The Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers wrapped up the final two playoff spots in the Eastern Conference on the final night of the regular season Wednesday, leaving the Miami Heat on the outside looking in.
Jimmy Butler scored 25 points, and the Bulls routed the depleted Brooklyn Nets 112-73. Paul Zipser added a career-high 21 points off the bench as Chicago took advantage of a short-handed Brooklyn lineup to secure its first playoff appearance under coach Fred Hoiberg.
Paul George finished with 32 points and 11 rebounds in the Pacers’ 104-86 victory over Atlanta, their fifth victory in a row earning them the No. 7 seed in the East and a first-round matchup with Cleveland.
Goran Dragic scored 28 points, and Hassan Whiteside added 24 points and 18 rebounds as the Heat defeated the Washington Wizards, 110-102, but fell a game short of the playoffs after beginning the season with an 11-30 record.
at Boston 112, Milwaukee 94: Gerald Green scored 18 points, 10 of them in a 25-2 fourth-quarter run, and the Celtics claimed the No. 1 seed in the East.
at Houston 123, Minnesota 118: James Harden had his 22nd triple-double with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists, and the the MVP contender became the first player in NBA history to finish the regular season with at least 2,000 points (2,356), 900 assists (907) and 600 rebounds (659). Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 28 points and 21 rebounds for the Timberwolves, and became the youngest player to average 25 points and 10 rebounds in a season.
Denver 111, at Oklahoma City 105: Russell Westbrook got an MVP endorsement from Oscar Robertson before he played only the first half against the Nuggets. He finished with averages of 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds and 10.4 assists.
Toronto 98, at Cleveland 83: The Raptors won for the first time in four tries against the Cavaliers, who rested LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love.
Dallas 100, at Memphis 93: The Mavericks ended a five-game losing streak despite leaving starters Dirk Nowitzki, Harrison Barnes and Wesley Matthews at home.
at New York 114, Philadelphia 113: Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points after deciding to play in what could be his final game with the Knicks.
at Orlando 113, Detroit 109: Aaron Gordon had 32 points and 12 rebounds and the Magic won the finale between non-playoff teams.