Thunder rain on Curry's 40-point night, Embiid bullies Timberwolves
Josh Giddey's career-high 17 assists proved too much for the Golden State Warriors to overcome in Tuesday's 137-128 home win for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The visitors received a vintage performance from reigning NBA Finals MVP Stephen Curry, dropping 40 points on 14-of-23 shooting, including 10-of-16 from deep, while adding seven assists and six rebounds.
It was the most points Curry had scored since Golden State's January 16 victory over the Washington Wizards, where he had 41, and marks a return to his best in his second game back following a month on the sidelines.
Curry has now made at least 10 three-pointers on 23 occasions, while no other player has ever had more than team-mate Klay Thompson's nine.
But the Thunder were too strong as Giddey raced past his previous career-high of 14 assists, while also adding 17 points (six-of-11) and 11 rebounds for his third triple-double of the season, after four in his rookie campaign.
Giddey was supported in style by the league's fifth-leading scorer Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who came into the game averaging 31.1 points per game and gave that figure a small bump with 33 points on 14-of-24 shooting.
With the win – the Thunder's third in a row – they improved their record to 31-34 to join the logjam of teams tied for the Western Conference's ninth and 10th seeds.
They are only 2.5 games behind the Warriors (34-32), who are narrowly clear of the Play-In Tournament placings, a half-game clear in sixth.
Embiid gets the better of Gobert
In a clash between arguably the most dominant offensive and defensive centers of their generation, Joel Embiid's Philadelphia 76ers overwhelmed Rudy Gobert's Minnesota Timberwolves in a 117-94 blowout.
Embiid was unstoppable, finishing with 39 points in 28 minutes after shooting 13-of-22 from the field, adding seven rebounds, four assists, three blocks and a steal.
With James Harden out following his 20-assist showing in Monday's first leg of their back-to-back, Tyrese Maxey enjoyed a larger role with 27 points (nine-of-16 shooting), five assists and four rebounds, pulling the 76ers (43-22) to within 1.5 games of the second-seeded Boston Celtics (45-21).
Gobert ended up with six points (two-of-six), nine rebounds, two steals and a block.
Kyrie and Luka get back in the winner's list
The mesmerising offensive duo of Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving combined for 62 points in the Dallas Mavericks' close 120-116 home win against the Utah Jazz.
Irving was the more efficient of the two on the offensive end, scoring a team-high 33 points on 10-of-18 shooting (10-of-10 free throws) with eight assists and six rebounds. Doncic was not far behind with 29 points (10-of-23 shooting), 10 rebounds, six assists, two steals and a block.
All-Star Lauri Markkanen kept his terrific season going with 33 points (12-of-20 shooting), but after looking like a potential playoff team early in the campaign, the 31-35 Jazz now sit outside the Play-In Tournament spots.