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Surprising Nets rout Kings, clinch spot in playoffs

The Nets' Caris LeVert, who scored a team-high 22 points, looks to pass around a pair of Kings defenders.
The Nets' Caris LeVert, who scored a team-high 22 points, looks to pass around a pair of Kings defenders.Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Caris LeVert scored 22 points, Jarrett Allen added 17 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists, and the patchwork Brooklyn Nets clinched a playoff berth by beating the Sacramento Kings, 119-106, on Friday in Orlando.

The surprising Nets came to the bubble without stars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving but continued to display plenty of fight, improving to 3-2 since coming to Florida. Joe Harris added 21 points, shooting 8 of 11 from the field, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range.

And Orlando clinched the final playoff spot in the East on Friday night, even with its lost to the 76ers. Washinton’s loss to New Orleans eliminated the Wizards.

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The race for the last unclaimed playoff spot in the Western Conference remains close, with teams vying to grab the No. 8 spot and play the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round. If the eighth- and ninth-place teams are within four games of one another when the seeding game schedule ends next week, there will be a two-game series to determine who gets the last playoff spot.



“It’s great to punch our own ticket into the playoffs,” Nets coach Jacque Vaughn said. “I joked with the guys: I like my laundry being done, but nothing like doing your own laundry.”

The Kings were one day removed from an impressive 140-125 win over the New Orleans Pelicans but couldn’t string together two wins and fell further behind in a crowded race for the final Western Conference playoff spot. Sacramento is 1-4 in the bubble.

Sixers win, move into tie for fifth

Tobias Harris had 23 points and 15 rebounds, Joel Embiid turned in a strong second half and finished with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and the Philadelphia 76ers held off the Orlando Magic, 108-101, in their first game without injured All-Star Ben Simmons. The win moved Philly into a tie with Indiana for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, a game behind fourth-place Miami. Evan Fournier had 22 points to lead the Magic, who have lost three straight games in the NBA bubble after starting 2-0 … Dillon Brooks scored 22 points, and the Memphis Grizzlies claimed their first win since the restart with a 121-92 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. Memphis shot 55% and avoided falling into a tie with Portland for eight place in the Western Conference standings. Chris Paul scored 17 points and Luguentz Dort added 16 for the Thunder. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City’s leading scorer this season, finished with 10 points on 3-for-13 shooting. The Thunder looked nothing like the team that rolled past the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. Oklahoma City missed a chance to move into a tie with the Houston Rockets for fourth place in the West … Derrick White scored 24 points, Jakob Poeltl added 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs got a much-needed win over the shorthanded Utah Jazz, 119-111. The Spurs who moved into sole possession of 10th place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of surging Phoenix. The Suns are 4-0 since the NBA restart, but were idle Friday.

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Williamson gets a night off

The New Orleans Pelicans scratched rookie Zion Williamson from the lineup for Friday night’s 118-107 win over the Wizards. The team gave the the NBA’s top overall draft choice a rest after he scored 24 points in 22 minutes in the Pelicans’ 140-125 loss to Sacramento on Thursday. The 6-foot-6-inch, 285-pound Williamson has seen his playing time limited after missing nearly two weeks of practice in July to attend to a family medical matter. Williamson has averaged nearly 17 points and about 19 minutes in the Pelicans’ four games in the Disney complex.

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