The Oklahoma City Thunder defeated Milwaukee 109-89 to boost the New York Knicks’ and Philadelphia 76ers’ chances of making the National Basketball Association playoffs at the expense of the Bucks.
Russell Westbrook had 26 points and seven rebounds, while Kevin Durant scored 19 points and had eight assists for the Thunder (42-15), who have clinched a postseason berth as winner of the Western Conference’s Northwest Division.
The defeat leaves the Bucks in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with a 28-29 record, 1 1/2 games behind the Knicks and 76ers, who both have 29-27 records. The top eight teams in each conference reach the postseason.
The Bucks host the Knicks tomorrow. The 76ers travel to Milwaukee on April 25 in those teams’ next-to-last regular- season game.
The Knicks face the Bulls tonight in Chicago. New York spoiled NBA Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose’s return from a 12-game injury absence with a 100-99 overtime win at Madison Square Garden against the Bulls two nights ago.
The Thunder moved a game ahead of San Antonio (40-15) atop the Western Conference after the Utah Jazz won 91-84 last night to end the Spurs’ 11-game winning streak.
Nuggets Keep Advantage
The Phoenix Suns (30-27) defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-90 to remain a game behind the Denver Nuggets in ninth place in the Western Conference. The Nuggets (31-26) routed the Golden State Warriors 123-84.
The NBA champion Dallas Mavericks, who yesterday agreed to part ways with Lamar Odom after four months, also have a 31-26 record.
Also last night, the Los Angeles Lakers (36-22) defeated the New Orleans Hornets 93-91 without Kobe Bryant, who missed a second straight game with a sore left shin. Pau Gasol led the Lakers with 25 points and nine rebounds, while Andrew Bynum contributed 18 points and 11 rebounds.
The Lakers are now 1 1/2 games ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers (34-23), who lost 94-85 to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Orlando Magic eased past the Detroit Pistons 119-89, the Indiana Pacers made it five wins in six games with a 103-98 victory against the Toronto Raptors, the Washington Wizards defeated the Charlotte Bobcats 113-85 and the Houston Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 94-89.
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