National Basketball Association power rankings week 22: Rockets are still No. 1

Image via Wikipedia Commons

Image via Wikipedia Commons

MVP candidate James Harden scored a game-high 40 points, as Houston came up on the losing end for the first time since January 26 at New Orleans.

Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 10 rebounds as the Raptors won their seventh straight in a matchup between the respective conference leaders.

"We can't be satisfied with big leads in the first quarter and let them go - we've got to find a way to continue to be strong", he said. Kyle Lowry shot just four of 16 for his nine points but they didn't needed much from him as the Raptors shot 50 percent from the field and 16 of 35 from the three-point line. He was also named East Player of the Week for games played November 13-18, December 18-24, January 1-7 and February 26-Mar. 5. "We tried to take away one of their strengths".

The guard had 13 first-quarter points while going three for three from beyond the arc.

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While the win over Houston was huge, the Raps were the first team to clinch a playoff spot because they lead the league in TCB (takin' care of business), with a 29-2 record against the 12 teams now under.500 after beating the Hawks, Pistons and Knicks last week.

"I think this is huge for a lot of us", McDermott said, referring to the last month of the season. "We didn't have a whole lot of them, but we didn't make them".

Toronto improved to 28-5 at home, the best record in the National Basketball Association.

Paul missed a go-ahead 3 with 14 seconds to play, then fouled Lowry in the scramble for the rebound.

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LeBron James scored 25 points with 10 rebounds and six assists for Cleveland, whose lead over Washington and IN for third place IN the East is now just half a game. During this winning streak, those numbers are 114 points per game and 47 percent shooting with an offensive rating of 114.5. D'Antoni was on hand in nearby Frisco, Texas, to watch his alma mater Marshall, coached by his brother Dan, win the Conference USA Tournament final Saturday.

Harden scored nine points in the second but the Rockets continued to struggle from long range, making one of four three-point shots.

After Golden State's Klay Thompson connected on a short jump shot to pull the Warriors within 92-91 early in the fourth quarter, Portland produced a 12-2 scoring run to push their lead to double digits and the Warriors wouldn't get the deficit below seven points the rest of the way.

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