There is still work to be done for Western Conference- leading San Antonio as the Spurs close their regular season searching for a 15th consecutive win over the Golden State Warriors.
The Spurs enter the last day of the regular season deadlocked with Chicago for the NBA's best record. With the Bulls owning the tiebreaker, however, San Antonio needs a win against the Warriors coupled with a Bulls loss to Cleveland to earn home-court advantage in a possible NBA Finals matchup.
The Spurs kept hope alive with a 110-106 win in Phoenix on Tuesday despite resting starters Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and being without head coach Gregg Popovich, who missed the game due to personal reasons.
Patty Mills scored a career-high 27 points to pace San Antonio, winners of nine straight and 23 of 26 overall. Tiago Splitter finished with 26, also a career-high.
"It's a small opportunity and I'm making the most of it," said Mills of his increased playing time.
The Spurs are set to play eighth-seeded Utah in the Western Conference quarterfinals.
Golden State, meanwhile is focused on its potential lottery pick. The Warriors have the eighth-worst record in the NBA but have to finish in the bottom seven to keep its protected 2012 first-round pick, which was acquired by Utah in a previous trade.
If Golden State loses Thursday, they will finish tied with either New Jersey or Toronto, who meet on Thursday, for the league's seventh-worst record. The NBA would then hold a drawing Friday to determine draft position.
The Warriors have done their best to keep that pick recently, losing nine of 10, including an 83-81 setback to New Orleans on Tuesday. Klay Thompson scored 16 in that one to pace Golden State.
"I know where Klay Thompson fits," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of his team's potential rotations next season. "Other than that, it's based on improvements we make as a team, whether it be through the draft or free agency or any other avenue we take."
Part of Golden State's poor play this season can be blamed on injuries and the team announced on Wednesday that guard Stephen Curry, who played in just 26 games this season, underwent exploratory arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle and is scheduled to return to on-court basketball activities in around three to four months.
Also, forward David Lee is scheduled to undergo surgery on Thursday to repair a torn abdominal muscle, while recently-acquired center Andrew Bogut is set for surgery on his fractured left ankle on Friday.