Rockets, Blazers and Warriors all pick up for successful night for West.
There were just four games on the NBA schedule on Thursday night, but that didn’t stop Kevin Durant from putting on a show in Cleveland.
With Russell Westbrook resting his knee, Durant stepped up to deliver with 35 points to ensure the Thunder moved to their 50th win of the season and closed the gap to the San Antonio Spurs at the top of the Western Conference to a game-and-a-half.
Dion Waiters scored 30 while Spencer Hawes added 20 points for the hosts who were also missing their influential point guard, but it wasn’t enough to deny the potential future MVP who has now scored 25 points or more in 33 straight games.
Elsewhere, the Houston Rockets were able to overcome the Minnesota Timberwolves with relative ease behind 28 points from James Harden.
Dwight Howard sat out with an ankle injury, but with Harden leading the way the Rockets scored 17 straight points in the second quarter to wipe out a 10-point deficit, and they didn’t look back thereafter.
Kevin Love had 29 points for the visitors, but it wasn’t enough as ultimately Minnesota’s playoff hopes are beginning to dwindle as they now sit six games adrift of the Dallas Mavericks who occupy the eighth and final spot in the West.
There were no such problems for the Portland Trail Blazers, as even though John Wall (24 points, 14 assists) put up better stats than point guard rival Damian Lillard (23 points, 10 assists), collectively they were still able to get the win.
In the last game of the night, it was Stephen Curry’s time to shine as his 31 points and 11 assists helped the Golden State Warriors to a closely fought win over the Milwaukee Bucks.
Klay Thompson scored 29, but despite struggling to put away one of the worst teams in the NBA, coach Mark Jackson was seemingly delighted with the fact that the organisation was 18 games over the .500 mark for the first time in 20 years.
It undoubtedly represents progress for the Warriors, and all that remains to be seen is whether or not they can make a splash in the playoffs.
Oklahoma City Thunder 102-95 Cleveland Cavaliers
Minnesota Timberwolves 106-129 Houston Rockets
Washington Wizards 103-116 Portland Trail Blazers
Milwaukee Bucks 110-115 Golden State Warriors