MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on Wednesday’s final slate of NBA regular-season games (all times local):
There’s never been more points in an NBA regular season than this one.
For the fourth time in five years, the league’s single-season total points record has been broken. The record from last season was 259,753 points across the league, and that went down as most of the night’s early games were approaching halftime.
It’s been a season of milestones for the NBA. The league’s assist record was broken, with the NBA players combining for over 1,000 more than they had last season. And even as the points went up, apparently so did the missing — there were 82,311 defensive rebounds league-wide going into Wednesday night, and that was another NBA record.
No. 23 has played in all 82.
When LeBron James took the floor for Cleveland against New York on Wednesday night, it represented a first for the four-time MVP — this is the first of his 15 seasons in which he’s played in every regular-season game.
James has ordinarily sat out games at the end of the season when the Cavs have a seed locked up. That didn’t happen before the finale this year, so James played all the way to the finish. Cleveland can finish No. 3 or No. 4 in the East, depending on the outcome of its game against the Knicks and the Milwaukee at Philadelphia game.
James’ previous high for appearances was 81, back in the 2008-09 season. He says he’s tried this season to “change the narrative” about what a player in his 15th season is capable of doing.
James entered the finale averaging 27.7 points, 9.2 assists and 8.7 rebounds.
Toronto coach Dwane Casey is not giving his most important starters the night off in a finale that means nothing standings-wise to the Raptors.
Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan and Jonas Valanciunas are all in the starting lineup Wednesday for Toronto at Miami. The Raptors not only have the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference wrapped up, but they’ll also finish with the NBA’s second-best record behind Houston.
Casey says the Raptors have been mindful of minutes all season for the team’s “high-usage” players like Lowry and DeRozan.
There is perhaps one statistical nugget that the Raptors are chasing: With a victory, Toronto would get to 60 wins on the season.
The final night of the NBA regular season has 12 games on the schedule, and eight have playoff implications.
There are also individual milestones and team records on the line.
The biggest game on Wednesday’s slate is the Denver at Minnesota contest, the first last-day-of-season game in 21 years where the winner will go to the playoffs and the loser will miss the postseason.
Utah’s game at Portland will decide the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
Other games that will help determine seeds and first-round matchups for the playoffs are New York at Cleveland, Washington at Orlando, Milwaukee at Philadelphia, San Antonio at New Orleans, Toronto at Miami and Memphis at Oklahoma City.
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