NBA roundup: Fred VanVleet leads Raptors over Heat; Nuggets, Sixers win
Fred VanVleet scored a career-high 36 points and made seven 3-pointers, and the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors added to their strong restart with a 107-103 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday.
VanVleet finished 7 of 12 from beyond the 3-point arc and was a perfect 13 of 13 from the foul line, besting his 34-point total against the Pelicans last December.
Pascal Siakam added 22 points and Kyle Lowry had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Raptors, who are 2-0 since play resumed last week. Toronto resumed its season by beating the Lakers and remains in second place in the Eastern Conference.
Goran Dragic had 25 points for the Heat.
Miami beat Toronto twice this season, but the Raptors avoided the season sweep behind VanVleet, who poured in deep 3s and repeatedly found his way to the foul line in the third quarter with strong drives.
The Raptors led by 17 midway through the third quarter before the Heat pulled ahead on Dragic’s corner 3 with 10:11 remaining in the game. The Raptors regained command when Serge Ibaka, who had 15 points, added two dunks on back-to-back possessions.
Still, Miami wouldn’t go away.
Jae Crowder hit a 3 and Dragic drew a charge on VanVleet to give the Heat a chance. Dragic scored on a drive on the ensuing possession and drew a foul, but missed the potential game-tying free throw with 40 seconds left — Miami’s first miss in 16 attempts.
The Heat still had a chance when Lowry missed a reverse layup.
But two late turnovers cost the Heat a chance to win. Jimmy Butler couldn’t handle a pass from Dragic on a backdoor cut and the ball scooted out of bounds with 17,.4 seconds left. Then Butler turned it over after a side inbounds play when his pass was deflected by VanVleet.
Denver 121, Oklahoma City 113
Michael Porter Jr. scored a career-high 37 points and Nikola Jokic had a triple-double to help the Denver Nuggets top the Oklahoma City Thunder 121-113 in overtime on Monday.
Jokic had 30 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. He scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and overtime to help Denver strengthen its hold on third place in the Western Conference standings.
Porter, who averages just 7.5 points, had the big performance in only his third start of the season. His previous career high was 25 points. He also grabbed 12 rebounds.
It was a key win for the Nuggets, who were missing three starters. Jamal Murray sat out with left hamstring tightness, forward Will Barton sat out with left knee soreness and guard Gary Harris sat out with a strained right hip.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 24 points, Chris Paul had 23 and Danilo Gallinari added 20 for the Thunder, who also were short-handed. Thunder coach Billy Donovan said Dennis Schroder, Oklahoma City’s No. 3 scorer for the season, left the bubble to join his wife for the birth of their second child.
The game was close throughout. Denver’s Monte Morris was fouled with 6 seconds remaining, and he made both free throws to give the Nuggets a 109-108 lead. Paul missed the first and made the second of two free throws with 2.9 seconds remaining to tie the game at 109. Denver’s Troy Daniels missed a floater from near the free throw line at the buzzer, and the game went to overtime.
Denver held Oklahoma City to one field goal in the extra period.
Indiana 111, Washington 100
T.J. Warren kept up his red-hot restart with 34 more points, helping the Indiana Pacers pull away from the Washington Wizards for a 111-100 victory Monday.
Two nights after scoring a career-best 53 points in the Pacers’ first game at Disney, Warren had 16 points in the third quarter to spark a 22-2 run after Washington had fought back into the game.
Warren shot 14 for 26 from the field and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Pacers, who improved to 2-0 since resuming the season. They played without star guard Victor Oladipo, who rested on the first night of back-to-back games.
Malcolm Brogdon had 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists in his Disney debut, and Myles Turner and Aaron Holiday each added 17 points.
Thomas Bryant had 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards, who fell to 0-3 at Disney and likely won’t be sticking around terribly long. They dropped to 7 1/2 games behind eighth-place Brooklyn and need to be within four games to force a play-in for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot.
Washington had a 38-31 lead in the second quarter, but the Pacers ripped off a 20-2 run to take a 51-40 lead on Myles Turner’s three-point play with 1:39 left.
The Wizards recovered and trailed just 68-66 after Bryant’s 3-pointer with 5:25 remaining in the third quarter. But Turner had a dunk before Warren scored the next eight points, converting a pair of three-point plays, to kick off the second big run and Washington couldn’t bounce back from that one.
Oladipo initially planned to opt out of the restart but joined his teammates in Florida eventually and scored 15 points and played 32 minutes in the 76ers game. He had played just 13 games before the shutdown as he recovers from a ruptured quad tendon.
New Orleans 109, Memphis 99
Brandon Ingram scored 24 points and the New Orleans Pelicans got a much-needed 109-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday despite another Zion Williamson shoe incident.
Williamson had 23 points, seven rebounds and tied a career high with five assists in his most extensive playing time since returning to the NBA bubble.
Williamson drove the lane in the third quarter and landed awkwardly, losing his left shoe. However, the big man quickly put the shoe back on and remained in the game. It brought back memories of when the then-Duke freshman sensation injured his knee in February 2019 when his foot ripped through the side of his shoe as he attempted to plant his foot.
After being limited to a combined 29 minutes in his first two games since the restart, Williamson played 25 minutes, although he appeared to get fatigued when he didn’t hustle back on defense and was taken out with 6 minutes to play. But he returned a short time later and helped the Pelicans close on a 12-6 run.
Jaren Jackson Jr. had 22 points for the Grizzlies, who fell to 0-3 since the NBA restart. Ja Morant struggled from the field, finishing with 11 points on 5-of-21 shooting.
Lonzo Ball had called it a “must-win game” after the Pelicans lost their first two games since the restart, dropping them to 11th place in the Western Conference standings.
Now they’re 2 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Grizzlies. The ninth-place team can qualify for a play-in matchup against the eighth-place team as long as it is within four games. The Pelicans still need to move past the Spurs and Trail Blazers to get to ninth place.
Philadelphia 132, San Antonio 130
Shake Milton made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 7.2 seconds remaining and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the San Antonio Spurs 132-130 on Monday night.
Joel Embiid had 27 points and nine rebounds for the 76ers, finishing the scoring with a free throw with 0.4 seconds to play.
The 76ers opened a 14-point lead early in the fourth quarter, then recovered after falling behind by four in the final minute.
Embiid, who was coming off a 41-point, 21-rebound performance in a loss to Indiana on Saturday, followed that effort by shooting 9 for 17 shots as Philadelphia evened its record in the restart.
Tobias Harris scored 25 points and Josh Richardson had 19 for the 76ers.
DeMar DeRozan scored 13 of his 30 points in the fourth quarter for San Antonio. Rudy Gay scored a season-high 24 points and Derrick White added 20.
San Antonio fell to 2-1 in Florida and missed a chance to gain ground in the Western Conference standings. The Spurs remained 1 1/2 games behind eighth-place Memphis.
San Antonio could have become the first team to win three games in the restart.
The 76ers inbounded trailing by two with 10 seconds left and left Milton plenty of room to shoot while trying to keep the ball from getting into Embiid. San Antonio’s Jakob Poeltl then missed a contested layup in close, and the ball went out of bounds off the Spurs. Embiid made the first of two free throws to close the scoring.
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