Lakers head to playoffs

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Steve Blake (left)Photo: ap
Steve Blake (left)Photo: ap

With a big assist from the Memphis Grizzlies, the Los Angeles Lakers are headed to the playoffs and the Utah Jazz are going on vacation. Zach Randolph had 25 points and 19 rebounds, and the Grizzlies eliminated the visiting Jazz from post-season play, 86-70 on final day of the regular-season.

Utah needed a victory on Wednesday and a home loss by the Lakers against already playoff-bound Houston to take the eighth and final playoff seed in the West. Instead, the Jazz were held to its lowest point total of the season.

Even though the Lakers heard the jubilant news, eight wasn't enough for the purple and gold.

Steve Blake scored a season-high 24 points, including two game-sealing free throws with 10.5 seconds left in overtime, while Spaniard Pau Gasol had his seventh career triple-double, with 17 points, 20 rebounds and 11 assists, as the Lakers nailed down the seventh playoff seed in the West, 99-95 over the Rockets.

The Lakers minus injured Kobe Bryant will open on the road on Sunday against second-seeded San Antonio. The Spurs won two of the three regular-season meetings.

James Harden had 30 points for eighth-seeded Houston, which will face top-seeded Oklahoma City Sunday in their series opener.

Elsewhere, Minnesota Timberwolves ended their 16-game drought with a 108-95 win over San Antonio Spurs, LA Clippers wrapped the fourth playoff seed in the West beating Sacramento Kings 112-108, New York Knicks clipped Atlanta Hawks 98-92 and Philadelphia 76ers beat Indiana Pacers 105-95.

Toronto Raptors crushed Boston Celtics 114-90, Brooklyn Nets beat Detroit Pistons 103-99, Chicago Bulls took the fifth playoff seed in the East with a 95-92 win over Washington Wizards and the league best Miami Heat defeated Orlando Magic 105-93.

Milwaukee Bucks beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-89, Denver Nuggets clinched the third playoff seed in the West with a 118-98 against Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors defeated Portland Trail Blazers 99-88 and Dallas Mavericks beat the visiting New Orleans Hornets 99-87.DPA



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