The Dallas Mavericks beating the Houston Rockets in a direct matchup for one of the two final tickets in the Western Conference playoffs stood out on a busy Wednesday NBA night, while the Indiana Pacers and Detroit Pistons improved their positions towards clinching a postseason berth as well.
Cleveland Cavalier 109 Indiana Pacers 123: The Cavaliers gave LeBron James a bit more rest and looked bad defensively, allowing the Pacers to shoot 56.3% from the field and 51.3% from beyond the arc. Paul George scored 29 points and C.J. Miles added 21, as the Pacers are one win away (or a Bulls loss) from clinching the playoff spot.
Detroit Pistons 108 Orlando Magic 104: The Pistons also move closer to clinching their postseason spot (first since 2009) by beating the Magic. Tobias Harris scored 13 points against his former team while Reggie Jackson led Detroit with 24. Evan Fournier scored 19 points to lead the Magic.
Brooklyn Nets 103 Washington Wizards 121: The Wizards remain mathematically in the playoff picture, but it’s almost over for them in a hugely disappointing season. Bradley Beal led them with 25 points and John Wall added 18 points with 13 assists.
New Orleans Pelicans 97 Boston Celtics 104: The Celtics are the next team to pick up the automatic win against New Orleans, keeping them in 4th. Isaiah Thomas scored 32 points to go with 8 assists in another fantastic game for the point guard. Toney Douglas led New Orleans with 19 points.
Charlotte Hornets 111 New York Knicks 97: The Hornets changed the lineup again, starting with a big tandem to bounce back from their loss in Toronto. Kemba Walker also bounced back from his awful performance in Canada, scoring 34 points while Al Jefferson added 24.
Houston Rockets 86 Dallas Mavericks 88: In a hugely important game with playoff implications, another big night for J.J. Barea (27 points) put the Mavs two games ahead of the Rockets, who need some outside assistance to make it into the playoffs. Barea also had 8 assists, while James Harden scored 26 points for the Rockets.
Oklahoma City Thunder 115 Portland Trail Blazers 120: The Blazers clinched the playoff spot with 27 points from Al-Farouq Aminu and 26 for C.J. McCollum against a Thunder team less than interested in winning, playing without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Enes Kanter led the way with 33 points.
Los Angeles Clippers 91 Los Angeles Lakers 81: Not as easy as the night before, but still not a fair fight. J.J. Redick and DeAndre Jordan each scored 15 points as Kobe Bryant played his next to last game on the Lakers home floor, scoring 17 points on 6-for-19 from the field.
Eastern Conference Standings
|13||New York Knicks||31||48||.392||25.0||79|
Western Conference Standings
|1||Golden State Warriors||69||9||.885||–||78|
|2||San Antonio Spurs||65||12||.844||3.5||77|
|3||Oklahoma City Thunder||54||25||.684||15.5||79|
|4||Los Angeles Clippers||50||28||.641||19.0||78|
|6||Portland Trail Blazers||43||37||.538||27.0||80|
|12||New Orleans Pelicans||29||49||.372||40.0||78|
|15||Los Angeles Lakers||16||62||.205||53.0||78|