LeBron James has scored 24 points to move into 12th place on the NBA’s career scoring list and help Cleveland to a 107-87 drubbing of Brooklyn.
James passed Dominique Wilkins with a three-point play in the first quarter of Thursday’s game. The four-time MVP, who didn’t play in the fourth quarter, has 26,689 career points.
Kevin Love added 19 points for the Cavaliers (53-22), who lead Toronto by 2 1/2 games for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
Thaddeus Young led the Nets with 18 points.
James, who also had 11 assists, sparked a 25-6 run to end the second quarter.
“I’ve been very durable throughout my career and I’ve played with some great teammates and two great organisations that allowed me to put the ball in the basket,” he said.
Nets interim coach Tony Brown conceded his side were now out of the race.
“They played great,” he said of Cleveland. “That’s why they’re the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Credit to them, they made it hard on us defensively.”
Nikola Mirotic scored 28 points and Jimmy Butler added 21 to help Chicago win at Houston, 103-100.
In a pivotal game for two teams fighting for the final playoff spots in their conferences, the Bulls outscored the Rockets 32-20 in the fourth quarter as Mirotic led them back from a nine-point deficit at the end of the third.
The Bulls trail Indiana by one game for the final playoff spot in the East.
James Harden had 24 points and eight assists for Houston, which dropped a half-game behind Utah and Dallas, who are tied for the seventh and eighth seeds in the West.
In Indianapolis, Evan Fournier scored 25 points and Nikola Vucevic added 24 to lead Orlando past Indiana 114-94.
The Magic have won three straight since snapping a six-game losing streak, including their first win at Indiana since February 4, 2012.
Paul George scored 27 points and had eight rebounds while Lavoy Allen finished with 12 and 11 rebounds but it wasn’t nearly enough for the Pacers.
Indiana tied the score at 62 early in the third but Orlando answered with a 14-5 run and steadily pulled away.
In Portland, Al-Farouq Aminu scored a career-high 28 points, including a career-best six 3-pointers, as the Trail Blazers extended their winning streak at home to a season-high six games with a 116-109 victory over Boston.
In Oklahoma City, Kevin Durant scored 31 and Steven Adams hit a go-ahead tip-in with 26.9 seconds left as the Thunder avoided an embarrassing loss, edging the depleted Los Angeles Clippers 119-117.
“It’s hard to play those guys because they have nothing to lose and they’re loose and free,” Durant said.
“It was a weird game to play in. I’m glad we got the win.”
Meanwhile Luke Babbitt scored 22 points and Tim Frazier had 11 of his 17 in the fourth quarter, leading an injury-riddled New Orleans past Denver 101-95.