Kawhi Leonard scores 25 points to lead Toronto Raptors past LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers

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Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points to lead the Toronto Raptors to victory against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Los Angeles Lakers 98-111 Toronto Raptors

Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points, grabbed eight rebounds and added four assists as the Toronto Raptors defeated the visiting Los Angeles Lakers 111-98 on Thursday night.

Norman Powell added 20 points and eight rebounds for the Raptors, who have won their past nine games against the Lakers dating to 2015.

Pascal Siakam scored 16 points and Marc Gasol contributed 15 points for Toronto.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 29 points. Alex Caruso added 16 points, Rajon Rondo had 13 points and eight assists, and JaVale McGee contributed nine points and nine rebounds.

The Raptors took a six-point lead into the fourth quarter after leading by as many as 13 in the third. Toronto scored the first five points of the fourth quarter.

The lead reached 13 when Malcolm Miller hit his second three-pointer of the period with 7:35 remaining then grew to 15 on Powell’s two free throws six seconds later. The closest the Lakers could get thereafter was nine.

The Raptors finished the first half on a 14-2 run capped by Leonard’s steal and three-pointer at the buzzer that produced a 65-54 half-time lead.

In the third period, Leonard struck again with a three-pointer and the Raptors led by 11. The Lakers finished the quarter on a 7-0 surge, and Toronto led 90-84 after the third.

Dallas Mavericks 99-100 Denver Nuggets

Nikola Jokic drained a nine-foot shot at the buzzer as the host Denver Nuggets rallied to beat the Dallas Mavericks 100-99.

Jokic one-upped Dallas rookie Luka Doncic, whose dunk with 5.8 seconds left gave Dallas a one-point lead. But Denver called timeout, then got the ball to Jokic, and he hit a floater around Dwight Powell.

Jokic finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists, while Paul Millsap had a season-high 33 points for Denver.

Doncic had 24 points, Jalen Brunson scored 20 and Tim Hardaway Jr finished with 17 for the tired Dallas squad.

The Mavericks were in control for the first three-plus quarters, but they were held to 10 points in the final period.

Doncic hit the first shot of the fourth to put Dallas ahead by 12 but Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley hit three-pointers and when Jokic scored his first basket of the game with 6:29 left, Denver was within two at 93-91.

The Mavericks scored just four points over a six-minute span, and the Nuggets tied it at 95 on Millsap’s lay-up with 2:59 left. Jokic split a pair of free throws with 1:06 left to give Denver their first lead since the second quarter at 98-97.

Oklahoma City Thunder 106-108 Indiana Pacers

Wesley Matthews’ tip-in with 1.8 seconds left lifted the Indiana Pacers to a 108-106 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder at home. Indiana ended the game on a 23-10 run to finish off a big comeback.

Russell Westbrook had a chance to win the game for the Thunder in the last second, but his three-pointer from the top of the key hit the front of the rim and bounced away.

Just before that, a series of turnovers gave the Pacers the ball in a tied game with virtually no difference between the game clock and shot clock.

Bojan Bogdanovic elevated over Steven Adams in the closing seconds, but his shot rolled off the rim. Matthews slid around the Thunder defense to grab the rebound and put it home for the game-winner.

Indiana trailed by 19 early in the third quarter before creeping back into the game. By early in the fourth quarter, the Pacers had trimmed the lead to five before the Thunder extended the lead to double figures again.

But Indiana didn’t go away. The Pacers ripped off a 19-5 run late in the fourth, taking the lead for the first time since the first quarter on Myles Turner’s dunk with 2:49 remaining. After another Pacers bucket, Paul George hit a three-pointer with 1:49 remaining to tie the game.

Domantas Sabonis led the Pacers with 26 points and Bogdanovic added 23.

George scored 36 points, going 6-of-11 from behind the three-point line for the Thunder. Westbrook finished with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for his second consecutive triple-double.

Sacramento Kings 120-126 Boston Celtics

Kyrie Irving scored six of his team-high 31 points during a fourth-quarter spurt that allowed the Boston Celtics to build a lead they were able to retain en route to a 126-120 victory over the visiting Sacramento Kings.

After trailing for much of the first three quarters, the Celtics led just 104-103 following a Willie Cauley-Stein dunk for Sacramento with 6:20 to go. Irving countered immediately with a floater and, after a three-point play by Marcus Morris, added two jumpers in a 9-0 flurry that opened a 113-103 advantage with 4:33 remaining. The Kings got no closer than five after that.

Irving wound up with his second career triple-double, complementing his 31 points with 10 rebounds and a game-high 12 assists. His only previous triple-double came for Cleveland against Utah in February 2014.

Morris had a 21-point, 13-rebound double-double for Boston, who beat Sacramento at home for the 11th straight time dating to January 2007.

Jaylen Brown added 22 points for the Celtics, while Jayson Tatum had 15, Al Horford 12 and Gordon Hayward 10.

Sacramento’s Buddy Hield led all scorers with 34 points, connecting on 6-of-10 three-point attempts. Cauley-Stein recorded a 10-point, 13-rebound double-double for the Kings.

De’Aaron Fox had 19 points, seven rebounds, nine assists and three steals for Sacramento, while Harrison Barnes added 20 points and Marvin Bagley III 14 in his return from a knee injury.

Minnesota Timberwolves 100-120 Utah Jazz

Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points and dished out six assists to lead the Utah Jazz to a 120-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Salt Lake City.

Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors each finished with double-doubles for the Jazz. Favors had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Gobert tallied 10 points and 13 boards. Jae Crowder added 18 points off the bench.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 26 points and collected 12 rebounds before fouling out with 4:13 left. Andrew Wiggins added 14 points. Tyus Jones chipped in 12 points and nine assists.

Minnesota used an 8-0 run to seize a 15-11 lead. Towns punctuated the spurt with back-to-back baskets to put the Timberwolves in front. Utah closed out the first quarter on a 13-4 run to surge ahead 34-25.

The Jazz scored on five straight possessions to fuel the run. Mitchell ignited it with a pair of floaters, one of which became a three-point play. Favors capped it off with an alley-oop dunk of a dish from Joe Ingles.

Utah held a 64-55 edge at the break but Minnesota rallied early in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 71-70 on consecutive lay-ups from Josh Okogie and Jones. Mitchell and Crowder answered with back-to-back layups to spark a 10-2 run that put Utah up 81-72 with 3:37 left in the third quarter.

The Timberwolves cut the deficit to 94-87 on back-to-back lay-ups from Wiggins and Jerryd Bayless early in the fourth quarter but that was as close as Minnesota got. Georges Niang and Ingles each buried a three-pointer to boost the Jazz lead back to double digits.

Cleveland Cavaliers 91-120 Orlando Magic

Aaron Gordon had 21 points as the Orlando Magic got a much-needed 120-91 blowout win against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers.

Nikola Vucevic had 19 points and 11 rebounds and DJ Augustin had 20 points and seven assists for the Magic.

Collin Sexton led the Cavaliers with 23 points and Jordan Clarkson added 15 points off the bench.

The win came at an important time for Orlando, who had dropped four of their last five games. The Magic are now one-and-a-half behind the Miami Heat for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Cleveland scored the first two baskets of the game, but it was all Orlando from that point on. The Magic opened up a double-digit lead early and led by as much as 16 in the first quarter, 24 in the second and 32 in the third.

All five Magic starters scored in double figures, with Evan Fournier and Jonathan Isaac chipping in 10 points each. Terrence Ross and Khem Birch added 14 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench, and Birch also had 11 rebounds.

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(c) Sky News 2019: Kawhi Leonard scores 25 points to lead Toronto Raptors past LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers

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