The Brooklyn Nets have made it 20 wins from their past 23 matches with a 111-89 victory over the Charlotte Hornets without injured star pair Kevin Durant and James Harden on Thursday.
LaMarcus Aldridge impressed in his Nets debut, as Brooklyn blew away the Hornets, who were without the injured LaMelo Ball, in the first quarter with a 32-11 start.
Kyrie Irving had 15 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists but it was Jeff Green who top scored with 21 points including five three-pointers.
The Nets may have been missing James Harden due to hamstring tightness but improved to a 34-15 record to sit top of the Eastern Conference.
The Philadephia 76ers are still right behind them, having overcome the Cleveland Cavaliers 114-94 on Thursday.
The 76ers were also without their star man Joel Embiid, who has now missed 10 games, but they shot 40 per cent from three-point range.
Shake Mitton was the leading exponent with five threes in his match-high 27 points as the 76ers tied with the Nets for most road wins in the East with 14.
Curry on fire, another Westbrook triple-double
Stephen Curry scored 36 points and had 11 rebounds in his second game back but it was not enough as the Golden State Warriors lost 116-109 to the Miami Heat.
The Heat, who had Victor Oladipo debut with six points and five assists, end their four-game home losing streak.
The Los Angeles Clippers suffered their second straight defeat, going down to the Denver Nuggets 101-94 with guard Jamal Murray impressing again with 23 points and eight rebounds.
Center Nikola Jokic scored 14 points along with seven rebounds and seven assists for Denver as the Clippers were always playing catch-up after a 20-31 opening quarter.
Kawhi Leonard was a lone hand with 24 points, 12 rebounds and four assists as the Clippers slipped to a 32-18.
The Orlando Magic got past the New Orleans Pelicans 115-110 in over-time, along with the Atlanta Hawks 134-129 against the San Antonio Spurs in OT.
Russell Westbrook got another triple-double as the Washington Wizards lost 120-91 to the Detroit Pistons.
It was not a good night for the Clippers, losing back-to-back games and shooting less than 30 per cent from three-point range, including two-from-seven from guard Paul George, while Reggie Jackson went at 20 per cent from beyond the arc.
Aldridge’s delightful debut
After missing the last two games with a sore foot since his recruitment from the San Antonio Spurs, veteran LaMarcus Aldridge did a bit of everything on his Brooklyn debut with 11 points, nine rebounds, two steals and six assists.
Philadelphia 76ers 114-94 Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons 120-91 Washington Wizards
Brooklyn Nets 111-89 Charlotte Hornets
Orlando Magic 115-110 New Orleans Pelicans
Miami Heat 116-109 Golden State Warriors
Atlanta Hawks 134-129 San Antonio Spurs
Denver Nuggets 101-94 Los Angeles Clippers
Bucks in Portland
Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers (29-18) play host to the Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks (30-17) in the highlight Friday fixture.