The New York Knicks maintained their pursuit of home court advantage in the play-offs with a thrilling 102-98 home win over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.
The Spurs, however, secured the final berth in the Western Conference’s play-in tournament later in the evening when the Sacramento Kings’ loss at the Memphis Grizzlies.
Alec Burks returned from injury with a season-high 30 points while Julius Randle had 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists for the Knicks, who are sixth in the Eastern Conference and are battling with the Miami Heat and the Atlanta Hawks to be No 4 seed in the play-offs. The Knicks clinched their first post-season spot since 2013 on Wednesday.
DeMar DeRozan scored 27 points for the Spurs.
Miami held onto fifth spot with a 106-94 win in their heavyweight clash with the visiting Philadelphia 76ers.
Jimmy Butler scored 21 points, Bam Adebayo had 18 and 12 rebounds, and Tyler Herro scored 18 for the Heat, whose captain Udonis Haslem had his first minutes of the season in the first half before being ejected for two technical fouls.
Tobias Harris scored 21 points, Shake Milton added 12 and Danny Green had 11 for Philadelphia, who could have wrapped up the East’s No 1 seed had they won, with two matches remaining.
Giannis Antetokounmpo had 40 points, 15 rebounds and six assists as the Milwaukee Bucks overcame the undermanned Indiana Pacers 142-133.
With only 10 players due to injuries, the Pacers had no answer to reigning duel MVP Antetokounmpo, who made 14 of 18 shots from the field.
Khris Middleton had 22 points, Brook Lopez 21, and Jrue Holiday had 20 and 14 assists for the Bucks, who moved within a game of the Brooklyn Nets for the East’s No 2 play-off seed.
Justin Holiday had 26 points for the Pacers, who are in ninth place in the East with teams seven through 10 qualifying for the play-in tournament.
In other games, the Atlanta Hawks won at home against the Orlando Magic, 116-93, the Los Angeles Clippers won 113-90 at the Charlotte Hornets, the Chicago Bulls beat the visiting Toronto Raptors 114-102, the Denver Nuggets won 114-103 at the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Memphis Grizzlies beat the visiting Sacramento Kings 116-110, and the Phoenix Suns scraped a 118-117 win at home against the Portland Trail Blazers.