NBA roundup: Heat light up Hornets as Raptors clinch playoffs

Miami, Florida – The Miami Heat are now just one win away from securing the NBA Eastern Conference's top seed after they smashed the Charlotte Hornets 144-115 on Tuesday.

The Heat's Tyler Herro (r.) tied the single-game franchise record for points off the bench with 35.
The Heat's Tyler Herro (r.) tied the single-game franchise record for points off the bench with 35.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

Having tied their franchise record for three-pointers in a game on three separate occasions this season, the Heat broke that record against the Hornets, connecting on 23 of 42 total attempts.

Tyler Herro contributed eight of those buckets beyond the arc from 14 attempts and in doing so, also tied the single-game franchise record for points off the bench with 35, previously held by Dwyane Wade.

On any other night, it would have been a satisfactory performance from the Hornets, but the Heat were automatic, with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo only combining for 49 of the team's points with Kyle Lowry out.

NBA legend Matt Barnes admits Ime Udoka ordeal is "100 times uglier than any of us thought"
NBA NBA legend Matt Barnes admits Ime Udoka ordeal is "100 times uglier than any of us thought"

The 49-30 Boston Celtics momentarily remain within touching distance, having played a game less than the 52-28 Heat.

Meanwhile, the Hornets have already wrapped up the Eastern Conference's last play-in spot.

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Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa dunks (c.) as Atlanta Hawks forward Onyeka Okongwu (l.) defends.
Toronto Raptors forward Precious Achiuwa dunks (c.) as Atlanta Hawks forward Onyeka Okongwu (l.) defends.  © IMAGO / ZUMA Press

Pascal Siakam put up 31 points and 13 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors clinched a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, defeating the Atlanta Hawks 118-108.

This victory, coupled with the Cleveland Cavaliers' loss to the Orlando Magic, ensured the Raps will finish no lower than sixth in the East. They also rose to fifth after the Chicago Bulls lost to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Five other Raptors finished on double digit points as Scottie Barnes and Chris Boucher scored 19 and 18 points respectively, Gary Trent Jr. had 14, Fred VanVleet 12, and Precious Achiuwa 11.

Coach Ime Udoka speaks out on huge suspension from Boston Celtics
NBA Coach Ime Udoka speaks out on huge suspension from Boston Celtics

The Los Angeles Lakers have been eliminated from Western Conference play-in calculations, losing 121-110 to the Phoenix Suns, whose 63rd win this season made for a new franchise record.

The desperate Lakers needed a win to stay in touching distance with the New Orleans Pelicans but had a mountain to climb against the Suns, who had won all three games head-to-head this season.

Devin Booker showed characteristic smoothness and composure, putting up 32 points on 12-of-22 shooting as well as four of five three-pointers when his team broke the game open.

Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Wire

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