Aaron Gordon believes Markelle Fultz can be an impact player for the Orlando Magic, describing the NBA's former number one pick as a "monster".

Fultz has yet to play for Orlando after Orlando acquired him from the Philadelphia 76ers in early February in exchange for Jonathon Simmons and two draft picks.

Injuries and shooting issues have plagued Fultz since he was drafted first by the 76ers in the 2017 draft.

But Gordon believes the 21-year-old guard has a chance to be a difference maker.

"[Fultz] is a sleeper," Gordon told SiriusXM NBA Radio. "If he wakes up and if he's awake and woken up, he's a monster. A monster. People are sleeping on him. That's what I mean by, 'He's a sleeper'. People are sleeping on him. He's going to be huge for our team."

Fultz began his career with high expectations after he was selected by the 76ers two years ago. However, he has dealt with injuries and a hitch in his jump shot over the last two seasons, which have limited him to 33 total games.

"[Fultz's] working hard, he's made great progress," Magic head coach Steve Clifford told SiriusXM earlier this month. "You know, right now we don't have a timetable for when he'll be back, but he's really doing a great job."

Fultz said in March he is focusing on getting 100 per cent healthy.

"Get right, and everything will take care of itself," Fultz told The Athletic at the time. "Nobody here is rushing me. Everybody here is just open to me getting right and healthy first."

The Magic finished last season with a 42-40 record and made the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12. They fell to eventual champions the Toronto Raptors in five games in the first round.

Orlando re-signed Terrence Ross and Nikola Vucevic this offseason and they also inked Al-Farouq Aminu to a three-year deal.

The Magic also selected former Auburn forward Chuma Okeke with 16th pick in the 2019 draft.

Gordon, 23, averaged 16.0 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Magic in 2018-19. He has spent his entire five-year career in Orlando and signed a new four-year, $84million contract with the team in July 2018.

The NBA Draft is a gamble.

Players who everyone is convinced are going to be good (Greg Oden, Markelle Fultz, Jahlil Okafor) sometimes are not. Whether that is because of fit or injury or whatever, sometimes things just do not work out.

But no matter what happens, after every draft people leave loving what their team secured or flat-out hating it.

So, what did we love and flat-out hate from the first round of this draft? Oh, there was plenty.

Here are the best and worst picks from the first round of the NBA Draft.

 

Worst picks

Cameron Johnson, North Carolina, Phoenix Suns - No. 11 overall

This is nothing against Johnson. He is a long athlete who can shoot the ball like crazy and he is a mature player who can contribute right away. But the Suns do not need someone to contribute right away. They are probably, at least, three years away. And they traded another piece in TJ Warren before the draft even started, so they took an even further move back.

What makes this even worse is the Suns actually traded down from sixth to take Johnson at number 11. They had a shot to take Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver, who is younger, a fantastic defender and fits the Suns' timeline. Phoenix probably could have secured Johnson eight or nine picks later. And, if they could not and another team took him with the 12th pick, then they should have let them, because the value was not right. The Suns' decision here does not make a lot of sense.

Chuma Okeke, Auburn, Orlando Magic - No. 16 overall

Okeke is athletic, he can shoot and he gives tons of effort. But he just tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and had surgery in April. He will likely be out for the entire season, and if the Magic lose Nikola Vucevic in free agency, it could be an insanely rough season in Orlando.

Orlando finally took a step forward last season by reaching the playoffs and adding a player who could contribute sooner like Nickeil Alexander-Walker out of Virginia Tech or Brandon Clarke out of Gonzaga might have both filled needs and given more immediate production. Terrence Ross could leave in free agency, as well, and Alexander-Walker could have helped that loss while Clarke would step in to fill a bit of a void left by Vucevic, even if he does not have that kind of size. This one just seems like it was not thought out all the way.

 

Best picks

Grant Williams, Tennessee, Boston Celtics - No. 22 overall

This one is actually kind of on the line of the Cameron Johnson pick. Williams was probably taken a little bit too early. He is a bit of a polarising prospect who some ranked as high as 15 on their big boards but others saw him closer to the late first round or even early second. So, the argument could be made the Celtics reached a little bit here.

