Hawks loss leaves Knicks just game-and-a-half adrift.
There were just four games on the NBA schedule on Thursday night, with the Los Angeles Clippers picking up a big win, but the pressure is building on the Atlanta Hawks.
The Clippers are still pushing to secure the third seed in the Western Conference, and bounced back from their disappointment in New Orleans the previous night with a strong showing in Dallas.
While the Mavericks were dealt a blow in their bid to secure playoff basketball, they fell victim to a late rally for the third time in three meetings between these two this season.
Clippers point guard Chris Paul had 31 points, four rebounds and nine assists after going 0-of-12 against the Pelicans, and conceded that his team went out with the intensity of it being a playoff game in order to test their mental strength.
Blake Griffin (18 points, 13 rebounds) and DeAndre Jordan (16 points, 15 rebounds) both had double-doubles, as the Clippers manage to maintain their one-game lead over the Houston Rockets.
For the Mavs, Vince Carter had 23 points off the bench but the loss sees them drop a half-game behind Phoenix and into ninth place in that tight race in the West.
Meanwhile, it’s getting close to call in the Eastern Conference too as the Atlanta Hawks suffered a loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, with LeMarcus Aldridge returning for 25 points and 16 rebounds.
Point guard Damian Lillard played up his importance to the team and believes that they are a completely different proposition when he’s healthy, and they will hope he provides that boost through the remainder of the regular season.
In contrast, the Hawks have now lost five straight and lead the New York Knicks by just one-and-a-half games in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and with nerves growing they are in danger of surrendering their place in the post-season.
Elsewhere, the Philadelphia 76ers lost for a 26th consecutive time to tie the NBA record for the longest losing streak, while the Milwaukee Bucks overcame the Los Angeles Lakers despite a dunk show from Xavier Henry and Jordan Hill, as seen below:
Portland Trail Blazers 100-85 Atlanta Hawks
Philadelphia 76ers 98-120 Houston Rockets
Los Angeles Lakers 105-108 Milwaukee Bucks
Los Angeles Clippers 109-103 Dallas Mavericks