LOS ANGELES (AFP, REUTERS) - John Wall made a successful return with a 15-point and 14-assist performance, as the Washington Wizards defeated the Charlotte Hornets 107-93 on Saturday (March 31) to book their spot in the National Basketball Association (NBA) play-offs.
But Golden State Warriors guard Patrick McCaw was stretchered off the court after being undercut, while scoring a basket during the team's 112-96 win over the hosts Sacramento Kings.
All-star Wall was appearing his first game in two months for the Wizards, who clinched their fourth play-off berth in the last five seasons.
"We don't know who we play and we really don't care who we play. We just want to play well going into the play-offs," coach Scott Brooks said.
Otto Porter tallied 26 points and 11 rebounds and Bradley Beal nailed six of eight shots from beyond the arc as the Wizards hit a franchise record-tying 18 three-pointers.
Wall last played in January when the American had left knee surgery. His impact was immediate as he made a three-pointer on his first shot of the game and finished with 33 minutes of playing time.
"It was good to see my first shot go in," he said.
Washington (42-34) had lost four of the last five without Wall to drop into sixth place in the Eastern Conference, heading into the Hornets' match-up.
Wall had averaged 19.4 points and 9.3 assists in 37 games before the injury.
"That Ferrari is pretty good," Brooks said referring to Wall. "He got a lot of open shots for a lot of players. That's what he does at the highest level in the league."
The Hornets (34-43), who have now lost two straight, were led by Dwight Howard with 22 points.
"I just think turnovers killed us," said Howard, who declined to give Wall credit. "I don't want to say so much that it was John Wall coming back, but I think it was just turnovers."
Washington beat Charlotte for the first time in four tries this season.
Elsewhere, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 20 points, as the Brooklyn Nets denied the Miami Heat a chance to clinch a post-season spot with a 110-109 overtime win.
Caris Levert scored with about a half-minute left in overtime to put Brooklyn up for good.
Levert finished with 19 and Brooklyn put seven players in double figures for the second straight game.
Brooklyn's six-game overtime losing streak ended, and the Nets went 3-1 against the Heat this season.
James Johnson and Goran Dragic each scored 18 for Miami, who got 16 from Kelly Olynyk and 14 from Hassan Whiteside. Dwyane Wade had 13 for the Heat, whose magic number for clinching remained one.
In other games, Marcus Morris had 25 points and nine rebounds and the Boston Celtics rallied to beat the Eastern Conference-leading Toronto Raptors 110-99.
Andre Drummond narrowly missed a second-straight 20-20 game with 22 points and 17 rebounds, and the Detroit Pistons beat the New York Knicks 115-109.
McCaw was soaring high for a possible dunk with 41.8 seconds left in the third quarter when Sacramento's Vince Carter bumped his right shoulder into McCaw's left leg.
Meanwhile, the Warriors' McCaw fell to the floor in pain and rolled around on the ground before being tended to by team-mates, trainers and Golden 1 Centre medical personnel.
The 22-year-old was stabilised before being taken from the floor. The team announced he was being taken to UC Davis Medical Centre for further evaluation: Chest x-rays and a CT scan were clear.
He will also have an MRI at a to-be-determined time, the team announced.
"It was really scary," Golden State coach Steve Kerr said later at a brief press conference. "He was in a lot of pain and he landed on his back. You saw what happened. They took him off on a stretcher and had to immobilise him. We'll see. It is scary stuff."
The visibly shaken Kerr declined to take basketball questions.
Injured Warriors star Stephen Curry also was greatly concerned. "Please send up prayers thoughts love to my guy @PMcCaw0! God please heal his body and keep him strong!," he tweeted.
Carter appeared to apologise to Warriors coach Steve Kerr during the five-minute delay. "Vince felt horrible," Kerr said. "I was out there next to him. Vince felt awful. Patty was in extreme pain. Everybody felt bad. All we can do is hope and get a positive response hopefully from the hospital."