The New Orleans Pelicans snapped the San Antonio Spurs’ 11-game NBA winning streak on Wednesday, punching their playoff ticket on the last day of the regular season.
Anthony Davis scored 31 points, pulled down 13 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead the Pelicans to a 108-103 win over the reigning NBA champions who were storming into the post-season.
With the win, the Pelicans clinched the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot and will open on the road against the NBA-best Golden State Warriors.
New Orleans needed the victory to grab their first post-season appearance since 2011 because the Oklahoma City Thunder, also chasing the final berth, trounced lowly Minnesota 138-113.
Russell Westbrook scored 34 of his 37 points in the first half and the Thunder scored a season-high points total.
But the effort went unrewarded after the Pelicans handed the Spurs their first defeat since March 24.
Westbrook secured the regular-season scoring for the first time, but was in no mood to celebrate.
“Doesn’t mean nothing,” he said. “Good job. Hurray. I’m at home. Watching other teams play.”
The Spurs would have clinched the Western Conference second seed with a win.
Instead Houston secured the second seed with a 117-91 victory over Utah.
James Harden had a triple-double by the end of the third quarter, finishing with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for the Rockets, who also captured the title in the Southwest Division, which will send all five of its teams to the playoffs.
It’s the first time each team from one division will compete in the same post-season since 2005-06, when the Pistons, Cavaliers, Pacers, Bulls and Bucks all advanced from the Central Division.
Memphis, second in the Southwest, earned home-court advantage in the first round with a 95-83 win over Indiana that ended the Pacers’ playoff hopes.
Indiana would have grabbed the final berth in the Eastern Conference with a win, or a Brooklyn Nets defeat.
Brooklyn defeated Orlando 101-88, thanks in large part to a career-high 28 points by Bojan Bogdanovic. – Agence France-Presse