But, Williams is just too perfect for the Celtics to dislike the pick. He is a hard worker who excels on the offensive boards and gets more out of his smaller frame than just about anyone in this draft. Brad Stevens will absolutely love this guy. And, he is a better shooter than people give him credit for, which also fills a need for Boston. The Celtics need shooting and Williams gives them that. It is really hard to dislike this pick.

Nassir Little, North Carolina, Portland Trail Blazers - No. 25 overall

It did not make much sense that Little fell to the 25th pick but the Trail Blazers could not care less. This is easy to write as Little was one of the top recruits in the 2018 class and has one of the highest ceilings in this entire draft.

He logically could step in and give the Trail Blazers huge minutes right away and shoots more than well enough to help the team space the floor. He has also already shown in his time at North Carolina that he does not always have to have the ball and is humble enough to take a lesser role for the betterment of the team. Portland have to be absolutely over the moon after getting Little. And, the Trail Blazers did not even have to trade up to do it.

The Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers set up an Eastern Conference semi-final showdown, while the Denver Nuggets moved ahead of the San Antonio Spurs.

Kawhi Leonard posted 27 points as the Raptors topped the Orlando Magic 115-96 in Game 5 on Tuesday.

The Raptors sealed a 4-1 series victory, with the 76ers next up in the second round in the east.

Philadelphia blew away the Brooklyn Nets 122-100 after a dominant first quarter at home.

The 76ers led 14-0 to start Game 5 and never looked back – Joel Embiid scoring 23 points and 13 rebounds in just 20 minutes of action to secure a 4-1 triumph.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets lead the Spurs 3-2 following Tuesday's 108-90 victory against San Antonio.

Denver became the first team in the Western Conference series to win two straight games and did so in a dominant fashion.

Jamal Murray finished with a game-high 23 points on nine-of-16 shooting, while LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan both contributed 17 points for Spurs.

 

Lillard eliminates Thunder

Portland Trail Blazers star Lillard scored a franchise-record 34 first-half points and finished with 50 to secure a dramatic 118-115 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder and a 4-1 series success. Lillard made a ridiculous buzzer-beating three-pointer over Paul George for the victory.

George scored 36 points and helped pull the Thunder back from a 12-point deficit, but the Trail Blazers' made all the right plays down the stretch to reclaim the lead.

Pascal Siakam totalled 24 points in Toronto's win.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson tallied 21 points for the beaten Nets.

Nikola Jokic had a quality night all around, racking up 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Nuggets.

 

No magic for Isaac or Orlando

Jonathan Isaac scored three points on one-of-seven shooting in the Magic's loss.

D'Angelo Russell had eight points on three-of-16 shooting for the Nets.

 

Simmons shows no mercy

Ben Simmons ended Philadelphia's first quarter with a slam at the rim.

Marc Gasol with the big block of D.J. Augustin's floater, which helped the Raptors get out on the break.

 

Jazz at Rockets

The Houston Rockets missed an opportunity to sweep the Utah Jazz on Monday. But now, they will get a chance to finish things off at the Toyota Center. Should the Rockets and Golden State Warriors win on Wednesday, the much-anticipated matchup between the two could get underway soon.

Two-time reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors and the Portland Trail Blazers are poised to advance to the Western Conference semi-finals.

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combined for 65 points, leading Golden State to a 113-105 victory and a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Stephen Curry struggled shooting the basketball and finished three of 14 from the field, while rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander posted a team-high 25 points for Los Angeles.

Also in the west, the Trail Blazers hold a 3-1 advantage against the Oklahoma City Thunder following Sunday's 111-98 win.

After losing Game 3, Portland moved a step closer to the second round of the playoffs thanks to CJ McCollum's 27 points.

On the other side, Paul George posted a game-high 32 points and 10 rebounds for the Thunder, who are fighting to stay alive in the postseason.

The Toronto Raptors are also a win away from the Eastern Conference semi-finals courtesy of their 107-85 triumph against the Orlando Magic.

Toronto – who were stunned in Game 1 – extended their winning streak to three as Kawhi Leonard starred with a game-high 34 points.

 

Haywards leads Celtics sweep

Gordon Hayward posted a team-high 20 points as the Boston Celtics swept the Indiana Pacers 4-0 thanks to their 110-106 victory. Marcus Morris added 18 points on seven-of-11 shooting.

