Spurs 104, Clippers 102
In a game of runs that saw momentum swing back and forth a few times, the Spurs had the last say thanks to a monster effort from the veteran Duncan against the young and dynamic Clippers front court. Duncan scored five of his game-high 34 points in the final 30 seconds of the game, including a game-winning three point play with 2.2 seconds remaining.
The Clippers had a chance to seal the game in the waning seconds with a 102-101 lead and the ball but were forced into a shot-clock violation with seven seconds remaining. The Spurs went to work quickly as Danny Green found Duncan at the right elbow, and after a hesitation drew the defense, Duncan knocked in the 15-footer while getting fouled to steal the game back for the Spurs.
Chris Paul was unable to save the game for the Clippers with a last second, last chance heave, leaving the point guard with a loss to go along with his 14 points and 12 assists. Duncan added 11 rebounds to go along with his 34 points, while Tony Parker added 24 points.
The win, combined with an Oklahoma City Thunder loss, pushed the Spurs' lead in the West to 2.5 games. The Clippers slipped down to fourth place in the West which would put them in line for a second round match-up with the Spurs.
If a playoff series between the two teams is similar to the game on Friday night, it's a scenario all NBA fans should root for in the postseason.
Jazz 105, Trail Blazers 95
The Jazz came up big on the road with a second half comeback after trailing in the first half by as much as 14 points. The Blazers rebuffed Utah's initial efforts to close the gap in the second quarter with a 12-0 run, eventually taking a ten point lead to the break.
After the game tightened up in the third quarter Portland still appeared in control, pushing their lead to nine points with under seven minutes to play. But the Jazz closed strong with a 25-6 run to secure the win and jump past the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
Mo Williams led the Jazz attack with 28 points and five assists with forward Paul Milsap adding 15 points and 10 rebounds. All five Portland starters scored in double figures, led by rookie point guard Damian Lillard with 24 points.
The Jazz and Lakers are both 37-36 on the season, but the Jazz hold the tie breaker thanks to winning the season series, 2-1.
Nuggets 109, Nets 87
The Denver Nuggets ran past the Brooklyn Nets, 109-87, to move into third place in the Western Conference standings. The Nuggets seized control of the game in the second quarter, outscoring the visitors 29-15 as the Denver second unit came up with a big effort. For the game, the Nuggets reserves scored 60 points, led by 19 from Evan Fourier and 16 from Wilson Chandler.
Deron Williams led the Nets with 19 points and Reggie Evans added 15 points and 16 rebounds. Brooklyn, playing in their sixth-consecutive road game, fell four and a half games behind New York and Indiana to remain in fourth place in the East.
Knicks 111, Bobcats 102
The New York Knicks expanded their winning streak to seven games by cruising past the Charlotte Bobcats, 111-102. The Knicks never gave the Bobcats a chance, jumping out to a big lead from the opening tip which would reach 30 points in the second quarter. Charlotte made things respectable with a 33-point fourth quarter, but the win was never in jeopardy for the Knicks as they kept pace with the Indiana Pacers in the race for second place in the Eastern Conference.
Celtics 118, Hawks 107
Paul Pierce logged a triple-double to lead the Boston Celtics past the Atlanta Hawks, 118-107, and draw the C's within a game and a half of the Hawks for sixth place in the East. Pierce scored 20 points to go along with 10 assists and 10 rebounds as the Celtics won their second-straight game as they find a little groove while playing without Kevin Garnett. Jeff Green filled the gap left by KG with 27 points while Jason Terry pitched in 24 points off the bench. The Hawks were also short-handed, playing without Al Horford and Devin Harris, but 60 points from the bench kept Boston from running away.
Heat 108, Hornets 89
The Miami Heat quickly showed there would be no let down after their 27-game winning streak ended in Chicago, scoring 32 first quarter points to roll past the New Orleans Hornets, 108-89. Starting point guard Mario Chalmers missed the game as coach Eric Spoelstra declared his whole roster day-to-day as they finish out the regular season. Chalmers wasn't missed as LeBron James did all of the heavy lifting for the Heat with 36 points and six assists. Dwyane Wade added 17 points and nine assists to the winning effort. Ryan Anderson led the Hornets off the bench with 20 points.
Timberwolves103, Thunder 91
The Oklahoma City Thunder stumbled on the road, losing to the Minnesota Timberwolves, 103-91. Center Nikola Pekovic had his way in the paint for Minnesota, finishing with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Ricky Rubio added 17 points, seven assists and four steals to run a team effort that included 33 points off the bench. Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 36 and Russell Westbrook added 18 and nine assists, but it wasn't enough for Oklahoma City. The loss dropped the Thunder two and a half games behind the San Antonio Spurs at the top of the Western Conference standings.
Magic 97, Wizards 92
The Orlando Magic enjoyed another strong game from Tobias Harris and a strong effort from the bench to beat the Washington Wizards, 97-92. John Wall scored 35 points and grabbed nine rebounds for the Wizards but it wasn't enough to carry Washington to the win. Harris, acquired by Orlando at the trade deadline, scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. The effort topped his previous best of 29 points, which he scored in a loss to Charlotte on Wednesday. Orlando's bench also added 41 points to the win, led by guard E'Twaun Moore's 15 points.
Raptors 99, Pistons 82
The Toronto Raptors used a strong third quarter surge to seize control and secure a 99-92 win over the Detroit Pistons. Rudy Gay came alive for the Raptors in the third quarter, scoring 19 of his 21 points as Toronto outscored Detroit 36-15 in the third. Gay was one of three Toronto starters to score at least 20 points, joined by DeMar DeRozan (21) and Amir Johnson (20). Jonas Jerebko came off the bench to lead the Pistons with 20 points.
76ers 97, Cavaliers 87
A pair of double-doubles from Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes helped lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Cleveland Cavaliers, 97-87. Turner scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while Hawes made two of three three-point attempts to finish with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Cleveland had five players score in double figures, led by C.J. Miles off the bench with 19.
Grizzlies 103, Rockets 94
The Memphis Grizzlies bounced back from a pair of losses on the road earlier in the week to beat the Houston Rockets at home, 103-94. The Grizz leaned on their leaders to beat Houston as Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol each scored 21 points. Randolph added 12 rebounds as six different Memphis players scored in double figures. Tony Allen led the Grizz on the defensive end, making James Harden uncomfortable most of the night and holding Houston's leading scorer to just seven points on 3 of 9 shooting from the floor.