NBA

Lowry shines in emotional return to Toronto, Heat inch towards first seed

By Sports Desk April 04, 2022

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 Air Canada Centre 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 remain two games clear of the Boston Celtics atop the standings in the East, while both teams have only three games remaining in the regular season.

Toronto now hold an equal record with the fifth-placed Chicago Bulls, but the Bulls hold the tiebreaker. However, they remain 2.5 games clear of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in spots.

Bucks no match for Luka magic 

Luka Doncic 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 per cent from the free throw line, going four-of-eight.

Clippers clinch play-in double chance 

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 play-off spot.

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    Anthony Edwards credited Karl-Anthony Towns after he halted his slump to keep the Minnesota Timberwolves alive in their Western Conference finals series against the Dallas Mavericks.

    Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Minnesota held off a late Dallas rally for a 105-100 road win, forcing a Game 5 in Minneapolis on Thursday.

    That came after a difficult start to the series for the four-time All-Star, with coach Chris Finch saying it was "hard to watch" his struggles in Game 3.

    Towns shot just 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, but was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range on Tuesday.

    Edwards, who narrowly missed out on a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists, said Towns was the primary reason the Timberwolves retained hope of an NBA Finals berth. 

    "Everything came together for him; he was super confident," Edwards said of Towns. 

    "He played exceptionally well, and he came through big-time. He was the reason we won tonight."

    Finch echoed Edwards' praise, saying: "KAT's a great player. His struggles were not going to last forever. He got himself going. 

    "Even when he got deep in foul trouble, we left him out there, just let him roll, and he played smart, played under control, rebounded really well for us, executed defensively. We're really proud of him. Tonight was a great step for him."

    While it was Towns' efforts that gave Minnesota a lead to defend, it was Edwards who made certain of the victory with a mid-range jumper after the Mavs pulled within three points just over a minute before the buzzer. 

    Towns, who fouled out with one minute and 38 seconds on the clock, said of his team-mate's game-sealing shot: "I was on the bench and had a front-row seat. I feel like he was visualising that make and he got to exactly the spot he wanted to.

    "I'm honoured to be playing with my brother here, seeing him every day put the work in, and I knew when he got to that shot it was a high likelihood he was going to make that."

  • NBA: Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5 NBA: Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5

    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas' Luka Doncic finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    "That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy," Doncic told reporters after the game. "They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one."

    Towns, who shot 27.8 per cent in the series' first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offense, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Doncic pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas' following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

  • Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5 Timberwolves hold off Mavericks to force Game 5

    Anthony Edwards just missed a triple-double, Karl-Anthony Towns scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half and the Minnesota Timberwolves held on to beat the Dallas Mavericks 105-100 on Tuesday to avoid being swept in the Western Conference finals.

    Facing a 3-0 series deficit on the road, the Wolves conjured their best defensive game of the series to force a Game 5 on Thursday night in Minneapolis.

    Dallas’ Luka Dončić finished with 28 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists but was held to 7-for-21 shooting. Kyrie Irving shot 6 of 18 from the field to finish with 16 points.

    “That game's on me. Just didn't give enough energy,” Dončić told reporters after the game. “They won one game. We've just got to focus on the next one.”

    Towns, who shot 27.8 percent in the series’ first three games, was 9 of 13 from the floor and made 4 of 5 from 3-point range. Despite his redemptive performance on offence, Towns fouled out with 1:38 remaining after falling for a Dončić pump fake at the 3-point line.

    Edwards was assertive from the opening tip, scoring 14 points in the first quarter, and finished with 29 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

    The Mavs pulled to within 100-97 with just over a minute remaining before Edwards hit a mid-range jumper to extend the Minnesota lead. On Dallas’ following possession, Kyle Anderson stole the ball from Irving to extinguish the threat.

    The Mavericks played without standout rookie center Dereck Lively II due to a neck sprain after taking a rough fall in Game 3.

    No team has ever come back from a 3-0 series lead, but the Wolves will hope to keep the pressure on Dallas in Game 5.

     

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