The Indiana Pacers have impressed a lot of people out of nowhere in the Eastern Conference, and that increased a ton on Friday night when they put an end to the Cleveland Cavaliers' win streak. Victor Oladipo scored 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds for a 106-102 win in Cleveland, snapping the Cavs' streak at 13 games. Oladipo has taken over as the leader in Indiana since they traded away Paul George, and he led the way on Friday with six three-pointers, including one with 1:01 left to seal the Pacers' upset victory, He has come up clutch multiple times for the 15-11 Pacers this season, including against the likes of the Spurs and Bulls. He powered the Pacers to their third straight win and ninth victory in the past 12 games, as they became the first team to beat the Cavaliers twice this season. LeBron James had 29 points, 10 rebounds, and eight assists, while Kevin Love added 20 points in Cleveland's first loss since November 9th against the Houston Rockets. They trailed for a majority of the fourth quarter and got as close as one, but could not stop the Pacers, more specifically Oladipo. Cleveland has a quick bounce back, as they will host the Philadelphia 76ers Saturday night. The Pacers return home to host the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.
Durant Stays Host as Warriors Down Pistons
Friday night was the second straight game that the Golden State Warriors played without Steph Curry, but for a second straight game, Kevin Durant took over. Durant scored 36 points to help the Warriors hold off the Detroit Pistons, 102-98. Durant added 10 rebounds and seven assists, helping his team complete a perfect 6-0 road trip. The former Thunder star scored 13 of his points in the third quarter, where the Warriors outscored the Pistons by 14 to jump ahead. Detroit did make things interesting late, but Reggie Jackson missed a driving layup in the final seconds and did not get the foul call he wanted. The Pistons were sent to their fifth straight loss, despite Avery Bradley's 25 points, as they did lead by four at halftime. Klay Thompson hit two free throws late to confirm the win, as he finished with 22 points. Golden State led by as many as 10 in the second half, but the Pistons kept fighting to stay close, as they were looking to sweep the season series after taking down the Warriors at Oracle Arena earlier this year. Instead, it was the Warriors that took over, as they return home on Monday night to host the Portland Trail Blazers. The Pistons have another battle with the Boston Celtics on Sunday night.
Ginobili, Spurs Outlast Celtics in Thriller
Many believe that if the Warriors and Cavaliers fail to return to the NBA Finals somehow this season, that the game we saw Friday night was a Finals preview. If so, it did not disappoint, as the San Antonio Spurs got the game-winning three-pointer with five seconds left from Manu Ginobili for a wild 105-102 win over the Boston Celtics. Kyrie Irving went off on the night with 36 points, but had a good look three-pointer roll in and out at the buzzer, giving the Spurs their 18th win. LaMarcus Aldridge led the way with 27 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs improved to 13-2 on their home floor and put an end to the Celtics' four-game win streak. Irving continued his success at the AT&T Center with 36 points, shooting 13-for-21 from the floor, including 6-for-10 on three-pointers, a season after he put up a career-high 57 points in the same building as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Despite that, the Spurs were able to stay close, even after losing Danny Green to hamstring tightness in the first half. They were already without Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Anderson, but got 14 points and 11 rebounds from Pau Gasol, 15 points from Rudy Gay, and 11 from the recently-returned Tony Parker, In fact, San Antonio has now won six straight with Parker back in the lineup. They will look to stay hot when they visit the Phoenix Suns Saturday night. The Celtics are heading to Detroit to battle the Pistons on Sunday.