Mavericks book NBA playoff spot, Wizards secure play-in berth

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Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks takes a shot in opposition to Freddie Gillespie #55 of the Toronto Raptors at American Airways Heart on Might 14, 2021 in Dallas, Texas.  (Getty Photos through AFP)

LOS ANGELES – Luka Doncic’s eleventh triple-double of the season propelled the Dallas mavericks to a 114-110 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday and into the NBA playoffs.

Doncic scored 20 factors, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out 11 assists and the Mavs held off a late problem from the short-handed Raptors, whose seven absentees included stars Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet.

Kristaps Porzingis scored 21 factors and Dorian Finney-Smith drained two late three-pointers for the Mavs, who noticed a 10-point lead halfway by the fourth quarter dwindle to 2 factors with 4.9 seconds remaining.

A pair of free-throws from Josh Richardson pushed the Mavericks’ lead again to 4 with 3.9 seconds left and Dallas notched a sixth win of their final seven video games to guarantee themselves of a playoff spot.

They prevented the NBA’s play-in event, through which the seventh-through tenth positioned groups in every convention battle for the ultimate two post-season berths.

“Avoiding the play-in is critical,” Mavs coach Rick Carlisle mentioned. “It’s vital. There’s too many benefits to not being within the play-in state of affairs.”

However the Washington Wizards have been delighted to clinch a play-in spot on Friday.

Fueled by Russell Westbrook’s newest triple-double, the Wizards beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 120-105 to safe a play-in berth and remove the Chicago Bulls from competition.

Westbrook scored 21 factors, pulled down 12 rebounds and handed out 17 assists for the 183rd triple-double of his profession — extending the all-time file he claimed when he surpassed Oscar Robertson together with his 182nd on Monday.

Davis Bertans scored 17 factors whereas Japanese ahead Rui Hachimura and Robin Lopez 14 apiece as seven Washington gamers scored in double figures.

“We’re grateful to have the chance to make the playoffs,” Westbrook mentioned. “Our job now’s to deal with enterprise for yet another recreation and transfer up within the standings.”

Sixers No. 1 in East

Elsewhere, the items of the playoff puzzle continued to fall into place.

The Philadelphia 76ers secured the highest seed within the Japanese Convention playoffs with a dominant 122-97 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Seth Curry scored 20 factors and stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons added 13 apiece for the 76ers, who out-scored the Magic 39-19 within the second quarter to take management of the competition.

Cameroonian large man Embiid, a Most Worthwhile Participant candidate, added 11 rebounds whereas Australia’s Simmons handed out 9 assists.

The Sixers’ victory ensured that neither the second-placed Brooklyn Nets nor third-ranked Milwaukee Bucks can overtake them for high spot within the East.

Dwelling courtroom benefit may show particularly precious to the 76ers, who’re 28-7 at residence.

“We barely lose right here, so it means rather a lot,” Embiid mentioned, however added the Sixers have “nonetheless bought to exit and show why you’re the No. 1 seed.”

Whereas issues aren’t clear-cut within the West, the Utah Jazz consolidated their place atop the convention with a 109-93 victory over the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.

The Jazz improved their league-leading file to 51-20 with one recreation remaining earlier than the common season ends on Sunday.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Utah with 22 factors. Jordan Clarkson added 18 off the bench and middle Rudy Gobert scored 16 factors and pulled down 18 rebounds for a Jazz workforce that had misplaced two straight.

The Jazz can clinch high seed within the West with a victory in opposition to the Sacramento Kings on Sunday or a loss by second-placed Phoenix in both of the Suns’ two weekend video games in opposition to San Antonio.

The Denver Nuggets, in the meantime, beat the Detroit Pistons 104-91 to drag right into a tie for third place within the West with the Los Angeles Clippers, who rested stars Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverly on the second evening of a back-to-back and fell 122-115 to the last-placed Houston Rockets.

Nikola Jokic led the Nuggets together with his sixteenth triple-double of the season, scoring 20 factors with 15 rebounds and 11 assists regardless of sitting out the fourth quarter.

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Agence France-Presse


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