The most impressive thing about the Houston Rockets' current win streak is the quality of opponents that they are beating, as well as their success away from home. They took care of the another playoff-hopeful team on the road Wednesday night with a 110-99 win over the Milwaukee Bucks for their 17th straight victory. James Harden had 26 points, while Eric Gordon added 18 points, as Houston passed the Boston Celtics for the longest win streak in the NBA this season. Gordon also came up big down the stretch with two three-pointers late to keep the game in their favor. The win comes after a tough 10-point victory against the Thunder in Oklahoma City on Tuesday night, as they got a double-double of 16 points and 11 assists from Chris Paul in Wednesday's win. The Bucks did play close in the second half, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo's 30 points. Khris Middleton added 18, while Sterling Brown had a career-high 15, but the Bucks could not even the game. They even had an 11-0 run at one point to get their deficit as low as four, but the Rockets kept pushing away with every rally attempt. Houston's road trip does not get any easier, as they take their win streak to Toronto to battle the East's best, Raptors, on Friday night. The Bucks stay home to host the New York Knicks that same night.
Pelicans Move Win Streak to Double Digits
When the New Orleans Pelicans lost DeMarcus Cousins for the season to a torn ACL, many believed it would be a long shot for them to get the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Now, 10 straight wins later, they are a three-seed, looking to host a playoff series. Anthony Davis continued to lead his team, this time on the road, with a 114-101 win over the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night. Davis finished with 17 points before leaving in the third quarter after rolling his ankle. That left Nikola Mirotic to take over, which he did with 26 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Davis did have x-rays on his ankle Wednesday night, which came back negative, but they will still watch the injury closely. The Kings got as close as nine with their deficit in the fourth quarter, but no closer than that in the final 12 minutes. Buddy Hield led the way with 20 points in a losing effort for the lowly Kings. Jrue Holiday continued to contribute for New Orleans with 23 points and eight assists, while E'Twaun Moore added 15 points in the victory. The 10 consecutive wins for the Pelicans ties the franchise record, which was set on January 26th, 2011. They have set another club record with at least 100 points in each of the 10 wins. They will return home on Friday night to play host to the Washington Wizards, while the Kings move on to host the Orlando Magic, which is also on Friday.
Raptors Become First Team to Clinch Playoff Spot
It was not at all easy for the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night, but the East's best team became the first team in the NBA to clinch a playoff spot this season. DeMar DeRozan stepped up with 42 points, including a big dunk to force overtime late, as the Raptors edged the Detroit Pistons in overtime, 121-119. Fred VanVleet overcame a 1-for-9 start on the night to hit the game-winning jumper with 1.1 seconds left in the extra period, as Blake Griffin had a three-pointer go off the back of the net as time expired. The Raptors trailed by as many as 17 in the first half, but outscored the Pistons, 40-25, in the third quarter to make things interesting late. They were also without Serge Ibaka, who was ejected during a tough second quarter, which saw the Raptors get outscored, 36-18. Despite all of that, the Raptors have now won six in a row and 13 of their past 14, and still hold a 2.5-game lead on the Boston Celtics. The Pistons got 31 points from Griffin, but are going in the opposite direction with four straight losses, as they now sit five games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They do have the third-easiest schedule in the league the rest of the way, including a home matchup with the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. The Raptors are also at home on Friday for a showdown with the red-hot Houston Rockets.