New Orleans, Brooklyn clinch last two playoff spots

Reuters News
Posted: Apr 16, 2015 12:20 AM

(Reuters) - The New Orleans Pelicans and Brookyln Nets clinched playoff spots on the final night of the NBA regular season on Wednesday.

The Pelicans nabbed the eighth seed in the powerful Western Conference, edging Oklahoma City as both teams finished with identical 45-37 records.

In the East, the Nets clinched the eighth and final spot, tipping out the Indiana Pacers.

Oklahoma City won their season finale over the Minnesota Timberwolves, but it counted for nothing as New Orleans beat the San Antonio Spurs.

The Pelicans advanced courtesy of their 3-1 regular-season head-to-head record over the Thunder.

The reward for New Orleans is a first-round match-up against the top seed Golden State Warriors.

San Antonio, meanwhile, would have been seeded second in the West had they beaten the Pelicans. Instead, the reigning NBA champions plummeted to the sixth seed.

They will play the Los Angeles Clippers (third) in the first round of the playoffs.

In other match-ups, the Houston Rockets (second) will play the Dallas Mavericks (seventh) in an all-Texas showdown, while the Portland Trail Blazers (fourth) will meet the Memphis Grizzlies (fifth).

The Grizzlies, however, will have homecourt advantage over Portland due to a better overall record.

The Nets beat the Orlando Magic on the final night of the regular season on Wednesday, but still needed help to advance to the post-season. They got it when the Indiana Pacers lost to Memphis.

Enough's Enough
Walter E. Williams

The Nets and Pacers both finished with 38-44 records but the Nets advanced due to their better head-to-head record.

The Nets (seeded eighth) will play the Atlanta Hawks (first) in the opening round of the playoffs.

In other match-ups, the Cleveland Cavaliers (second) will meet the Boston Celtics (seventh), the Chicago Bulls (third) face the Milwaukee Bucks (sixth) and the Toronto Raptors battle the Washington Wizards (fifth).

(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)