Reigning NBA champions the Golden State Warriors flexed their muscles on the road, beating the Detroit Pistons 102-98, while the Cleveland Cavaliers' winning streak came to an end.
Playing without Stephen Curry for the second straight game as he continues to rehab an ankle injury, Kevin Durant stepped up with 36 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists and five blocks on Friday.
Golden State have dominated the third quarter all season, and Friday proved more of the same. Trailing by four points at the break, the Warriors charged back with a 31-17 third quarter led by Klay Thompson and Durant.
"I liked our focus level to start the game, for 48 minutes we were focused," Durant said after the game. "We had a little slippage at the end, but it's an erratic game and stuff like that can happen. We have to give them credit for staying in it, but I think our focus level was the main thing throughout this whole trip—especially with so much that went on.
"Just proud of the effort that we gave from the coaches all the way down to the players."
The Pistons, once third in the Eastern Conference, have now lost five consecutive games — the last four all by within five points.
Meanwhile, the Cavs crashed to a 106-102 defeat against the Indiana Pacers – snapping a 13-game winning run.
LeBron James scored 29 points and tallied 10 rebounds in the loss, while Victor Oladipo had 33 points for the Pacers.
ALDRIDGE LEADS SPURS, HOWARD STARS IN DEFEAT
San Antonio Spurs power forward LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points with 10 rebounds in a 105-102 home victory over the Boston Celtics. San Antonio outscored Boston 28-20 in the fourth quarter, and Aldridge was a factor late on both ends of the court.
The Charlotte Hornets lost 119-111 in overtime to the Chicago Bulls, but center Dwight Howard scored 25 points while hauling in 20 rebounds with six blocked shots. Howard became the first player in Bobcats/Hornets history with 25 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks in a game. He also became the oldest player to record a 20-20 game on his birthday (32).
RAPTORS ROAR THANKS TO DEROZAN
The Toronto Raptors have been quiet this season, but DeMar DeRozan knows how to fill it up.
Peep the BEST ACTION around the Association Friday night! pic.twitter.com/yvyJQ65CAW— NBA (@NBA) December 9, 2017
Indiana Pacers 106-102 Cleveland Cavaliers
Golden State Warriors 102-98 Detroit Pistons
San Antonio Spurs 105-102 Boston Celtics
Denver Nuggets 103-89 Orlando Magic
Sacramento Kings 116-109 (OT) New Orleans Pelicans
Milwaukee Bucks 109-102 Dallas Mavericks
Chicago Bulls 119-111 (OT) Charlotte Hornets
Toronto Raptors 116-107 Memphis Grizzlies
76ERS AT CAVALIERS
James and Ben Simmons, two of the league's most dangerous triple-double threats, square off in a matchup between the Eastern Conference contenders. Cleveland have finally figured things out, and Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid (rest) has already been ruled out of Saturday night's game.