Al-Farouq Aminu totalled 19 points and nine rebounds for Portland.

 

Matthews struggles as Pacers bow out

Wesley Matthews scored three points on one-of-seven shooting in Indiana's loss.

Lou Williams posted 12 points on two-of-10 shooting for the Clippers.

Terrence Ross had five points in 31 minutes as the Magic lost.

Russell Westbrook scored 14 points, but it was on five-of-21 shooting.

 

Irving picks a pocket

Kyrie Irving's steal was turned into a behind-the-back pass, which was finished on the other end by Celtics team-mate Jayson Tatum.

George kept the Thunder in the hunt with a buzzer-beater from behind the arc to end the third quarter.

 

Rockets at Jazz

The Houston Rockets came out on top in Game 3 despite James Harden's horrendous shooting performance. The Utah Jazz found a way to bother the league's leading scorer for a majority of the game, but failed to capitalise on their opportunities to pull ahead. The Jazz lost a one-possession game, so minor adjustments could help them turn things around. Harden likely will not play as bad a second time, though.

The Toronto Raptors took control of their first-round NBA playoff series against the Magic by claiming a 98-93 victory in Orlando on Friday.

Both teams were careless with the ball, but the Magic evaporated Toronto's lead down the stretch and were within three in the closing seconds.

It was a clutch rebound by Kyle Lowry that saved the day for the Raptors in the end.

The real star was Pascal Siakam though. Siakam totalled a game-high 30 points to go with 11 rebounds in a contest where Kawhi Leonard was five-of-19 shooting. He showcased a versatile game that made it evident he is one of the league's most promising rising stars.

Terrence Ross paced Orlando with 24 points on five made three-pointers.

The Magic shocked everyone with their game one win, but now trail 2-1.

The Boston Celtics appear to have figured a few things out.

While Boston struggled to find chemistry at times during the regular season, they secured a 3-0 lead over Indiana with a 104-96 victory over the Pacers on Friday.

Jaylen Brown seemingly could not miss in game three, posting a game-high 23 points on eight-of-nine shooting.

Seven Pacers reached double-digits in points. They were led by Tyreke Evans' 19 points, but the game remained out of reach for most of the contest.

The Celtics have a chance to complete a first-round sweep against a feisty Indiana team on Sunday to kick off a strong start to the postseason.

Oklahoma City worked their way back into their series against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The Thunder beat the Trail Blazers 120-108 and overcame the offensive onslaught of Damian Lillard, who scored 25 points in the third quarter alone.

After a game two loss, Russell Westbrook said he needed to play better, and he did just that on Friday. The star point guard finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and five assists and battled through plenty of contact.

Lillard finished with 32 points.

If the Thunder can defend home court in game four, they can make the series – which Portland lead 2-1 – interesting again.

 

Vucevic magic not enough

Nikola Vucevic posted 22 points and 14 rebounds in the Magic's loss.

Kyrie Irving totalled 19 points and 10 assists in Boston's win.

 

Fournier fails

Evan Fournier scored seven points on one-of-12 shooting in Orlando's loss.

Paul George scored 22 points, but it was on just three-of-16 shooting.

 

Thunder blitz

The Thunder's fast break ball movement turned into an alley-oop slam.

Nuggets at Spurs

Denver took the fight to San Antonio in game three, but did not come out on top. Derrick White has proved to be a difference-maker for the Spurs. The Nuggets' backcourt has plenty of room for improvement though.

Kyle Lowry hailed the performance of Kawhi Leonard as the Toronto Raptors levelled their NBA playoff with the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.

Having lost the opening match of their first-round clash, the Raptors bounced back on home territory with a 111-82 win at Scotiabank Arena.

Leonard starred for Toronto with a game-high 37 points, while also recording four assists and as many rebounds.

The three-time NBA All-Star made 15 of his 22 attempted shots across the four quarters, and Lowry praised his team-mate for helping the Raptors restore parity in game two of seven.

"He's really good, he's a talented basketball player," Lowry told reports when asked about Leonard.

"He's been aggressive all series and tonight he was just in the groove. 

