The Philadelphia 76ers and Toronto Raptors will face off in the opening round of the NBA playoffs and it could spell trouble for Australian Matisse Thybulle.
Complicating matters for the 76ers though is the fact All-Defensive wing Thybulle is currently ineligible for games in Toronto due to Canada’s vaccine mandate.
Thybulle confirmed post-game he got the first dose of the vaccine but did so under the mistaken impression it would prevent him from spreading or preventing the disease.
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When that did not happen, he opted to treat himself holistically.
“I’m not fully vaccinated,” he said.
“I was raised in a holistic household. I felt like I had a solid foundation of medical resources. I’ve obviously had to reconsider and look at it differently.
“It kinda sucks. It’s always hard to not be available. I’ve accepted this could hurt my career. “
The Sixers can ill-afford to be without Thybulle given his defensive versatility and ability to lock down some of the game’s biggest attacking threats.
Elsewhere, the Boston Celtics have locked up second seed in the Eastern Conference after the Milwaukee Bucks fell to the Cleveland Cavaliers 133-115.
Milwaukee rested their starters Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, Bobby Portis and Brook Lopez.
Jrue Holiday, meanwhile, lasted just eight seconds after immediately fouling Darius Garland after the tip-off.
It was later revealed that in briefly appearing in Monday’s game, Holiday triggered a $ 255,000 ($ A342,000) bonus in his contract for making 67 appearances this season.
As expected, the undermanned Bucks were a shadow of their usual selves, giving up 46 points in the opening quarter as the Cavaliers locked up eighth seed in the East.
Filling the void for Milwaukee, Sandro Mamukelashvili led the way with 28 points and 13 rebounds – with both figures being career-high numbers.
Elsewhere, Jordan Nwora had 24 points and 10 rebounds while Giannis ‘brother Thansis also boosted the Bucks’ scoring with 27 points.
For Cleveland though, it was Kevin Love who made an instant impact, putting up 32 points and 10 rebounds in just 14 minutes, shooting 8-for-11 from downtown.
With it, Love became the first NBA player in the shot clock era to record 30-plus points and 10-plus rebounds in under 16 minutes.
Cleveland will now play the Brooklyn Nets in the play-in tournament for the seventh seed.
Speaking of the Nets, they rode a strong showing from Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and Andre Drummond to take a 134-126 win over the Indiana Pacers.
The Nets came out firing in the first quarter, jumping out to a 41-29 lead after dominating in the paint (30 points), with Irving nailing a buzzing-beating jumper to finish with 10 points.
Brooklyn struggled to push any further ahead but at the same time the Pacers did not look like getting close enough to threaten the result.
Drummond made his impact felt at both ends (20 points and 13 rebounds) while Kyrie Irving topped the scoring with 35 points.
Durant though was the standout with his second triple-double in three games (20 points, 10 rebounds, career-high 16 assists).
It was Durant’s fourth triple-double of the season, a single-season career higher for the Nets superstar.
For the Pacers, attention is now turning to the off-season and what moves they may make in their rebuild, although Tyrese Haliburton continues to impress in his new team.
Haliburton, who was traded from the Sacramento Kings, finished with 17 points, four rebounds and 10 assists in the loss.
The other two play-in spots in the Eastern Conference were also confirmed on Monday morning, with the Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets finishing ninth and tenth respectively.
The Hornets defeated the Washington Wizards 124-108, with LaMelo Ball (24 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists) and Terry Rozier (25 points) combining for 49 points.
The Hawks, meanwhile, had all five starters finish in double digits for points, including Trae Young (28 points, five rebounds, 11 assists) in a 130-114 win over the Houston Rockets.
The Rockets came close though finished the season on a high with rookie Jalen Green exploding for 41 points, shooting 14 of 26 from the floor.
Green enters the off-season having scored 30-plus points in six of his last seven games and will have another top-5 draft pick alongside him next year.
Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics have locked up the No.2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a resounding 139-110 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.
It meant that Boston, who started the season with a 23-24 record, finished it on a 28-7 run and enters the playoffs with a plenty of momentum.
The Celtics will face the winner of the Brooklyn and Cleveland play-in game.
The Grizzlies, meanwhile, were already locked into the No.2 seed in the West before Monday’s game and will play the winner of the Timberwolves vs Clippers play-in.
In a game without any impact on playoff seedings, the Orlando Magic defeated an undermanned Miami Heat page 125-111.
In the Western Conference, Golden State claimed the third seed and a first-round match-up with Denver after the former defeated New Orleans.
Utah claimed the fifth seed thanks to its win over Portland, combined with the Nuggets’ overtime loss to the Lakers. The Jazz will face Dallas.
EASTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS
1. Miami Heat vs 8th seed (Winner of [Nets-Cavaliers loser] v [Hawks-Hornets winner])
2. Boston Celtics vs 7th seed (Nets-Cavaliers winner)
3. Milwaukee Bucks vs 6. Chicago Bulls
4. Philadelphia 76ers vs 5. Toronto Raptors
7. Brooklyn Nets vs 8. Cleveland Cavaliers (for 7th seed)
9. Atlanta Hawks vs 10. Charlotte Hornets
Loser of Nets-Cavaliers vs winner of Hawks-Hornets (for 8th seed)
WESTERN CONFERENCE PLAYOFFS
1. Phoenix Suns vs 8th seed (Winner of [Timberwolves-Clippers loser) v [Pelicans-Spurs winner])
2. Memphis Grizzlies vs 7th seed (Timberwolves-Clippers winner)
3. Golden State Warriors vs 6. Denver Nuggets
4. Dallas Mavericks vs 5. Utah Jazz
7. Minnesota Timberwolves vs 8. Los Angeles Clippers (for 7th seed)
9. New Orleans Pelicans vs 10. San Antonio Spurs
Loser of Timberwolves-Clippers vs winner of Pelicans-Spurs (for 8th seed)