The New York Knicks moved within one game of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after beating the Golden State Warriors 89-84 on Sunday, and delayed the Brooklyn Nets’ immediate qualification to the postseason.
Knicks guard J.R Smith led the way with 21 points, meaning Stephen Curry’s haul of 32 points was all in vain for Warriors (45-28).
Had the Knicks lost at Golden State, and their city rivals Nets would have sealed qualified a play-offs berth thanks to a 114-99 home victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Paul Pierce was in inspired form for the Nets by scoring 15 of his 22 points game-high from behind the arc, but the No 5 seed team in the East will have to wait a few more days to accomplish one of their biggest campaigns after a poor start to the season.
Corey Brewer and Kevin Martin scored 21 points apiece for the Timberwolves whose hopes of making it to the top-16 begins to slip away.
In Orlando, DeMar DeRozan led the way with 28 points, and Lithuanian Jonas Valanciunas contributed 20 points and nine rebounds to give the Toronto Raptors a 98-93 victory over the Orlando Magic.
For the 38th consecutive time this season, Kevin Durant scored at least 25 points, extending his scoring streak to one of the longest in the past five decades.
Durant notched 31 points as the Oklahoma City Thunder held off the Utah Jazz 116-96.
The Boston Celtics’ race to the postseason suffered a major blow, following a 107-102 home defeat to the Chicago Bulls, who granted a playoff berth.
Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers, the leading team in the Eastern Conference, were unable to avoid their second consecutive defeat by losing 90-76 to the Cleveland Cavaliers who continue within touching distance to the play-offs places.
Finally, the Portland Trail Blazers overcame the Memphis Grizzlies 105-98 and the Los Angeles Lakers stunned the Phoenix Suns 115-99 at home.