Raptors topple Pacers 102-94
TORONTO — Terrence Ross scored 24 points to lead the short-handed Toronto Raptors 102-94 over the Indiana Pacers in the NBA on Friday.
Jonas Valanciunas added 22 points and nine rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan scored 20 for the Raptors, who earned their fifth win in six games despite missing starters Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson.
Greivis Vasquez and Nando De Colo each had 10 points, while Patrick Patterson, who started in place of Johnson in only his third game since missing 11 with an elbow injury, had seven rebounds.
Paul George had 26 points to top the Pacers and David West added 21.
There was a postseason vibe to Friday’s Eastern Conference matchup between two teams that could potentially meet in the second round of the playoffs.
The Pacers had led the East all season until a recent slide saw them fall below the Miami Heat. The playoff-bound Raptors entered the night in third.
The Raptors cobbled together an 11-point lead in the third quarter, but it was short-lived as Indiana used a 12-3 run to pull within two points.
There were some heated moments in the third when John Salmons went nose-to-nose with George. The two had to be separated, and both received technicals.
The game was tied 75-75 heading into the fourth. The Pacers went on a quick 7-0 run midway through the quarter to take a three-point lead, but the Raptors responded with a run.
When Valanciunas grabbed his own rebound and finished with a hook shot, it put Toronto up 96-94 with three minutes remaining.
Valanciunas scored the next basket to make it a four-point lead, and the Raptors held fast on the defensive end the rest of the way.
At Miami, Corey Brewer hit one of two free throws with 1.8 seconds left in the second overtime, and the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Miami Heat 122-121.
Kevin Love scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Minnesota, which got 24 from Chase Budinger, 15 from Gorgui Dieng and 13 apiece from JJ Barea and Ricky Rubio, who also added 14 assists.
Ray Allen missed a wild jumper as time expired for Miami, which blew a chance to move two games clear of Indiana in the loss column atop the Eastern Conference standings.
LeBron James scored 34 points for the Heat, who got a season-high 24 from Mario Chalmers and 24 more from Chris Bosh, including a tying 3-pointer with 10.8 seconds left in the second overtime.
Marc Gasol had 24 points, Mike Conley scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, and the Memphis Grizzlies kept their playoff hopes alive with a 100-92 victory over the Denver Nuggets.
Zach Randolph added 20 points, including the last four points for Memphis, and grabbed 15 rebounds. Tayshaun Prince scored 12 before leaving with an ankle injury in the first half and Courtney Lee scored 10 for Memphis, which won its 11th straight home game.
Elsewhere, the Brooklyn Nets topped the Detroit Pistons 116-104 to extend their home winning streak to 15 games, the Charlotte Bobcats held off a fourth-quarter rally to beat the Orlando Magic, 91-80, and the Washington Wizards edged the New York Knicks, 90-89.