"He's a player who knows where he wants to be on the floor and when he gets to those spots he's pretty tough to guard."

Magic head coach Steve Clifford was equally impressed, adding: "Leonard was, I mean, great.

"What are you going to do? He was great."

Leonard was not the only one to improve from the 104-101 defeat in game one, with Lowry contributing 22 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

"Going back on the film I wasn't as aggressive as I could have been [in Game 1] and tonight was a little bit different, being more aggressive, more assertive, figuring it out," said the guard.

"Now we move on to Game 3 and there's going to need to be more adjustments. Both teams will go back, watch the video and see what they can do to get better.

"I'll go back, watch the film and see where I can be even better."

The Toronto Raptors and Denver Nuggets levelled their respective first-round NBA playoff series on Tuesday.

Toronto responded to their game one-loss to the Orlando Magic with a 111-82 victory in the Eastern Conference.

The second-seeded Raptors improved considerably, and Kawhi Leonard was simply unstoppable against Orlando thanks to his game-high 37 points.

Aaron Gordon led the overwhelmed Magic in scoring, totalling 20 points while most of his team-mates struggled from the field.

Now the series is knotted up at 1-1 as the two squads head to Orlando for game three.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets secured a 114-105 win against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference.

Beaten in the series opener, the Nuggets rebounded in game two after outscoring the Spurs by 16 points, having trailed by seven entering the final quarter.

Four of the Nuggets' five starters scored at least 20 points, and they were led by Jamal Murray, who had a team-high 24.

DeMar DeRozan led the Spurs with a game-high 31 points.

San Antonio will likely make some adjustments to prevent a late game surge in game three at home.

The Portland Trail Blazers moved 2-0 ahead against the Oklahoma City Thunder courtesy of a 114-94 win.

 

Lowry issues reminder after forgettable opener

Kyle Lowry bounced back from a scoreless game one-outing with 22 points and seven assists for Toronto.

LaMarcus Aldridge posted 24 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort for the Spurs.

 

No magic for Isaac

Jonathan Isaac scored five points on one-of-eight shooting for the Magic.

Rudy Gay scored five points on two-of-nine shooting in San Antonio's loss.

 

McCollum dazzles

CJ McCollum blew by the Thunder and finished with a scoop shot off the glass.

Murray scored 21 points in the fourth quarter and hit seven straight shots to help the Nuggets win.

 

Jazz at Rockets

The Utah Jazz were blown away by the Houston Rockets in game one. Their defensive strategy to contain James Harden was full of holes. The Jazz will have to showcase some serious adjustments to stop the Rockets from running away with the series.

The Golden State Warriors got their NBA postseason off to the exact start everyone expected them to with a 121-104 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

Golden State are favourites to win this series, and while the Clippers were pesky throughout the game, the Warriors were just too much for them.

Stephen Curry was fantastic with 38 points on 11-of-16 shooting including 8 of 12 from 3-point range, and he also managed to add 15 rebounds and seven assists for good measure.

Brooklyn, meanwhile, shocked the world to get the 2019 NBA playoffs started.

The sixth-seeded Nets took down the third-seeded 76ers in Game 1 of their first-round series in Philadelphia, claiming a 111-102 victory.

The 76ers have what is arguably the second most talented starting line-up in basketball, but they could not defend against the pick and roll or win a shootout against the Nets.

Brooklyn's star point guard D'Angelo Russell was ice-cold to start the game, but ended up posting a team-high 26 points. He connected on two of his team's 11 3-pointers, while the 76ers were a lowly 3 for 25 from deep.

Philadelphia's star center Joel Embiid was listed as questionable leading up to the contest, but decided to suit up. Even though he clearly wasn't at his best, he totalled 22 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks.

But it was Jimmy Butler's 36 points that kept the 76ers within reach of a win.

Brooklyn will have a chance to go up 2-0 against Philadelphia on Monday, and the 76ers are definitely feeling the pressure. After all, their own fans booed them in the Wells Fargo Center during their losing effort.

This wasn't the only upset of opening day in this year's postseason, though.

The Magic knocked off the Raptors 104-101 in Toronto as well.

Seventh-seeded Orlando have been one the NBA's best teams since the All-Star break, but not many expected this.

