The Oklahoma City Thunder boosted their playoff hopes by overcoming the Los Angeles Clippers, while reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors lost.
Ahead of Friday night's action, two-and-a-half games were all that separated the fourth-and 10th-placed teams in the NBA's Western Conference.
Two of the teams among that group of seven met in Oklahoma City, the fourth-placed Thunder winning 121-113 over the ninth-placed Clippers.
The loss was a significant one for the Clippers, sliding them back to 10th in the conference standings, behind the Denver Nuggets.
While Russell Westbrook got his typical triple-double, it was a balanced outing for the Thunder.
Corey Brewer led the team with 22 points and was one of five Thunder players in double figures. Paul George added 19, Steven Adams had 18, Westbrook 16 – who also grabbed 10 rebounds and 11 assists – and Terrance Ferguson 12.
The win was important for the Thunder not only because it strengthened their position in the west but also because their schedule ahead looks daunting. Next up is a two-game road swing that sees them face the Toronto Raptors – whose 112-115 overtime win against the Dallas Mavericks was their 11th straight victory – on Sunday, and to Boston on Tuesday.
Then, they return home to face the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers, also winners of 11 successive games.
The Clippers' path is not any easier. They host the Blazers on Sunday, before playing their next four, and six of their next seven, on the road.
As for the depleted Warriors, they were beaten 98-93 at home to the Sacramento Kings.
The Warriors were without All-Star trio Kevin Durant (rib), Stephen Curry (ankle) and Klay Thompson (thumb) – their three top scorers – and the Kings took advantage.
WIN FOR BIRTHDAY BOY EMBIID
It was a special night for Joel Embiid. Celebrating his 24th birthday, the All-Star led the Philadelphia Sixers with 24 points and a career-high 19 rebounds in a 120-116 win at home to the Brooklyn Nets.
RUSSELL STRUGGLES ON THE FLOOR
In the same game at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Brooklyn guard DeAngelo Russell scored just eight points on woeful three-of-14 shooting and logged a cringe-worthy plus/minus ratio of minus 18 as the Nets fell to 21-48 for the season.
FERGUSON AND COVINGTON DAZZLE
While the Thunder clip below features a particularly pretty finish by Ferguson, we offer a pair of Friday night highlights to emphasise the concept of team basketball.
Philadelphia 76ers 120-116 Brooklyn Nets
Toronto Raptors 122-115 (OT) Dallas Mavericks
Sacramento Kings 98-93 Golden State Warriors
Boston Celtics 92-83 Orlando Magic
Oklahoma City Thunder 121-113 Los Angeles Clippers
Miami Heat 92-91 Los Angeles Lakers
ROCKETS AT PELICANS
As the NBA battles for basketball fans' attention with the NCAA Tournament this weekend, there are some compelling, playoff-influencing matchups on the St. Patrick's Day slate. Among them, the Houston Rockets (54-14) travel to the New Orleans Pelicans (39-29), the Indiana Pacers (40-29) are at the Washington Wizards (39-30) and the Minnesota Timberwolves (40-29) are on the road to the San Antonio Spurs (39-30). Also, the Portland Trail Blazers (42-26) look to extend their winning streak to 12 games as they host the Detroit Pistons (30-38).
