The Thunder can feel the Clippers breathing down their neck in the Western Conference playoff race, but they managed to keep pace with the surging team Friday after a huge 116-109 win over the Raptors.
Oklahoma City was able to overcome a 37-point effort from Kawhi Leonard to remain in the fifth playoff spot in the West and in a tie with the Clippers (43-30) as Los Angeles has won nine of its last 10 games.
The Clippers got a scare of their own when they had to fend off a pesky Cavaliers team in a 110-108 victory on the road.
Danilo Gallinari scored a game-high 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting as Los Angeles stopped a fourth-quarter comeback from the Cavs. Cleveland nearly erased a nine-point deficit in the fourth quarter when it cut the lead to one with 10.7 seconds left.
Fortunately for the Clippers, Jordan Clarkson missed a jumper at the buzzer to give Los Angeles the win.
Studs of the Night
James Harden scored a career-high 61 points in the Rockets’ 111-105 win over the Spurs. He now holds all five of Houston’s best single-game scoring performances.
Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas scored 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting and added 24 rebounds in Memphis’ 123-119 overtime loss to the Magic. Terrence Ross scored a game-high 31 in the win for Orlando.
Duds of the Night
This was not Goran Dragic’s night. The 32-year-old point guard went 0-for-9 shooting in Miami’s 116-87 loss to the Bucks.
The Nuggets always make passing by big men look easy and they did it again in their 111-93 win over the Knicks when Mason Plumlee found Nikola Jokic off the rebound.
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) March 23, 2019
Pistons (37-34) at Trail Blazers (44-27), 10 p.m. ET — With 11 games to play, the Pistons have a seemingly safe 3 1/2-game cushion on the ninth-place Magic for the final playoff spot, but crazier things have happened. Portland, meanwhile, trails the third-place Rockets in the Western Conference by only a half-game.