D.J. Augustin led the Magic, tying Kawhi Leonard for a game-high of 25 points in the matchup. He also went on a personal 5-0 run to seal the deal for his team down the stretch on the road.

Orlando got out to an impressive first-half lead, but saw it dissolve in an instant. Even still, their gritty style helped them to a big win.

The final upset of the night was secured by the Spurs, who beat the Nuggets 101-96 to cap off Saturday.

Despite Nikola Jokic becoming the fourth player ever to record a triple-double in his first ever playoff game, the second seed fell to the well-rounded offensive attack of the Spurs.

 

LeVert stars for Nets, Siakam leads Raptors

Caris LeVert erupted for 23 points off the bench in the Nets' win.

Pascal Siakam racked up 24 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors.

 

Redick and Lowry struggle

JJ Redick scored just five points on 2-of-7 shooting and fouled out in the 76ers' loss.

Kyle Lowry recorded a goose egg in the scoring column and was 0 of 7 from the field for Toronto.

 

Birch and Butler turn it on

Khem Birch turned a deflection into an alley-oop slam for the Magic.

Butler hit a huge 3-pointer to beat the buzzer before the half to cut the 76ers' deficit to single digits.

Spurs guard Derrick White unloaded on Paul Milsap in San Antonio's win.

 

Saturday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 102-111 Brooklyn Nets
Toronto Raptors 101-104 Orlando Magic
Golden State Warriors 121-104 Los Angeles Clippers
Denver Nuggets 96-101 San Antonio Spurs

 

Pacers at Celtics

Despite losing its star player Victor Oladipo to a season-ending leg injury, Indiana has been consistently competitive against Boston. The Celtics have struggled to find their chemistry throughout the season and could seriously be tested against the Pacers. This series could legitimately go seven games before a winner is determined.

Toronto Raptors swingman OG Anunoby underwent an emergency appendectomy on Thursday and has been ruled out indefinitely.

Anunoby was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and underwent a procedure at Mount Sinai Hospital. He is expected to be sidelined for up to two weeks, according to The Athletic.

The surgery is a blow to Toronto's line-up as the Raptors, seeded second in the Eastern Conference, prepare to take on the Orlando Magic in the opening round of the NBA playoffs.

A second-year small forward born in London, Anunoby, 21, averaged 7.0 points, 2.9 rebounds and 0.7 assists over 67 games in 2018-19. 

Though he is relatively deep in Toronto's bench rotation, he averages 20 minutes per game, offering respite for starters at multiple positions. 

There will be a new team representing the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.

The Cleveland Cavaliers had played for the title in each of the last four seasons and a LeBron James-led team advanced to the championship round in eight straight campaigns.

But, James left Cleveland and inked a four-year, $153.3million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in July, opening up the door for multiple contenders.

The east is wide open as the Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics all have a legitimate chance to compete for a ring.

Here is a breakdown of all the first-round east matchups, by the numbers thanks to Opta.

 

Bucks v Pistons

— The Bucks defeated the Detroit Pistons in all four of their meetings in 2018-19. Milwaukee, however, have never won a playoff series against Detroit.

— Milwaukee tallied an NBA-best 60 victories in the regular season. That was their third-highest win total in franchise history and most since 1980-81.

— Giannis Antetokounmpo is the front-runner to take home the MVP and rightfully so. He is just the third player ever to average 27 or more points and 12 or more rebounds while shooting better than 57 per cent from the floor in a single season. Hall of Famers Shaquille O'Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar are the other two who have accomplished the feat.

 

Raptors v Magic

— The Raptors were clearly one of the best teams in the NBA this season. Toronto, however, split the season series with the Orlando Magic, 2-2.

— Magic center Nikola Vucevic is the 15th player in the last 25 years to average 20 or more points and 12 or more rebounds in the same season.

— The Raptors have won 50 or more games in four straight seasons. However, they were eliminated in the Eastern Conference semi-finals in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

 

76ers v Nets

— D'Angelo Russell developed into a go-to scorer and consistent playmaker for the Brooklyn Nets in 2018-19. He was just one of five players in the NBA to average 21 or more points and seven or more assists in the regular season. He also made his first All-Star team.

