Miami turn up heat on Chicago
LeBron James produced a stunning one-man show as Miami Heat fought back to secure a 101-98 win over the New Jersey Nets.
James scored 17 of his 37 points in the last five minutes as the Heat cut the Chicago Bulls' lead at the top of the Eastern Conference.
The injury-hit Bulls came up short 87-84 against the Washington Wizards to see their advantage reduced to two-and-a-half games with five left before the play-offs.
Kevin Seraphin had 21 points and 13 rebounds for the Wizards to cash in on a Bulls team with All-Star duo Derrick Rose (foot) and Luol Deng (ribs).
The Indiana Pacers sit third behind them as they continue to find form at the right time by jumping the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-88 for a fifth-straight win.
The Charlotte Bobcats crashed to a franchise-record 17th straight loss to ensure they would finish the season with the worst record in the NBA.
Greivis Vasquez scored 20 points in a low-scorer as the New Orleans Hornets won 75-67 to leave the Bobcats with a horror 7-53 win-loss record.
The Atlanta Hawks beat the Toronto Raptors for the seventh time in eight games 109-87, while Ryan Anderson had 26 points and 16 rebounds as the Orlando Magic held off the Philadelphia 76ers 113-100.
In the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs took an important step towards ensuring home-court advantage in the post-season.
Gary Neal's 17 points off the bench led the Spurs to a comfortable 120-99 win over the Golden State Warriors while closest rivals the Oklahoma City Thunder fell 92-77 at the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Utah Jazz needed triple-overtime to keep alive their slim play-off hopes as they edged defending champions the Dallas Mavericks 123-121. Al Jefferson scored 28 points and tied a career-high with 26 rebounds.
The Denver Nuggets moved ahead of the slumping Houston Rockets in the play-off places with a 105-102 win. That allowed the Phoenix Suns to draw level with the Rockets as they thumped the Portland Trail Blazers 125-107.