The New Orleans Pelicans advanced to the 2015 playoffs and the Oklahoma City Thunder were eliminated on the final night of the 2014-15 season.
Russell Westbrook left it all on the court during the Thunder's season finale on Wednesday, but his postseason fate wound up being out of his hands. In a night full of close games with playoff implications, Oklahoma City was officially eliminated from the 2015 playoffs.
The Pelicans captured the West's No. 8 seed by beating the Spurs 108-103 at home to finish with a 45-37 record. The Thunder also finished with a 45-37 record, but they will close the season as the West's ninth seed because the Pelicans won the season series between the two teams 3-1. Oklahoma City will miss the postseason for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
In the East, the Nets snagged the No. 8 seed by pulling away in the fourth quarter to beat the Magic 101-88 in Brooklyn. That win, coupled with an Indiana 95-83 road loss to Memphis, moved the Nets past the Pacers for the East's final seed. Brooklyn will face No. 1 seed Atlanta in the first round.
New Orleans came to play in its do-or-die game, building a double-digit lead in the first half and fending off multiple fourth-quarter pushes by San Antonio. Anthony Davis led the way with a game-high 31 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. Tyreke Evans added 19 points and 11 assists for New Orleans.
[daily_cut.NBA]"It's an unbelievable win," Davis told Fox Sports New Orleans in a post-game interview. "For us to come out and play the way we played, played hard, against a tough Spurs team who was battling for something as well. Coaches told us to come out with a lot of energy, and that's what we did in the first half. ... Everybody stepped up and played well tonight."
The Pelicans make their first postseason since 2011 and will face the No. 1 seeded Warriors in the first round.
The loss prevented San Antonio, who had won 11 straight games entering Wednesday, from claiming the West's No. 2 seed. Instead, the Spurs finish the season with a 55-27 record and dropped to the West's No. 6 seed. The defending champions will face the No. 3 seed Clippers in the first round.
Needless to say, Westbrook went out with a bang, finishing with 37 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as the Thunder blew out the Timberwolves 138-112 in Minnesota. Westbrook edged out Rockets guard James Harden to become the NBA's scoring champion.
The 2015 Playoffs begin on Saturday. Here's a look at all eight matchups, most of which weren't finalized until late Wednesday night.
No. 1 Atlanta Hawks vs. No. 8 Brooklyn Nets
No. 2 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 7 Boston Celtics
No. 3 Chicago Bulls vs. No. 6 Milwaukee Bucks
No. 4 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 5 Washington Wizards
No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 8 New Orleans Pelicans
No. 2 Houston Rockets vs. No. 7 Dallas Mavericks
No. 3 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 6 San Antonio Spurs
No. 4 Portland Trail Blazers vs. No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies
Note that Memphis (55-27) will enjoy home-court advantage against Portland (51-31) by virtue of finishing with a superior regular-season record. The Blazers received the honorary No. 4 seed by virtue of winning the Northwest Division. All three division winners within a conference are guaranteed a top-four seed, but they cede home-court advantage if their first-round opponent has a superior record.