Vince Carter scored 37 points to help the New Jersey Nets clinch the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with a 102-93 road win over the Boston Celtics on the last day of the regular season on Wednesday.
Even with the Cleveland Cavaliers (42-40) winning in Toronto, the Nets (42-40) claimed the eighth playoff spot in the East with a come-from-behind win that capped a strong second half of the season with a postseason berth.
Carter helped the Nets overcome a 19-point second quarter deficit, giving New Jersey the last remaining playoff spot by virtue of a better head-to-head record against Cleveland over the season.
The Nets open the playoffs against the Heat on Sunday in Miami. Boston, who had already clinched the East's third seed, plays at home in the first round against the Indiana Pacers.
New Jersey out-scored Boston 32-8 in the third quarter to take the lead for good as the Celtics rested starters Antoine Walker and Paul Pierce in the fourth quarter.
Jason Kidd had 19 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, while Nenad Krstic added 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Paul Pierce had 21 points to lead Boston while Delonte West added 15.
In other games, LeBron James had 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists to power the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 104-95 win over the Raptors in Toronto.
Despite the victory, the Cavaliers missed the playoffs after the New Jersey Nets also won.
Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Ira Newble each scored 20 points for the Cavs.
Jalen Rose was the top scorer for the Raptors with 25 points.
In Philadelphia, Kyle Korver scored 21 points and Allen Iverson added 16 to help the 76ers to a 110-86 win over the Atlanta Hawks.
Willie Green and Josh Davis each scored 16 points from the bench for the 76ers.
Tyronn Lue scored 20 points and Josh Smith added 18 points and 13 rebounds.
In Orlando, Keyon Dooling scored a team-high 19 points to help the Miami Heat to a 98-93 win over the Magic.
Christian Laettner added 14 points for the Heat, who won their third straight game despite missing Shaquille O Neal due to injury.
Steve Francis and Dwight Howard each scored 21 points for Orlando.
In Charlotte, Emeka Okafor totalled 16 points and 19 rebounds to pace the Bobcats to a 97-86 win over the Detroit Pistons.
Keith Bogans scored 17 points and Brevin Knight chipped in with 14 points and 13 assists.
Ben Wallace had 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost for the first time in 12 games.
In Houston, Mike James scored 24 points to help the Rockets ease past the Seattle SuperSonics 106-78. Bob Sura scored 18 points for the Rockets, who had six players score into double digits. Ronald Murray was Seattle's top scorer with 22 points.
In Indianapolis, Stephen Jackson scored 17 points, including a pair of free throws with five seconds left on the clock to help the Pacers edge the Chicago Bulls 85-83.
Jermaine O'Neal scored 21 points and Anthony Johnson came off the bench to add 20 points. Jannero Pargo put in 17 points for the Bulls.