Bulls lose to Knicks, slip back into fourth seed below Toronto.
There were seven games on the NBA schedule on Sunday night, with the Indiana Pacers picking up a significant win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
In a game in which the hosts appeared to rediscover themselves, the Pacers put on a strong display against a possible foe in the NBA Finals, as they proved that they can overcome their recent slump.
Lance Stephenson had a triple double with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists which moves Indiana to the brink of securing the No.1 seed in the Eastern Conference, as all they need to do now is win in Orlando on Wednesday or wait for a Miami loss.
The Pacers (55-26) will undoubtedly be delighted with this performance given that they looked like real contenders again, although coach Frank Vogel will now want consistency from his starters as we approach the playoffs.
Kevin Durant had 38 points for the visitors, but despite pulling to within a few points at the end of the game, they were unable to overturn the deficit and rest safely in second place in the West for now.
Elsewhere, the Chicago Bulls lost on their trip to New York as the Knicks ended their seven-game winning streak to leave them tied with the Toronto Raptors in third spot.
The season is effectively over for the Knicks after the Atlanta Hawks secured the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, but that didn’t stop them from putting on a gritty display for their home fans.
Meanwhile, both the Raptors and Brooklyn Nets were victors on Sunday against the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic respectively, with Kyle Lowry putting up 28 points to seal the deal for Toronto.
Over in the West, the Memphis Grizzlies took control of the eighth seed by defeating the Los Angeles Lakers as the win moved them a game clear of the Phoenix Suns.
The race isn’t necessarily over yet and it promises to go down to the wire in the next three nights, but it was further misery for the Lakers who are just a game better off than the Utah Jazz at the bottom of the standings.
Oklahoma City Thunder 97-102 Indiana Pacers
Toronto Raptors 116-107 Detroit Pistons
Orlando Magic 88-97 Brooklyn Nets
Chicago Bulls 89-100 New York Knicks
Golden State Warriors 117-119 Portland Trail Blazers
Minnesota Timberwolves 103-106 Sacramento Kings
Memphis Grizzlies 102-90 Los Angeles Lakers