Nikola Vucevic scores 30 as Orlando Magic thrash Toronto Raptors
Nikola Vucevic supplied 30 points and 20 rebounds as the Orlando Magic handed Eastern Conference leaders the Toronto Raptors a 116-87 thrashing on Friday night.
Toronto Raptors 87-116 Orlando Magic
Nikola Vucevic recorded 30 points, 20 rebounds and eight assists to help the Orlando Magic thrash the visiting Toronto Raptors 116-87.
DJ Augustin added 17 points as Orlando halted a four-game slide with a strong performance. Jonathan Isaac had 14 points and eight rebounds and Terrence Ross also scored 14 as the Magic won for just the third time in the past 10 games.
Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points for the Raptors, who saw their NBA-best record fall to 26-11. Serge Ibaka added 17 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots while Fred VanVleet tallied 11 points for Toronto, who played without point guard Kyle Lowry (back).
The 29-point margin of defeat is the largest of the season for the Raptors.
Vucevic connected on 12-of-17 shots while posting a 30-point, 20-rebound performance for the third time in his career.
Orlando owned a 60-41 rebounding edge and shot 47.3 per cent from the field. Toronto shot just 29.8 per cent from the field and made 12-of-34 from three-point range.
Dallas Mavericks 112-114 New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis scored a season-high 48 points and grabbed 17 rebounds as the host New Orleans Pelicans ended a five-game losing streak by beating the Dallas Mavericks 114-112.
Julius Randle added 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 18 for the Pelicans. Rookie Luka Doncic scored 34 points, Harrison Barnes added 21 and Dennis Smith Jr had 14 for the Mavericks.
The Mavericks took an 11-point half-time lead after they made 10-of-19 three-pointers in the first half while the Pelicans made 1-of-13.
New Orleans finally caught up early in the fourth quarter and a Davis jumper gave New Orleans a 111-109 lead with 2:12 left.
Doncic’s three-pointer gave Dallas a one-point lead, but Davis answered with a three-point play that gave the Pelicans a 114-112 lead with 43 seconds left.
Smith missed a jumper before Davis missed a step-back three to give the Mavericks one more chance with four seconds left.
After a time-out they cleared out for Smith, who dribbled across the key and penetrated but failed to get a shot off before time expired.
Los Angeles Clippers 118-107 Los Angeles Lakers
Lou Williams scored a season-high 36 points off the bench as the Los Angeles Clippers survived some early shooting struggles to earn a 118-107 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in the first meeting this season between the in-town rivals.
The Clippers, who entered as the third-highest-scoring team in the NBA, were shooting under 39 per cent at half-time and were just 4 of 14 from three-point range after three quarters. They were able to take over with a 22-0 run that started late in the third quarter.
Danilo Gallinari contributed 19 points for the Clippers. After a slow start, Montrezl Harrell had 12 points. Gallinari and Harris each added 10 rebounds.
Kyle Kuzma scored 24 points and Lonzo Ball added 19 for the Lakers, who were playing without LeBron James for a second consecutive game. James went down with a groin injury on Christmas Day at Golden State and is listed as day-to-day.
After trailing by as many as 10 points midway through the third quarter, the Clippers built a 16-point lead just under three minutes into the fourth quarter. Williams scored seven points during the Clippers’ 22-0 run.
Brandon Ingram scored 17 points, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 14 and Josh Hart added 12 for the Lakers, who lost for the 22nd time in their past 25 games against the Clippers. Hart was ejected with just under five minutes to play after arguing a foul call.
Oklahoma City Thunder 118-102 Phoenix Suns
Russell Westbrook recorded 40 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 118-102 road victory over the Phoenix Suns.
Dennis Schroder scored 14 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as the Thunder prevailed without star forward Paul George (quadriceps). It marked the first game George has missed this season.
Abdel Nader scored a career-best 18 points off the bench for Oklahoma City, who halted a two-game losing slide. Steven Adams registered 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Devin Booker contributed 25 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Suns, who had won five of their previous seven games. TJ Warren scored 19 points and Deandre Ayton had 16 points and nine rebounds.
The Thunder dominated the fourth quarter by a 37-18 margin to turn a three-point deficit into a 16-point win.
Westbrook drained a three-pointer to give Oklahoma City a 102-88 lead with 6:09 left. Westbrook later converted back-to-back baskets, and Schroder followed with a lay-up to push the margin to 112-95 with 3:45 remaining before the Thunder cruised to the finish.
Brooklyn Nets 87-100 Charlotte Hornets
Veteran Tony Parker scored 17 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter as the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Brooklyn Nets 100-87.
The Hornets led by as many as 20 in the first quarter and never trailed, producing just their second wire-to-wire victory of the season.
Brooklyn got as close as five in the fourth quarter, but that was precisely when Parker came off the bench and took over the game.
Kemba Walker led the Hornets with 29 points, sinking 7 of 12 three-point attempts. The Hornets also got 19 points from Jeremy Lamb and 14 points and 10 rebounds from Cody Zeller.
