The Boston Celtics now have some competition in the Eastern Conference with the Cavaliers finally finding form, but they remained 3.5 games ahead of Cleveland with a 111-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.
Kyrie Irving led Boston's charge by pouring in 32 points with four rebounds. The masked maestro has now scored 20-plus points or dished out five-plus assists in each game since returning from a two-game absence in mid-November.
Celtics center Al Horford flirted with a triple-double, scoring 20 points with nine rebounds and eight assists. Rookie Jayson Tatum added 17 points and six rebounds.
Boston needed all of their stars to produce because Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was on an offensive war path, scoring a game-high 40 points while adding nine rebounds. The Greek Freak now has three 40-plus point games this season, the most in the NBA.
But the Bucks (12-10) trailed by 13 points at half-time and were unable to climb out of the hole. Milwaukee have yet to live up to expectations this season, but are still squarely in play-off contention.
CURRY, LOVE STAR
Warriors star Stephen Curry scored 31 points with 11 assists and five rebounds in a 125-115 win over the Pelicans, but he left the game with a sprained ankle.
Kevin Love led the Cavaliers to a 113-91 win over the Bulls by scoring 24 points with 13 rebounds. It marked Love's third consecutive game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds, which is his longest such streak since 2014 when he was with the Timberwolves. The Cavs have now won 12 straight games.
Suns guard Devin Booker continued torching nets by scoring 46 points with eight rebounds in a 115-101 road win over the 76ers. Booker has now eclipsed 30 points in three of his last four games.
Suffering a road loss is not the end of the world in the NBA, but losing 116-69 does not look good. Washington (12-11) were dismantled by the Jazz from start to finish Monday, losing three of the four quarters by double digits.
Charlotte Hornets 104-94 Orlando Magic
Indiana Pacers 115-97 New York Knicks
Phoenix Suns 115-101 Philadelphia 76ers
Brooklyn Nets 110-90 Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics 111-100 Milwaukee Bucks
Cleveland Cavaliers 113-91 Chicago Bulls
Memphis Grizzlies 95-92 Minnesota Timberwolves
Golden State Warriors 125-115 New Orleans Pelicans
Dallas Mavericks 122-105 Denver Nuggets
San Antonio Spurs 96-93 Detroit Pistons
Utah Jazz 116-69 Washington Wizards
JAZZ AT THUNDER
Oklahoma City just have not been able to put it all together this season, but Russell Westbrook has returned to something close to his best form as he tries to get this star-studded team in play-off contention. The underrated Jazz have suffered through injuries this season, but they are deep and talented on both ends of the court.