Even the Los Angeles Lakers' first 60-victory season in eight years might not be enough to secure the No. 1 seed for the Western Conference playoffs.
Los Angeles beat Vancouver 113-102 on Wednesday night for its sixth straight victory and 56th of the season to move within a game of Seattle for the No. 2 seed. But Utah also won, so the Lakers failed to close the two-game gap on the conference-leading Jazz."We understand we're still in this race," Lakers guard Nick Van Exel said. "We need to keep winning out. Sixty wins means nothing. We still feel like we have a chance to catch one of those teams."
Shaquille O'Neal scored 30 points, and Eddie Jones added 26 as the Lakers stayed perfect against the Grizzlies with their 11th consecutive victory in the 3-year-old series.
Mario Bennett, starting in place of injured Lakers forward Robert Horry, had 12 points and tied a career high with 13 rebounds.
Shareef Abdur-Rahim led Vancouver with 26 points.
KNICKS 83, HEAT 80: Allan Houston scored 29 points, Chris Childs had his first productive game in weeks and the Knicks played tight defense to prevent Miami from attempting a final shot at Madison Square Garden.
In a possible preview of a first-round playoff series, the Knicks showed some of the energy and heart they had been lacking while losing five of their previous six games.
NETS 117, CELTICS 104: At Boston, Sam Cassell scored 29 points and Keith Van Horn had 24 points and 11 rebounds as New Jersey won its third straight.
Antoine Walker led the Celtics with 43 points, but he missed two free throws with 4:57 left and the Nets leading 97-93. Chris Gatling followed with two layups as New Jersey went on a decisive 10-2 run.
One more Nets win or Boston loss would eliminate the Celtics from playoff contention.
BUCKS 107, RAPTORS 100: At Toronto, Ray Allen scored 25 points and Elliot Perry had 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee handed the Raptors their 11th straight loss.
76ERS 109, HORNETS 101: At Philadelphia, Allen Iverson had 30 points, a career-high 10 rebounds and six assists to lead the 76ers over Charlotte.
Derrick Coleman had 25 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers, who have won four of their last five games.
MAGIC 95, PISTONS 87: At Orlando, Nick Anderson had 26 points and Derek Strong came off the bench to score 20 as the Magic kept their fading playoff hopes alive.
The Magic trail New Jersey by 11/2 games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
Detroit lost its seventh straight game and was eliminated from playoff contention.