NBA: Magic end lengthy play-off drought with win at Boston; Warriors earn West top seed by routing Clippers

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic blocks a shot by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum during the first half at TD Garden in Boston on April 7, 2019.
Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic blocks a shot by Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum during the first half at TD Garden in Boston on April 7, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

(REUTERS) - The Orlando Magic clinched their first National Basketball Association post-season berth in seven years with a 116-108 road win against the Boston Celtics on Sunday (April 7) night.

Terrence Ross scored 14 of his 26 points in the fourth quarter, and Nikola Vucevic had 25 points and 12 rebounds for the Magic. Evan Fournier added 24 points, including the go-ahead dunk with 2:01 left in the game.

With the win, Orlando ended the longest play-off drought in franchise history.

The Magic (41-40) are tied with the Brooklyn Nets for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference with one game left in the regular season. Orlando finish up on Wednesday at Charlotte, but Brooklyn, who host Miami, own the tiebreaker.

Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors celebrated their final regular-season game at the Oracle Arena with a third-quarter explosion, producing a 131-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers in Oakland, California, that clinched top seeding throughout the Western Conference play-offs.

The win was the two-time defending champions' fifth in a row and 30th of the season at home. The Warriors' first-round opponents, the eighth seed in the West, have yet to be determined. The play-offs begin on April 13.

The Clippers' third straight loss dropped them to 47-34 and closer to a first-round match-up with the Warriors. They are battling Oklahoma City (47-33) and San Antonio (47-34), both of whom won on Sunday, for the sixth, seventh and eighth play-off spots in the West.

Curry finished with a game-high 27 points for the Warriors, who improved their all-time regular-season record at Oracle Arena to 1,166-770.

Like the Warriors, all five Clippers starters scored in double figures, led by Landry Shamet with 17. All but two of Shamet's points came on 5-for-6 three-point shooting.

Orlando have not been to the play-offs since the 2011-12 season, when they lost to the Indiana Pacers 4-1 in the first round and then traded Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers after the season. The Magic were 11 games under .500 on Jan 29 but have since gone 21-9 and are over .500 for the first time since Nov 18.

Kyrie Irving led the Celtics (48-33) with 23 points and Al Horford added 18.

Boston locked up the fourth seed in the East earlier in the day when the Indiana Pacers lost 108-96 to the Nets.

After trailing by four at half-time, Orlando began a roller-coaster fourth quarter with a 83-78 lead. Ross caught fire to start the quarter, single-handedly going on an 11-0 run to give the Magic a 94-80 lead with 9:53 remaining.

The Celtics countered with a 13-0 run capped off by an Irving three-pointer, cutting the lead to 99-98 with 4:50 left in the game. Two minutes later, Irving tied the game at 106 with another trey.

But the Magic scored the next six points and made all six free throws in the last minute. Orlando went 22-for-22 at the free-throw line in the game.

After a close opening quarter, Boston looked like it was starting to take control of the game in the second. But a strong finish by the Magic trimmed a double-digit deficit to 52-48 at half-time.

Irving gave the Celtics a 13-point lead with 4:30 left in the second quarter, but Orlando closed out the half on an 11-2 run.

Elsewhere, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter to help the Los Angeles Lakers hold off the visiting Utah Jazz 113-109 and hurt their chances of gaining home-court advantage in the first round of the play-offs.

The Jazz, who also saw their seven-game winning streak snapped, trail the Portland Trail Blazers by two games for fourth place in the Western Conference with two games left for each team.

Portland rallied from a seven-point deficit with four minutes left against the visiting Denver Nuggets and won 115-108 about a half hour before the Jazz game ended. The Jazz (49-31) own the tiebreaker with Portland.

JaVale McGee had 22 points and eight rebounds, Alex Caruso had 18 points and 11 assists, Mike Muscala had 16 points and eight rebounds, Johnathan Williams had 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench, and Jemerrio Jones grabbed 16 rebounds for the Lakers (37-44).

Rudy Gobert had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Jazz. Donovan Mitchell scored 19 points but missed all 10 shots in the second half, and Georges Niang scored 16 off the bench for Utah.