D’Angelo Russell led the Nets with 33 points. DeMarre Carroll scored 15 and Shabazz Napier had 11.
Spencer Dinwiddie, who scored a career-high 37 against the Hornets on Boxing Day, finished with just three points on 1-of-7 shooting from the floor.
Atlanta Hawks 123-120 Minnesota Timberwolves (OT)
Kevin Huerter’s three-pointer in overtime sealed the Atlanta Hawks’ 123-120 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Minneapolis.
Huerter’s hoop gave Atlanta a four-point lead with 43.9 seconds to go. The Timberwolves had a chance after Karl-Anthony Towns made two free throws, as Huerter subsequently missed his attempt for another three-pointer with 15.5 seconds left.
Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins went to the line for two shots with 4.5 seconds to play. Wiggins made the first free throw but missed the second, and the Hawks added two free throws by Dewayne Dedmon.
Josh Okogie missed an attempt for a tying three-pointer in the last second.
Atlanta got 23 points from Kent Bazemore and 21 points and 10 rebounds from John Collins, his 10th double-double in the past 11 games. Dedmon had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Trae Young, who hit a go-ahead three-pointer in overtime, scored 16.
Minnesota got 31 points and 19 rebounds from Towns, 28 points and seven rebounds from Robert Covington, and 25 points and nine assists from Derrick Rose.
Cleveland Cavaliers 94-118 Miami Heat
Justise Winslow led a balanced offense for host Miami and the Heat’s defense wore down the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers to cruise to a 118-94 victory.
Winslow finished with 24 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. He has had only eight 20-point games in his career, but six of them have come in the past month.
Bam Adebayo added 18 points on 8-for-8 shooting, with nine boards and five assists. Seven Heat players reached double figures in scoring.
The key point in the game came when Hassan Whiteside picked up his fourth foul less than three minutes into the third quarter and Miami leading by six points. Heat coach Eric Spoelstra gambled and left his big man in the game, switching to a 2-3 zone.
The move paid off as the Heat opened up a 12-point lead.
Because of injuries, Cleveland had only nine players available. Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points while Alec Burks added 17.
Detroit Pistons 88-125 Indiana Pacers
Domantas Sabonis led a balanced effort with 19 points and 12 rebounds off the bench and the host Indiana Pacers won their fourth straight game by overwhelming the Detroit Pistons 125-88.
Darren Collison also scored 19 points while making all seven of his field-goal attempts and added seven assists. Myles Turner and Thaddeus Young contributed 17 points apiece.
Tyreke Evans chipped in 10 points on a night when Indiana’s usual leading scorer, Victor Oladipo, was held to seven points on 2-of-9 shooting.
The Pacers scored 30 points off Detroit’s 30 turnovers.
Blake Griffin had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Pistons but also committed seven turnovers. Luke Kennard had 14 points off the bench, Reggie Bullock added 13 and Andre Drummond chipped in 12 points and 12 rebounds.
Chicago Bulls 101-92 Washington Wizards
Zach LaVine scored 24 points to lead five team-mates in double figures as the visiting Chicago Bulls defeated the Washington Wizards 101-92.
Wendell Carter Jr had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Lauri Markkanen added 14 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who have won three of their last four games.
Bradley Beal scored 34 points for the depleted Wizards on 13-of-27 shooting.
Washington were without starters John Wall — who plans to see a specialist about his sore left heel, according to coach Scott Brooks — and Otto Porter Jr.
Thomas Bryant had 12 points and eight rebounds for the Wizards, who have lost nine of 11.
Beal’s three-pointer with 4:23 left in the game pulled Washington within 90-85 but Kris Dunn’s jumper pushed the Chicago lead to 96-86 with 2:29 remaining.
After Bryant converted a three-point play and Beal made a lay-up, the Wizards were within five with 55 seconds left but LaVine hit a driving lay-up and added a free throw to make the game safe.
San Antonio Spurs 99-102 Denver Nuggets
Jamal Murray scored 31 points and Nikola Jokic had 21 points, nine rebounds and nine assists as the host Denver Nuggets held on to beat the San Antonio Spurs 102-99 on Friday night.
Malik Beasley scored 21 before leaving the game with an undisclosed injury for Denver, who snapped a two-game losing streak.
LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points, DeMar DeRozan had 15 and Bryn Forbes scored 13 for the Spurs.
DeRozan’s jumper got San Antonio within three but Forbes missed a three-pointer that would have tied the game with 2:09 remaining.
DeRozan and Poeltl each split a pair of free throws but Jokic hit a short jumper in the lane to make it 100-97.
Jokic fouled out to put DeRozan on the line, and he hit 1-of-2 free throws to make it 100-98.
Another Denver turnover led to a Spurs fast break and two free throws for Derrick White. He hit one, but Monte Morris drained two with 7.2 seconds left to seal it.
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