Pacers slip up, Heat take advantage.
There were 12 games on the NBA schedule on Friday night, with key results in the race for the playoffs in both Conferences, while the San Antonio Spurs continue to make it look easy.
Nevertheless, despite making it 16 straight wins with victory over the Denver Nuggets, Tim Duncan revealed that the pressure is no less with coach Gregg Popovich continuing to ensure the team doesn’t get comfortable.
Marco Belinelli scored 27 points while Duncan added 20 as the Spurs not only scored a season high in points but moved to within one game of their longest ever regular-season win streak since winning 17 in a row back in 1996.
There’s no rest for the Western Conference leaders though, as they face New Orleans on Saturday night hoping to extend the run as they continue to lead the way in the NBA.
Over in the Eastern Conference, the race for the top seed arguably re-opened again as the Indiana Pacers fell to a loss at the Washington Wizards and coupled with the Miami Heat’s win over the Detroit Pistons, the gap is back down to two games.
Marcin Gortat had 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Wizards while John Wall scored 20, and David West was left to question whether or not his team are “handling success and being out front the right way”.
LeBron James ensured there were no slip-ups from the reigning champions as his triple double of 17 points, 10 rebounds and 12 assists saw off the Pistons, as Miami bounced back in emphatic fashion after their loss to Indiana.
Both the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls secured their playoff spots as the New York Knicks fell to the Phoenix Suns, but it was another missed opportunity for the Knicks in their own race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.
The same could also have been said of the Memphis Grizzlies who remain in eighth in the West, but their loss to the Golden State Warriors leaves the door open for Dallas to leapfrog them.
Stephen Curry had 33 points and eight assists to lead the Warriors to an important win given their precarious position above the chasing pack, but it remains to be seen who makes it through as the race continues to hot up down the stretch.
Charlotte Bobcats 105-110 Orlando Magic
Boston Celtics 103-105 Toronto Raptors
Indiana Pacers 78-91 Washington Wizards
Cleveland Cavaliers 97-108 Brooklyn Nets
Miami Heat 110-78 Detroit Pistons
Portland Trail Blazers 91-74 Chicago Bulls
Los Angeles Lakers 107-143 Minnesota Timberwolves
Utah Jazz 95-102 New Orleans Pelicans
Sacramento Kings 81-94 Oklahoma City Thunder
San Antonio Spurs 133-102 Denver Nuggets
New York Knicks 88-112 Phoenix Suns
Memphis Grizzlies 93-100 Golden State Warriors