No one is enjoying on-court life in the NBA bubble more than T.J. Warren.
The Indiana Pacers guard turned in his second straight dominant scoring performance Monday to keep his side undefeated in the seeding games.
Indiana is one of five teams with a perfect mark in the bubble: Toronto, Orlando, Houston and Phoenix being the others.
Toronto opened the six-game slate with a four-point win over Miami in which Fred VanVleet went off for 36 points.
Michael Porter Jr. also shined for the Denver Nuggets, as he erupted for a career-best 37 points in an overtime win over Oklahoma City.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers finished off Monday's slate with an achievement of their own, as they clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference through a victory over Utah.
Monday Scores and Highlights
Toronto 107, Miami 103
Fred VanVleet (TOR): 36 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists
Pascal Siakam (TOR): 22 PTS, 6 REB, 3 AST
Goran Dragic (MIA): 25 PTS, 5 REB, 5 AST
Toronto backed up Saturday's win over the Los Angeles Lakers by fending off a late challenge from the Miami Heat in Monday's opener.
The Heat got within one point of the lead with 45 seconds left after a three-pointer from Jae Crowder and a Goran Dragic layup, but turnovers cost them in the final minutes.
VanVleet torched the Heat from three-point range, as he knocked down seven shots from downtown on his way to scoring a game high of 36 points.
In six of their last seven games, the Raptors have had at least one player eclipse the 30-point mark. Kyle Lowry did so Saturday.
The loss dealt a blow to Miami's chances of landing one of the top four seeds in the Eastern Conference. Indiana and Philadelphia both gained ground on the Heat, whose lead for the No. 4 seed is down to one game over the Pacers and two in front of the Sixers.
Denver 121, Oklahoma City 113 (Final/Overtime)
Michael Porter Jr. (DEN): 37 PTS, 12 REB
Nikola Jokic (DEN): 30 PTS, 12 REB
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (OKC): 24 PTS, 5 REB, 2 AST
Denver and Oklahoma City both squandered opportunities at the end of the fourth quarter to send their clash into overtime.
Chris Paul missed the front end of his two free throws, and Troy Daniels missed Denver's final shot in regulation.
In overtime, the Nuggets pulled away behind eight points from Nikola Jokic, who joined leading scorer Porter over 30 points.
Porter shot 12-for-16 from the field, 4-for-6 from three-point range and went a perfect 9-for-9 at the free-throw line to produce his career-best scoring total.
The 22-year-old also became the third Denver rookie—and first since Carmelo Anthony in April 2004—to record more than 35 points and 10 rebounds in a single game, per NBA Stats:
Indiana 111, Washington 100
T.J. Warren (IND): 34 PTS. 11 REB, 4 AST
Malcolm Brogdon (IND): 20 PTS, 7 REB, 6 AST
Thomas Bryant (WSH): 20 PTS, 11 AST,
Warren continued his fantastic stay in the bubble with 34 points during Indiana's second win in Orlando, Florida.
The 26-year-old has 87 points in his first two games at ESPN's Wide World of Sports, which is the second-highest total in a two-game span in Pacers' history, per ESPN Stats and Info:
ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo
T.J. Warren dropped another 34 points today after scoring 53 on Saturday. His 87 points so far in the NBA bubble are tied with Jermaine O'Neal for the 2nd-most in a 2-game span in Pacers history. Only Billy Knight in 1980 had more (88). h/t @EliasSports https://t.co/FFwKw0iwzD
All but three of Warren's points came from inside the arc, as he shot 1-for-6 from deep, made 14 field goals and hit all five of his free throws.
Washington received some decent outings from Thomas Bryant and Jerome Robinson, who combined for 37 points, but it was not enough to keep pace with the Pacers.
The Wizards are running out of time to force a play-in series with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, as they are 7.5 games back of the Brooklyn Nets, who open Tuesday's slate against Milwaukee.
New Orleans 109, Memphis 99
Brandon Ingram (NO): 24 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST
Zion Williamson (NO): 23 PTS, 7 REB, 5 AST
Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM): 22 PTS, 2 REB, 2 AST
New Orleans narrowed the gap between itself and eighth-seeded Memphis thanks to a 30-point fourth quarter.
Despite being on a minutes restriction, Zion Williamson put up 23 points, which was one shy of Brandon Ingram's game high.
Ingram scored five points in the final two minutes to seal the victory for the Pelicans, who are now 2.5 games behind the Grizzlies.
The victory could mark a turning point in the bubble for the Pelicans, who have the easiest schedule of the teams in contention for the No. 8 seed.
New Orleans finishes with Washington, San Antonio, Orlando and two contests against Sacramento. If they beat the Spurs and Kings, the Pelicans could narrow the competition down to themselves, Memphis and Portland.
Philadelphia 132, San Antonio 130
Joel Embiid (PHI): 27 PTS, 9 REB, 5 AST
Tobias Harris (PHI): 25 PTS, 6 REB, 4 AST
Shake Milton (PHI): 16 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST
DeMar DeRozan (SA): 30 PTS, 5 REB, 3 AST
Shake Milton rescued Philadelphia from a disappointing result, as he knocked down a game-winning three-point shot with 7.2 seconds left.
San Antonio clawed back into the game with a 43-point fourth quarter, while the Sixers struggled in stretches with Ben Simmons in foul trouble.
Without Milton's 16 points, Brett Brown's team may have suffered its second straight defeat to open play in Orlando.
Even with a victory under their belts, the Sixers have been far from convincing in their matchups with the Spurs and Pacers.
San Antonio is still ahead of New Orleans in the West standings, but it could fall further behind Portland if the Blazers knock off Houston in their game in hand over the rest of the competition Tuesday.
The path to a potential play-in series will not get easier for the Spurs, as they face Denver and Utah in their next two contests.
Los Angeles Lakers 116, Utah 108
Anthony Davis (LAL): 42 PTS, 12 REB
LeBron James (LAL): 22 PTS, 9 AST, 8 REB
Donovan Mitchell (UTA): 33 PTS, 5 REB, 4 AST
Davis moved his bubble scoring total to 90 points through three games with 42 points in Monday's nightcap.
If Warren slows down his current pace, the Lakers star could finish the eight seeding games as the round's leading scorer.
James thrived in a supporting role to the big man, as he came one assist and two rebounds shy from notching a triple-double.
The victory created six games of separation between the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers atop the West with five seeding matchups.
While Frank Vogel's team has its playoff fate secured, Utah is in danger of dropping as low as No. 7, with the gap between it and Dallas continuing to narrow.
1. Milwaukee (54-13)
2. Toronto (48-18)
3. Boston (44-22)
4. Miami (42-25)
5. Indiana (41-26)
6. Philadelphia (40-27)
7. Orlando (32-35)
8. Brooklyn (31-35)
9. Washington (24-43)
1. Los Angeles Lakers (51-15)
2. Los Angeles Clippers (45-21)
3. Denver (44-23)
4. Houston (42-24)
5. Utah (42-25)
6. Oklahoma City (41-25)
7. Dallas (40-29)
8. Memphis (32-36)
9. Portland (30-38)
10. San Antonio (29-37)
11. New Orleans (29-38)
12. Sacramento (28-38)
13. Phoenix (28-39)
Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90.
Statistics obtained from NBA.com.