12 de diciembre 2018
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|Raptors star Leonard out against Clippers, may miss matchup with Warriors|
|Butler opens up about heated Timberwolves practice|
|Spurs achieved ´mission impossible´, says Pochettino|
|Dembele stunner pleases Barca boss Valverde|
|Van Dijk lauds ´fantastic´ Alisson|
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|Klopp ´would have paid double´ for Alisson|
|Klopp: I don´t care about Madrid revenge mission|
|Tension and anxiety got to Inter, laments Spalletti|
|Tuchel hails magnificent PSG as Red Star win seals last-16 spot|
|Mbappe admits frank discussions inspired PSG´s Champions League progress|
|Klopp: Napoli had no answers to outstanding Liverpool|
|Pochettino proud of ´massive, massive achievement´ for Spurs|
11 de diciembre 2018
|Barcelona equal Champions League record|
|Composed and controlled Liverpool see off Napoli to progress|
|Tenerife back to winning ways, AEK beat Hapoel|
|Howedes ´hurt´ after emotional Schalke return ends in defeat|
|Kane ´buzzing´ over ´not bad´ draw at Barcelona|
|Robertson hails Alisson´s ´unbelievable´ save as Liverpool progress|
|Red Star Belgrade 1 Paris Saint-Germain 4: Neymar brilliance helps secure Group C top spot|
|Inter 1 PSV 1: Icardi header not enough for the Nerazzurri|
|Liverpool 1 Napoli 0: Superb Salah sends Reds through|
|Club Brugge 0 Atletico Madrid 0: Simeone´s men miss out on top spot|
|Barcelona 1 Tottenham 1: Lucas rescues Spurs late on to secure progress|
|Monaco 0 Borussia Dortmund 2: Guerreiro double snatches top spot from Atletico|
|Butler´s groin strain ´nothing significant´ – 76ers coach Brown|
|Woakes, Curran among leading lights at IPL auction|
|Blue Jays release five-time All-Star Tulowitzki|
|Mourinho: Professionals care more than the fans|
|Casillas reaches 100 Champions League wins|
|Expansion franchise Cincinnati sign Garza, send Kamara to Rapids|
|Manchester City sign United States goalkeeper Steffen for reported £7m|
|Schalke 1 Lokomotiv Moscow 0: Russians miss chance for Europa League reprieve|
|Galatasaray 2 Porto 3: Terim´s men into Europa League after penalty drama|
|Jackman leaves Dragons role|
|Tottenham boosted as Barcelona bench Messi|
|Mane and Henderson in Liverpool XI to face Napoli|
|Mourinho shoots down question over how to get the best from Pogba|
|Ronaldo to start as Allegri aims to avoid Champions League big guns|
|Odriozola: I´m in love with Benzema, he´s the best number nine in the world|
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|Marcelino suggests Valencia open to Batshuayi departure|
|Bottas to make rally debut in title-winning M-Sport Ford Fiesta|
|Kovac dismisses Pavard speculation|
|Yaya Toure leaves Olympiacos after just five appearances|
|Riise challenges Liverpool to banish Champions League disappointment against Napoli|
|We rallied around it - Durant on Green confrontation aftermath|
|Valencia ´p****d off´ with Fellaini´s controversial Young Boys winner - Soler|
|More must be done to combat racism at Premier League grounds – Chalobah|
|Napoli will not sack ´big signing´ Ancelotti if they miss Champions League qualification, says De La|
|Guardiola not interested in ´exceptional´ Saul|
|Shai gives Windies hope with thrilling ODI run chase|
|Ten Hag unsure whether to risk Ajax stars against Bayern|
|Erasmus to work with Bulls as Springboks assist Super Rugby sides|
|Paul Gascoigne pleads not guilty to sexual assault|
|Joshua is ´begging´ for unification fight, claims Wilder|
|Silva, Fernandinho add to Guardiola´s injury woes|
|Hosszu storms to 14th gold, Seto smashes Le Clos´ world record|
|Raheem is an incredible human being - Guardiola rallies behind City star Sterling|
|Sexton pens IRFU extension until 2021|
|Ajax boss Ten Hag can do big things, says Bayern chief Rummenigge|
|He´s good at basketball – Kerr running out of superlatives for Curry|
|Green thrilled to make Warriors return in victory over Timberwolves|
|Madrid squad great and humble - Solari responds to Ronaldo|
|Langer unsure what to expect from Perth wicket|
|Fournette subjected to alleged racial abuse in Titans loss - Marrone|
|Better and better - Mbappe hails Neymar link|
|It´s the end of one of the best movies you could ever see - James pays tribute to retiring Wade|
|NASA invites Curry to see moon rocks|