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.
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.
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.