Oklahoma City Thunder can feel Los Angeles Clippers breathing down its neck in the Western Conference playoff race, but it 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.
With Los Angeles Lakers' 111-106 loss to the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, the Lakers have been eliminated from playoff contention, meaning LeBron James will not be in the playoffs for the first time since the 2004-05 NBA season.
READ MORE | LeBron, Lakers eliminated from playoff contention
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.
READ | NBA: Harden equals own Rockets record
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.
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.