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Siakam and Trent Jr. lead Raptors past Hornets, 125-113

Raptors 125, Hornets 113

Pascal Siakam had 24 points and matched his career high with 12 assists, and Gary Trent Jr. scored a season-best 32 for the Toronto Raptors in a 125-113 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night.

OG Anunoby added 24 points, Chris Boucher had 12, Malachi Flynn 11 and Dalano Banton 10 as the short-handed Raptors overcame the absences of starters Fred VanVleet and Scottie Barnes. VanVleet sat out with a sore right knee, and Barnes was scratched less than an hour before tipoff because of a sore right wrist.

With VanVleet unavailable, Siakam started at point guard. He wasted no time showing off his playmaking skills, registering four assists in each of the first two quarters.

“I’m just trying to be an overall player,” Siakam said. “I feel like I can do that most nights, just being the best player out there and making my teammates better. That’s the role I’m trying to take on.”

Siakam was replaced with 3:07 to play and Toronto leading by 17. He finished with nine rebounds, narrowly missing his second career triple-double.

Siakam lost a triple-double in a Jan. 15 win at Milwaukee when the NBA took two rebounds away from him following the game.

“As long as we win, man, I’m cool,” Siakam said. “To be out there getting wins is more important to me.”

LaMelo Ball scored 25 points and Miles Bridges had 22 for the Hornets, who had won three straight road games but also were missing key players. Gordon Hayward (sore right foot) and Jalen McDaniels (sprained left ankle) both sat out for the second consecutive game.

James Bouknight scored 18 points, and Mason Plumlee and Terry Rozier each had 12.

“Not enough defense in this game, period,” Hornets coach James Borrego said. “First quarter, got off to a poor start defensively, and it carried through.”

Toronto came in trailing Charlotte by 2½ games in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors (23-22) have played three fewer games than the Hornets (26-22).

“It’s important,” Siakam said of maintaining position in the tightly packed standings. “We’re all right there. You go into a little slump and it could be the end of the season for you.”

After scoring a season-low 34 points in the first half of Sunday’s loss to Portland, Toronto shot 16 for 26 in the opening period, including 7 for 11 from 3-point range, to lead 39-27 after one.

“It just seemed like every time we were going to shoot the other night, it wasn’t going to go in,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of Sunday, when his team shot 5 for 26 in the first quarter. “Everybody that stepped into one tonight, you thought they were going to make them.”

Bridges and Bouknight each scored 13 points in the second, but Toronto kept up its hot shooting, connecting on 13 of 21 attempts. The Raptors led 76-61 at halftime, their highest-scoring half of the season.

“They had great rhythm, they stepped into all their shots, and they got second opportunities,” Plumlee said.

Charlotte opened the third quarter with a 14-2 run, cutting the deficit to 78-75 with 7:29 left, but Trent scored 14 points as the Raptors pulled away again, taking a 105-86 lead into the fourth.

Toronto’s Justin Champagnie and Charlotte’s P.J. Washington were ejected with 1:46 left in the first quarter after a shoving match under the Hornets’ basket.

“I didn’t quite understand the call but they made their call and we’ve got to adjust,” Borrego said. “It obviously affected our lineup and our rotations, but that’s part of the game. You’ve got to adjust, you’ve got to adapt, and they did a better job of that than we did.”

Clippers 116, Wizards 115

Luke Kennard scored seven points inside the final 9 seconds, including a go-ahead four-point play with 1.9 seconds remaining, and Los Angeles overcame a 35-point first-half deficit to stun Washington.

Kennard hit a 32-footer out of a timeout and then, after Washington committed a 5-second violation, sank another 3 running to his right while absorbing a foul from Bradley Beal. He finished with 25 points.

Amir Coffey scored a career-high 29 points for the depleted Clippers, who evened their record to 2-2 at the midpoint of a season-long eight game trip.

Terance Mann and Isaiah Hartenstein each had 16 points for Los Angeles, which scored 80 points after halftime to improve to 7-10 since losing seven-time All-Star guard Paul George to a right elbow injury last month.

Kyle Kuzma had 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Beal added 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter of Washington’s fourth consecutive defeat.

76ers 117, Pelicans 107

Joel Embiid scored 12 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter as Philadelphia pulled away from short-handed New Orleans.

Tobias Harris added 33 points for the 76ers, who opened a five-game homestand by winning their 12th of the last 15.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker scored 31 points and Willy Hernangómez had 29 for the Pelicans.

Embiid has played in 19 straight games, averaging 33.3 points, and Philadelphia is 13-6 over that stretch.

Warriors 130, Mavericks 92

Stephen Curry had 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, rookie Jonathan Kuminga scored 22, and Golden State routed Dallas.

The Mavericks' Tim Hardaway Jr. suffered a broken bone in his left foot in the second quarter.

Luka Doncic had 25 points and eight rebounds, while Hardaway scored 10 points in 10 minutes for the Mavericks, who had used smothering defense to beat Golden State 99-82 on Jan. 5 at Dallas.

Jordan Poole scored 17 points off the bench as Golden State snapped a three-game losing streak to the Mavericks. Klay Thompson returned and scored 15 points to go with six assists after he sat out two games.

Spurs 134, Rockets 104

Dejounte Murray had 19 points and 10 assists, Jacob Poeltl had 18 points and nine rebounds, and both sat out the fourth quarter as San Antonio coasted past Houston.

Houston led early in the first quarter, but the Spurs soon took over and were up by 15 at halftime. A 39-point third quarter put the game out of reach.

Kevin Porter Jr. had 16 points and nine assists for the Rockets. Christian Wood scored 15 points with seven rebounds for Houston.

Keldon Johnson added 16 points for San Antonio and Doug McDermott had 15.

Nuggets 110, Pistons 105

Nikola Jokic had 28 points, 21 rebounds and nine assists, and Denver beat Detroit.

Monte Morris made four free throws in the final 11.5 seconds to clinch the game, while Jeff Green added 20 points for the Nuggets in the second game between the teams in three nights. Denver won 117-111 at home on Sunday.

Cade Cunningham led Detroit with 34 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

Timberwolves 109, Trail Blazers 107

Anthony Edwards scored 40 points and D'Angelo Russell got the winning basket for Minnesota on a goaltending call against Portland's Anthony Simmons with 2.9 seconds left.

Russell finished with 22 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who improved to 24-23 and surpassed their win total from last season (23-49).

Portland's Jusuf Nurkic had 20 points and 14 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double, longest streak of his career.

C.J. McCollum tied the game at 107 on a 3-pointer with 10.2 seconds left, setting up the decisive goaltending call. McCollum finished with 15 points.

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