Monday night round-up: The Rockets keep their playoff hopes alive

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Houston Rockets 129-105 Minnesota Timberwolves

The Rockets have kept themselves alive in the playoff hunt and now have their destiny in their own hands. If Houston can beat the Sacramento Kings at the Toyota Center on Wednesday, they will see the postseason.

James Harden was at it again in this one, with The Beard dropping 34 points alongside 19 from Dwight Howard. Trevor Ariza also notched 21 points in a good all-around offensive effort.

The Timberwolves looked visibly tired and two of the brightest stars in the NBA, Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins, could only muster 24 points between them.

Milwaukee Bucks 98-107 Orlando Magic

Jason Kidd's Milwaukee Bucks never once took the lead in this affair as two young sides with bright futures in the league battled it out with nothing on the line in the Eastern Conference.

Orlando turned on the style at times in their final home game of the season and Ersan Ilyasova finished with a team-high 22 points. Rookie point guard Mario Hezonja also chipped in with 19 points at the Amway Center.

Ultimately, the Magic took better care of the rock than the Bucks, as the latter committed 23 turnovers to the former's 10.

Atlanta Hawks 94-109 Cleveland Cavaliers

LeBron James showed up during this top end of the conference affair and made his presence felt.

King James recorded 34 points, six rebounds and six assists to ensure the Cavs secured the first seed, and they did so against last year's number one seed in the east.

Kent Bazemore posted another 23 points for the visitors to continue his impressive run of form, but Kyrie Irving led the game in scoring with 35 points to recover from his self-confessed bad display in the loss to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday.

Charlotte Hornets 114-100 Boston Celtics

Linsanity returned as on Boston's Asian-American night, Jeremy Lin dropped 25 points as the Hornets sixth man to lead them to victory at a place not too many teams have found success this season.

In the battle of the explosive point guards, Isaiah Thomas knocked down 15 points while Kemba Walker managed 18 of his own.

Charlotte led by 20 points at one stage in this encounter, and against an air-tight defence like Boston that's quite a feat. There's still a chance these two could meet in the first round of the playoffs, too.

Washington Wizards 120-111 Brooklyn Nets

The Washington Wizards piled on more misery for the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center as they opened up a 20-0 lead to start the game before the home side even knew what hit them.

With no John Wall or Bradley Beal, it was down to Ramon Sessions and Marcus Thornton to do the damage and they combined for 40 points.

Shane Larking and Bojan Bogdanovic also dropped 40 points for the Nets, but the Nets exuded lower percentages in field goals, three-pointers and free throws than their hosts, which ultimately cost them.

Chicago Bulls 121-116 New Orleans Pelicans

After officially missing out on the playoffs, the pressure was off for the Bulls as they took on the injury-ravaged, and Anthony Davis-less, New Orleans Pelicans.

Despite the continued speculation around his future with the organisation, Jimmy Butler scored a team-high 23 points whilst Brazillian rookie Cristiano Felicio continued to impress with another 16.

James Ennis registered a game-high and career-best 29 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome a Bulls unit without Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol.

L.A. Lakers 79-112 Oklahoma City Thunder

Kobe Bryant's last-ever road game spawned yet another blowout loss in a season full of them, but the Black Mamba did manage to drop a team-high 13 points on a game Thunder.

Kevin Durant scorched the Lakers with 34 points in addition to Russell Westbrook's 18th triple-double of the season. Born in California, Westbrook posted 13 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds.

Bryant's final ever NBA game is now set for Wednesday night at the Staples Center against the Utah Jazz and it's sure to be a grand affair.

Dallas Mavericks 101-92 Utah Jazz

The Jazz might just have blown their playoff hopes after suffering a defeat at home to the Dallas Mavericks, who, conversely, secured a Western Conference playoff spot for the third consecutive season and the 15th time in the last 16 years.

Dallas firmly out-rebounded the Jazz and Dirk Nowitzki nailed home another 22 points en route to a vintage performance. Deron Williams also chipped in with 23, while Gordon Hayward had a game-high 26 for the hosts.

The Jazz now have to beat the lowly Lakers on Wednesday night and hope that the Rockets can't get the job done against the Kings.

Sacramento Kings 105-101 Phoenix Suns

Speaking of whom, managed a victory over another struggling franchise in the Phoenix Suns.

With no DeMarcus Cousins or Rajon Rondo, the Kings followed up their win in their final ever game at the Sleep Train Arena with a road victory at the expense of the Suns.

Seth Curry stepped up to the plate to record 20 points and begin to ever so slightly move out of his brother's enormous shadow. Mirza Teletovic was the Suns high-scorer once again with 26 but the Suns lowly 22.7 percent shooting from beyond the arc was their downfall.

Charlotte Hornets
Southeast Division
Eastern Conference
Phoenix Suns
Pacific Division
Western Conference
Washington Wizards
Northwest Division
Boston Celtics
Atlantic Division
Cleveland Cavaliers
Central Division
New Orleans Pelicans
Southwest Division
Dallas Mavericks
Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee Bucks
Utah Jazz
Sacramento Kings
Chicago Bulls
Atlanta Hawks
Orlando Magic
Minnesota Timberwolves
Houston Rockets
L.A. Lakers
Oklahoma City Thunder

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