Detroit rout Knicks to claim last playoff ticket
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) drives between Detroit Pistons guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (15) and forward Greg Monroe (10) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, April 16, 201 AP Photo
With Eastern Conference rivals the Charlotte Hornets losing to the Orlando Magic elsewhere in April 10’s final round of regular season games, the Pistons would have advanced regardless of their result against the Knicks.
But the result against the team with the worst record in the NBA this season was never in doubt as Detroit moved into the lead before pulling away for a comfortable win.
Detroit’s reward for claiming the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference is a first round playoff duel with the Milwaukee Bucks.
In Charlotte meanwhile, Kemba Walker exploded for 43 points in vain as the Hornets slender playoff chances ended with a defeat to Orlando.
Walker’s superb display was backed with 22 points from Jeremy Lamb and 18 points from Miles Bridges.
Seventh-seeded Orlando will face the second-ranked Toronto Raptors in the opening round of the playoffs.
In New York, Dwyane Wade signed off from the NBA with a fifth career triple-double as the already-eliminated Miami Heat closed their season with a 113-94 loss to the playoff-bound Brooklyn Nets.
Wade, who had been given a gala send-off on Tuesday in his final home appearance in Miami, finished with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the defeat.
There was a double-digit farewell for another NBA icon in San Antonio, where Dallas Mavericks German veteran Dirk Nowitzki finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Mavericks, who finished outside the playoff places, were beaten 105-94 by the Spurs, the seventh seeds from the Western Conference.