The Virginia Cavaliers would've picked a tough time to fall to an unranked team, but somehow, someway, they survived on Thursday night. De'Andre Hunter banked in a three-pointer as time expired to give the top-ranked Cavaliers a close 67-66 road win over the Louisville Cardinals.. The thrilling victory makes Virginia the first ACC team to go a perfect 9-0 on the road in conference play. For a while, it didn't look like they would pull it off, as the Cavs trailed by 13 points in the second half. Hunter's game-winner helped him avenge a crucial foul against him with 38 seconds left that gave the Cardinals two free throws and a three-point lead. The Cavaliers would not go down quietly, moving to 16-1 in ACC play on the year, as they were led by Ty Jerome's 21 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Devon Hall and Kyle Guy added 10 points apiece, while Hunter's game-winner gave him eight points on the night. Virginia is now the first ACC team with a perfect record on the road in conference play since the Duke Blue Devils went 8-0 in the 2011-2012 season. The Cardinals got 18 points from Deng Adel, but could not hang on for the major upset, as they will end their regular season on the road against NC State on Saturday. The Cavaliers return home that day to host Notre Dame.
Embiid, Sixers Earn Big Win Over Cavaliers
The Philadelphia 76ers have "trusted the process" on their way to being a contending team in the Eastern Conference, and they proved that process could be working with a major statement on Thursday night. That statement was taking down LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, which they did on the road, 108-97. J.J. Redick had 22 points to lead the Sixers, who got a double-double of 17 points and 14 rebounds from Joel Embiid. The city of Philadelphia, including some Sixers' players, have been silently trying to lure James to join the Sixers in free agency this summer as of late. They got an up-close look at the star on Thursday, as James had 30 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists against what could be his future team. Philadelphia is showcasing themselves well for the NBA's best player, as they improved to 8-2 since February 6th, including a seven-game win streak at one point. They also got 18 points from Ben Simmons and 16 from Dario Saric, who had a big three-pointer down the stretch to seal the win. The Sixers led by double digits for most of the fourth quarter, as James could not lead his team in a rally attempt. The Sixers have moved up to the seven-seed in the Eastern Conference, and will play host to the Charlotte Hornets on Friday. The Cavaliers stay home to host the Denver Nuggets.
Lillard Has Another Big Night in Blazers' Win
Damian Lillard has turned in to one of the NBA's best scorers over the past few years, and Thursday night was another example of that. Lillard scored 35 points on his home floor on Thursday, leading the Portland Trail Blazers over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 108-99. Lillard's big night helped overcome Karl-Anthony Towns' 34 points and 17 rebounds in a losing effort. The Blazers used a big second half, outscoring the T'Wolves, 64-50, to rally for their fifth straight victory. C.J. McCollum added 19 points and Jusuf Nurkic scored 16 to support the big half, as the Trail Blazers improved to 10 games over .500 for the first time since the 2014-2015 season. The Timberwolves did lead by five at halftime, but dropped their fourth straight game at the Moda Center. They were playing their third game without Jimmy Butler, who had surgery on Sunday to repair a mensicus injury. There is no official timetable for his return, and that is Minnesota's leading scorer at 22.2 points per game. He is hoping to return for the postseason. The victory for Portland gives them a season series split in four games with their division rivals. They will stay home on Saturday night to battle another division rival in Russell Westbrook's Oklahoma City Thunder. The Timberwolves move on without Butler to visit the Utah Jazz on Friday night.