New Orleans, April 8: The Western Conference playoff picture was made even more confusing on Saturday thanks to wins for the New Orleans Pelicans, San Antonio Spurs, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets.
The day began with fourth-place Utah Jazz and the ninth-place Nuggets separated by only two games, while the Pelicans, Spurs, Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves in between were separated by a mere half game.
With the Pelicans, Spurs, Thunders and Nuggets all winning, the teams from fourth to ninth place that were separated by two games to start the day are now only 1 1/2 games apart.
And the four teams that won on Saturday were not exactly playing at home against teams tanking to win the lottery.
DAVIS INSPIRED AS PELICANS END WARRIORS WOE
Anthony Davis notched 34 points as the Pelicans went to Golden State and beat the Warriors 126-120.
Kevin Durant had 41 points, including 19 in the third quarter, and 10 rebounds but it was not enough to stop the Pelicans ending a 10-game losing streak against the Warriors.
Meanwhile, the Thunder travelled to Houston, where the Rockets had lost only six times all season, and won 108-102 thanks largely to Russell Westbrook's 24 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds.
ALDRIDGE HAS SPURS PURRING
The Spurs beat the number three seed Trail Blazers in San Antonio 116-105, behind 28 points and eight rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge.
Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu had as many turnovers as points (3) on 1-of-6 shooting in the defeat.
There will at least be one team to discount from the playoff race, though, as the Nuggets visited Los Angeles and eliminated the Clippers from Western Conference contention with a 134-115 win.
That was thanks in large part to Nikola Jokic and Will Barton. Jokic posted a triple-double (23/11/11), while Barton scored 31.
Chicago Bulls 96-124 Brooklyn Nets; New York Knicks 102-115 Milwaukee Bucks; San Antonio Spurs 116-105 Portland Trail Blazers; Los Angeles Clippers 115-134 Denver Nuggets; Houston Rockets 102-108 Oklahoma City Thunder; Golden State Warriors 120-126 New Orleans Pelicans
JAZZ AT LAKERS
Utah Jazz are currently fourth in the West, which means nothing in that tight playoff race. Although not likely, a couple of losses in their final three games could conceivably drop them as low as the number eight seed.
Several of the LA Lakers' biggest stars are sitting out due to injury, which will give some reserves a chance to show their stuff.