NBA roundup: Heat win against Raptors on emotional Lowry return, Mavs overcome Bucks
Toronto, Canada - The Miami Heat moved a step closer to claiming the Eastern Conference's first seed with a 114-109 win on the road against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday.
Kyle Lowry put up 16 points and 10 assists in an emotional return to the Scotiabank Arena against his old team, while Victor Oladipo scored a season-high 21 points.
Lowry had not played in Toronto since February 2020, when he was still a member of the Raptors, weeks before that season was shut down and moved to a bubble due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Heat had a healthy spread of scorers as Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo scored 18 and 16 points respectively, on the way to winning their fourth consecutive game.
Miami stays two games clear of the Boston Celtics – who torched the Washington Wizards 144-102 – atop the standings in the East, while both teams have only three games remaining in the regular season.
Toronto now holds an equal record with the fifth-placed Chicago Bulls, but the Bulls hold the tiebreaker. The Raptors remain 2.5 games clear of the Cavaliers in the play-in spots, after Cleveland went down 112-108 to the Sixers.
Around the league
Luka Dončić was unstoppable as his Dallas Mavericks defeated the reigning champion Milwaukee Bucks 118-112.
Doncic had 32 points on nine-of-22 shooting, as well as 15 assists, eight rebounds, and three steals in a game that saw both coaches cut their rotation down to nine players and extend the minutes of their stars.
Giannis Antetokounmpo top-scored for the Bucks with 28 points on 12-of-22 shooting, but was a costly 50% from the free throw line, going four-of-eight.
The Los Angeles Clippers secured eighth spot in the Western Conference on Sunday, defeating the New Orleans Pelicans 119-100.
Marcus Morris made four three-pointers on the way to 22 points, while the Clippers went 21-of-44 from total beyond the arc and connected on all eight attempts in the first quarter.
The Clips guaranteed the double chance in the play-in with the win, meaning if they lose to the seventh seed, they would face the winner between the ninth and 10th seed for an eventual NBA play-off spot.
The Phoenix Suns stayed top in the West despite surprisingly losing 117-96 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the Golden State Warriors snapped a four-game skid by beating the Utah Jazz 111-107.
Nikola Jokić did his thing against the Los Angeles Lakers, scoring 38 points in a 129-118 win for the Nuggets. The Detroit Pistons took care of the Indiana Pacers, 121-119, while the New York Knicks eased past the Orlando Magic, 118-88.
The Minnesota Timberwolves also grabbed a 139-132 win over the Houston Rockets.
Cover photo: IMAGO / ZUMA Press