AP

DeMar DeRozan, Norman Powell lead Raptors past Wizards 114-106

Leave a comment

WASHINGTON (AP) DeMar DeRozan scored 32 points, including a key 3-pointer late, and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Washington Wizards 114-106 on Friday night despite giving back a 19-point first-half lead.

Norman Powell added a season-high 21 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter, as the Raptors (37-25) pulled back into a tie with the Wizards (36-24) for third place in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto also secured a 2-1 victory in the season series, a potential tiebreaker for playoff seeding, two days after losing to Washington 105-96 in the first game of a home-and-home set.

John Wall scored 30 points and Bradley Beal added 27 for Wizards, who have now lost nine consecutive regular season series to the Raptors.

Washington shot 37 percent (34 of 92) from the floor. After their second unit played a key role in a 26-1 second-quarter run on Wednesday night, the Wizards’ bench was outscored 44-14 by the Raptors’ reserves.

Beal’s baseline 3-pointer gave Washington its only second-half lead at 72-71, before DeRozan hit a baseline jumper a few possessions later to give Toronto the lead for good, 76-74 late in the third.

Washington last got within one possession when Wall’s 3 cut it to 108-105 inside a minute, but DeRozan answered with his own 3-pointer from an almost identical spot with 20.9 seconds left.

TIP INS

Raptors: Outscored Washington 16-0 in the paint to open the game. … Shot above 60 percent for most of the first half and entered halftime shooting 59.5 percent (22 of 37). … Coach Dwane Casey picked up his 300th win.

Wizards: Assigned Chris McCullough to Northern Arizona of the NBDL. … Wall had six of his seven assists in the second half. … In his first game since signing with Washington after he was waived by the Knicks, G Brandon Jennings was scoreless on three field goal attempts over 10 minutes.

JENNINGS’ ROLE

With Jennings joining the Wizards, coach Scott Brooks is hopeful he can find a few extra chances to rest Wall.

“If I can get him to 35 (minutes per game),” Brooks said of Wall. “Right now, he’s a little over 36. So a couple of minutes here and there.”

UP NEXT

Raptors: Complete their 14th of 17 back-to-back game sets on Saturday in Milwaukee.

Wizards: Look to avoid a three-game season sweep when they welcome Orlando on Sunday.

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

1 Comment

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

Leave a comment

Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

Twitter
Leave a comment

Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)

James Harden helped recruit Lou Williams to Houston

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.

While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”

Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”

We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.

Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.