The Philadelphia 76ers have spent the last few weeks looking up, at the fourth playoff spot in the NBA's Eastern Conference.
That's because the top four teams will get the home-court advantage that is often the difference in the best-of-five first round.The 76ers might not want to look back, however, because somebody is be gaining on them.
The New York Knicks improved to 4-0 against Philadelphia this season Wednesday night with a 104-92 victory and moved within 3 1-2 games of the sixth-place 76ers in the Eastern Conference.
"The home court advantage might not be that much of a break for us," said the Knicks' Kiki Vandeweghe, who had 23 points. "We've been playing better but we still have a long way to go."
The Knicks are only 15-18 at Madison Square Garden this season but are 16-14 on the road, one of seven teams in the NBA above .500 away from home.
"If we keep playing the way we are, it doesn't make any difference what (playoff) position we're in. We'll be in a good position because we're on an upswing," said New York coach John MacLeod.
The Knicks, who have won four in a row and nine of their last 10 games, got 26 points from Patrick Ewing and 21 points and 16 rebounds from Charles Oakley.
"A lot of teams have had runs this season but we haven't had ours yet," MacLeod said. "This is the time to have a run and get things started. Things are starting to fall into place for us. We're feeling better about ourselves."
The Knicks had the scheduling advantage, as Philadelphia was coming off an eight-day road trip and a double-overtime victory against Atlanta on Tuesday night.
Charles Barkley led Philadelphia with 32 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
Bulls 102, Bucks 101
At Milwaukee, the Bucks' Frank Brickowski had a jumper as time expired ruled a 2-point basket, giving the Bulls their fourth straight victory. Michael Jordan, who finished with 39 points, hit two free throws with five seconds left to put the Bulls up 102-99. Brickowski then sank a jumper near the 3-point-line as time expired but it was ruled a 2-point basket.
Mavericks 98, SuperSonics 96
At Dallas, Brad Davis drove past Gary Payton and lofted a layup over Derrick McKey at the buzzer, handing the SuperSonics their third straight loss in Texas. Davis's shot came after Sedale Threatt had tied the game with 4.4 seconds remaining on an off-balanced 3-point shot and broke a three-game losing streak.
Pistons 94, Hornets 83
At Auburn Hills, Mich., Joe Dumars scored 26 points and Gerald Henderson added 19, including 8 during an 11-0 run midway through the fourth quarter, to lead the Pistons. Henderson, who had 13 points in the second half, made all eight of his field-goal attempts and both free throws.
Suns 116, Blazers 108
At Phoenix, Dan Majerle came off the bench to score 26 points and Kevin Johnson added 22 to lead the Suns. The win over the Pacific Division leaders evened the season series between the teams at two games apiece.
Clippers 97, Spurs 93
At Los Angeles, Charles Smith scored 11 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter, including four free throws in the closing seconds, to end the Spurs' five-game winning streak. Ron Harper and Danny Manning added 17 points apiece for the Clippers, who had six players in double figures. Willie Anderson scored 27 points for the Spurs.