— The Nets have relied on the three-pointer this season. They have attempted 40.1 per cent of their total shots from behind the arc, which is the fifth-highest percentage in the league.

— Brooklyn improved by 14 wins and exceeded all expectations to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2014-15.

 

Celtics v Pacers

— Six Celtics players averaged 10 or more points this season, which is tied for the most in the NBA. Kyrie Irving led the team with 23.8 points per game, while Jayson Tatum added 15.7 points per appearance.

— Indiana Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo suffered a season-ending leg injury in late January. Bojan Bogdanovic has stepped up in his absence as he has tallied 20.9 points per game since Oladipo has been out of the line-up.

— Indiana's defense was stifling at points this season. The team allowed 104.3 points per game, the best mark in the NBA, and forced a turnover on 14.1 per cent of its defensive positions, which was second best in the league.

The Detroit Pistons are heading to the NBA playoffs after defeating the lowly New York Knicks 115-89.

After jumping out to an early lead and never looking back, the Pistons clinched the final postseason spot in the Eastern Conference on Wednesday.

The Pistons took control in the opening moments and held a 14-point advantage by the end of the first quarter. They pushed the score to 65-41 by half-time and cruised from there.

Andre Drummond tallied 20 points and 18 rebounds to lead Detroit to the victory. Luke Kennard chipped in a game-high 27 points off the bench while connecting on four of his eight three-point attempts.

The Pistons were playing without star Blake Griffin, who is dealing with a sore knee. They had last made the playoffs in 2015-16.

Meanwhile, the Charlotte Hornets entered play with their postseason hopes still alive. But, they were officially eliminated following Detroit's win.

Charlotte would not have advanced to the playoffs anyway as they fell to the Orlando Magic 122-114.

Soon-to-be free agent Kemba Walker recorded 43 points and five assists for Charlotte in what could be his last game with the Hornets.

 

Wade and Nowitzki say goodbye

Dwyane Wade registered a triple-double in his last game before retirement. The 37-year-old put up 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Miami Heat's 113-94 loss to the Brooklyn Nets.

Dallas Mavericks veteran Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in his farewell – a 105-94 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

Jonathon Simmons had 20 points, seven rebounds and five assists as the Philadelphia 76ers won 125-109 against the Chicago Bulls.

Jevon Carter tallied 32 points in the Memphis Grizzlies' 132-117 victory over the Golden State Warriors.

 

Finney-Smith struggles

Dorian Finney-Smith was two-of-10 shooting and scored five points in the Mavericks' defeat.

Atlanta Hawks wing Kent Bazemore shot two of 10 from the field and was a minus-16 as his team fell to the Indiana Pacers 135-134.

 

No stopping Gordon

Aaron Gordon powered his way to the basket for the Magic.

 

Wednesday's results

Orlando Magic 122-114 Charlotte Hornets
San Antonio Spurs 105-94 Dallas Mavericks
Philadelphia 76ers 125-109 Chicago Bulls
Memphis Grizzlies 132-117 Golden State Warriors
Detroit Pistons 115-89 New York Knicks
Indiana Pacers 135-134 Atlanta Hawks
Oklahoma City Thunder 127-116 Milwaukee Bucks
Brooklyn Nets 113-94 Miami Heat
Denver Nuggets 99-95 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Clippers 143-137 Utah Jazz (OT)
Portland Trail Blazers 136-131 Sacramento Kings

The playoffs

After a long regular season, the playoffs have finally arrived. The path to the championship begins on Saturday when the first series tip-off.

Tuesday was a historic day for the NBA.

Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki each played their last home games for their respective teams, as both have plans to retire after the season. The Miami Heat and Dallas Mavericks were both able to secure quality wins for their superstars on such an important night.

Wade scored a game-high 30 points for Miami in its 122-99 triumph over the Philadelphia 76ers. After the contest, he gifted jerseys to all of his teammates.

Nowitzki scored 30 points of his own in Dallas. The 40-year-old big man filled it up early, scoring his team's first 10 points in a 120-109 victory over Phoenix Suns. He became the oldest player in NBA history to score at least 30 points in a game.

While neither future Hall of Fame player will be in the post-season, they got the storybook endings they deserved in front of their home crowds.

