NBA final day: Oklahoma City Thunder clinch Western Conference top seed for play-offs

Mon, Apr 15, 2024
By editor


THE Oklahoma City Thunder settled a historic contest for the top seed in the Western Conference on the final day of the NBA’s regular season.

For the first time in the NBA, three teams had the same record after 81 games at the top of their conference.

The Thunder thrashed the Dallas Mavericks 135-86 to clinch top spot heading into the play-offs.

Defending champions the Denver Nuggets also won to seal the second seed while the Minnesota Timberwolves lost.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 15 points in just 15 minutes as Thunder thumped a Dallas team that rested most of their starters, with their play-off position having already been set – fifth in the Western Conference.

That meant Oklahoma City ended the regular season with a 57-25 record and a five-game winning streak to finish top of their conference for the first time since the 2012-13 season.

Denver beat the Memphis Grizzlies 126-111 to match a franchise high for wins (57-25) but the Thunder came out on top because of a head-to-head tie-breaker.

Minnesota had to settle for the third seed after losing 125-106 at home to the Phoenix Suns, who moved past New Orleans to secure the sixth seed in the Western Conference, following the Pelicans’ 124-108 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

That meant Phoenix earned an automatic spot in the play-offs while New Orleans will have to play two games in the play-in tournament this week to secure their place in the post-season.

It is as you were for much of the Eastern Conference, where the Boston Celtics had run away with it. They rested most of their starters but still beat the Washington Wizards 132-122 to finish with the NBA’s beat record (64-18), with Payton Pritchard scoring a career-high 38 points.

The Orlando Magic, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers all went into the final day level (46-35), with the Miami Heat one win behind.

All won on Sunday so remain in the same positions from seeds five to eight, meaning the 76ers and Heat have to face the play-in tournament.

But Jalen Brunson scored 40 points as the New York Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 120-119 in overtime to take the second seed from the Milwaukee Bucks, who were thumped 113-88 by the Orlando Magic.


15th April, 2024.