Stephen Curry scored a game-high 46 points en route to his second NBA scoring title and Jordan Poole stalled a Memphis rally with a late three-pointer as the Golden State Warriors held off the visiting Grizzlies 113-101 in San Francisco to claim the No. 8 position in this week’s Play-In Tournament.
Memphis Grizzlies 101 – 113 Golden State Warriors
By virtue of their sixth straight win on a regular-season-ending homestand, the Warriors (39-33) put themselves in a position of having to be beaten twice in order to be denied a spot in the eight-team Western Conference playoff draw.
As the eighth seed, Golden State will tip off the Play-In Tournament on the road on Wednesday night, visiting the Los Angeles Lakers.
The loss ended Memphis’ five-game winning streak and landed the Grizzlies (38-34) in the No. 9 spot in the Play-In, where they will host 10th-seeded San Antonio on Wednesday.
With Curry scoring 17 of his 46 points, the Warriors appeared to take command of the game in the third quarter, building an 86-69 lead by period’s end.
But Dillon Brooks led a Memphis comeback. Before fouling out, Brooks contributed 13 points to a 22-5 flurry that produced a 91-all with still 6:32 to play.
No longer hounded by Brooks, Curry then led a late Warriors runaway when he completed his big game with three consecutive 3-pointers, giving him nine for the game and a league-best 337 for the season.
Curry finished the season with a 32.0-point scoring average, claiming the league scoring title over Bradley Beal, who returned from a three-game absence to score 25 points earlier Sunday to finish at 31.3.
Andrew Wiggins supported Curry with a 21-point, 10-rebound double-double, while Draymond Green just missed a triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and a game-high-tying nine assists.
All five Memphis starters scored in double figures, led by Jonas Valanciunas, who complemented 29 points with a game-high 16 rebounds.
Brooks finished with 18 points, while Ja Morant had 16 to go with nine assists, Jaren Jackson Jr. 14 and Kyle Anderson 10 for the Grizzlies, who also entered last year’s Play-In – a single game in the bubble last season – as the No. 9 seed, only to lose to Portland.
Charlotte Hornets 110 – 115 Washington Wizards
Bradley Beal made a go-ahead layup with 2:53 remaining as the host Washington Wizards posted a 115-110 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday to secure the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.
Russell Westbrook collected 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists and Beal added 23 points in his first contest after a three-game absence for the Wizards.
Robin Lopez posted 18 points and Rui Hachimura had 16 for Washington (34-38), which will visit the seventh-seeded Boston Celtics in the Play-In round on Tuesday. Charlotte (33-39), which owns the No. 10 seed, will face the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday in Indianapolis.
After leading 110-109 with 3:12 to play, the Hornets went through a scoring drought for the rest of the game.
The Hornets have a five-game losing streak for the first time this season despite Terry Rozier’s 22 points and LaMelo Ball’s 19 points. Miles Bridges had 17 points, Devonte’ Graham added 15, Jalen McDaniels notched 13 and P.J. Washington and Cody Zeller both finished with 11.
Boston Celtics 92 – 96 New York Knicks
RJ Barrett scored a game-high 22 points Sunday afternoon as the New York Knicks completed a resurgent regular season and clinched the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference by hanging on for a 96-92 win over the visiting Boston Celtics.
The Knicks (42-30), who are headed for the playoffs for the first time since 2013, will open the quarterfinals at home next weekend against the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks.
The Celtics (36-36) already were locked into the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference and the first seed in the Play-In Tournament. Boston, which needs to win just once to advance to the playoffs, will play the eighth-seeded Washington Wizards on Tuesday.
Julius Randle had 20 points for the Knicks, who frittered away almost all of a 21-point third-quarter lead. Alec Burks had 17 points off the bench and Reggie Bullock added 16.
For Boston, Jabari Parker had 18 points off the bench and fellow reserve Tremont Waters added 17 points as the Celtics lost their fifth game in the past six. Romeo Langford scored 14 points, Grant Williams had 13 and Carsen Edwards added 10.
Phoenix Suns 123 – 121 San Antonio Spurs
E’Twaun Moore poured in 22 points, including the deciding three-pointer with 2.2 seconds to play, to lift the visiting Phoenix Suns to a 123-121 win over the San Antonio Spurs in the final regular-season game for both teams.
Phoenix (51-21) was without Devin Booker (rest), Chris Paul (rest) and Deandre Ayton (knee) as the Suns opted to keep key players on the bench despite the chance to earn the top spot in the Western Conference.
San Antonio pulled its starters at the end of the third quarter, allowing the two teams’ bench players to decide the contest. The Suns’ reserves had just enough to secure the win that forced Utah to win in Sacramento later Sunday in order to finish atop of Phoenix in the West.
Eight Suns players scored in double figures, with Cameron Payne and Jevon Carter scoring 19 points each. Carter (with 10 rebounds) and Frank Kaminsky and Jalen Smith (each with 11 points and 10 rebounds) all had double doubles for Phoenix.
The Spurs have had the 10th position in the conference standings and a spot in the Play-In Tournament assured since Thursday. San Antonio will play Memphis on the road on Wednesday.
San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan had 23 points while Jakob Poeltl added 17 points and 10 rebounds. Rudy Gay scored 12 points and Quinndary Weatherspoon hit for 11 for the Spurs (33-39), who have dropped four straight games.
Indiana Pacers 125 – 113 Toronto Raptors
Canadian-born Oshae Brissett exploded for a career-high 31 points against his country’s displaced team and the Indiana Pacers earned a home game in the NBA’s Play-In Tournament with a 125-113 thrashing of the host Toronto Raptors in the regular-season finale in Tampa, Florida.
Brissett completed a double-double with 10 rebounds, while Domantas Sabonis had one of his own with 25 points and 16 rebounds, as the Pacers (34-38) snapped a two-game losing streak to clinch a tie for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. T.J. McConnell had 12 points and tied his career-high with 17 assists off the bench.
Indiana assured it would finish tied with either Charlotte or Washington, but because the Pacers lost the season series to both the Hornets and Wizards, they were assured of losing the tie-breaker to each, and thus clinched the ninth seed in the Play-In Tournament.
They will host the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night in the single-elimination 9-10 game.
Brissett, a second-year forward from Syracuse who was born in Toronto, shot 10-for-16 overall and 5-for-8 on three-pointers en route to scoring eight more points than his previous career-high of 23 recorded on April 21 against Oklahoma City.