Crawford goes off on Dallas

Pheonix Sun Jamal Crawford scored a game-high 51 points against the Mavericks.

James Harden recorded 39 points and 10 rebounds in Houston Rockets' 112-111 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Donovan Mitchell posted 46 points in Utah Jazz's 118-108 win over the Denver N.

Six and out for Green

Jeff Green scored six points on 2-of-13 shooting in the Washington Wizards' 116-110 loss to the Boston Celtics.

Wayne Ellington totaled seven points on 1-of-11 shooting in the Detriot Pistons' 100-93 victory against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Caruso almost wins it for the Lakers

Alex Caruso hit a huge shot to put the Lakers up late, but they fell to Portland 104-101.

Paul George hit a game-winner to lift the Thunder over the Rockets.

What's Next?

Orlando Magic (41-40) at Charlotte Hornets (39-42) 8 p.m. ET — Orlando has already punched its ticket to the playoffs. Charlotte, on the other hand, is battling with Detroit for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot. Steve Clifford coached the Hornets as recently as last season and now he has the opportunity to eliminate his old team from the post-season.

Nikola Vucevic was delighted to book a spot in the playoffs for the first time with the Orlando Magic after six years of "losing, struggling and doubting".

The 2019 NBA All-Star joined the Magic in 2012 and, until now, the team had fallen short of the postseason in each subsequent year, while it had looked like it would be tough to make the playoffs in 2018-19.

Orlando's record stood at 31-38 less than a month ago following a 100-90 defeat to the Washington Wizards, but a remarkable late run meant Sunday's win at the Boston Celtics was enough to secure their postseason place with a game to spare.

For Vucevic, who contributed 25 points and 12 rebounds in the 116-108 success, it was particularly special after years of hurt.

"It's an amazing feeling. Nobody knows what I've been through in the last six years here, just through all the losing, the struggling, the doubting," Vucevic told reporters.

"It's been very difficult for me at times. It paid off in a great way, man, just to come in here in this building and beat a great Celtics team and to make it.

"We were waiting for Charlotte [Hornets] and Miami [Heat, also in playoff contention] to maybe make it easier for us - they didn't but it's fine. We took care of business and it's an amazing feeling.

"I'm so proud of these guys, we fought all year long. It was a tough season with a lot of ups and downs - we were down a few weeks ago, it was a very tough situation after that Washington loss. We just found a way."

And Vucevic was particularly pleased that the Magic got the job done in style, winning on the road against one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

"To get in with a win is even more special for us - especially against the Celtics," he added. "They're a great team, very talented, and they didn't make it easy for us even though the game didn't mean anything for them."

Coach Steve Clifford believes his team deserved to be rewarded for their work from day one in this campaign.

"I feel like we've done it the right way," he said. "We've played our best here this last 30, 31 games and we've made good progress all year.

"But it really starts with when you ask guys to come in September, which they don't have to do, and you get the whole team there. That doesn't happen in many places.

"They have the right care factor and were able to withstand some stretches which were difficult, where it looked like it was going to be hard for us to do it. They stayed with it and they kept getting better."

Reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors locked up first place in the Western Conference thanks to Sunday's 131-104 blowout win against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Golden State secured the west's number one seed in their last regular-season game at Oracle Arena after 47 years as they prepare to move to Chase Center in San Francisco.

The Warriors marked the occasion by wearing throwback jerseys – famously known as the "We Believe" era uniforms worn during the team's run to the 2007 playoffs, which were used from 2002 to 2010.

It was fitting that the franchise's cornerstone, Stephen Curry, led all scorers with 27 points. Six other Warriors also reached double-figures.

Landry Shamet led the Clippers' well-rounded scoring effort with 17 points.

 

Harden lifts Rockets

James Harden posted 30 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists in the Houston Rockets' 149-113 win over the Phoenix Suns.

Alex Len scored a career-high 33 points as the Atlanta Hawks fell 115-107 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Karl-Anthony Towns posted 35 points in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 132-126 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

 

Cavs' Clarkson and his shooting woes

Jordan Clarkson scored two points on one-of-eight shooting in the Cleveland Cavaliers' 112-90 defeat to the San Antonio Spurs.

