Kevin Durant's thunder rumbles Pistons to secure No 2 play-off seed
Oklahoma City respond to must-win situation, with their star man weighing in with 42 points
The Detroit Pistons had Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Oklahoma City Thunder had Kevin Durant. Even on a career night for Caldwell-Pope, it was advantage Oklahoma City.
Durant scored 42 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, and the Thunder secured the No 2 play-off seed in the Western Conference, rallying from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to beat the Pistons 112-111.
Oklahoma City (59-23) had lost two straight to put themselves in a must-win situation in the regular-season finale to earn the No 2 seed.
Durant rallied the Thunder while recording his 14th 40-point game of the season. He drove for the go-ahead dunk with 16.5 seconds left and won a tip over Greg Monroe with 1.8 seconds to go after a scramble for a loose ball resulted in a jump ball in Detroit's end.
Detroit's Brandon Jennings could only manage a 30-foot heave at the buzzer that banged off the rim.
"We just figured it out," Durant said. "We got it done. It wasn't the best game. We didn't play well defensively. We didn't shoot the ball well offensively. But there's something about just getting it done, having that willpower, having that fight in you, no matter what. It was a tough game, we persevered and we got a good win."
Caldwell-Pope scored 30 points for the Pistons (29-53), while Monroe had 22, Kyle Singler added 20 and Andre Drummond recorded his ninth straight double-double to end the season for Detroit, finishing with 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Oklahoma City's victory meant the Los Angeles Clippers were sure to be the West's third seed, even before they finished the season with a 110-104 loss at the Portland Trail Blazers.
San Antonio, who clinched the best record in the league and the top seed in the West, were among the teams who rested key players in their regular season finales.
Tim Duncan sat out the entire game and All-Star point guard Tony Parker skipped the second half as the Los Angeles Lakers downed the Spurs 113-100.
Two-time defending champions Miami, already assured of the Southeast Division title and second seed in the East, rested regular starters LeBron James, Chris Bosh, and Mario Chalmers in a 100-87 loss to Philadelphia.
"There's a storm coming, and it's time for us to really start preparing for that storm and getting ready for an incredible journey that's going to test all of us," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.