What Thursday night's NBA action lacked in quantity, it made up for in quality. Despite featuring just three games on the slate, there were plenty of front-page storylines in play.
The L.A. Clippers did the (nearly) impossible by knocking off the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, marking just the sixth time that has happened all season. Chris Paul took control of the game late, stifling a potential Pacers comeback and assuring the Clippers of a second straight winning season.
In Chicago, Joakim Noah went bonkers, joining the 20-20 club and notching one of the rarest triple-doubles in a win over the reeling Philadelphia 76ers that all but slammed the door shut on a disappointing Sixers season.
Finally, the L.A. Lakers inched closer to .500 by defeating the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves. Kobe Bryant, having apparently abandoned "facilitator mode" for an evening, relentlessly attacked the Wolves' totally overmatched guards on the way to 33 points. Thanks to the win, L.A. now sits just two games behind the Houston Rockets for the eighth playoff spot in the West.
There were phenomenal individual performances, statement wins and revealing losses on a Thursday night that helped set the stage for the season's final few weeks. Pay attention to what happened in these games—it'll go a long way toward predicting what we'll see down the stretch.