x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

NBA: Lakers book final play-off place as Utah Jazz see hopes dashed

Utah's defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies eased the pressure on the injury-hit Los Angeles team, despite needing overtime to secure a win over Houston.

Los Angeles' Dwight Howard is fouled by Houston's Omer Asik.
Los Angeles' Dwight Howard is fouled by Houston's Omer Asik.

The Los Angeles Lakers secured the final remaining NBA play-off berth after defeat for Utah guaranteed their postseason involvement.

Utah Jazz had gone into the evening knowing that a win over Memphis and a defeat for the Lakers would have handed them the 16th play-off spot.

But Zach Randolph's 25 points helped secure an 86-70 win for Memphis, ensuring the Lakers went into their match against the Houston Rockets with the play-off spot secured.

Los Angeles, who will be without Kobe Bryant for their postseason campaign, trailed by six points at the midway stage, but rallied to tie the match 90-apiece in regulation time.

Dwight Howard had 16 points and 18 rebounds, and the All-Star centre blocked James Harden's shot in the final seconds of overtime for the Lakers to confirm a 99-95 win.

"We're just so locked in defensively that we've given ourselves a chance in every game, even if offensively we're not being very effective or sharp at times," said Pau Gasol, adding that now the Lakers needed to try to "continue with the spirit" in the playoffs.

"I understand it's going to be very difficult," he said.

"San Antonio is a great team, They're very experienced. They're disciplined, they're extremely well coached and they're going to play on their home court.  But we still believe in ourselves."

Golden State's Stephen Curry on Wednesday broke Ray Allen's record for most three-pointers in an NBA season, making four in the Warriors' 99-88 victory over Portland.

Curry finished the 2012-13 campaign with 272 three-pointers. He came into the contest needing two long-rage shots to surpass Allen's single-season record of 269, set in 2005-06.

He made one in the first quarter, and drained the record-breaker with 6:49 remaining in the second.

The victory gave the Warriors the sixth seed in the Western Conference.

They will face the Denver Nuggets in the opening round of the NBA playoffs.

Klay Thompson led the Warriors with 24 points and David Lee notched his league-leading 56th double-double of the season with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

Curry finished with 15 points and five assists.

Elsewhere, Gerald Green's career-high 34 points were in vain for the Indiana Pacers - beaten 105-95 by the Philadelphia 76ers.

The night's highest scorer was Sacramento's DeMarcus Cousins - and he too ended on the losing side despite pouring in 36 as the Kings went down 112-108 to the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Toronto Raptors defeated the Boston Celtics 114-90 to finish their season with five straight wins - Dear DeRozan led the scoring for the victors with 24 points.

A 33-20 final quarter was not enough for the Detroit Pistons, as the Brooklyn Nets held on for a 103-99 success.

It was a similar story at Charlotte, where the Bobcats wrapped up a 105-98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on the back of a 34-16 first quarter.

The Dallas Mavericks won all four quarters of their 99-87 success over the New Orleans Hornets - but the Milwaukee Bucks needed a 27-19 final quarter to complete a 95-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Minnesota Timberwolves were too good for the San Antonio Spurs, winning 108-95, while the Denver Nuggets downed the Phoenix Suns 118-98.

The Miami Heat defeated the Orlando Magic 105-93, the New York Knicks saw off the Atlanta Hawks 98-92 and the Chicago Bulls edged the Washington Nationals 95-92.


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