Heat slip to Griz while Pacers win to take back top seed in East.
There were 12 games on the NBA schedule on Wednesday night, but it was the Oklahoma City Thunder who stole the headlines with their win over the Los Angeles Clippers.
The OKC had their starting five back together for just the second time since Christmas Day, and it is undoubtedly a boost for coach Scott Brooks with the playoffs right around the corner.
Russell Westbrook scored 30 points after sitting out two of the last three games while Kevin Durant added 27 as the Thunder held off their rivals to seal the win.
Westbrook insisted that to win big games, “we have got to do the little things”, and that is what they did with Serge Ibaka contributing with key blocks as well as rebounds in big moments of the game.
Blake Griffin had 30 points and 12 rebounds while Chris Paul added 25 points and eight assists for the visitors, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the Thunder picking up the win at Staples Center.
The race in the Eastern Conference became more interesting again as the Miami Heat slipped to defeat to the Memphis Grizzlies as the Indiana Pacers overcame the Milwaukee Bucks.
LeBron James had 37 points but it was Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph who had the biggest influence on the game with Memphis finding their intensity and character.
Randolph had 25 points and 11 rebounds while Gasol added 20 points and 14 rebounds as Memphis stayed within a game of the Phoenix Suns, who also won on Wednesday, for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.
Meanwhile, the Pacers overtook the Heat as Frank Vogel benched his starters for the entire game which allowed Chris Copeland the opportunity to step up and make his claim.
Elsewhere, Joakim Noah’s fourth triple-double of the season helped the Chicago Bulls roll past the Minnesota Timberwolves as he had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists while D.J. Augustin was integral again as he finished with 21 points.
The win puts more breathing space between them and Brooklyn who lost to Orlando, but the Toronto Raptors remain locked at 46-32 after defeating the Philadelphia 76ers.
Detroit Pistons 100-122 Cleveland Cavaliers
Brooklyn Nets 111-115 Orlando Magic
Philadelphia 76ers 114-125 Toronto Raptors
Charlotte Bobcats 94-88 Washington Wizards
Boston Celtics 97-105 Atlanta Hawks
Miami Heat 102-107 Memphis Grizzlies
Indiana Pacers 104-102 Milwaukee Bucks
Chicago Bulls 102-87 Minnesota Timberwolves
Phoenix Suns 94-88 New Orleans Pelicans
Houston Rockets 116-123 Denver Nuggets
Sacramento Kings 99-100 Portland Trail Blazers
Oklahoma City Thunder 107-101 Los Angeles Clippers