An eight-game slate makes up the NBA’s schedule for Friday night.

The night began with the Lakers falling further out of the playoff picture with a loss to the Pistons, as LeBron James sat out due to rest.

One of the other early highlights on the night were the Hornets outlasting the Wizards despite Bradley Beal’s 40 points.

One of the evening’s best battles occurred in Miami, where two playoff teams in the Eastern Conference went head-to-head when the Heat hosted the Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat got off to a huge lead, but the Bucks came storming back to firmly take control in the fourth quarter and pull out the road win.

Elsewhere, the Clippers will host the lottery-bound Chicago Bulls at the Staples Center. The game doesn’t have much significance for the Bulls, who are well outside of the playoff picture in the East, but for the Clippers it is extremely important, as they look to hold onto the final playoff spot in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

NBA scores for Friday, March 15

*All times Eastern  

Harden has big night for Rockets

With Chris Paul out, James Harden expectedly took on the offensive load for the Rockets in a close win over the Suns. The Beard notched 41 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds, six steals and three blocks to continue the quest for a second straight MVP.

Giannis takes over in Bucks win

The league-leading Bucks looked to be having an off night in Miami, but Giannis Antetokounmpo would have none of that. He took over down the stretch to lead a massive Bucks comeback, and finished the night with 33 points, 16 rebounds, nine assists, three blocks and two steals.

Randle, Payton have career nights for Pels

The Pelicans may have lost to the Blazers, but Julius Randle and Elfrid Payton had nights to remember. Randle scored a career-high 45 points on 20-of-34 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds and six assists.

Meanwhile Payton dished out a career-best 16 assists with 14 points and 12 rebounds. He became the first player in Pelicans history to record three straight triple-doubles, and the only player besides Russell Westbrook to accomplish the feat this season.

Wade throws it up, Winslow throws it down

Justise Winslow is left-handed, but he had no problem throwing down a right-handed slam off this alley-oop from Dwyane Wade.

Caldwell-Pope slams it over his former team

The Lakers aren’t making the playoffs this season, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope managed to dunk it over his former team, the Pistons.

Winslow gets chase-down block on Brogdon

This isn’t quite LeBron James on Andre Iguodala, but check out this chase-down block by Justise Winslow on Malcolm Brogdon during Friday’s game between the Heat and Bucks.

Randle scores 21 points in first quarter

Julius Randle is obviously the top scoring option without Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday in the lineup. The young forward scored 21 points in the opening frame against the Blazers, the most he’s ever scored in a single quarter.

Boban to Tobias for an easy slam

Boban Marjanovic isn’t exactly known for being a passer, but he’ll take this highlight after he hooked up Tobias Harris for an easy slam.

Blake tricks Lakers with handle

The Lakers thought this was a pass … and well, it wasn’t. Blake Griffin managed to trick the Lakers defenders with his handle before nailing the 3-point attempt.

Embiid with no regard for human life

Joel Embiid talks a lot of trash, but he does back it up from time to time. He did so on this dunk highlight over the Kings’ Bogdan Bogdanovic.

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