Toronto Raptors star DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 42 points against the Houston Rockets on Monday night to help secure a closely fought win for his team.
DeRozan added 11 rebounds to his night’s work as he duelled with James Harden and came out on top, with the Rockets guard scoring 31 points as his team saw their four-game winning streak snapped.
Houston’s struggles in Toronto continue as they have not won there since 2007 and Monday night’s win was an eighth straight home win for the Raptors over their Western Conference rivals.
Jonas Valanciunas added 15 for the hosts while Lou Williams scored 13 to hand Toronto a boost and move them to 44-30 for the season.
Staying in the East, the Boston Celtics also won as they defeated the Charlotte Hornets on the road in a key game in the playoff race.
Avery Bradley scored 30 points and grabbed eight rebounds in an impressive performance as he outshone Kemba Walker who had 28 points and 12 assists for the Hornets.
The win improves Boston’s record to 33-41 and it moves them back into eighth spot in the standings for the final playoff spot.
Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Lakers were also victorious thanks to a game-winner from Jordan Clarkson against the Philadelphia 76ers with 0.7 seconds remaining on the clock in the game.
Both teams have struggled mightily this year, but Clarkson is emerging as a real bright spark for the Lakers as he put up 26 points and 11 assists in another impressive display to give coach Byron Scott another indication of his abilities ahead of next season.
Meanwhile, the Portland Trail Blazers clinched their playoff spot after defeating the Phoenix Suns with Damian Lillard leading the charge with 19 points and seven assists.
Boston Celtics 116-104 Charlotte Hornets
Los Angeles Lakers 113-111 Philadelphia 76ers
Milwaukee Bucks 88-101 Atlanta Hawks
Houston Rockets 96-99 Toronto Raptors
Sacramento Kings 83-97 Memphis Grizzlies
Utah Jazz 104-84 Minnesota Timberwolves
Phoenix Suns 86-109 Portland Trail Blazers