87 (27-55)

Detroit won every quarter, opening up a 14-point lead after one and cruising to victory. Eric Moreland had 16 points, 17 rebounds, and four blocks to lead the Pistons, and rookie Luke Kennard added 23 points. Lauri Markkanen had 20 to lead the Bulls as both teams ended disappointing seasons.

Pelicans 122 (48-34), Spurs 98 (47-35)

The Pelicans will head into the postseason with five straight wins, led by 22 points, 15 rebounds, and four blocks from Anthony Davis. Rajon Rondo had 19 points and 14 assists to go with that. No player for the Spurs scored more than 11 points, a mark matched by LaMarcus Aldridge, Dejounte Murray, and Tony Parker. New Orleans will play Portland in the First Round and the Spurs will face Golden State.

Lakers 115 (35-47), Clippers 100 (42-40)

Josh Hart scored 30 points on 7-9 three-point shooting as the Lakers won the battle of L.A. teams to close the season. Gary Payton II had 25 points and 12 rebounds off the bench. For the Clippers, Tobias Harris led the way with 23 points.

Kings 96 (27-55), Rockets 83 (65-17)

With James Harden, Chris Paul, Clint Capela, and more sitting out, the Rockets couldn’t get much going against the Kings. Gerald Green did manage 31 points and hit seven threes, but seven Kings players scoring in double figures was too much. Willie Cauley-Stein led the Kings with 22 points, 11 rebounds, and four assists.

Trail Blazers 102 (49-33), Jazz 93 (48-34)

The Blazers clinched the Northwest Division behind 36 points and 10 assists from Damian Lillard and 19 points from CJ McCollum. Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell each had 17 to lead the Blazers, who shot just 37 percent as a team.