Anthony Davis proved the inspiration for the Pelicans, as they qualified for the post-season by finishing eighth in the Western Conference, with a haul of 31 points and 13 rebounds in a 108-103 victory over San Antonio.
The Spurs came into the match on the back of an 11-match winning streak but despite rallying from a 23-point deficit late on, Davis slammed the door shut on the comeback to lift New Orleans to their first play-off berth since 2011.
The Pelicans’ victory made Oklahoma City’s 138-113 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves redundant, with the Thunder missing out despite finishing with an identical record to New Orleans, who hold a superior head-to-head record and will now face Golden State in the play-offs.
It was Brooklyn who claimed the final play-off spot in the Eastern Conference after easing past the Orlando Magic 101-88 for a first-round date with the Atlanta Hawks.
A career-high 28 points from Bojan Bogdanovic lifted the Nets to an all-important win although their play-off was only secure after coach Lionel Hollins’ former team the Memphis Grizzlies defeated Indiana 95-83.
The Pacers had won their last six and another success would have seen them guarantee their play-off place but Marc Gasol was the star for the Grizzlies with 33 points and 13 rebounds.
Boston and Cleveland warmed up for their play-off encounter by closing their normal seasons with victories, the Celtics claimed a sixth straight win after edging out the Milwaukee Bucks 105-100 while the Cavaliers rested LeBron James as they rallied to beat the Washington Wizards 113-108 after overtime.
Houston took advantage of San Antonio’s slip up to move into the top four of the Western Conference after easing past the Utah Jazz 117-91, while their play-off opponents the Dallas Mavericks also won, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 114-98.
The Chicago Bulls sealed third in the Eastern Conference and a first-round play-off with Milwaukee after overturning an 18-point deficit to defeat the Atlanta Hawks 91-85.
Western Conference winners Golden State defeated the Denver Nuggets 133-126 and the Toronto Raptors claimed a franchise-record 49th regular season victory after a 92-87 triumph over the Charlotte Hornets.
Reggie Jackson’s 24 points and 11 assists helped the Detroit Pistons claim a 112-90 win over the New York Knicks, the Miami Heat ran out 105-101 winners over the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Sacramento Kings hammered the Los Angeles Lakers 122-99.