LOS ANGELES: The Toronto Raptors moved within one game of the Cleveland Cavaliers for top spot in the Eastern Conference on Sunday (Monday in Manila) with a 105-100 NBA victory over the Orlando Magic.
DeMar DeRozan led the Raptors with a game-high 25 points and five assists.
Luis Scola added 20 points and eight rebounds while Kyle Lowry chipped in with 18 points and seven assists as the Raptors notched their fourth straight win and improved to 13-4 since the All-Star break.
Scola said the pursuit of first place in the East was important, but not the overriding motivation as the post-season approaches.
“Of course we want to win games, of course we want to finish first, but the most important thing is to be able to build good momentum going into the playoffs,” Scola said. “Eventually, when we get to the seventh game of the conference final, if we get there, we’ll worry about that then.
“We’re fighting for [first], because it’s the right thing to do, but we can’t lose sleep over it.”
Orlando, connecting on 51.6 percent from the field, took an 82-80 lead into the fourth quarter.
But the Raptors used a 10-0 scoring run to take a four-point lead with 5:22 to play and held on.
Victor Oladipo led Orlando with 21 points and six rebounds. Evan Fournier had 21 points, but the Magic have now lost three in a row and trail the Chicago Bulls by six games for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East.