DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points, Kyle Lowry had 17 points and 10 assists and the Toronto Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 108-98 on Wednesday night in Game 5 of the first-round series.
Toronto rebounded after losing Games 3 and 4 in Washington to take a 3-2 series lead back to Washington for Game 6 on Friday night.
The only team in the NBA to avoid a three-game losing streak this season, the Raptors went 5-0 following back-to-back losses during the regular season, and have not lost three straight since last year’s second-round sweep against Cleveland. The last time Toronto lost three regular season games in a row was from Feb 8 to 14, 2017.
Delon Wright scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, and Jonas Valanciunas had 14 points and 13 rebounds as the Raptors improved to 5-0 in home Game 5s over the past five years.
John Wall had 26 points, and Bradley Beal added 20 for the Wizards. They went nearly four minutes without scoring down the stretch. Marcin Gortat had 10 points and 12 rebounds.
Washington shot 8 for 24 in the fourth quarter, and Toronto had 15 rebounds in the final frame.
The Raptors won despite being out rebounded 50-35.
at Cleveland 98, Indiana 95: LeBron James hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer, a crowning moment for another brilliant performance, to give Cleveland a 98-95 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night in Game 5, putting the Cavaliers within one victory of advancing in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
Moments after blocking Victor Oladipo’s possible go-ahead driving layup, James caught the inbounds pass, took two dribbles and dropped the winner over Thaddeus Young.
As Cleveland’s sellout crowd exploded, James hugged rookie teammate Cedi Osman before jumping on the scorer’s table to celebrate another of those moments that will define his career.
James finished with 44 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists and went 15 of 15 from the line.
Kyle Korver added 19 points and Cleveland’s much-maligned defense tightened just in time as the Cavaliers seized their first lead in the first-round series after being down 1-0 and 2-1.
Cleveland can close out Indiana with a win Friday night in Indianapolis.
at Houston 122, Minnesota 104: Clint Capela had 26 points and 15 rebounds, James Harden added 24 points and the Houston Rockets pulled away in the third quarter to get another lopsided win and eliminate the Minnesota Timberwolves with a 122-104 victory in Game 5 of the first-round series Wednesday night.
The top-seeded Rockets are headed to the second round for the second year in a row after taking care of the eighth-seeded Timberwolves. Minnesota was in the postseason for the first time since 2004.
Houston will await the winner of the Utah-Oklahoma City series, which the Jazz lead 3-2 after the Thunder rallied from a big deficit Wednesday night to avoid elimination.
After scoring 22 points in Houston’s 50-point third quarter in a Game 4 blowout Monday night, Harden poured in half of Houston’s 30 points in the third quarter on Wednesday night to put the Rockets up for good. His 15 third-quarter points matched Minnesota’s output in the frame and he finished with 12 assists.
Karl-Anthony Towns led the Timberwolves with 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Jamal Crawford added 20 points off the bench.
Andrew Wiggins scored the last four points of the third quarter to cut the lead to 85-74 entering the fourth quarter. The Rockets used a 7-2 spurt, highlighted by a 3 from Ryan Anderson, to start the fourth and make it 92-76 with 9 1/2 minutes left.
A basket by Derrick Rose got Minnesota within 14 later in the fourth when Houston went on a 10-4 run to push the lead to 108-88 with less than five minutes to go.
The Wolves got consecutive 3s by Jamal Crawford and Wiggins to cut the lead after that, but the Rockets scored the next five points to end that run and cruise to the victory.
at Oklahoma City 107, Utah 99: Russell Westbrook scored 45 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied from 25 points down in the second half to fight off elimination and beat the Utah Jazz 107-99 on Wednesday night.
Westbrook also had 15 rebounds and seven assists. Paul George added 34 points and eight rebounds.
Utah takes a 3-2 lead back to Salt Lake City for Game 6 on Friday.
Oklahoma City took advantage after Utah’s post players, Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors, got into foul trouble. Both finished with five fouls, and Oklahoma City was able to get to the basket consistently for the first time in the series.
Jae Crowder had a career playoff-high 27 points for Utah. Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points, and Joe Ingles added 16.
Utah opened the second half on an 8-1 run to go up 64-42, and Crowder’s 3-pointer made it 71-46 with 8:34 left in the third quarter.
Westbrook hit back-to-back 3-pointers, then made a layup with 5:07 left in the third quarter to cut Utah’s lead to 73-60. Gobert picked up his fifth foul with 3:46 left in the third quarter. Westbrook’s 3-pointer tied the game at 78 heading into the fourth quarter. Westbrook scored 20 points in the third quarter.
Westbrook scored immediately at the start of the fourth to finally put the Thunder in front. Back-to-back threes by Westbrook and Alex Abrines put Oklahoma City up 96-91, and a jumper by Westbrook with 1:24 left put Oklahoma City up 107-99.