Pat Riley is on the cusp of 1,000 victories. The Seattle SuperSonics needed just one to secure themselves a much easier playoff opponent.
Riley's latest 'W' left him feeling much better about his Miami Heat with the postseason around the corner.
''This is what this thing is about, finishing strong and pointing toward Saturday night, when the playoffs start,'' Riley said Tuesday night after he picked up career victory No. 999 as Miami never trailed in beating the Toronto Raptors 97-73.
If Miami defeats host Charlotte tonight, Riley would become the second NBA coach to hit the four-figure milestone. Atlanta's Lenny Wilkens has 1,179 victories.
Riley's overall record is 999-433, a .698 winning percentage, with Miami, the Los Angeles Lakers and New York Knicks.
Seattle's 119-112 overtime victory over the Sacramento Kings, meanwhile, gave the Sonics the seventh seed in the Western Conference and a first-round date with the Utah Jazz. The result left the Kings eighth in the West and facing the league-best Los Angeles Lakers in the playoffs.
Seattle must be pleased to avoid the Lakers.
While the Sonics split four games with Utah during the regular season, they went 1-3 against Los Angeles -- losing those three games by an average of 12 points. Seattle's lone victory against the Lakers was by one point.
In other NBA games Wednesday night, New York beat Detroit 100-88, Atlanta edged New Jersey 111-109 in double overtime, Charlotte topped Cleveland 103-88, Philadelphia defeated Chicago 93-89, Dallas beat the Lakers 112-102, Denver surprised Utah 105-104 in overtime, Houston got past Phoenix 107-98, Portland beat the Los Angeles Clippers 116-100, and Boston routed Washington 114-81.
The regular season ends tonight with 14 games. Every team but the 76ers is in action.
''It's no bargain getting to play Utah, but I think even Utah would have to admit it's more wise to put off playing the Lakers as long as possible,'' Seattle coach Paul Westphal said.
Gary Payton had 33 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists for his 10th career triple-double to pace Seattle. He scored eight in overtime as the visiting Sonics pulled away.
Vin Baker scored 23 points, and Rashard Lewis had 22 points and 13 rebounds.
Sacramento's Chris Webber had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists for his 13th career triple-double. Jason Williams had 23 points, making six consecutive 3-pointers at one juncture, and Predrag Stojakovic added 20.
At Miami, Anthony Carter scored 17 points and Jamal Mashburn had 16 as the Heat closed their home schedule with a franchise-record 33-8 mark. Vince Carter led Toronto with 17 points.
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