Dan Feldman

DeMar DeRozan dunks all over Jahlil Okafor (video)

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DeMar DeRozan‘s dunk on Jahlil Okafor was great.

Yet, it wasn’t even the Raptors’ best dunk in their win over the 76ers last night.

Kyle Lowry scores 20, dedicates Raptors’ win to mom on her birthday, says he scored her age

Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, right, goes after the loose ball with Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, left, after him during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan spent an off night in town at Villanova watching the best basketball team in the Philly area dominate in another victory. A night later, Lowry and DeRozan ditched the courtside seats to team up and keep Philadelphia the worst team in the NBA.

DeRozan scored 31 points and Lowry added 20 to help the Toronto Raptors win their fourth straight game, 123-114 over the 76ers on Wednesday night.

The 30-year-old Lowry dedicated the win to his mother on her birthday .

“I got as many points as her age,” he said, laughing.

DeRozan continued to make the 30-point mark a routine part of his game and scored 31 points through the first three quarters. DeRozan posterized Jahlil Okafor with a dunk over the Sixers big man and easily rolled to his second straight 30-point game. He scored 30 points on Monday against Milwaukee and came in averaging a robust 27.9 points per game.

“It’s just experience. My work ethic,” DeRozan said. “I just try and be better every single year.”

He’s having his best one yet.

Lowry helped blow the game open in his Philadelphia homecoming. Lowry made a 3-pointer in the fourth that stretched the lead to 99-80 and earned some applause for the All-Star raised in the area.

DeRozan and Lowry helped squash the Sixers’ modest two-game winning streak. Long one of the NBA’s worst teams, the Sixers haven’t won three straight games since they took four in a row from Dec. 29, 2013-Jan. 4, 2014.

Robert Covington led the Sixers with 26 points and Okafor had 17.

The Sixers had won two straight on the road and seemed like they could win a rare game at home when they opened with a strong first 17 minutes. Lowry brought the Sixers crashing back to reality.

Lowry buried two quick 3-pointers that brought the Raptors within two and scored on a driving layup that tied the game at 45-all. The Raptors turned a three-point deficit to open the second quarter into a 60-54 halftime lead. The Sixers went on a mini-run late in the fourth and got within five points with 30 seconds left. They could have used another 30 minutes to top the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors.

The Raptors have won 10 of 11 games and are 11 games over .500 for the first time this season.

TIP-INS

Raptors: Lowry and DeRozan attended No. 1 Villanova’s game on Tuesday night. Lowry, a Philly native who played at Villanova, wore a “Just a Kid From North Philly” sweatshirt at shootaround. “He’s a pain in the butt sometimes, but he’s our pain in the butt,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. Casey said Lowry reminded him of former Seattle great Gary Payton.

76ers: Okafor started at center and Joel Embiid at power forward for the first time this season. They played the first 6 minutes of the first quarter together. Embiid and Okafor are natural centers. Coach Brett Brown decided the time was right to pair them and see what they could do together in the frontcourt. “It’s my job to grow our program, grow our guys, and see what we actually have,” Brown said. “We have really yet to see Jahlil and Joel together in any significant timeframe. Tonight, it’s available. So I’m going to do it.” Embiid twisted his left ankle in warmups and sat out a stretch in the first half with a bloody nose and scored nine points.

“I was just standing, I wasn’t moving, I was just standing on the perimeter,” Embiid said. “I wasn’t active on defense.”

DID YOU SEE THAT!?

Embiid’s lone block in the first half came when he charged at DeMarre Carroll and used his outstretched right hand to swat the ball away.

DeRozan had the dunk of the night when he split defenders down the lane and stuffed one over Okafor.

SHOE FITS

No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons ditched the walking boot and sat in sneakers on the Sixers bench for the first time this season. Simmons has not played this season because of a broken bone in his right foot suffered during training camp. Simmons shot free throws in practice this week. The Sixers say there is no timetable for his return.

