Philly's record slump continues
The Philadelphia 76ers fell to a franchise-record 21st successive NBA defeat as they lost 99-90 to Eastern Conference-leading Indiana Pacers.
Despite the absence of Andrew Bynum with knee trouble, Indiana had enough in the tank thanks to 25 points from Lance Stephenson and 24 from Paul George. They lead nearest rivals Miami by 3.5 games, with the Heat not in action on the night.
Thaddeus Young scored a defiant 23 for Philly, who continue to free-fall towards a top-three draft pick. The longest losing streak in NBA history is 26 games by the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers.
In the Western Conference, the Oklahoma City Thunder made up ground on leaders the San Antonio Spurs as Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook linked up in a 97-85 win over the Chicago Bulls.
Westbrook, being nursed back into the team following knee surgery, had 17 points, nine rebounds and nine assists but the scoring line was, as so often, dominated by Durant with 35 points and 12 rebounds.
The third-ranked Los Angeles Clippers were beaten 110-100 by the Denver Nuggets after double-doubles from JJ Hickson and Kenneth Faried.
Hickson played almost 30 minutes as a replacement and racked up 21 points and 11 rebounds while Faried scored 18 points, brought down 16 rebounds and saw a spectacular one-handed dunk attempt on a first-half alley-oop crash off the rim and over the sideline.
The Houston Rockets currently occupy the fourth seed and ended a three-game losing run with a 124-86 thumping of the Utah Jazz.
Terrence Jones poured in 30 points and five other players scored in double figures, Omer Asik adding 11 rebounds to his 12 points.
The Dallas Mavericks lie seventh in the conference after beating the Boston Celtics 94-89. Boston recovered from 15 points behind in the third quarter and 12 down with 6:25 remaining to trail only 90-89 with 21 seconds left, but two free throws each from Monta Ellis and Shawn Marion sealed the win.
Elsewhere in the Eastern play-off picture, the eighth-placed Atlanta Hawks beat the number seven Charlotte Bobcats 97-83 with 28 points from Paul Millsap, a tally matched by Deron Williams as the sixth-ranked Brooklyn Nets beat the Phoenix Suns 108-95.