NBA: Trail Blazers silence Thunder while Heat edge Raptors

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum (3) drives to the basket in front of Oklahoma City Thunder center Steven Adams (12) during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena. (USA TODAY Sports)
Updated 10 January 2018
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NBA: Trail Blazers silence Thunder while Heat edge Raptors

LOS ANGELES: C.J. McCollum scored 27 points and passed off seven assists to lead the Portland Trail Blazers over Oklahoma City 117-106 in an NBA matchup Tuesday.
Shabazz Napier added 21 points and Bosnian big man Jusuf Nurkic had 20 for the Trail Blazers (22-18), who edged ahead of the host Thunder (22-19) for fifth place in the Western Conference.
Damian Lillard missed his second game in a row with a strained right calf, Napier starting in his place.
“That was a big win. It was for fifth place,” McCollum said. “Damian will be coming back any day now. We’ve got to keep the ship afloat until he gets back.”
McCollum sparked a Portland surge in the third quarter that kept Oklahoma City at bay the rest of the way,
“I just try to play at my pace, let the game come to me and when I have to take a big shot I’m not afraid of it,” McCollum said. “Guys did a great job of setting me screens and I was able to get to the middle.”
Russell Westbrook and Paul George each had 22 points to lead the Thunder, with Westbrook adding game highs of 12 assists and nine rebounds, while Carmelo Anthony contributed 19 points and New Zealand center Steven Adams had 16 in a losing cause.
In a thriller at Toronto, Miami’s Wayne Ellington scored inside with 0.3 of a second remaining to give the Heat a 90-89 victory.
Back-to-back baskets by DeMar DeRozan gave the host Raptors an 87-86 edge with two minutes to play, but Miami’s Goran Dragic answered on a driving layup with 19 seconds remaining to lift the Heat ahead 88-87.
But DeRozan, who led the Raptors with 25 points, wasn’t finished yet. He answered by tipping in his own miss with three seconds remaining to put the Raptors in front again, setting up Ellington’s clutch heroics.
Slovenian guard Dragic led Miami with 24 points and 12 rebounds while Ellington had 15 points off the bench, Heat reserve Bam Adebayo added 16 and Hassan Whiteside had 13 points and 15 rebounds.
Spanish forward Serge Ibaka of Toronto and Miami forward James Johnson were ejected for throwing punches at each other during a third-quarter altercation that began when the two began wrestling with each other.
The Raptors fell to 28-11, second in the Eastern Conference and three games behind Boston, while Miami climbed to 23-17, matching Washington for fourth in the East.


Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

Updated 20 May 2019
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Leonard stars as Raptors claw back with win over Bucks

  • Milwaukee’s MVP finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggles to just 12 points
  • He then fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period

LOS ANGELES: Kawhi Leonard scored eight of his 36 points in the second overtime period Sunday to lead the Toronto Raptors to a gritty 118-112 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference finals.
The Raptors, who dropped the first two games of the best-of-seven series in Milwaukee, clawed their way back to 2-1 in front of home fans and will try to level the set when they host game four on Tuesday.
Pascal Siakam scored 25 points and Spanish center Marc Gasol added 16 for the Raptors, who got off to a quick start and led much of the night but had to battle to put the Bucks away.
“We just played a lot tougher,” Raptors coach Nick Nurse said. “We were up guarding, we were physical. We were ready to play tonight.”
Milwaukee’s Most Valuable Player finalist Giannis Antetokounmpo struggled to just 12 points on five-of-16 shooting.
Antetokounmpo’s 23 rebounds helped the Bucks stay in touch, but he didn’t reach double figures in points until the middle of the fourth quarter and he produced eight of the Bucks’ 20 turnovers.
Antetokounmpo fouled out in the first minute of the second overtime period.
Moments later the Bucks managed to edge ahead 105-103 — taking the lead for the first time since Antetokounmpo scored the game’s opening basket — but Leonard and the Raptors roared back.
Leonard’s steal and dunk put Toronto ahead 112-109 and his driving bank shot gave Toronto a 114-110 lead with 32.4 seconds remaining.
Leonard played a key role in limiting Antetokounmpo and Nurse said his defensive play was “probably the biggest key of the game.”
“Not only did he just play good, but he made some huge plays with some steals and rip-aways and break aways,” Nurse said.
“Offense was hard to come by there for both teams for a while and any time you can get a steal and a break out it’s a huge momentum play.”
Toronto had a chance to win it in regulation, but they let a 96-91 lead slip away in the final 1:13 of the fourth quarter.
Milwaukee guard Khris Middleton’s putback basket from his own miss with 2.2 seconds left in regulation forced overtime.
The Raptors led 103-99 with 1:29 remaining in the first extra session.
But Malcolm Brogdon floated in a shot and George Hill drained two free throws to tie it before Leonard’s jump shot fell short.
The Raptors overcame a slow night from Kyle Lowry, who scored 11 points before fouling out with 6:12 left in the fourth.
Although Leonard scored 19 points in the fourth quarter and both overtimes, some grimaces from the Raptors star sparked concerns he might be injured.
“I’m feeling all right,” he said. “This is playoff basketball. Everybody’s hurting, you just have to keep fighting.”
Hill led the Bucks with 24 points and fellow reserve Brogdon added 20. Center Brook Lopez led the Bucks starters with 16 points.
“I feel like we gave ourselves several chances,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We weren’t able to get over the hump.
“When you have opportunities you’ve got to make them and we didn’t quite make enough of our good ones. I think we’ll be better in game four, Giannis, everybody.”