Pascal Siakam scored 37 points as the reigning NBA champion Toronto Raptors won their 16th game of their last 17 with a 118-101 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Friday.
Siakam scored 25 of his points in the first half and also had 12 rebounds overall as the Raptors won their eighth straight game at home.
“I just feel energised,” said Siakam.
Serge Ibaka delivered 16 points, Fred VanVleet chipped in with 14 points, seven rebounds and seven assists, and Terence Davis had 14 points off the bench in front of a crowd of 19,800 at the Scotiabank Arena.
Devin Booker scored 21 points and had eight assists and Deandre Ayton tallied 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who have lost seven of nine.
Ricky Rubio had 13 points and nine assists, and Kelly Oubre scored 11 points in the loss.
“They set the tone early,” Suns guard Ricky Rubio said. “That’s why they’re a championship team.”
Elsewhere, the Indiana Pacers overcame a shaky finish and a slow start to hold and beat the New York Knicks for the eighth time in the past nine meetings with a 106-98 victory.
TJ Warren scored 27 points to lead the Pacers, who outscored the Knicks 65-45 in the second and third quarters.
The Knicks held Indiana to just 12 points in the opening quarter but the Pacers recovered to shoot 53 % from the field in the second and third. Indiana managed to pull out the victory despite missing 15 of 20 shots in the fourth quarter.
Domantas Sabonis posted his 42nd double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds and Doug McDermott came off the bench to score 14 points for the Pacers, who won their second consecutive game after losing six straight.
Victor Oladipo finished with eight points in little more than 25 minutes before exiting with back soreness.
Bobby Portis scored 19 points to lead the Knicks, who lost their third straight game.
Rookie RJ Barrett added 17 points and Frank Ntilikina contributed 14 but leading scorer Julius Randle was held to just nine points in the loss.
In Washington, Collin Sexton scored 25 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers posted a 113-108 victory over the Wizards, making JB Bickerstaff a winner in his Cavaliers’ head-coaching debut.
Meanwhile, Luka Doncic scored 33 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out eight assists, Maxi Kleber scored a career-high 26 points off the bench, and the Dallas Mavericks held off the host Orlando Magic 122-106.
Kleber did much of his damage in the fourth quarter, hitting 3 of 4 3-point attempts and scoring 12 points in the frame. His effort ignited a critical final 12 minutes for the Mavericks, who were dominant in the opening and closing periods.
Kristaps Porzingis recorded 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks. Tim Hardaway finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
Evan Fournier scored a team 28 points including five 3-pointers, for the Magic, and Nikola Vucevic added 27 points, 12 rebounds and four steals. Terrence Ross finished with 19 points, although he made only 5 of 16 from the field.
In Minneapolis, Gordon Hayward scored a game-high 29 points and Boston played strong defence down the stretch to hold off Minnesota in Minneapolis.
Jayson Tatum scored 28 points and Jaylen Brown and Daniel Theis chipped in with 25 apiece as the Celtics came out of the All-Star break to win their fourth road game in the last five. Boston has won 12 of 14 overall.
Malik Beasley had 27 points to pace the Timberwolves, who were without star centre Karl-Anthony Towns, out with a sprained left wrist. Minnesota lost for the 16th time in its last 17 games.
In Memphis, LeBron James scored a game-high 32 points, and Los Angeles defeated visiting Memphis.
Anthony Davis sustained a bruised calf in the first quarter but remained in to contribute 28 points, 13 rebounds and seven of the Lakers’ 14 blocked shots. Avery Bradley added 14 points and three steals as the Lakers won their fourth in a row.
Josh Jackson scored 20 points on 9-of-12 shooting to lead the Grizzlies, who lost for the second time in as many nights. Rookie Ja Morant had 17 points, and Brandon Clarke and Gorgui Dieng each amassed 14 points and 10 rebounds.
In Salt Lake City, Dejounte Murray poured in 23 points to lead six teammates in double-figure scoring as San Antonio defeated Utah in Salt Lake City in the first game for both teams after the All-Star break.
DeMar DeRozan hit for 18 points for San Antonio while LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mills each added 15, Derrick White had 14 and Bryn Forbes scored 13. The Spurs have won two straight games after losing the first five on their annual Rodeo Road Trip. The trip ends Sunday in Oklahoma City.
Emmanuel Mudiay and Rudy Gobert led the Jazz with 18 points each; Gobert also grabbed 14 rebounds for his 43rd double-double this season. Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic added 15 points for Utah, with Donovan Mitchell scoring 12 points. The Jazz had a four-game win streak snapped.
Chris Paul made four 3-pointers as part of a 29-point outing to lead Oklahoma City to a victory over visiting Denver.
Steven Adams recorded 19 points, 17 rebounds and matched his season best of four steals as Oklahoma City won for the 11th time in the past 14 games. Danilo Gallinari added 15 points, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander contributed 11 points, nine rebounds and nine assists as the Thunder halted a seven-game losing streak when facing the Nuggets.
Nikola Jokic scored 32 points on 12-of-15 shooting as Denver lost its second straight contest following a four-game winning streak. Jamal Murray added 21 points, and Will Barton registered 16 points and nine rebounds.
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