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Spurs ensure pass to final phase; Cavaliers lose without James and Irving

Spurs ensure pass to final phase;  Cavaliers lose without James and Irving
The San Antonio Spurs were the great winners on the day of the NBA by achieving the victory, the seventh in a row, which assured them a pass to the final phase within the Western Conference and also brought them closer to the best mark in the league that is held by the Golden State Warriors.
Forward Kawhi Leonard had 34 points and 10 rebounds in the victory for the Spurs, who got a walk to the finals by beating the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-90 in overtime.
The Spurs (48-13) establish themselves in the leadership of the Southwest Division, and with the victory they became the second team to achieve a ticket to the finals.
The Texan team, which reaches the playoffs for the twentieth consecutive season, joins the Warriors (50-11), who had previously obtained their passport to the final stage.
The Timberwolves (25-37), who are last in the Northwest Division, were led by Dominican center Karl Anthony Towns, with 24 points and 14 rebounds, while Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio achieved his first triple-double of the season at to contribute 11 points, captured 13 balls under the hoops and distributed 10 assists.
Slovenian point guard Goran Dragic scored 23 points and led the Miami Heat to a 120-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who played without starters, forward LeBron James and point guard Kyrie Irving, who had a bye.
With their victory, the Heat (29-34), with six wins in the last 10 games, remain third in the Southeast Division, and continue to fight to be in the final phase.
The Cavaliers (41-19), leaders of the Eastern Conference, added their fourth loss in the last 10 games.
Guard James Harden was once again the leader of the Houston Rockets’ attack with 33 points, 11 assists and 7 rebounds that helped his team beat the Memphis Grizzlies 123-108.
Harden, a franchise player for the Rockets, reached 20 games so far this season in which he has doubled-doubled at least 30 points and 10 assists, and helped the Rockets win their second straight game.
The Rockets hit 44-19 and are second in the Southwest Division and third in the Western Conference.
While the Grizzlies (36-27), who played the second night in a row as visitors, did so the previous night in Dallas also with a loss (104-100) against the Mavericks, they lost the second consecutive game and remain sixth in the West.
Reserve guard Jamal Crawford scored 25 points and led the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, who beat the Chicago Bulls 91-101.
The Clippers (37-25), who are second in the Pacific Division and fifth in the Western Conference, added their sixth victory in the last 10 games.
The Bulls (31-31), third in the Central Division, with five losses in the last 10 games, again had forward Jimmy Butler as the top scorer (16 points).
Guard Khris Middleton scored 24 points and Greek forward Giannis Antetokounmpo had 21 points that helped the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Toronto Raptors 101-94 for the second straight victory.
The Bucks (28-33) had two wins in a row and remain at the bottom of the NL Central.
The Raptors (37-26), with five losses in the last 10 games, are second in the Atlantic Division.
Another guard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, scored 13 of his 26 points in the third quarter and the visiting Detroit Pistons posted the highest score of the season by defeating the Philadelphia Sixers on the road (106-136).
The Pistons (30-32) earned their sixth win in the last 10 games and remain penultimate in the Central Division, but eighth in the Eastern Conference.
Guard CJ McCollum scored 31 points to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a 130-116 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.
The Trail Blazers (26-35) had two straight wins and placed ninth in the Western Conference, one game and a half behind the eighth and final Denver Nuggets with access to the playoffs.
Point guard Kemba Walker scored 27 points, guard Nicolas Batum had 21 and gave eight assists and the visiting Charlotte Hornets beat the Nuggets 102-112.
The Hornets (27-35) added their third victory in the last 10 games and remain penultimate in the Southeast Division and eleventh in the Eastern Conference three games behind the Pistons.
For the Nuggets (28-34), third in the Northwest Division, they once again had Serbian center Nikola Jokic as leader with 31 points and 14 rebounds that did not prevent defeat. EFE
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