The Miami Heat and the New Orleans Pelicans have secured the last two playoff spots in the North American professional basketball league NBA. Last year’s finalist Miami won against the Chicago Bulls 112:91 (47:37). New Orleans beat the Sacramento Kings 105:98 (54:45).

The Heat had to do without their star player Jimmy Butler. He injured his knee in the loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first play-in game during the week and will be out for several weeks. Tyler Herro scored 24 points against Chicago and missed a so-called triple double with ten rebounds and nine assists by just one assist.

Miami had already prevailed against Chicago in the last play-in game last year. Afterwards, the team, led by an outstanding Butler, even reached the NBA finals. Now the team without Butler will face the best team in the main round, the Boston Celtics, in the first round of the playoffs. In the past two years this had been the final pairing of the Eastern Conference.

In the final play-in game of the Western Conference, the New Orleans Pelicans also had to do without an injured top performer, Zion Williamson, who had shone with 40 points during the week against the Los Angeles Lakers. But as in the regular season, when New Orleans won all five games against Sacramento, the team from Louisiana prevailed – mainly thanks to a balanced team performance with six players who scored in double figures. New Orleans will face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the playoffs.