Play-in games set, New York rejoice, Lillard keeps word
Updated: May 22, 2021
The final day of the regular season is often expected to provide finality for fans.
However, this year may have provided more questions about what the future holds.
From all of New York rejoicing to Portland star Damian Lillard keeping his word to a fan, this is your NBA wrap-up for the week.
Play-in games set
Washington capped off an improbable run to steal the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference on the last day of the regular season.
After starting the season 0-5, the Wizards have gone 17-6 since April 7 including an 8-game win streak.
Guard Russell Westbrook is the new all-time leader in triple-doubles and guard Bradley Beal has literally risked further damaging limbs in order to secure this feat.
They will play the seventh seeded Boston Celtics, who came into the season with high aspirations but an injury-filled year has curved those expectations.
Guard Kemba Walker missed 29 games.Guard Marcus Smart missed 24 games. Center Tristan Thompson missed 18 games.
Forward Jaylen Brown missed 14 games during the season but will miss the remainder of the year after tearing a ligament in his wrist.
The Charlotte Hornets were fourth when rookie LaMelo Ball broke his wrist in late March.
Not only has the team dropped into the play-in games but they’re the 10th and last spot.
They’ll play Indiana who's been in the middle of the pack pretty much all year under first-year head coach Nate Bjorkgren.
On the other side of the bracket, Golden State guard Stephen Curry put the final touches on yet another scoring title.
Curry joins four other players as the only in NBA history to have multiple championships, multiple MVP awards and multiple scoring titles.
His play has landed the Warriors eighth in the West, set to play the No. 7 Los Angeles Lakers.
The defending champs have been banged up all year with forwards LeBron James and Anthony Davis missing 27 and 36 games respectively.
In his own right, guard Dennis Schroeder didn’t play in 11 games.
The Lakers are 16-7 when those three play.
The former longtime number eight seed, Memphis Grizzlies, are now nine and will play the No. 10 San Antonio Spurs.
Play-in games begin Tuesday, May and conclude Friday, May 21.
Where Brooklyn at? No. 2 in the East
Now that the smoke has cleared, the Brooklyn Nets are the number two seed in the Eastern Conference.
This comes after going 3-0 this week with wins over San Antonio, Chicago and Cleveland to improve to 48-24 on the year.
The combination of guards Kyrie Irving and James Harden coupled with forward Kevin Durant has seemingly struck fear into the rest of the league without having been seen together for more than a dozen or so games.
During the same stretch, the Milwaukee Bucks went 2-1 during the same stretch to conclude the season 46-26, finishing two games behind the second seed in the conference.
Despite the final standings, the Bucks went 2-1 against the Nets this year.
Milwaukee will play No. 6 Miami, while Brooklyn will await the winner of the first play-in game between the Boston Celtics and Washington Wizards.
New York rejoicing as Knicks claim four seed
All of New York is rejoicing. And not just the Brooklyn Nets, the New York Knicks actually have something to celebrate.
Fans have been hesitant to get too happy during the regular season as the team looked positioned to push toward the playoffs.
Off-season moves that brought in brand consultant Steve Stoute, team president Leon Rose, head coach Tom Thibodeau and during the regular season former MVP Derrick Rose.
All-star forward Julius Randle had a breakout season averaging 24.1 points per game, 10.2 rebounds per game, six assists per game all while shooting 46% from the field and 41% from three-point range.
This year’s Knicks are one of two teams in NBA history to close the season first in opponent’s point per game average, opponent’s field goal percentage and opponent’s three-point percentage.
The other team is coincidentally the Knicks from 1992-93, who lost to the eventual champion Chicago Bulls in six games in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Lillard keeps his word
A tweet from April 18 from a fan supposedly needing the Portland Trail Blazers to win 42 games or he’d lose his house, went viral after receiving attention from guard Damian Lillard.
In the immediate week after sending that tweet, Lillard and Portland went 0-4 suffering two one-point losses, a two-point loss and a seven-point loss.
But the Blazers went 7-2 in the month of May and have won 10 of their last 12 games to conclude the year including wins over the Los Angeles Lakers, Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets.
The flurry to finish was good enough for the team to avoid a play-in game for the second straight year.
After securing the 42nd win on the final day of the regular season, Lillard opted to reach out again.
Simply saying, “Lol, let me see the ticket.”