About Last Night
About Last Night: Playoff updates, home court and magic numbers
The last Friday of the regular season was a busy night in the NBA as 26 of the 30 teams hit the floor. More than half of those teams were battling for postseason positioning, and the action altered the look of the playoff picture as we enter the weekend.
Here’s where all 15 of those squads that fought for seeding on Friday stand:
The Raptors’ loss to the Hornets changed nothing for Toronto, which is officially locked into the No. 2 seed in the East and will face one of these teams in the first round: Orlando, Brooklyn, Detroit, Miami, Charlotte.
The Celtics defeated the Pacers to win the season series, 3-1. Their magic number to earn home-court advantage in the first round is one (another win or Indiana loss will secure it). In order for the Celtics to get the third seed, Boston must win out and Philadelphia will have to finish 1-2 or worse.
The Pacers are virtually locked into the fifth seed unless Boston loses its final two games and Indiana wins its last two games, which is now the only shot the Pacers have at No. 4.
The Magic climbed to sixth following a rout of the Hawks. Orlando can clinch a playoff berth as soon as Sunday afternoon if Miami and Charlotte lose.
The Pistons, who entered the night sixth in the East, fell to eighth after a loss to Oklahoma City. Detroit does own the tiebreaker to Orlando (sixth), but not against Brooklyn (seventh).
The Heat, currently ninth in the East, took a big blow with a setback in Minnesota. Miami still controls its own destiny, but barely — they would have to win out against the Raptors, Sixers and Nets in order to get in without help.
The Hornets’ win over the Raptors put them two games out of the eighth spot. They’ll need to win their remaining three games and get some help to get in.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors’ win over the Cavaliers means Golden State’s magic number is one. Golden State can secure the No. 1 seed throughout the West playoffs with another win or Denver loss.
The Nuggets, who clinched the Northwest Division title by beating the Trail Blazers, can secure the West’s second seed by winning two of their next three games. In order to clinch No. 1, Denver would need to win its last three games and have Golden State lose its final three.
The Rockets stormed past the Knicks to stay in the West’s third seed. Houston can still get the second seed if it wins out and Denver goes 1-2 over its final three games.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Blazers lost to the Nuggets for the third time this season and lost ground at their chase for the third seed. Portland, currently the fourth seed, trails third-place Houston by 1.5 games and leads fifth-place Utah by one game.
The Jazz, who won their seventh straight game after handling the Kings, remain locked into the fifth seed. Utah still has a chance at having home court during the first round, sitting just a game behind fourth-place Portland. Both teams have three games to go.
The Clippers, who suffered a costly loss to the Lakers, remain in the West’s sixth slot, but are now just one game ahead of eighth. LA’s final two games are against Golden State and Utah.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder held off Blake Griffin and Detroit to move a half game out of the sixth spot, a destination that would potentially set up a first-round meeting with Houston.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs took down the Wizards and have two games left on their schedule against Cleveland and Dallas. San Antonio can finish anywhere between sixth and eighth in the West.
More history for Westbrook
Russell Westbrook’s astronomical streak continues.
The Thunder star secured a triple-average for the third straight season after dishing out three assists during the opening minutes of Oklahoma City’s 123-110 win over Detroit. He finished with 19 points, eight rebounds and 15 assists, bringing his season averages to a robust 23.0 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.5 assists per game.
Oscar Robertson, the name often associated with Westbrook and his triple-double feats, is the only other player to average a triple-double during a full campaign, which he did once in 1961-62.
The unprecedented achievement comes just days after Westbrook joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only players in NBA history to record 20 points, 20 rebounds and 20 assists in a game. His 135 career triple-doubles trails just Magic Johnson (138) and Robertson (181) on the all-time list.
Westbrook is also set to finish as the league leader in assists for the second straight season. He has 742 total on the year, and this one from Friday might be the slickest one yet.
Lamb does it again
Kemba Walker is Charlotte’s designated scorer in the clutch barring two circumstances: Jeremy Lamb is on the floor and the Hornets are playing the Raptors.
Less than two weeks ago, the Hornets shooting guard drilled the buzzer-beater of the season in Toronto.
He continued to be Toronto’s kryptonite on Friday, hitting another game-winning 3 to keep Charlotte’s slim playoff hopes alive.
This season Lamb has attempted just two 3-pointers in the last 10 seconds of games that are close (within five points). Both of those shots came against the Raptors. Both money.
Should the Hornets somehow sneak into the postseason matched up with Toronto, there’s your scouting report.
Young gets ring
Nick ‘Swaggy P’ Young finally gets his jewelry.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) April 6, 2019
Young gets lost
And Trae Young finally gets a taste of his own medicine.
Harden’s smooth handle
Just some extra flair for the reigning Kia MVP.
A Kyrie compilation? Yes, please.
While the ball-handling skills above were impressive, no one can match Kyrie Irving’s. Watch this mixtape.
— NBA (@NBA) April 5, 2019