The top four Western Conference teams have been on fire as of late, all holding impressive win streaks, but three of those four were stopped on Friday night. That included the NBA's best team, the Houston Rockets, who saw their 17-game win streak come to an end with a 108-105 loss to the Toronto Raptors. Kyle Lowry had 30 points to lead the Eastern Conference's best team, who has already clinched a playoff spot. DeMar DeRozan added 23 points and Jonas Valanciunas had a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors, who have won seven in a row themselves. James Harden finished with 40 points, but could not help his team overcome a 17-point first-half deficit. The loss is their first since January 26th on the road against the New Orleans Pelicans, as their 10-game road win streak was also snapped. Speaking of the Pelicans, they had a 10-game win streak of their own snapped on Friday with a 116-97 blowout loss to the Washington Wizards. New Orleans was playing without both DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis, as they were led by the unlikely Darius Miller's 20 points. Otto Porter Jr. had 19 points to lead the Wizards, who led by as many as 27 on the night. Markieff Morris chipped in with 17 points and Bradley Beal added 16, as the Wizards won their second in a row. Davis sat out with a sprained left ankle, which he suffered in Wednesday's win over the Sacramento Kings. That led to the Wizards out-rebounding the Pelicans, 49-38, and turning 10 offensive rebounds in to 18 second-chance points on Friday. Elsewhere, the Golden State Warriors were also without a star in Steph Curry, also due to a sprained ankle, as they fell to the Portland Trail Blazers, 125-108. C.J. McCollum had 30 points and Damian Lillard added 28 for the Blazers, who have now won nine in a row. Kevin Durant finished with 40 points, but that was not enough just one night after he powered his team at home against the San Antonio Spurs without Curry. Golden State saw their seven-game win streak come to an end, as they were also without Andre Iguodala and Jordan Bell. Portland's win streak is their longest since winning nine straight in 2014, as this run started with a win over the Warriors on February 14th.
UNC Holds Off Duke's Late Rally
The North Carolina Tar Heels needed to come back from an embarrassing start on in Thursday night's quarterfinal matchup with the Miami Hurricanes, but Friday night was a bit different in the semifinals. The 12th-ranked Tar Heels led for all of the first half after a 16-3 start, and were able to hang on for a 74-69 win over the fifth-ranked Duke Blue Devils in the ACC Tournament at the Barclays Center. Luke Maye had 17 points, including the Tar Heels' final field goal with 5:33 left in regulation. From there, the Blue Devils would go on a 16-3 run to cut their deficit to three, but they could not complete the remarkable comeback. Marvin Bagley III followed his 33-point, 17-rebound effort from Thursday with a double-double of 19 points and 13 rebounds. The win for the Tar Heels snaps their six-game ACC Tournament losing streak against the Blue Devils, as they now advance to their 35th ACC Tournament Championship Game. Gary Trent Jr. led the way for Duke with 20 points, as they allowed UNC to record 24 assists on 28 field goals in the win. Theo Pinson had seven of those assists, as the Tar Heels move on to battle the top-seeded and top-ranked Virginia Cavaliers in the Championship Game on Saturday. The Cavaliers will be coming off a close win over the 19th-ranked Clemson Tigers in Friday's semifinals.
Xavier Goes Down in Overtime
The Big East Tournament was expected to be led by two of the top three teams in the country, that being the Villanova Wildcats and the Xavier Musketeers. The Wildcats advanced with ease on Friday night, but the Musketeers had a hard time in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament. The Providence Friars got the go-ahead basket from Alpha Diallo with 2:22 left in overtime, as they were able to complete a 75-72 upset victory over the Musketeers at Madison Square Garden. Kyron Cartwright also had a big basket with 55 seconds to play, and then took a crucial offensive foul J.P. Macura with eight seconds left, which all sealed the Providence win. The Friars were able to rally from a 17-point, second-half deficit, as they were led by Diallo and Rodney Bullock, who had 17 points apiece. Cartwright finished with 15 points, while Nate Watson had 10 of his 14 points come during the second half rally, which included a 29-12 run to force overtime. Kerem Kanter got 18 points for Xavier, who finished at 9-of-33 shooting in the second half. The Friars will look for another major upset on Saturday in the Big East Championship Game, when they match up with the second-ranked Villanova Wildcats, who have blown out the Marquette Golden Eagles and the Butler Bulldogs so far in this tournament.