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In historic final NBA elims day, Warriors take win no. 73; Kobe fires 60 in last stand

Jae Hong/AP
By Ivan Saldajeno

KOBE Bryant ended his NBA career with a bang, scoring 60 points including 11 within the final 1:45 for the Los Angeles Lakers to formally spoil Utah Jazz's playoff bid, 101-96, at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on what had been a historic final day of the regular season on Thursday (Philippine Time) highlighted by his last hurrah and the Golden State Warriors' record-breaking 73rd win.

Bryant, just like the old times, singlehandedly carried the also-ran Lakers in the game's dying moments by sparking the game-turning 13-0 run in the end to complete a comeback from a late eight-point deficit against the Jazz, who were already eliminated after the Houston Rockets walloped the Sacramento Kings in an earlier game.

Bryant needed 50 attempts, a new NBA record for field goal tries, to attain his 60-point output, making 22 of them including six triples.

Bryant's explosion was the sixth time he tallied the said number of markers and the 25th time he got 50 or more.

In Oakland, Golden State became the first team to finish the regular season with less than ten losses after mauling Memphis, 125-104.

Steph Curry buried 46 points on ten triples to lead the Warriors to their 73rd win, eclipsing the erstwhile best regular season record set by the Chicago Bulls in 1996 when they, led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman, Toni Kukoc, and, coincidentally, current Warriors coach Steve Kerr, entered the playoffs with a 72-10 record.

In danger of not even tying the '96 Bulls' record following a shock overtime loss at home to Minnesota, Golden State won its last four games, two straight each against San Antonio and Memphis, to complete the historic 73-9 record.

Curry also set records for himself with his first eight triples enough for him, who already set a league record 300 long toms in a season, to become the first player to make 400 treys in a single season and only the seventh player to finish the regular season with 50 percent field goal, 40 percent three-point, and 90 percent free throw rates as per parameters set by the NBA.

Rockets zoom to the postseason

In Houston, the Rockets completed the playoff cast after trouncing the Kings, 116-81.

James Harden made 38 points for Houston, which survived an up-and-down season to finally secure the West wildcard on the final day.

The Rockets, who own the tiebreaker over the Jazz by virtue of their respective conference records, were way behind the Jazz last week, but a turn of events for both sides paved the way for the former to steal the eighth seed from the latter.

The blowout set up an early West Finals rematch with the Warriors in the first round of the postseason.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno