The end has arrived.
Actually, for Atlanta, Phoenix, Dallas and Charlotte, the end came in its season finale on Tuesday. There are nine teams that know that Wednesday is the last day of their season. Another 15 teams have secured posts in the playoffs.
Then there's Minnesota and Denver.
Game 82 for both teams will have a 7 game feel, which is an appropriate form of transition from the regular season to the postseason. Nuggets in Timberwolves, winner of the playoffs, loser in the offseason. It's the first time since 1997 – and it's the third time since the NBA reached this post-season format in 1983 – that two teams will play on the last day of the season in such a situation.
"It's bigger than all of us" Minnesota center Karl-Anthony Towns said
Minnesota is trying to make the playoffs for the first time since 2004, the longest drought in the NBA. Denver, winner of six consecutive games to take this opportunity, is trying to reach the postseason for the first time since 2013.
Photo: Rob Carr / Getty Images
As in the race between Minnesota and Denver, the whole tournament itself is reaching the limit. There will be eight first-round matches, and each of those pairings will be decided on Wednesday. Then, also, 11 of the 16 seeds. Utah and Portland will play for the No. 3 seed in the West, in one of the few cutting and drying matches.
Other things that should be observed when entering the last day of the regular season:
• If LeBron James appears for Cleveland against New York, it will be the first time in the 15 seasons of James that he plays in the 82 games of regular season.
• Philadelphia, which beat host Atlanta on Tuesday to set a franchise record with its 15th consecutive victory, would be the No. 3 seed in the East if it wins over Milwaukee. It would also surpass the record for the longest winning streak to finish any NBA season.
• Russell Westbrook of Oklahoma City needs 16 rebounds against Memphis to average a triple-double for the second year in a row.
• Despite spending 5,000 assists in his career while host Washington won 21 points in the first quarter of Jaylen Brown of Boston to beat Boston 113-101 on Tuesday, John Wall, returning from knee surgery, " he probably will not play in the Wizards' final in Orlando, according to head coach Scott Brooks. The game will help determine if the Wizards, currently No. 8, will move to the sixth or seventh seed.
• In another action on Tuesday, 32-year-old rookie Andre Ingram went 8-8 from the field. and 4-for-5 from beyond the arc in his debut for the Lakers after 10 years in what is now called the G League. The leader of the G-League race in groups of three finished with 19 points in a 105-99 home loss to Houston. He hit a triple on his first shot in the NBA and had three blocked shots.