Pelicans, Thunder keep NBA playoff hopes alive
New Orleans and Okla-homa City Thunder both won critical games on Monday night to stay alive in the battle for the Western Conference's final play-off spot, while Brooklyn hurt their postseason chances with a loss to Chicago in the East.
Anthony Davis had 24 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks to move the Pelicans one step closer to a play-off berth with a 100-88 victory over Minnesota.
Tyreke Evans added 22 points and five assists and Eric Gordon scored 22 for the Pelicans (44-37). They have the same record as Oklahoma City, but hold the tiebreaker heading into the season finale today against San Antonio.
The Thunder avoided elimination by beating Portland 101-90. Russell Westbrook scored 36 points, Enes Kanter added 27 points and 13 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which finish against Minnesota tomorrow.
Westbrook picked up his 16th technical at Indiana on Sunday, which would have been an automatic one-game suspension. It was rescinded on Monday, allowing him to play.
Meyers Leonard scored a career-high 24 points for the Trail Blazers, who already were locked into the No. 4 playoff spot in the West.
Brooklyn, meanwhile, fell into ninth place in the Eastern Conference after losing to Chicago 113-86. Nikola Mirotic scored 26 points and Pau Gasol had 22 points and 11 rebounds as the Bulls clinched home-court advantage in the first round of the play-offs.
Nets need a win
The Nets will need a win today and a loss by Indiana in at least one of their final two games to reach the postseason.
In other games that could impact play-off seeding, the Los Angeles Clippers and Houston both won to set up a three-way tie with idle San Antonio for the No. 2 seed in the West, while Memphis lost to Golden State to fall to sixth place in the conference.
Elsewhere, the East-leading Atlanta Hawks were shocked on their home floor, losing to the last-place New York Knicks 112-108 and Miami Heat kept their slim play-off chances alive with a 100-93 win over Orlando.
Cleveland's LeBron James returned from a day off to record a triple-double as the Cavaliers got ready for the play-offs with a 109-97 win over the Pistons.