Spurs romp past Raptors, 76ers edge Timberwolves

Agence France-Presse
Spurs romp past Raptors, 76ers edge Timberwolves
Kawhi Leonard scores 25 points as the Spurs, second in the Western Conference behind Golden State, race to a big first quarter lead that they wouldn't relinquish

LOS ANGELES, USA – The San Antonio Spurs dominated Toronto 110-82 on Tuesday, January 3 (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 8 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, 6-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 8.

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 8 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 3-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 6 rebounds and 6 assists in a 120-113 victory over the Nuggets. – Rappler.com

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