UP NEXT

Raptors: Host Atlanta on Friday.

76ers: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

Terrence Ross uncorks huge windmill dunk… and makes it (video)

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After missing a huge windmill dunk Monday, Raptors wing Terrence Ross said no more windmill dunks in Toronto until Vince Carter retires.

Apparently, Philadelphia is OK.

Watch Hassan Whiteside score 26 points, grab 22 rebounds in Heat’s win over Pacers (video)

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MIAMI (AP) — Winning consecutive games at home for the first time all season isn’t exactly something to celebrate, particularly when the season is nearly two months old.

For the Miami Heat, it’s a start.

Hassan Whiteside had 26 points and 22 rebounds, and the Heat clamped down defensively to beat the Indiana Pacers 95-89 on Wednesday night. Miami held the Pacers to 37 percent shooting and outrebounded them 58-38.

“Guess that’s what you can expect with a Heat-Pacers game, regardless of who the faces are,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It was good for us to grind out another one.”

No, this wasn’t one of those playoff battles with the Pacers that featured LeBron James and Dwyane Wade almost always finding a way for the Heat in recent years. This time, it was the likes of Tyler Johnson and James Johnson coming up big, combining for 29 points off the bench – and Whiteside simply controlling the paint during his 34 minutes.

“I try to lead by example,” Whiteside said.

Paul George scored 22 for the Pacers, who were hoping for a season-best third straight win and instead managed just 10 points in the fourth quarter. CJ Miles added 15 for Indiana.

“This is a game that we should have won,” George said. “It’s frustrating. … We played OK. We just didn’t finish well.”

Neither team led by more than seven, and the Heat got to that margin after James Johnson found Goran Dragic for a layup and a 92-85 lead with 3:35 left.

They needed to hang on desperately from there.

Miami didn’t score again until there were 12.9 seconds left, when Josh Richardson sealed the win with a dunk that put the Heat up five after Indiana didn’t foul. The Pacers missed three 3-point tries that would have tied the game in the final 2 minutes, one by George and the last two by Myles Turner.

The Pacers shot 5 for 18 in the fourth. They went scoreless over a 7-minute stretch in the second half, and Miami took the lead for good during that drought.

“They basically muscled us and broke our offensive execution,” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said.

TIP-INS

Pacers: Monta Ellis (right groin strain) was sidelined again, and Rodney Stuckey played through a bruised left knee. … This was the start of Indiana’s sixth of 17 back-to-backs this season. … George has played 19 games at Miami, including playoffs. Indiana’s record in those games is 2-17.

Heat: It was the fourth time Whiteside reached 20 points and 20 rebounds in the same game, the second this season. … Justise Winslow returned from a 16-game absence due to a sore left wrist and scored two points in 21 minutes. … Dragic missed his first seven shots before connecting on a pull-up for his first basket early in the third quarter. He shot 4 for 15. … Dion Waiters (groin) missed his 10th consecutive game.

`CANES VISIT

Miami’s women’s basketball team – No. 13 in this week’s AP Top 25 – was at the game, along with coach Katie Meier. For some, it was their first time at a Heat game. “They were so excited,” said Meier, whose team next plays Friday at Florida International.

FREE THROWS

Indiana came into the night as the league’s fourth-best team at the foul line, Miami as the very worst. The Pacers went 14 for 17, the Heat 14 for 25.

UP NEXT

Pacers: Visit New Orleans on Thursday, the second game in a three-game, four-day trip.

Heat: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday, the third game on this six-game homestand.

Enes Kanter brushes former Jazz teammate Rodney Hood, who pushes back (video)

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Rodney Hood had a heroic night for the Jazz on Wednesday.

He scored 25 points to lead a 109-89 win over the Thunder.

He also pushed former teamamte Enes Kanter, who’s loathed in Utah for forcing his way out (and then blasting Kevin Durant for betraying Oklahoma City).

You decide which part of Hood’s night was more appreciated.