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Week 25 Rewind: 10 things to know from the past 7 days in the NBA

The playoff and Play-In fields set, Joel Embiid wins the scoring title, Nikola Jokic creates 2000/1000/500 club, Ja Morant returns and more from the final week.

Joel Embiid won his first scoring title, is in a heated MVP race and his Sixers have a first-round matchup with Toronto tipping off Saturday.

1. Playoff and Play-In fields finally set

The final day of the regular season saw all 30 teams in action and plenty to be decided in terms of playoff seeding and matchups. While the East field was set early Sunday evening, it took until the final games of the night for all the dust to settle in the West.

The Play-In Tournament tips off on Tuesday, April 15 with No. 7 Brooklyn hosting No. 8 Cleveland in the East (7 ET, TNT) and No. 7 Minnesota hosting No. 8 LA Clippers in the West (9:30 ET, TNT). The winner of those two games will advance to the playoffs as the No. 7 seed in their respective conference. But the losers of the 7/8 games are not eliminated just yet.

On Wednesday, No. 9 Atlanta hosts the No. 10 Charlotte in the East (7 ET, ESPN) followed by No. 9 New Orleans hosting No. 10 San Antonio in the West (9:30 ET, ESPN). The losers of these games are eliminated, while the winners move on to face the losers of the 7/8 game from their respective conference. Those games take place on Friday (times TBD) with the winners advancing to the playoffs as the No. 8 seed in their respective conference, and the losers eliminated.

The 2022 NBA playoffs tip off next weekend with four games apiece on Saturday and Sunday to open all eight first-round series. Check back for the complete first-round schedule as well as in-depth previews breaking down each series.

2. Embiid wins scoring title

What was once a historically close three-player race for the scoring title between Joel Embiid, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James turned into a decisive win for Embiid, who pulled away from the field with a dominant final week of play.

Charting the NBA scoring race

Embiid closed the season with a 30.6 points per game scoring average, became the first center since Shaq in 2000 to win the scoring title, and the first center since Moses Malone in 1982 to average more than 30 points per game. Embiid is also the first international player to win the scoring title, yet another symbol of the global reach of the game in its 75th anniversary season.

3. Ja Morant returns

After missing nine games due to a sore knee, Ja Morant returned to the Grizzlies lineup on Saturday and looked as if he never left. Morant finished with 21 points, nine assists and four rebounds in 27 minutes as the Grizzlies dispatched the Pelicans 141-114.

Much has been made of Memphis’ success in the games that Morant has missed this season as they went 20-5 following Sunday’s loss in the regular-season finale against Boston. However, for the No. 2 seed Grizzlies to make a deep playoff run, they are going to need everything that No. 12 brings to the table.

4. Injuries to watch heading into the postseason

While Morant is back for the Grizzlies, there are a number of players that we must keep an eye on their status over the next week and others that are unfortunately out for the postseason.

Stephen Curry (GSW): Curry missed the final 11 games of the regular season after suffering a left foot injury in Golden State’s loss to Boston on March 16. Curry is set to be reevaluated on Monday in hopes that he can return for the playoffs. It can’t be overstated how important Curry’s health is to Golden State’s playoff aspirations.

Luka Doncic (DAL): Doncic exited Dallas’ regular-season finale against San Antonio with 2:24 remaining the third quarter after suffering a left calf strain. We’ll learn more about the severity of the injury and the duration of the recovery in the coming days, as the Mavs prepare for a first-round matchup with Utah tipping off on Saturday afternoon.

Robert Williams III (BOS): The Celtics’ starting center has not played since suffering a torn meniscus on March 27. Williams was given a 4-6 week timetable for his recovery, and while the Celtics anticipate playing the first round without Williams, Boston coach Ime Udoka would not rule him out.

Bam Adebayo (MIA): Adebayo missed Miami’s regular-season finale as he entered the league’s Health and Safety Protocols. Miami enters the postseason as the top seed in the East and will host the No. 8 seed that emerges from the Play-In Tournament in the first round. Will Adebayo be available when that series tips off?

The Bulls announced that Lonzo Ball is out for the season, including the playoffs, following a setback during his knee rehab. The Hornets announced that Gordon Hayward is out indefinitely and will miss the Play-In Tournament due to a foot injury.

5. Epic MVP race, tracking game by game

The MVP race has been so tight this season that the weekly Kia MVP Ladder was not enough to keep up with the ups and downs of the battle, so we also launched the Kia MVP Tracker to follow game-by-game updates.

