NBA roundup

Toronto's Jakob Poeltl, left, and Pascal Siakam defend against the Cavaliers' LeBron James during the first half of Wednesday's game in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won, 132-129. (Tony Dejak/AP Photo)
Toronto's Jakob Poeltl, left, and Pascal Siakam defend against the Cavaliers' LeBron James during the first half of Wednesday's game in Cleveland. The Cavaliers won, 132-129. (Tony Dejak/AP Photo)

Cavaliers 132, Raptors 129

The standings show the Eastern Conference's top team plays in Canada.

The best player remains in Cleveland, Ohio.

LeBron James reminded Toronto he's king.

Playing without five teammates and his coach, James scored 35 points and added 17 assists, his last setting up a late a 3-pointer by Kevin Love, as the undermanned Cavaliers rallied to beat the Raptors on Wednesday night.

The Cavs were down five rotational players and coach Tyronn Lue, who missed his second straight game for health reasons.

But they still had James, who earlier in the day said, "I'll be available, so we got a chance."

The three-time champion delivered another virtuoso performance, adding seven rebounds without committing a turnover in nearly 40 minutes.

"I've never seen anything like it," said associate coach Larry Drew, filling in for Lue. "It's just amazing what he does, night in and night out. How he sustains it is just mind-boggling."

James made three free throws in the final 7.8 seconds, but missed one with 3.9 seconds to go, giving Toronto a final shot. DeMar DeRozan got a decent look on a 3-pointer — contested by James — at the horn but missed. DeRozan and Toronto coaches complained the All-Star was fouled to no avail.

While he protested on the floor, DeRozan was calm in addressing whether James made contact with him on his errant 3-pointer.

"I don't know," he said. "It's over with now. There's nothing you can do about it. It was a heck of a game."

The win felt like a statement by the Cavs, but James insisted there were no intended messages.

"It's a good win for us because of how depleted we are on our roster and everything that's been going on," he said. "It's a good win for us against a very good opponent.

"But I don't need to remind anybody about what my teams are capable of doing."

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, but still as dangerous as anyone.

"They're still the top team in our conference — and in this league," DeRozan said. "You can't overlook them or under-look them no matter what type of changes they made."

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.

The Raptors have lost to the Cavs in each of the past two postseasons, getting swept last year in the conference finals. But this is a different Toronto team, deeper, more experienced and maybe poised to dethrone Cleveland.

Not if James has anything to say about it.

Cleveland forward/center Tristan Thompson (ankle) and Rodney Hood (back) were listed as questionable but sat out. Forward Larry Nance Jr. (hamstring) is aiming to return this weekend. He has missed four games

Heat 119, Knicks 98

A big lead was slipping away, so the Miami Heat called upon their best offensive option: The 3-point shot.

Just like that, the rout resumed.

Tyler Johnson hit back-to-back 3-pointers in the third quarter to spark the run that put Miami in control for good, Kelly Olynyk finished with 22 points and a career-high 10 assists and the Heat rolled past New York.

Miami was 5 for 7 from 3-point range in the third, 15 for 34 from beyond the arc for the game, and is now only three makes away from the franchise record of 808 set last season.

"They're shooting the right ones," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I get that analytics question all the time: 'Do you just want to shoot a bunch of 3s?' It depends. You've got to have the right guys and you've got to shoot the right ones."

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. They're now 1 1/2 games ahead of No. 8 Milwaukee after the Bucks lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, and 6 1/2 games clear of No. 9 Detroit.

Olynyk's previous high for assists was eight, done twice. He scored 52 points, had 16 assists and grabbed 13 rebounds in Miami's brief two-game homestand, with the Heat winning both outings.

"We're just real connected right now on both ends of the floor," Olynyk said. "Guys are playing well together."

Led by Olynyk, the Heat bench outscored New York's 62-28.

"Their bench destroyed," Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said.

Enes Kanter scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds for the Knicks. Michael Beasley had a brilliant start and added 22 points on 10 for 15 shooting for New York, and Trey Burke scored 16 off the bench.

Beasley — who's had three stints with the Heat — shook hands with Heat managing general partner Micky Arison during one first-half stoppage in play.

"I love Micky," Beasley said. "Micky was one of my favorite people when I was here. I was just saying what's up to him. He told me to cool off at that point."

He did cool off, with only two points and four shots after halftime.

"The other team played with more energy," Burke said.

Miami's halftime lead was 64-47, before New York briefly made things interesting. Tim Hardaway Jr.'s 3-pointer got the Knicks within 72-63 with 5 minutes gone in the third, but that's when Johnson made his back-to-back 3s to restore order.

The lead eventually swelled to 28 and the Heat emptied their bench with 5 minutes left.

The Knicks are 8-29 on the road this season — and two of those wins were at Brooklyn, which means they're 6-29 outside of New York.

Hornets 111, Nets 105

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.

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 but won in front of an announced crowd of 10,231 at Barclay Center while a heavy snowfall outside blanketed the New York City area.

Trailing 105-102 with 2:14 left in regulation, the Hornets went on a 9-0 run to pull off the impressive comeback. Jeremy Lamb, who had 17 points to help end Charlotte's two-game losing streak, made a layup to cut the deficit to 105-104. The Hornets then called a timeout after a miss by Caris LeVert with 23 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Walker spun around Quincy Acy and capped a three-point play to put Charlotte up 107-105, the Hornets' first lead of the night since a 16-15 advantage with 5:46 in the opening quarter.

D'Angelo Russell scored 19 points and LeVert added 11 for the Nets.

Clippers 127, Bucks 120

DeAndre Jordan had 25 points and 22 rebounds to lead Los Angeles past Milwaukee.

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. He stayed in the game for a brief period, but hobbled around the court while grimacing. He went to the locker room with about four minutes remaining in the second quarter and did not return.

76ers 119, Grizzlies 105

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.

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. None of the starters played in the fourth quarter.

Wayne Selden Jr. had 18 points to lead Memphis (19-52), which has lost 21 of 22 overall and 16 in a row on the road.

Pelicans 96, Pacers 92

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 New Orleans outlasted Indiana.

E'Twaun Moore scored 23 points for New Orleans, which had to overcome a scrappy defensive effort by Indiana to win its third straight.

The Pacers shot only 36.6 percent (34 of 93), but kept the game close with 15 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points.

Nuggets 135, Bulls 102

Nikola Jokic had 21 points, seven rebounds and five assists on "Serbian Heritage Night," and Denver routed Chicago.

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.

The Nuggets (39-33) improved to 1-2 on a seven-game trip and pulled within 1 1/2 games of idle Utah for eighth in the Western Conference playoff race.

Spurs 98, Wizards 90

LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and nine rebounds, and San Antonio won its fifth straight.

San Antonio remained in sixth place in the Western Conference, one-half game behind fourth-place Oklahoma City. The Spurs close out a six-game homestand on Friday against Utah, which is 1½ games behind San Antonio in eighth place.

Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. each had 21 points to lead the Wizards, who dropped into sixth in the Eastern Conference.

San Antonio's winning streak follows a 3-11 skid that briefly dropped the Spurs out of playoff position.

Aldridge has been critical to the turnaround, averaging 29.6 points and 9.2 rebounds during the streak.


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