LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) – The picture of the NBA playoffs is getting a little clearer.
Brooklyn earned one of the last two spots in the Eastern Conference playoffs on Friday, beating Sacramento 119-106. That leaves Orlando and Washington as the last two teams to contend for a place in the East, with the Magic only needing one more win or one loss to the Wizards to clinch a spot.
Orlando and Washington were both playing later on Friday.
For the Nets, clinching is something to savor in an upside down season.
Kevin Durant couldn’t play at all due to his recovery from Achilles surgery – but he still got a $ 1 million contract bonus because Brooklyn made the playoffs. Kyrie Irving has missed much of the year with injury, the Nets have seen several regulars drop out of the restart, changed coaches in March and have used 24 players so far this season.
“It’s great to score our own ticket to the playoffs,” said Nets coach Jacque Vaughn. “I joked with the guys: I like doing my laundry, but nothing like doing your own laundry.”
The race for the final unclaimed Western Conference playoff spot remains tight, with teams vying for eighth and facing the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. If the eighth and ninth-place teams are within four games of each other when the ranking match schedule ends next week, there will be a two-game streak to determine who gets the last place in the game. playoffs.
If that streak were to hold, the ninth-place team would have to go 2-0 in a best-of-two streak to advance.
Memphis was left alone in eighth place, after the Grizzlies broke a four-game losing streak by beating Oklahoma City on Friday 121-92. The Grizzlies are one game ahead of Portland in the West standings.
“We’ve channeled what we’ve been doing throughout the season,” said Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins. “We played Grizzlies basketball. Grizzlies basketball equates to Grizzlies wins, most often. We hadn’t done that in the first four games.
San Antonio propelled the inactive Phoenix to 10th in the West by beating Utah 119-111, the Spurs improving to 3-2 in the bubble. The Spurs (30-38) are one game behind Portland in the standings.
“At the end of the day, we can’t control what they are doing,” said Spurs center Jakob Poeltl. “We can only control what we do. We will take every game as it comes. We will try to win in every game. “
Phoenix, Sacramento and New Orleans remain in the mix for a spot in the play-in series. The Suns, who are 4-0 at Disney, face Miami on Saturday.
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