The standings say the Chicago Bulls are a half-game ahead of the Seattle SuperSonics and a full game ahead of the Utah Jazz.
In the loss column, however, all three teams are tied at 17.The Bulls and Sonics avoided loss No. 18 Monday night, each gaining a blowout victory over a team from the bottom of its con-fer-ence.
Scottie Pippen scored 27 points, including 14 on dunks, as Bulls defeated the Boston Celtics 111-88 at the United Center.
Gary Payton scored 24 points and Hersey Hawkins broke a two-game scoreless drought with 16 points as Seattle ended a two-game losing streak with a 109-83 victory over Sacramento.
Chicago improved to 52-17 with its sixth straight victory. The Bulls begin a three-game road trip Wednesday against Orlando before playing Atlanta and Milwaukee.
"We know that it's 14, 13, 12, 11; we're just counting them down until the end of the season. Just a handful of games left before we finish up as a team," coach Phil Jackson said. "We've done something here that's remarkable, but it can't go on forever, we know that. Sometime, the plug's got to be pulled on it, and this is the appropriate time. It's time to go."
The Bulls appear to have the easiest remaining schedule of the three top teams. Utah and Seattle still must play each other once more.
Pippen had 11 rebounds and six assists in one of his best all-around games of the season. Since Pippen's return after missing 35 games with a foot injury, the Bulls have gone 28-6.
Jordan scored 24 points, Dennis Rodman had 14 rebounds to go with a season-high 12 points.
SUPERSONICS 109, KINGS 83: At Seattle, Vin Baker added 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists to back Payton and Hawkins.
Tariq Abdul-Wahad scored 18 for the Kings, who were without leading scorer Mitch Richmond (sore knee).
LAKERS 107, NUGGETS 86: At Denver, Eddie Jones had 27 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots as Los Angeles completed its second straight four-game season sweep of the Nuggets.
Shaquille O'Neal added 24 points and Kobe Bryant 23 for the Lakers, who sent the Nuggets to a franchise record-tying 62nd loss.
MAVERICKS 91, T-WOLVES 87: Hubert Davis scored 10 of his 16 points during a 20-2 fourth-quarter run as Dallas rallied to win at Minnesota.
Michael Finley had 27 points and Shawn Bradley added 16 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for the Mavericks.
PISTONS 94, 76ERS 79: Allen Iverson was held to a career-low four points as Detroit, behind 20 points from Joe Dumars, won at Philadelphia.
GRIZZLIES 106, CLIPPERS 95: At Vancouver, Bryant Reeves scored 35 points as the Grizzlies set a franchise record with their 16th win.