Warriors, Clippers in playoffs – KGET 17

Golden State is in the playoffs. LeBron James is going to the play-in tournament. And the Minnesota Timberwolves lost Rudy Gobert to a fight with a teammate, then won a fight to improve their playoff hopes.

The final day of the NBA season was predictably wild – with plenty of unpredictable elements.

The 1230th and final game of the year was supposed to be the final, but the Western Conference playoffs and play-in brackets are finally set, highlighted by the Los Angeles Clippers and defending champion Golden State Warriors getting a few days off knowing they’re officially in the postseason .

The Clippers beat Phoenix to clinch the No. 5 seed – and a first-round matchup with Phoenix. Golden State had its best game in nearly 33 years en route to beating Portland 157-101 and clinching the No. 6 seed, giving the Warriors an automatic berth in the playoffs and a first-round matchup with Sacramento.

Golden State led by as many as 59 in that game, the most by any team all season.

James and the No. 7 — for now — Los Angeles Lakers will get two chances to make the playoffs, starting with Tuesday’s game against No. 8 Minnesota. If the Lakers lose that game, they will get another chance on Friday against the winner of Wednesday’s game between No. 9 New Orleans and No. 10 Oklahoma City.

Lakers-Timberwolves winner gets No. 2 Memphis in Round 1; the winner of Friday’s West play-in game will begin the playoffs next Sunday at No. 1 Denver.

No team in the West had a better All-Star break than the Lakers, who went 16-7 — even with James sidelined for about half of that stretch with injury.

Minnesota kept the No. 8 seed (and two playoff chances) at bay by holding off New Orleans 113-108.

It was the last game to end in the league this season, although it ended early for Gobert. He fumbled Kyle Anderson — his teammate — during a first-half timeout, didn’t return to the game, and Minnesota also lost Jaden McDaniels to a right hand injury after he appeared to hit the wall.

“We have made the decision to send Rudy Gobert home following an incident in the second quarter,” Timberwolves president Tim Connelly said in a postgame statement. “His behavior on the bench was unacceptable and we will continue to deal with the situation internally.”

If the Timberwolves had lost that game, they would have been the 9th seed in the West. There were 16 possible ways the 5-6-7-8-9 seeds in the West could have gone Sunday — and the Pelicans had a chance to finish as high as 5. Instead, they settled for 9.

The Eastern Conference postseason matchups were set before Sunday. No. 7 Miami plays No. 8 Atlanta on Tuesday, and No. 9 Toronto plays No. 10 Chicago on Wednesday. Heat-Hawks winner advances to meet No. 2 Boston in Round 1; the Raptors-Bulls winner will play the Heat-Hawks loser on Friday for a chance to play the no. 1 Milwaukee in the first round.

No. 3 Philadelphia will play No. 6 Brooklyn, and no. 4 Cleveland will meet no. 5 New York.


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