The San Antonio Spurs are ending the regular season on a tear as they serve notice to their rivals that they will be ready to defend their crown in the playoffs.
Point guard Tony Parker scored 27 points in the win over the Houston Rockets, which ensured that the Spurs have now won 19 of their last 23 games to improve to 53-26 for the season which moves them to within a half-game of both the Memphis Grizzlies and Rockets for the Southwest Division lead.
San Antonio will face Houston again on Friday night but while they have three games remaining in the regular season, the Rockets have four and will have the chance to secure the division.
Kawhi Leonard added 20 points while Boris Diaw (15) and Manu Ginobili (13) as they all played a hand in the win.
Over in the East, the Chicago Bulls were boosted by the return of Derrick Rose, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a road loss to the Orlando Magic.
Rose scored nine points in 19 minutes of action and his comeback would have been a welcome sight for Bulls fans after over a month out due to knee surgery.
However, Victor Oladipo had 23 points and scored the game-winning layup with 1.5 seconds remaining to spoil the party.
The Toronto Raptors moved above the Bulls into the third seed after their win over the Charlotte Hornets while the Wizards are only a game behind Chicago after they defeated the Philadelphia 76ers.
Elsewhere, the Boston Celtics picked up a valuable win in the playoff race and in the process eliminated the Detroit Pistons from contention as they moved up to seventh spot in the East at 36-42.
LeBron James led the Cleveland Cavaliers to a win over the Milwaukee Bucks with 21 points, including this highlight play from a no-look Kyrie Irving pass.
Back in the West, the New Orleans Pelicans fell into a tie with the Oklahoma City Thunder at 42-36 after their loss to the Memphis Grizzlies, but they remain in the eighth and final playoff spot due to the tiebreaker on the head-to-head record.
Toronto Raptors 92-74 Charlotte Hornets
Chicago Bulls 103-105 Orlando Magic
Washington Wizards 119-90 Philadelphia 76ers
Boston Celtics 113-103 Detroit Pistons
Atlanta Hawks 114-111 Brooklyn Nets
Indiana Pacers 102-86 New York Knicks
New Orleans Pelicans 74-110 Memphis Grizzlies
Cleveland Cavaliers 104-99 Milwaukee Bucks
Houston Rockets 98-110 San Antonio Spurs
Los Angeles Lakers 101-119 Denver Nuggets
Sacramento Kings 91-103 Utah Jazz
Phoenix Suns 104-107 Dallas Mavericks
Minnesota Timberwolves 91-116 Portland Trail Blazers