Kyle Lowry scored five points on one-of-eight shooting as the Toronto Raptors downed the Miami Heat 117-109 in overtime.

 

McGee with the slam!

JaVale McGee threw an alley-oop into the hoop with force in the Los Angeles Lakers' 113-109 win against the Utah Jazz.

Elfrid Payton sent the Sacramento Kings' De'Aaron Fox tumbling with a dribble move as the New Orleans Pelicans won 133-129.

 

Sunday's results

Toronto Raptors 117-109 Miami Heat (OT)
San Antonio Spurs 112-90 Cleveland Cavaliers
Oklahoma City Thunder 132-126 Minnesota Timberwolves
Charlotte Hornets 104-91 Detroit Pistons
Brooklyn Nets 108-96 Indiana Pacers
Dallas Mavericks 129-127 Memphis Grizzlies (OT)
Milwaukee Bucks 115-107 Atlanta Hawks
Houston Rockets 149-113 Phoenix Suns
Orlando Magic 116-108 Boston Celtics
New York Knicks 113-110 Washington Wizards
Golden State Warriors 131-104 Los Angeles Clippers
New Orleans Pelicans 133-129 Sacramento Kings
Portland Trail Blazers 115-108 Denver Nuggets
Los Angeles Lakers 113-109 Utah Jazz

 

Hornets at Cavaliers

Charlotte will attempt to keep their playoff dreams alive against Cleveland on Tuesday. The Hornets will likely have to win out to reach the postseason. The Cavaliers could bring the opposition's campaign crashing to a halt.

The Orlando Magic could not be stopped in Friday's 149-113 NBA victory over the Atlanta Hawks.

Orlando's ridiculous offensive performance was fuelled by three 25-point scorers.

Nikola Vucevic and Evan Fournier both contributed 25 points as starters. But Terrence Ross pitched in with a surprising 25 more from the bench and connected on six 3-pointers.

Trae Young and John Collins mustered 22 and 20 points respectively for Atlanta, but were simply outmatched from the start.

With the Magic's victory, they moved to sixth in the Eastern Conference standings. Orlando are just a half game ahead of Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets in the playoff race. Things could get tight down the stretch as these teams battle it out for optimal postseason seeding.

Griffin's haul in vain

Blake Griffin scored a game-high 45 points in the Pistons' 123-110 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Delon Wright posted a career-high 26 points, 10 rebounds and 14 assists as Memphis Grizzlies took down Dallas Mavericks 122-112.

Kemba Walker totaled 29 points in Charlotte Hornets' 113-111 victory over Toronto Raptors.

 

Blundering Bogdanovic penalises Pacers  

Bojan Bogdanovic scored four points on 1-of-8 shooting as Indiana Pacers fell short to Boston Celtics 117-97.

Damyean Dotson managed seven points on 3-of-14 shooting in New York Knicks' 120-96 blowout loss to Houston Rockets.

 

Layman and Towns make the highlights reel

Portland Trail Blazers' Jake Layman elevated over Denver Nuggets to finish strong with two hands at the rim.

And Karl-Anthony Towns' over-the-shoulder pass made for an easy Minnesota Timberwolves finish against Miami Heat.

Friday's results

Utah Jazz 119-98 Sacramento Kings
Dallas Mavericks 112-122 Memphis Grizzlies
Oklahoma City Thunder 123-110 Detroit Pistons
Minnesota Timberwolves 111-109 Miami Heat
Houston Rockets 120-96 New York Knicks
Indiana Pacers 97-117 Boston Celtics
Washington Wizards 112-129 San Antonio Spurs
Orlando Magic 149-113 Atlanta Hawks
Charlotte Hornets 113-111 Toronto Raptors
Phoenix Suns 133-126 New Orleans Pelicans
Los Angeles Clippers 117-122 Los Angeles Lakers
Golden State Warriors 120-114 Cleveland Cavaliers
Denver Nuggets 119-110 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Nets at Bucks

Brooklyn Nets are tied with Detroit Pistons for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference. Milwaukee Bucks have the top spot in the conference, so they could end up facing the Nets in the first round of the playoffs. This match-up could be a preview of a high-intensity postseason series.

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