LOS ANGELES: The San Antonio Spurs dominated Toronto 110-82 on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila), handing the Raptors their worst defeat of the NBA season in a clash of elite teams.
Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and LaMarcus Aldridge added 23 as the Spurs, second in the Western Conference behind Golden State, raced to a big first-quarter lead that they wouldn’t relinquish.
Firing on all cylinders on their home floor, the Spurs led by 30 points going into the fourth quarter, which starters Leonard, Aldridge, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol all sat out.
The Spurs, who fell in overtime to Atlanta on Sunday, are now 6-1 this season in games after a defeat.
Parker added 15 points and his eight assists matched the total produced by the Raptors.
The Spurs, in contrast, had 32 assists, along with a season-high in blocked shots with 15.
“Any team is dangerous when you move the ball like that,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “It’s hard to guard when the ball changes sides. You are able to play with open people and shots are more uncontested – and it just multiplies.”
Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 26 points. Terrance Ross poured in 17, Cory Joseph added 11 points and DeMarre Carroll hit for 10 for the Raptors, who are second in the East behind the Cleveland Cavaliers but were showing signs of fatigue in the final game of a 13-day, six-game road trip.
It was a different story in Philadelphia, where Robert Covington laid in an inbounds lob from Dario Saric with two-tenths of a second remaining in the 76ers’ 93-91 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“That’s the way we drew it up,” Covington said of the dramatic play. “That’s how we did it yesterday in practice, the same exact way. We executed to perfection.”
Philadelphia notched their second straight victory, but not before the Timberwolves erased a 26-point third-quarter deficit, knotting the score at 91-91 on Ricky Rubio’s three-pointer with 1.6 seconds left.
Joel Embiid led Philadelphia with 25 points and Ersan Ilyasova added 19. Covington finished with 13, but the tough 76ers fans again booed his misses from three-point range.
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said the critics were overlooking Covington’s defensive contributions. He was the primary defender on Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins, who began the night averaging a team-high 22 points per game but managed just eight.
Suns finally beat the Heat
The Phoenix Suns beat Miami for the first time since November 3, 2009, their 99-90 victory marking a sixth straight defeat for the reeling Heat.
Devin Booker scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half and Marquese Chriss added a career-high 18 for the Suns, who had lost 12 straight to their rivals from Florida.
“That tells you how talented they’ve been for the last few years … still really talented, just short-handed tonight,” said Booker, who was just 13 the last time the Suns triumphed over the Heat.
Goran Dragic’s 24 points paced the Heat, who dressed the league minimum of eight players as injuries and ailments ranging from food poisoning to migraine sidelined others.
Randle triple-double fuels Lakers
Julius Randle notched the third triple-double of his career to help the Lakers end a three-game losing streak with a 116-102 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Los Angeles.
Randle scored 19 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and handed out 11 assists as the young Lakers team won for just the third time in 18 games.
In Detroit, Paul George scored 32 points and the Indiana Pacers matched their season high in a 121-116 victory over the Pistons.
And in Denver, Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins scored a game-high 31 points to go with six rebounds and six assists in a 120-113 victory over the Nuggets.
With Bogut in reserve role, Mavs down Wizards
The Mavericks’ experiment with bringing Australian big man Andrew Bogut off the bench paid off with a 113-105 NBA victory over the Washington Wizards in Dallas.
The strategy meant that Bogut and veteran Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki were never on the floor at the same time, and while Dallas coach Rick Carlisle wasn’t completely comfortable with the plan, there was no arguing with the result.
“I don’t like this,” Carlisle admitted after the win. “He (Bogut) shouldn’t be coming off the bench. But the fact that he’s not only willing, but basically offered to, tells you a lot about his character. AFP
“He wants to win. This is not a normal occurrence for a 12- or 13-year guy. And he’s a proud guy. He deserves to start. They both do. But we haven’t been able to make it work real well. So tonight, this is where we were.”
It was just the 15th time in his career that Bogut came off the bench.
“There’s no point of starting with Dirk and then getting pulled 30 seconds into a game,” Bogut told ESPN. “So I went to coach and said, ‘If you’re going to continue to do that, just bring me off the bench. I won’t be offended.”
For one night at least it looked like a good idea, with the struggling Mavericks improving to 11-24.