Cleveland Takes Down Toronto
CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 35 points and added 17 assists, his last setting up a late a 3-pointer by Kevin Love, and the undermanned Cleveland Cavaliers ended Toronto’s nine-game road winning streak with a 132-129 victory over the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors on Wednesday night.
The Cavs were missing five rotational players and coach Tyronn Lue, who missed his second straight game because of health reasons.
But they had James, who earlier in the day said, “I’ll be available, so we got a chance.”
James didn’t have a turnover in 40 minutes and he made three free throws in the final 7.8 seconds. He missed one with 3.9 seconds left, giving Toronto a final shot, but DeMar DeRozan’s 3-pointer — contested by James — was wide left. DeRozan and Toronto coaches complained the All-Star was fouled to no avail.
Love, playing his second game after missing 21 games with a broken left hand, finished with 23 points and 12 rebounds and George Hill had 22 on 10-of-11 shooting for the Cavs, who were blown out by 34 points against Toronto in January. But that was before Cleveland shook up its roster with four trades designed to get back to the NBA Finals. The Cavs are third in the East and would need a collapse by second-place Boston to improve on that position with 11 games remaining.
Kyle Lowry scored 24 and DeRozan had 21 for the Raptors, who scored 79 points in the first half and were in control in the third quarter before James brought Cleveland back.
With the Cavs up 125-124, James drove the lane and whipped the ball into the corner to Love, who knocked down his 1,000th career 3-pointer.
Hornets 111, Nets 105
NEW YORK (AP) — Dwight Howard had 32 points and 30 rebounds, becoming the first player with a 30-30 game against the Nets since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978, and the Charlotte Hornets stormed back to beat Brooklyn 111-105 on Wednesday night.
Kemba Walker scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for the Hornets, who trailed by as many 23 points in the second half to win in front of an announced crowd of 10,231 at Barclay Center while a heavy snowfall outside blanketed the New York City area.
Clippers 127, Bucks 120
MILWAUKEE (AP) — DeAndre Jordan had 25 points and 22 rebounds to lead the Lost Angeles Clippers past the Milwaukee Bucks.
Austin Rivers added 22 points and Lou Williams scored 19 for Los Angeles, which bounced back after a deflating loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night.
The Bucks lost All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo to a right ankle sprain late in the first half. Antetokounmpo appeared to get hurt when he tripped over teammate Shabazz Muhammad under Milwaukee’s basket.
Nuggets 135, Bulls 102
CHICAGO (AP) — Nikola Jokic had 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists on “Serbian Heritage Night,” and the Denver Nuggets routed the Chicago Bulls.
Denver shot 61.4 percent (51 for 83) from the field and had seven players score in double figures. Paul Millsap had 22 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes, and Wilson Chandler made five of the Nuggets’ 20 3-pointers on his way to 19 points.
Heat 119, Knicks 98
MIAMI (AP) — Kelly Olynyk scored 22 points and handed out a career-high 10 assists, Tyler Johnson added 22 points and the Miami Heat had little trouble on the way to beating the New York Knicks.
Wayne Ellington scored 16, Justise Winslow added 15, Goran Dragic had 14 and Josh Richardson finished with 12 for the Heat, who remained seventh in the Eastern Conference playoff race.
76ers 119, Grizzlies 105
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Robert Covington, J.J. Redick and Dario Saric each had 15 points to pace all five Philadelphia starters in double-figures, and the 76ers continued their push for home-court advantage in the playoffs with a victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
Joel Embiid added 14 points and Ben Simmons had 13 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for the 76ers (40-30), who won their fourth straight to improve to a season-best 10 games over .500.
Pelicans 96, Pacers 92
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis capped a 28-point, 13-rebound, five-block performance with a 15-foot baseline fade, a gritty put-back and two free throws in the final minute, and the New Orleans Pelicans outlasted the Indiana Pacers.
E’Twaun Moore scored 23 for New Orleans, which had to overcome a scrappy defensive effort by Indiana to win its third straight.
The Pelicans, who average nearly 112 points per game, were limited to 43 percent (34 of 79) accuracy by the Pacers, who also turned 20 New Orleans turnovers into 15 points.
The Pacers shot only 36.6 percent (34 of 93), but kept the game close with 15 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points.