By Eurohoops team / firstname.lastname@example.org
Damian Lillard saved the day for Portland Trail Blazers once again in the bubble, leading his team to a 134-133 victory against Brooklyn Nets with his 42-point performance. With this result, Portland moves to the play-in series where they will meet Memphis Grizzlies, after clinching the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference and eliminating the Phoenix Suns.
Lillard became the first player in NBA history to score at least 40 points in three consecutive games his team won by three or fewer points, with 51 points vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 61 points vs. Dallas Mavericks and 42 points vs. the Nets in the bubble.
Adding to Lillard’s efforts, big man Jusuf Nurkic exited the court with a double-double of 22 points, 10 rebounds across his 33 minutes on the court.
Rayjon Tucker dropped 18 points for the Jazz, who finished with eight players in double figures, in a game that wouldn’t change much in the standings at the bubble. Keldon Johnson tapped 24 points to lead seven Spurs in double figures, while Marco Belinelli and Luka Samanic scored 16 points apiece for the Spurs.
Phoenix Suns have been impressive in the bubble upon NBA’s return, though their perfect 8-0 run turned out fruitless, as Portland defeated the Nets. Phoenix had earlier on beat Dallas Mavericks 128-102 and waited for a chance to move to the playoffs, though this never came.
Devin Booker scored 27 points for Suns, Dario Saric added 16, while on the other end of the court, Luka Doncic and Boban Marjanovic paced the Mavericks with 18 points each.
Dallas has already sealed a playoff matchup with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Nikola Vucevic tapped 23 points and six rebounds as the Orlando Magic finished the regular season with a 133-127 victory over New Orleans Pelicans to end a five-game losing streak. Magic have sealed the No 8. seed in the Eastern Conference and will play against top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks when the playoffs begin Tuesday.
Earlier on Thursday, Jonas Valanciunas registered his first career triple-double as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated top-seeded Bucks 119-106, leading his team to the playoffs play-in vs. Blazers. Bogdan Bogdanovic led Sacramento Kings to a 136-122 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers to end the season on a positive note.