- Associated Press - Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Los Angeles Lakers secured a playoff spot even before taking the court, while the race for home-court advantage went into the final set of games.

The Lakers learned their turbulent season would continue when Memphis beat the Utah Jazz 86-70 on Wednesday night. That guaranteed Los Angeles a postseason spot, and the Lakers could even move up to the No. 7 seed by beating Houston in their regular-season finale.

The Grizzlies were hoping their victory would give them home-court advantage in a first-round series against the Clippers, but Los Angeles would get it by winning at Sacramento in what could be the Kings’ final game there.

Carmelo Anthony won his first scoring title when he and Kevin Durant both sat out their games. The New York Knicks beat Atlanta 98-92 without Anthony, and Chicago took the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and the Hawks settled for No. 6.

The playoffs will open Saturday with New York hosting Boston, and Chicago visiting Brooklyn. Defending champion and top-seeded Miami hosts Milwaukee on Sunday, and the Hawks visit the Indiana Pacers.

The West series and schedule couldn’t be determined until the completion of the late games.

Anthony finished with 28.7 points per game in becoming the first Knicks player since Bernard King in 1984-85 to win the scoring title. The Knicks went 54-28, their best season since going 57-25 in 1996-97.

“He’s just been solid all the way across the board in everything he’s done for this team and that’s why we’re in the position we’re in today,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.

Durant averaged 28.1 points, falling short in his bid to join Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to win four straight scoring titles.

Durant’s Oklahoma City Thunder are the No. 1 seed in the West and would play either the Lakers or Houston in the first round.

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