In a not-so-busy night of NBA action, the Cleveland Cavaliers sorta got their mojo back with a narrow win over the Orlando Magic, while the Philadelphia 76ers, led by Joel Embiid, impressed with a tough road win over the Eastern conference’s best, the Boston Celtics.
Philadelphia 76ers 89 Boston Celtics 80: On queue to celebrate his status as an All-Star, Joel Embiid put in a big performance in the Eastern Conference leaders home, finishing with 26 points, 16 rebounds and 6 assists, getting help from Dario Saric (16 points) and T.J. McConnell (15 off the bench). The Celtics played without Kyrie Irving, and shot just 24.1% from beyond the arc.
Orlando Magic 103 Cleveland Cavaliers 104: The losing streak is over, but it’s not certain that the Cavs are in a good mood yet. They dropped a 23 point lead and almost lost to one of the worst teams in the NBA. Isaiah Thomas had his best game since coming back from his long injury, scoring 21 points, including the crucial ones that won the game. LeBron James finished with 16 points, and is now only 25 away from reaching 30,000 career points. Elfrid Payton led the Magic with 19 points.
Minnesota Timberwolves 98 Houston Rockets 116: As the storm of the loss to the Clippers blew away, James Harden got back from injury and helped Houston to an easy win. Harden wasn’t very good – only 10 points on 3-for-15 from the field, but he had enough cover from Clint Capela (20 points) and Chris Paul (19 points, 9 assists), as well as Eric Gordon with a huge 30 off the bench. Jimmy Butler led Minnesota with 23 points.
Indiana Pacers 86 Portland Trail Blazer 100: 46 combined points from Collison and Oladipo weren’t enough to keep the Pacers running with the hot Blazers. Portland ran away with the game in the final quarter (26-12), despite awful shooting from pretty much everyone, hitting only 39.1% of their shots. Damian Lillard led them with 26 points; Jusuf Nurkic added 19.
Eastern Conference Standings
|10||New York Knicks||20||25||.444||13.5||45|
Western Conference Standings
|1||Golden State Warriors||37||9||.804||–||46|
|3||San Antonio Spurs||30||16||.652||7.0||46|
|5||Oklahoma City Thunder||25||20||.556||11.5||45|
|6||Portland Trail Blazers||24||21||.533||12.5||45|
|7||New Orleans Pelicans||23||21||.523||13.0||44|
|8||Los Angeles Clippers||23||21||.523||13.0||44|
|12||Los Angeles Lakers||15||29||.341||21.0||44|