NBA Playoffs: East and West spots settled in high drama
The NBA Playoff spots were settled in dramatic fashion in the early hours of Thursday morning.
The big story of the evening was in the West as the Minnesota Timberwolves made the post-season for the first time since 2004.
Tom Thibodeau’s team triumphed in a winner-takes-all clash against the Denver Nuggets that went into overtime at the Target Center.
Having squeaked into the eighth seed spot, Minnesota will now face the might of Houston. The Rockets are number one seeds and 31/20 second favourites to win the 2018 NBA Championship.
Elsewhere in the Western Conference, Joe Ingles’ Jazz fell from third to fifth after a 102-93 defeat to Portland. Utah will now place Oklahoma City Thunder. While the Trailblazers will face New Orleans Pelicans.
Defending champions Golden State Warriors ended up seeded second and will face San Antonio Spurs. Steph Curry and co. are favourites to retain their title at 5/4.
In the Eastern Conference, Ben Simmons’ 76ers extended their winning streak to 16 games by smashing Milwaukee 130-95. That shot Philadelphia into third seeds and they’ll Miami who needed overtime to defeat Toronto Raptors.
That loss didn’t defeat the Raptors too much however as Dwane Casey’s side remain the top seeds in the East. They’ll now play Washington after the Wizards were defeated 101-92 by Orlando Magic.
Boston Celtics clash with the Bucks, while 2016 champions Cleveland will face the Indiana Pacers.
In other news, New York Knicks have parted company with Jeff Hornacek despite a final day win over the Cavs. It’s reported that David Fizdale, Mark Jackson and David Blatt are all being considered by the Knicks’ top brass.
Full Playoffs fixture list:
Golden State Warriors v San Antonio Spurs
Toronto Raptors v Washington Wizards
Philadelphia 76ers v Miami Heat
Portland Trail Blazers v New Orleans Pelicans
Boston Celtics v Milwaukee Bucks
Cleveland Cavaliers v Indiana Pacers
Oklahoma City Thunder v Utah Jazz
Houston Rockets v Minnesota Timberwolves
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