Thunder clinch West's second seed
LOS ANGELES - Agence France-Presse
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 PhotoKevin Durant's dunk with 16.5 seconds to play lifted Oklahoma City to a 112-111 victory over Detroit on Wednesday on the final night of the NBA regular season.
With the victory, the Thunder secured the second seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
Durant drove past Kyle Singler on the left side for the two-handed slam -- giving the Thunder their first lead since early in the third quarter.
Detroit's Brandon Jennings couldn't get an off-balance three-point attempt to fall in at the buzzer.
Durant scored 29 of his 42 points in the second half, including 21 in the fourth quarter, and sealed his fourth NBA scoring title in the last five years.
"A lot of good things took place, a lot of improvement and growth," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said of Oklahoma City's season. "I thought our guys really competed all year.
"With that said," he added, "I'm not overly thrilled with how we played tonight."
The Thunder will open the playoffs on Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies, who defeated the Dallas Mavericks 106-105 in overtime in a battle for the seventh seed in the West.
Oklahoma City's victory meant the Los Angeles Clippers were sure to be the West's third seed, even before they finished the season with a 110-104 loss at the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Clippers will face sixth-seeded Golden State in the first round, while fourth-seeded Houston will face the number five Blazers.
The eighth-seeded Mavericks will face the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
San Antonio, who had already clinched the best record in the league and the top seed in the West, was among the teams who rested key players in their regular season finales.
Tim Duncan sat out the entire game and All-Star point guard Tony Parker skipped the second half as the disappointing Los Angeles Lakers downed the Spurs 113-100.
The Toronto Raptors wrapped up the third seed in the Eastern Conference, despite falling to the New York Knicks.
J.R. Smith scored 30 points to lead the Knicks -- already eliminated from post-season contention -- in a 95-92 triumph at Madison Square Garden.
New York erased a 21-point first-half deficit against a Raptors team that rested most of their starters for the second half after learning they had secured the third seed after Chicago's 91-86 overtime loss to Charlotte.
The Raptors will take on the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
All 16 playoff teams, eight in the East and eight in the West, had been decided before Wednesday's final regular-season games, but some of the seedings to decide the first-round match-ups were still at stake.
he Washington Wizards rolled to a 118-102 victory over the Boston Celtics to secure the number five seed in the East.
The Wizards won their last four games of the regular season for their best record in nine years (44-38) and will face the fourth-seeded Bulls in Chicago on Sunday in their first playoff game in six years.
Eastern top seeds Indiana closed out the season with a 101-86 victory over Orlando and will face the Atlanta Hawks in the first round in a rematch of last year's first-round series won in six games by the Pacers.
Two-time defending champions Miami, already assured of the Southeast Division title and second seed in the East, rested regular starters LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Mario Chalmers in a 100-87 loss to Philadelphia.
"There's a storm coming, and it's time for us to really start preparing for that storm and getting ready for an incredible journey that's going to test all of us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, looking forward to the post-season.
Dwyane Wade started and had 16 points for the Heat, who will take on Charlotte in the first round of the playoffs.