– The NBA champion Toronto Raptors’ mid-season surge continued with a
franchise-record 13th straight victory on Friday, a 115-106 win over the
Indiana Pacers.

Serge Ibaka scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the
Raptors, who haven’t lost a game since January 15 and beat the Pacers for the
second time in three days.

“We’re just trying to be us,” Ibaka said.
“There’s a lot of tough teams out there, we’re just trying to focus on us
and trying to do our job.”

A 12-3 burst in the third quarter propelled the Raptors to
an 87-78 lead, but the Pacers trimmed the deficit after Toronto’s six-time
All-Star Kyle Lowry departed with what the team called a whiplash injury.

Lowry had drawn a foul on Jeremy Lamb and run into Ibaka as
he fell, his head and shoulder making contact with Ibaka.

Lowry lay on the court for several minutes, surrounded by
concerned teammates, before walking to the sideline and then the locker room.

Raptors coach Nick Nurse said Lowry was sore and would
likely miss Saturday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.

The Boston Celtics, third in the Eastern Conference behind
the Milwaukee Bucks and Toronto, notched their sixth straight victory with a
112-107 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Forward Jayson Tatum scored 32 points — his second straight
game of 30 or more —  as the Celtics overcame the injury absences of
Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward.

In Washington, Bradley Beal seized an in-bounds pass with
1.8 seconds remaining and drove for the game-winning basket in the Wizards’
119-118 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

It was just part of another standout performance from Beal,
who has been on a tear ever since he failed to gain selection to the NBA
All-Star game.

Beal scored a game-high 29 points, pulled down five rebounds
and handed out eight assists for the Wizards, who are chasing the Orlando Magic
for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East.

In a back-and-forth battle that featured 21 lead changes,
the Mavericks took a 118-117 lead in the closing seconds after Tim Hardaway
made one of two free throws.

Washington coach Scott Brooks called a timeout and drew up
the in-bounds play that produced Beal’s basket.

“We made a mistake on defense, and they made a great
play,” Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said. “The game was lost
throughout. We had too many miscommunications and it was a collection of
defensive mistakes … that led to this. Just very disappointing.”

Davis Bertans made five three-pointers to finish with 20
points for the Wizards. Japanese rookie Rui Hachimura scored 17 points and
delivered a dominant defensive performance against Mavs star Kristaps

The Philadelphia 76ers, fresh off an 0-4 road trip in which
they lost four games by an average of more than 18 points, basked in their
return home with a 119-107 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Star center Joel Embiid sat out the second half because of a
stiff neck, but reserve guard Furkan Korkmaz helped the Sixers compensate with
a career-high 34 points.

Korkmaz connected on 13 of 17 shots from the field,
including a career-high seven three-pointers. Ben Simmons added 22 points with
10 assists and three steals as Philadelphia, a lowly 9-19 on the road, improved
to 23-2 at home and 32-21 overall.

– Suns shoot down Rockets –

The Phoenix Suns, fueled by a career-high 39 points from
Kelly Oubre, upset the Houston Rockets 127-91.

Devin Booker scored 33 points for the Suns, who out-scored
the prolific Rockets 46-26 in the first quarter and never trailed the rest of
the way.

Oubre connected on 14 of 19 shots from the field, including
seven of nine from three-point range as Phoenix snapped a four-game skid.

James Harden scored 32 points to lead the Rockets, whose
All-Star guard Russell Westbrook sat out a day after scoring 41 points in
Houston’s win over the Lakers in Los Angeles.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here