As the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors could be the most dangerous team due to their success on their home floor. The Raptors improved their conference-leading home record to 17-3 with a close 86-83 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night. Kyle Lowry had 24 points, including nine in the fourth quarter, helping his team snap a four-game losing streak against the Spurs. Jonas Valanciunas added a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, as Toronto's home record is second in the NBA to the Spurs' 19-2 home mark. Lowry finished the night 8-of-16 from the floor, including 4-of-9 from three-point range in what was his third game back from a three-game absence due to a bruised tailbone. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 17 points and 14 rebounds, as they fell for the fourth time in the past six road games. San Antonio now holds a dismal 11-15 record away from home. It was the first time the Spurs fell to the Raptors since a 97-94 loss in Toronto on December 9th, 2015. The Raptors are back at it on Saturday night, but on the road in Minnesota against the Timberwolves. The Spurs will be back in the comfort of their own home to host the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.
Michigan State Cruises Past Indiana
The Michigan State Spartans were the lone ranked team in action on Friday night, and after falling at home to Michigan last weekend, they needed to bounce back in a big way. So a blowout conference win was a nice start as the Spartans blew past the Indiana Hoosiers, 85-57. Miles Bridges led the way with 22 points for MSU, who shot 54 percent from the floor in the win. Nick Ward added a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds, as the Spartans also hit 50 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. Michigan State has come back down to earth as of late, including a 16-point loss to Ohio State and needing overtime at home to beat Rutgers. Although, it was an 18-0 run midway through the first half on Friday that helped the Spartans pull away seemingly for good, as they led by as many as 23 in the opening 20 minutes. Cassius Winston chipped in 10 points and eight assists, while Jaren Jackson sparked MSU with 10 points, six rebounds, and three blocks. The Hoosiers saw their three-game win streak come to an end despite Robert Johnson's 21 points. The Spartans will hit the road for a matchup with Illinois on Monday night. Indiana will play host to Maryland that same night.
Golden Knights Fall to Panthers in Overtime
The Las Vegas Golden Knights have been on fire in their first season in the NHL, but the Florida Panthers put a hold on that momentarily Friday night. Aaron Ekblad scored 40 seconds in to overtime for a 4-3 Panthers win over the Golden Knights. Ekblad's game-winner off a rebound gave the Panthers a win over their former head coach, and now Vegas head coach, Gerard Gallant. Aleksander Barkov added his fifth short-handed goal of the season, which leads the league, while also adding two assists. Florida as a team now leads the league with nine short-handed goals this season. Evgenii Dadonov and Jamie McGinn also found the back of the net, as James Reimer stopped 33 shots in the Panthers' 19th win of the season. William Karlsson had a goal and an assist to lead the Knights in defeat, while James Neal and David Perron both scored, as the team came away with their 64th point of the season. They will continue this road trip on the east when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Sunday night. The Panthers hit the road on Saturday night to battle another first-place team in the Nashville Predators.