The Fifth Quarter: Leonard, Aldridge keep Spurs within shouting distance of Warriors

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There's been a lot of talk about "big threes" since Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce won a championship with the the Celtics, and this year is no different. While most of the chatter has surrounded the Warriors' and Cavaliers' talented trios, the best trio might be in San Antonio.

The tremendous grouping of Kawhi Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge and Tony Parker doesn't get the same hype or media attention as the other two high-profile trios, but they can beat most teams any night.

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Thursday, Leonard scored a game-high 29 points to lead the Spurs to a 109-101 win against the Bulls. Aldridge added 26 points and 10 rebounds, while Parker scored 20 points and dished out 12 assists.

San Antonio (55-10) may not play a sexy brand of basketball like the Warriors, and may not have the same athletes as the Cavs, but it will still be a tough team to beat in the Western Conference come postseason.

Chicago (32-21) played Thursday without star shooting guard Jimmy Butler for a second straight game as he continues to nurse a strained left knee. In his absence, Pau Gasol picked up the slack and scored 21 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 37th double-double this season.

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k Rose also scored 21 points and E'Twaun Moore scored 20 points.

However, the loss dropped the Bulls out of the top eight in the Eastern Conference, falling a half game behind the Pistons. The Spurs are just three games behind the Warriors for the top seed in the West.

Highlights:

Taj Gibson shows off a nice power move in the paint:

Parker with an impressive spin move:

Two of the game's all-time best:

Stud of the night:

Raptors star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan proved why he was an All-Star this year by scoring a game-high 30 points in a 104-96 win over the Hawks. DeRozan shot 11 of 20 from the floor and also grabbed five rebounds.

Dud of the night:

When the Suns sent Markieff Morris to Washington, P.J. Tucker was supposed to take over as a go-to scorer. That didn't happen Thursday against Denver. Tucker, who started at small forward, finished with just one point on 0-for-9 shooting. The Nuggets ultimately won 116-98.

What's next:

Rockets (32-32) at Celtics (39-26), 7:30 p.m. ET — Houston just can't seem to get a run of good games going, but James Harden continues to be dangerous on offense. Boston, on the other hand, has shocked everyone with its stellar play despite lacking a true star.

Trail Blazers (34-31) at Warriors (57-6), 10:30 p.m. ET — The last time these teams met, Portland gave Golden State its worst loss of the season. Damian Lillard is playing at an MVP level right now. Golden State is the obvious favorite, but watch out for Portland.

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