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  HOME | Sports (Click here for more)

Raptors Down Grizzlies, Thunder over Wizards, Spurs Jump Pelicans

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida – Basket-scoring power forward Pascal Siakam, from Cameroon, and Congolese-Spaniard Serge Ibaka’s strength in the paint on Sunday led the Toronto Raptors to a 108-99 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Siakam contributed 26 points in the clinic put on by the Raptors, who had six players in double digits and hit 48 percent of their shots (34 of 71) from the field.

Small forward and shooting guard Norman Powell was the second-highest scorer for the Canadian team, contributing 16 points, while Ibaka, also coming off the bench, ended the game with a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Ibaka, who in the Raptors’ previous game against the Boston Celtics had to leave the court after being hit in the face, played for 25 minutes on Sunday, hit five of his nine shots from the field, including two of three triples, but missed the two free throws he made.

Under the hoop, Ibaka grabbed eight defensive rebounds, provided three assists, recovered three loose balls, made two blocks and committed four personal fouls in the most complete outing he has had while playing for the current NBA champs who once again got themselves into the win column after falling to the Celtics 122-100.

Spanish center Marc Gasol, who was playing against his former team, contributed 10 points and captured six rebounds, all defensive, in the 22 minutes he spent in action.

The Raptors really showed their stuff in the second quarter by putting 40 points on the board, thus going into halftime with a 60-54 advantage.

Toronto was ahead 94-79 before Memphis managed to go on a 13-1 run that left the Canadians ahead only 95-92. Siakam, however, responded with two triples to put the game out of reach and regained control for the final stretch.

With the win, the Raptors remain in second place in the Eastern Conference and the leaders in the Atlantic Division with a 50-19 record, four games out in front of the Celtics.

For the Grizzlies, forward Dillon Brooks scored 25 points, reserve Grayson Allen equaled his best performance of the season with 20 points and rookie forward Ja Morant notched a double-double with 17 points and 10 assists.

The Grizzlies, however, fell to 1-5 after the resumption of the season and are just barely managing to stay in eighth place in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile in other NBA action on Sunday, the Oklahoma City Thunder downed the Washington Wizards 121-103 in Lake Buena Vista with rookie Darius Bazley scoring 23 points for the winners coming off the bench, the best tally of his pro career.

Bazley hit pay dirt on five of eight triples, while Italian power forward-center Danilo Gallinari tallied 20 points and Canadian guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander contributed another 18 points on the Thunder attack, helping the team to remain in the lead for the entire game.

The win put the Thunder at a 3-2 advantage in the season’s series against Washington.

Power forward Mike Miscala also scored 18 points, while guard Chris Paul put 13 on the board with nine assists and reserve guard Hamidou Diallo also got 13 and captured six rebounds for the Thunder, who are fifth in the Western Conference at present.

The Wizards, who came into the game already having been eliminated for the playoffs, fell to 0-6 since the NBA resumed its season.

Second-year guard Jerome Robinson, who came off the bench, led Washington with 19 points, while German forward Isaac Bonga contributed 14, forwards Troy Brown Jr. and Moritz Wagner – off the bench – both got 12, Japanese power forward Riu Hachimura, a rookie, tossed in another 11 points and guard Ish Smith added 10.

And in further NBA action, the San Antonio Spurs triumphed over the New Orleans Pelicans 122-113 – also at Lake Buena Vista – thus putting the Louisiana team even farther from the playoffs.

Guard DeMar De Rozan scored 27 points for the Spurs and shooting guard Rudy Gay came off the bench to score 19, consolidating his position as the San Antonio team’s new “sixth man.”

The Texas squad, however, squandered a 20-point lead in the second half, yet managed to come out on top.

Guard Dejounte Murray scored 18 for the Spurs, while guard Derrick White added 16 before leaving the game at the start of the third quarter after bruising his right knee.

The Penguins leading guard, JJ Redick, scored a whopping 31 points, sinking eight triples, and the team also got significant help from rookie forward Zion Williamson, who added 25 points and seven rebounds, but their efforts were not enough to stave off defeat.

Another top forward, Brandon Ingram, put 17 points on the board and center Derrick Favors was the top player for the Pelicans under the hoop, contributing a double-double consisting of 10 points and 12 rebounds.

The Spurs, who are seeking to transform themselves into the first team in NBA history with 23 consecutive appearances in the playoffs, surpassed the Phoenix Suns to take the 10th place in the Western Conference rankings.

Later on Sunday evening, the Portland Trail Blazers were to play the Philadelphia Sixers, and if the Oregon team wins, it would eliminate the Pelicans from playoff contention.


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