NBA: Mavs edge Bulls; Spurs and Raptors win
Dallas forward Wesley Matthews drained the go-ahead three-pointer with 11.8 seconds remaining on Tuesday as the Mavericks spoiled Chicago guard Dwyane Wade’s 35th birthday with a 99-98 NBA victory over the Bulls.
Wade missed at the buzzer and the Bulls fell to the Mavericks for the second time this season — after absorbing a 25-point defeat last month in Dallas.
Harrison Barnes scored 20 points, Seth Curry had 18 and JJ Barea added 12 for the Mavericks, who notched their third straight win.
Matthews and Deron Williams both finished with 11 points. Dirk Nowitzki, steadily returning to full strength after right Achilles tendon trouble, contributed 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavs, who built a 13-point lead in the third quarter then withstood a Bulls charge that saw Chicago take a 98-96 lead on Jimmy Butler’s jump shot with 22.8 seconds left.
Butler led the Bulls with 24 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.
But the Mavs responded to his go-ahead basket with a pick and roll that sent Williams driving for the basket, only to find Matthews for what proved to be the game-winner.
Once the Mavs were ahead again, Matthews was determined not to give Butler a chance to beat them.
“Obviously, everybody knew where the ball was going to go,” said Matthews, whose suffocating defense forced Butler to get the ball to Wade, who missed a jump shot as time expired.
“The shot didn’t go in,” Wade said. “They made plays, we made plays. They made a little more down the stretch.”
In San Antonio, Kawhi Leonard paced the Spurs with 34 points in a 122-114 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.
LaMarcus Aldridge added 29 points for San Antonio, who shook off a shaky start to improve to 32-9, second in the Western Conference behind the Golden State Warriors.
Leonard’s rebound and race down the court for a dunk with 7:36 to play highlighted a 20-2 scoring run for San Antonio that saw the Spurs turn a 90-83 deficit into a 103-92 lead.
Joseph lifts Raptors
Cory Joseph was the unexpected star for Toronto, starting in place of a resting Kyle Lowry and scoring a career-high 33 points to lead the Raptors to a 119-109 victory over the Nets in Brooklyn.
Lowry, whose 1,487 minutes played this season are the most in the Eastern Conference, didn’t play for the first time this season.
“Kyle provides a lot of scoring for us,” Joseph said. “I knew that slot would be missing today. So I took it upon myself to try to be more aggressive, try to be aggressive and take what the defense gives me.”
Joseph surpassed his previous career high of 20 points – for San Antonio in 2014.
In his fifth start for the Raptors he connected on 15 of 22 shots from the field.
DeMar DeRozan, named the Eastern Conference player of the week on Monday, led the Raptors with 36 points and 11 rebounds. He surpassed 20 points for the 13th straight game and notched his 20th 30-point game of the season.
The Heat sprung a surprise in Miami, withstanding Houston star James Harden’s 40-point triple double to upset the Rockets 109-103.
Harden added 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his 13th triple-double of the season.
But he also had six turnovers as the Rockets, third in the West, succumbed to a Heat team whose 12-30 record is second-worst in the league.
Heat point guard Goran Dragic scored 21 points with eight rebounds and eight assists as Miami grabbed the win with a 20-3 fourth-quarter scoring run.
“Tonight we did an amazing job,” Dragic said. “The Rockets are one of the best teams in the NBA. They play really well. I’m glad we won this game, but we need to get better.”
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