Tim Duncan came up with a game-winning block on Friday night as the San Antonio Spurs secured a win over the Houston Rockets to shift power around the West.
With the shot-clock winding down, James Harden had the chance to win the game as he drove to the basket, but he was met by the ‘Big Fundamental’ who blocked his shot and sent the ball up the court to seal the win.
Duncan ended the game with 29 points and 10 rebounds, as the Spurs moved up to third spot in the Western Conference with their 10th straight win. Meanwhile, the Rockets dropped to sixth as a result of the divisional standings.
However, the main point taken from Friday was that the defending champions are on a tear, and they have certainly posted notice to their rivals that they are back to their best.
Staying in the West, both the Oklahoma City Thunder and New Orleans Pelicans won with the latter holding on to the eighth and final playoff spot for now on the head-to-head, while the race in the East is equally as fascinating after some surprise results.
The Boston Celtics defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers behind 19 points from Marcus Smart, and while there were wins for the likes of the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks, the Brooklyn Nets grabbed hold of the eighth seed with a crushing 37-point win over the Washington Wizards.
Elsewhere, Ryan Kelly scored 21 points in the Los Angeles Lakers’ win over the Minnesota Timberwolves which could have ramifications in the Draft lottery, while the Memphis Grizzlies just edged out the Utah Jazz despite an impressive night from Gordon Hayward and a dunk-fest from Rudy Gobert.
Danilo Gallinari scored 47 points but the Denver Nuggets lost a sensationally high-scoring game against the Dallas Mavericks in what was a busy and highly entertaining night in the NBA.
Toronto Raptors 101-99 Orlando Magic
Charlotte Hornets 80-104 Atlanta Hawks
Washington Wizards 80-117 Brooklyn Nets
Boston Celtics 99-90 Cleveland Cavaliers
Indiana Pacers 107-103 Detroit Pistons
Milwaukee Bucks 99-91 New York Knicks
San Antonio Spurs 104-103 Houston Rockets
Phoenix Suns 75-90 New Orleans Pelicans
Sacramento Kings 103-116 Oklahoma City Thunder
Dallas Mavericks 144-143 Denver Nuggets
Memphis Grizzlies 89-88 Utah Jazz
Minnesota Timberwolves 98-106 Los Angeles Lakers