Raptors pound Lakers; Clips win

Kawhi Leonard
Kawhi Leonard

MIAMI (AFP) - Kyle Lowry scored 33 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, sparking the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors to a 107-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in a showdown of title contenders Saturday.

Lakers star LeBron James scored 20 points and pulled down 10 rebounds while Anthony Davis added 14 points, but the Lakers suffered their worst shooting performance of the season, hitting 29-of-82 shots, 35.8%, from the floor.

"Against a couple of great guys, we came in wanting to play well and we did a good job," Lowry said.

The Lakers-Raptors matchup was the feature contest on the third day of regular-season contests in a bubble quarantine atmosphere at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, as the NBA restarts after a four-month COVID-19 shutdown.

Toronto began the game with a 13-0 run as the Lakers went 4:51 before scoring their first points, their longest scoreless start in any game this season.

But after going 0-for-7 from the floor, the Lakers went on a 9-of-15 run and had pulled within 23-21 by the end of the first quarter.

The Lakers owned a 44-41 halftime edge but Lowry's exceptional performance allowed the Raptors to seize command in the second half.

A 22-3 spurt pulled Toronto ahead 63-50 and a 7-0 run with James on the Lakers bench in the fourth quarter sealed the victory for the Canadian club.

"We just got aggressive, wanted to go out there and get the win," Lowry said. "We were out there doing too much talking. We just wanted to lock in and do our jobs."

The Los Angeles Clippers set a team record with 25 3-point baskets in a 126-103 romp over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Paul George scored 28 points and Kawhi Leonard, a key player in Toronto's 2019 title run before joining LA, added 24 to lead the Clippers, who improved their second-best record in the Western Conference to 45-21.

The Clippers seized a 77-45 halftime lead and cruised after falling to the Lakers two nights earlier in their first bubble contest.

"As a group, we thought we weren't ourselves (against the Lakers)," said George. "We tried to get our identity back. We put the work in and it paid off in the end."

The Clippers hit 25-of-47 shots from 3-point range, led by Paul George's 8-for-11 touch from beyond the arc, although he went 0-for-6 from 2-point range.

The Pelicans, who fell to 28-38, were led by Nickeil Alexander-Walker's 15 points off the bench while rookie sensation Zion Williamson had seven points and five rebounds in 14 minutes.

WARREN'S 53

Indiana's T.J. Warren scored 53 points in powering the Pacers over the Philadelphia 76ers 127-121.

Warren hit 20-of-29 shots from the floor, 9-of-12 from 3-point range, and sank 4-of-4 from the free throw line.

Victor Oladipo and Aaron Holiday each added 15 points for Indiana, which improved to 40-26.

Cameroonian star big man Joel Embiid scored 41 points on 15-of-23 shooting and grabbed a game-high 21 rebounds for the Sixers, who fell a game behind the Pacers in the Eastern Conference at 39-37.

Tobias Harris added 30 points and Australian guard Ben Simmons had 19 points and 13 rebounds in a losing cause.

Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo each scored 22 points and Kylly Olynyk added 20 off the bench to lead the Miami Heat over Denver 125-105.

The Heat, 42-24, stayed two games in front of Indiana in fourth in the East while the Nuggets, led by 19 points each from Nikola Jokic and reserve Jerami Grant, fell to 43-23, still a game ahead of Utah for third in the West.

Oklahoma City pulled within a half-game of Utah for fourth in the West by thumping the Jazz 110-94. Utah (42-24) trailed 66-42 at halftime and never recovered.

The Thunder (41-24) boasted six double-figure scorers, led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander with 19 points, Chris Paul with 18 and New Zealander Steven Adams, who had 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds.

Donovan Mitchell led Utah with 13 points.+