Pacers, Raptors and Bulls all secure wins on Tuesday.
There were seven games on the NBA schedule on Tuesday night, with the Houston Rockets powering past the Sacramento Kings with James Harden putting on a show.
Harden scored a season-high 43 points in just three quarters as he spent the final period resting on the bench, while DeMarcus Cousins was ejected from the game for arguing with an official.
However, the Rockets guard insisted that it was these type of games that his team needed to “lock in” and focus on getting the win down the stretch of the regular season.
Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons were key for Houston securing their 10th win in the last 11 games, while Cousins was left to apologise to his teammates and fans on Twitter after the game, as Rudy Gay and Ben McLemore couldn’t prevent a heavy defeat without him.
Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers secured a comfortable win over the visiting Los Angeles Lakers, with Paul George posting up 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
The Pacers improve to 43-13 as they continue to lead the Eastern Conference, and point guard George Hill praised the team’s depth as he believes that anyone on the roster can have a good night which makes them so dangerous.
Evan Turner made his debut and finished with 13 points and six rebounds, as he helped lead the Pacers bench to a season-high 50 points. They are now two full games ahead of the Miami Heat at the top of the East, with the two rivals determined to secure home-court advantage.
Staying in the East, the Chicago Bulls picked up a solid road win over the Atlanta Hawks, with Joakim Noah posting up yet another double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Mike Dunleavy scored 22 points to lead all seven Bulls players into double scoring figures, and joked after the game that he was thankful that coach Tom Thibodeau gave him nine seconds off at the end of the game.
Chicago improve to 30-26 after yet another battling performance, but it remains to be seen how much of a toll it takes on the players given their extensive minutes each night when they eventually reach the post-season.
Meanwhile, the Toronto Raptors were able to maintain their slender lead over the Bulls for the third seed, as DeMar DeRozan scored 33 points to lead them to their sixth win in seven games in a closely-fought victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers have now lost three straight after a six-game winning streak, but with a depleted roster they were unable to cope with the visitors as Kyrie Irving played 45 minutes in a bid to keep them going.
They now fall five-and-a-half games out of the final playoff spot in the East, and with speculation over Irving’s future growing, coach Mike Brown will hope to get some of his injured stars back sooner rather than later in order to at least offer post-season basketball to the fans.
Elsewhere, Kevin Love (33 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists), John Wall (27 points) and Damian Lillard (31 points and nine assists) were instrumental in helping their teams to victories on Tuesday night.
Toronto Raptors 99-93 Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Lakers 98-118 Indiana Pacers
Orlando Magic 106-115 Washington Wizards
Chicago Bulls 107-103 Atlanta Hawks
Portland Trail Blazers 100-95 Denver Nuggets
Minnesota Timberwolves 110-101 Phoenix Suns
Houston Rockets 129-103 Sacramento Kings