Last Day: Embiid closing in history, NBA matchups to be set

Apr 9, 2022, 1:04 AM | Updated: 1:05 pm
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives on Detroit Pistons'Braxton Key in the fir...

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) drives on Detroit Pistons'Braxton Key in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Detroit, Friday, April 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Joel Embiid is about to make a lot of history. And a half-dozen first round or play-in game matchups are set to be decided.

The final day of the NBA season has no shortage of storylines.

A new scoring champion will be crowned and, barring something crazy, Embiid — who hails from Cameroon — will become the first international player to win that title. The Philadelphia big man also be the first center to win the scoring crown since Shaquille O’Neal in 1999-2000.

Embiid scored 41 points Saturday in Philadelphia’s 133-120 win over Indiana. He’s now averaging 30.6 points for the season, which is just ahead of LeBron James’ 30.3-point-per-game clip for the Los Angeles Lakers and Kevin Durant’s 30.1 average for the Brooklyn Nets.

But neither James nor Durant will play enough games to qualify for the statistical title; in an 82-game season, 58 games played is the minimum. That means the scoring race comes down to Embiid and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, the star from Greece — also bidding to be the first international NBA scoring champion — who would need a miracle finish to grab the crown.

If Embiid plays in Sunday’s 76ers’ regular-season finale against Detroit and didn’t score — which is unlikely — Antetokoumpo would still need 47 points in the Bucks’ finale at Cleveland to take the lead. If Embiid doesn’t play at all Sunday, Antetokounmpo would need 77 points to tie Embiid for the crown.

Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.9 points entering the season’s final day.


Miami is the No. 1 seed. Toronto is the No. 5 seed. Chicago is the No. 6 seed. Everything else remains unclear.

Philadelphia’s win over Indiana on Saturday means that the 76ers will be either No. 3 or No. 4. Boston or Milwaukee will be No. 2; the Bucks lock up that spot with a win at Cleveland on Sunday. Boston can get to No. 2 by winning at Memphis and the Cavaliers beating the Bucks.


All that is certain is Atlanta cannot finish 7th and Brooklyn cannot finish 10th. The Nets can be No. 7, No. 8 or No. 9 — and the Hawks can be No. 8, No. 9 or No. 10. Cleveland and Charlotte will be in there too, in some order.

There are four Sunday games that will tell the tale, all 3:30 p.m. Eastern starts: Indiana at Brooklyn, Milwaukee at Cleveland, Washington at Charlotte and Atlanta at Houston.

The Nets would be No. 7 with a win, and might get there with a loss as well. Cleveland would be no worse than No. 8 with a win. The Cavaliers and Hornets could each be 7th, 8th, 9th or 10th.


Phoenix is the No. 1 seed, Memphis is the No. 2 seed. Dallas and Golden State will be No. 3 and No. 4 — in some order. And Denver and Utah will be No. 5 and No. 6 — again, in some order.

Golden State would be locked into No. 3 with wins Saturday at San Antonio and Sunday at New Orleans.

Utah will be the No. 5 seed with a win over Portland on Sunday, or if the Los Angeles Lakers beat Denver in the regular-season finale for those teams.


The only matchup and site that is locked in so far is: The Los Angeles Clippers will play at Minnesota on Tuesday night, with the winner getting the No. 7 seed and a first-round series with the Grizzlies.

The other West play-in game will have New Orleans facing San Antonio in the 9 vs. 10 matchup on Wednesday night. It’ll be at New Orleans, unless the Spurs go 2-0 on Saturday and Sunday while the Pelicans go 0-2 on the final weekend of the regular season.


Only five players are in position to play on Sunday and officially appear in all 82 regular-season games with their team this season: Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges, Detroit’s Saddiq Bey, Washington’s Deni Avdija, Dallas’ Dwight Powell and (if he plays Saturday night) Golden State’s Kevon Looney.

It’ll be the fewest number of players in NBA history to have appeared in every game for a full regular season.

There were 11 players who appeared in all 72 games last season, which was shortened by the pandemic. There were 14 every-game players in 2019-20, where teams played differing numbers of games, again because of the pandemic and then with not every team advancing to the restart bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.


For the first time in a decade, the NBA won’t set a 3-pointers made record — at least not in terms of average.

Teams are making 12.4 3’s per game this season, down slightly from the 12.7 per game last season. The 2020-21 season was the ninth straight in which the 3’s-per-game average had increased to a new record.

The record for 3’s taken per game will be broken again, for the 11th consecutive season. And total 3’s made in a season is another record, with the league going over the 30,000 mark for the first time on Friday night.

All that said, the 3-point craze is still officially happening. The league will take somewhere between 86,000 and 87,000 3’s this season by the close of business on Sunday. That’s almost double what was taken 11 years ago.


More AP NBA: and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

Ex-Packer Guion gets 1 year for domestic violence assault

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Former Green Bay Packers defensive tackle Letroy Guion was sentenced to one year in jail after pleading no contest in a domestic violence assault at his home last fall. Brown County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Walsh also ordered Guion on Tuesday to serve three years’ probation and complete a domestic […]
1 month ago
Joe Jarzynka...
Associated Press

Durant eager for Suns debut vs. Hornets after knee injury

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Kevin Durant has been through quite a bit during his 15-year NBA career — but joining a new team midway through the season is a new one for the 13-time All-Star. The 34-year-old Durant doesn’t seem all that worried. Durant makes his highly anticipated Phoenix Suns debut on Wednesday night against […]
1 month ago
FILE - Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores stands on the sideline during the second half of an N...
Associated Press

Judge: NFL coach can press discrimination claims in court

NEW YORK (AP) — NFL Coach Brian Flores can pursue some of his discrimination claims against the league and its teams in court rather than through arbitration, a judge ruled Wednesday. The written decision by Judge Valerie Caproni in Manhattan was issued months after lawyers for the league tried to get the lawsuit moved to […]
1 month ago
Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Alex Stalock cools off in the first period during an NHL hockey game ...
Associated Press

Kane trade reinforces hard reality of Blackhawks rebuild

CHICAGO (AP) — After days of speculation, the harsh reality of the Chicago Blackhawks’ situation was reinforced by one move in a flurry of transactions ahead of the NHL trade deadline. Showtime is over, at least in Chicago, and a seemingly bright future is, well, way off in the distance. The reverberations of Chicago’s decision […]
1 month ago
FILE -  Yves Jean-Bart, president of the Haitian Football Federation, wearing a protective face mas...
Associated Press

Disgraced ex-Haitian soccer president announces he’s back

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Haiti’s former soccer federation president whose lifetime ban from sport over sexual abuse allegations was overturned last month announced Wednesday that he is reclaiming his position. Yves Jean-Bart’s defiant announcement could lead to a standoff with FIFA, which already has appointed an emergency management committee to lead the Haitian Football Association […]
1 month ago
FILE - Green Bay Packers' Aaron Rodgers walks off the field after an NFL football game against the ...
Associated Press

Rodgers says decision on future will come ‘soon enough’

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — Aaron Rodgers says he will make a decision on his future “soon enough” as the four-time MVP quarterback ponders whether to play next season and if his future remains with the Green Bay Packers. Rodgers, 39, discussed his future while speaking on an episode of the “Aubrey Marcus Podcast” that […]
1 month ago
Last Day: Embiid closing in history, NBA matchups to be set