Both battles went down to the final day of the regular season. The New Orleans Pelicans recorded an impressive 108-103 win over the San Antonio Spurs, clinching the No. 8 seed in the West despite the Thunder's 138-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. New Orleans was led by Anthony Davis' 31 points and 13 rebounds, earning their first playoff berth since 2011.
The Pelicans led by as many as 23 points, but the Spurs made it close in the second half. Davis hit 2 big jumpers and recorded 2 blocks and 2 rebounds late to hold off San Antonio's rally. The Pelicans also snapped the Spurs' 11-game winning streak with the win, despite Tony Parker's 23 points and 20 from Boris Diaw.
The Spurs needed a win to clinch the No. 2 seed, but dropped down to No. 6 and could not clinch their fifth straight division title. They will battle the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the playoffs, while Davis will make his playoff debut next week when his Pelicans battle the Golden State Warriors.
The race for the eighth spot in the East came down to the Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers. The Pacers' 95-83 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies clinched the playoff spot for Brooklyn, but that did not stop the Nets from competing in their season finale.
The Nets celebrated their playoff berth with a 101-88 home win over the Orlando Magic. Brooklyn and Indiana both finished with records of 38-44, but the Nets won the season series, giving them the No. 8 seed. The Nets have made the playoffs every season since moving to Brooklyn in 2012.
Bojan Bogdanovic scored a career-high 28 points to help the Nets snap a minor 2-game losing streak. The Nets hold the league lead with a $90 million payroll, but they will try to prove in the playoffs that it is money well spent. Brooklyn will do battle with the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs.