NBA: 76ers clinch top seed in east, Mavericks avoid play-in
The Philadelphia 76ers secured the top seed in the Eastern Conference with a big win over the Orlando Magic, while the Dallas Mavericks avoided the play-in tournament.
The Philadelphia 76ers clinched the top seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference after sweeping aside the Orlando Magic in a 122-97 victory that saw their key players take an early seat on the bench.
76ers win Eastern Conference for first time in 20 years
Seth Curry led the 76ers with 20 points in just 23 minutes of court time on Friday, while Joel Embiid had 13 points and 11 rebounds in 23 minutes and Ben Simmons added 13 points and nine assists in 26 minutes.
Philadelphia (48-23) – Eastern Conference champions for the first time since 2000-01 – will open the playoffs against the number eight seed that emerges from next week's play-in tournament.
Two teams will emerge from the Eastern Conference side, which will include the Boston Celtics, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards.
Another triple-double for Westbrook as Wizards secure play-in place
The Wizards sealed their play-in spot with a 120-105 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers as Russell Westbrook recorded yet another triple-double following 21 points, 17 assists and 12 rebounds.
Westbrook's triple-double was his 37th in 63 appearances this season, and he had at least 15 assists for the seventh consecutive game. Only John Stockton and Isiah Thomas have had seven such games in a row, with Stockton doing it three times.
Mavericks avoid play-in with win over Raptors
Luka Doncic tallied 20 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds and Kristaps Porzingis added 21 points and 10 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks (42-29) held off the Toronto Raptors for a 114-110 win that clinched a spot in the Western Conference's top six.
The Denver Nuggets beat the Detroit Pistons 104-91 to draw even with the Los Angeles Clippers, who fell 122-115 to the lowly Houston Rockets. Denver (47-24) got 20 points, 15 rebounds and 11 assists from MVP candidate Nikola Jokic in the win, the Nuggets' third in a row. The Clippers' loss gave the idle Phoenix Suns (49-21) the Pacific Division title.
The NBA-leading Utah Jazz won 109-93 at the Oklahoma City Thunder behind 22 points from Bojan Bogdanovic. Utah (51-20) can clinch the top seed in the west with a win against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday or a Suns loss against the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday or Sunday.
The Golden State Warriors downed the New Orleans Pelicans 125-122 behind Jordan Poole's 38 points for their fifth consecutive victory. The Memphis Grizzlies also won their fifth straight game, 107-106 over the Kings, while resting most of their key players. Golden State and Memphis share 38-33 records and will meet on Sunday with the number eight seed on the line as they head into the play-in tournament.
Bulls miss out again
The Wizards' win ended the idle Chicago Bulls' hopes of making the play-in tournament, marking the fourth consecutive season the storied franchise will miss the playoffs.
Hometown kid Harris posts career night
The Raptors played without their top seven scorers in Friday's loss to the Mavericks, but Dallas native Jalen Harris did his part in a losing effort with a career-high 31 points.
Lakers at Pacers
The Los Angeles Lakers need a win to pull even with the Portland Trail Blazers for the sixth spot in the Western Conference, and the reigning champions are hoping to have LeBron James back in the line-up as they face the Pacers.