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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 29 March, 2020

NBA playoff picture: Celtics on top in East as Cavs falter, Bulls and Pacers advance

Title favourites the Golden State Warriors are No 1 seeds in the Western Conference.

Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.
Boston Celtics star Isaiah Thomas.

THE BOSTON CELTICS secured the top seed in the Eastern Conference as reigning NBA champions the Cleveland Cavaliers lost, while the Indiana Pacers and the Chicago Bulls made sure of their place in the playoffs last night.

On the final day of the regular season, the Celtics downed the Milwaukee Bucks 112-94 to secure home-court advantage through the finals.

The Cavs had to settle for second seed as they went down 98-83 to the Toronto Raptors, with the Celtics finishing two games clear of Cleveland heading into the postseason.

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were rested by the Cavs (51-31), who closed out the campaign with four consecutive defeats. The Cavs take on seventh seed the Pacers (42-40).

The Celtics (53-29) — who have not won a playoff series since 2012 — are ready to roll. They will now face the eighth-seeded Bulls (41-41) in the first round of the playoffs.

Meanwhile, the Pacers and the Bulls claimed playoff spots thanks to respective wins against the Atlanta Hawks and the Brooklyn Nets as the Miami Heat missed out.

The Pacers defeated the Hawks 104-86 and the Bulls routed the Nets 112-73, while the Heat’s 110-102 win against the Washington Wizards was not enough.

Title favourites the Golden State Warriors ended their regular season with a routine 109-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Warriors (67-15) fine-tuned their preparations for the business end of the season with Kevin Durant and Steph Curry leading the way.

Durant had 29 points and reigning MVP Curry added 20 points and eight assists.

The Warriors will take on the Portland Trail Blazers in the Western Conference.

Elsewhere, James Harden became the first player in NBA history to finish the regular season with at least 2,000 points (2,356), 900 assists (907) and 600 rebounds (659) following Wednesday’s triple-double in the Houston Rockets’ 123-118 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The playoffs get under way on Saturday.

Playoff first-round picture:

Western Conference 

Golden State Warriors (1) v Portland Trail Blazers (8)
Los Angeles Clippers (4) v Utah Jazz (5)
Houston Rockets (3) v Oklahoma City Thunder (6)
San Antonio Spurs (2) v Memphis Grizzlies (7)

Eastern Conference 

Boston Celtics (1) v Chicago Bulls (8)
Washington Wizards (4) v Atlanta Hawks (5)
Toronto Raptors (3) v Milwaukee Bucks (6)
Cleveland Cavaliers (2) v Indiana Pacers (7)

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