Will it be a repeat for Nikola Jokic? A third MVP win for Giannis Antetokounmpo? Or the first MVP win for Joel Embiid? The race has been too close to call all season long, but with the regular season wrapping up on Sunday, it is now time for voters to cast their ballots for all of the end of season awards, with no vote more agonizing than the top individual honor that the league bestows.

6. Jokic first ever 2000/1000/500 player

We’ve already discussed Joel Embiid winning the scoring title, adding that honor to his MVP candidacy resume. Not to be outdone, Nikola Jokic reached a statistical achievement this week that no other player in NBA history had done before.

Jokic is the sole member of the 2000/1000/500 club as he is the first player to ever amass 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 assists in a single season. Jokic is the only player to rank in the top 10 in all three categories: seventh in scoring (27.1 ppg), second in rebounding (13.8 rpg) and eighth in assists (7.9 apg).

7. Chris Paul = franchise record wins

Phoenix’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday marked their 63rd win over the season — setting a new franchise record for wins in a single season. The Suns added one more win to that mark as they finished the regular season with a league-best 64-18 record.

Helping his teams set franchise records for wins is a bit of a habit for Chris Paul, who became the only player in NBA history to be part of four different teams setting franchise records for wins. This season’s Suns join the 2007-08 New Orleans Hornets (56), 2013-14 LA Clippers (57) and 2017-18 Houston Rockets (65) as teams that set franchise records with Chris Paul, with all of those marks still standing today.

8. Play-In Tournament here to stay

When addressing the media following the league’s two-day Board of Governors meetings this week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver discussed the impact of the Play-In Tournament has had on the final month of the regular season and that he sees it as a fixture in the league.

“What we’re seeing is a far greater impact essentially on the last month of the season,” Silver said, “where teams are either jockeying to get into the Play-In Tournament itself or jockeying to get out of [it].”

Seeing so many teams in the mix for the Playoffs and Play-In so late into the season has added a new layer of drama to the final month of the season. The Play-In field and matchups weren’t finalized until the final weekend of action and will tip off on Tuesday.

9. Week 25 stats leaders

For games played between April 4 -10 with a minimum of two games played

Points: Joel Embiid (38.7 ppg, 3 games), Nikola Jokic (38.0 ppg, 2 games), Klay Thompson (37.0 ppg, 2 games)

Rebounds: Nikola Jokic (16.5 rpg, 2 games), Jaylen Howard (14.5 rpg, 4 games), Joel Embiid (14.3 rpg, 3 games)

Assists: James Harden (14.3 apg, 3 games), Chris Paul (14.0 apg, 2 games), Davion Mitchell (13.0 apg, 3 games)

Steals: Nikola Jokic (3.0 spg, 2 games), Paul Reed (3.0 spg, 3 games), Desmond Bane (2.7 spg, 3 games)

Blocks: Evan Mobley (3.0 bpg, 2 games), Hassan Whiteside (3.0 bpg, 4 games), Jaren Jackson Jr (2.7 bpg, 3 games), Mo Bamba (2.7 bpg, 3 games)

3-Pointers made: Klay Thompson (6.5 3pg, 2 games), Kevin Porter Jr. (5.3 3pg, 3 games), LaMelo Ball (4.8 3pg, 4 games)

10. End of season stats leaders

See the minimum games required to qualify as a league leader for each category here.

Points: Joel Embiid (30.6 ppg), Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.9 ppg), Luka Doncic (28.4 ppg)

Rebounds: Rudy Gobert (14.7 rpg), Nikola Jokic (13.8 rpg), Domantas Sabonis (12.1 rpg)

Assists: Chris Paul (10.8 apg), James Harden (10.3 apg), Trae Young (9.7 apg)

Steals: Dejounte Murray (2.0 spg), Chris Paul (1.9 spg), Gary Trent Jr. (1.7 spg)

Blocks: Jaren Jackson Jr. (2.3 bpg), Robert Williams III (2.2 bpg), Rudy Gobert (2.1 bpg)

3-Pointers Made: Stephen Curry (285), Buddy Hield (262), Fred VanVleet (242)

Field Goal Pct: Rudy Gobert (71.3%), Jarrett Allen (67.7%), Montrezl Harrell (64.5%)

3-Point Pct: Luke Kennard (44.9%), Desmond Bane (43.6%), Tyrese Maxey (42.7%)

Free Throw Pct: Jordan Poole (92.5%), Stephen Curry (92.3%), Kevin Durant (91.0%)