Dwyane Wade led all Miami Heat scorers with 28 points while LeBron James came up with a near triple-double performance with 23 points, 13 rebounds and 8 assists as Miami defeated the Toronto Raptors 103-95 on Wednesday.
In what was like a homecoming of sorts, the third part of Miami’s Big Three Chris Bosh finished with 25 points against his former team.
Wade scored on an and-one situation to give Miami an 88-79 lead with 6:37 left in the fourth quarter. The Raptors cut the lead 88-84 on a 5-0 run led by back-to-back baskets from DeMar DeRozan.
James hit five free throws in the next two minutes of action to give the Heat a 93-87 lead with less than 4 minutes to play.
Toronto threatened once again at 94-90 with less than three minutes to play on Bargnani’s three-point basket.
James hit one more free throw, DeRozan missed a reverse layup and Erick Dampier score on a putback of Wade’s miss attempt to give the Heat a 97-90 lead with less than two minutes to play.
Bargnani had 38 points for the Raptors, 17 of them coming in the fourth quarter. DeRozan had 24 points in 42 minutes of action.
The Toronto Raptors got 30 points from Andrea Bargnani and four other players with scoring double digits to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 111-100 on Friday. The Raptors snapped out of a 13-game losing skid despite missing key players in their lineup.
DeMar DeRozan scored 20 points, Amir 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Sonny Weems had 16 points while Jose Calderon had 6 points and a career-best 16 assists. Trey Johnson had 10 points off the bench for the Raptors.
Kevin Love, who was recently selected to replace the injured Yao Ming to start for the Western Conference All-Stars, had 20 points and 15 rebounds. Darko Milicic and Corey Brewer had 15 points each. Sebastian Telfair had 16 points while Wes Johnson had 10 points off the bench.
The Raptors have dominated the Wolves in nine of their last ten games. The Timberwolves have lost six straight games on the road, struggling with 2-23 in road games this season.
This was probably the reason for the near snub on Love who in spite of his 35th consecutive double-double almost did not make it to the 2011 NBA All-Star Game lineup. Most players voted for by fans and coaches are coming from winning teams.
The injury-plagued Boston Celtics welcomed Rajon Rondo back to active duty by beating the Toronto Raptors 93-79 on Sunday. The Celtics are still missing Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins but Rondo is back running the plays after missing seven games with a sprained ankle.
Rondo finished the game with just 4 points but he had 8 assists in almost 34 minutes of play.
Paul Pierce led Boston with 30 points and 7 rebounds, hitting 10 of 15 field goals and going 3 for 3 from three-point range. Ray Allen had 23 points while Glen Davis scored 15 points, pulled down 11 rebounds and dished out 8 assists starting at power forward in place of the injured Garnett.
More than the stats, Rondo played team leader encouraging Davis to keep playing despite going just 1 of 7 in the first half. Davis then hit 5 of his next seven shots in the second half and made 3 of 4 free throws.
Garnett missed his second game due to a calf injury he sustained on Wednesday against the Detroit Pistons. He joined center Kendrick Perkins in the injury list and may not be fit to play this week.
The Raptors are also plagued by injuries. They are missing leading scorer and starting center Anrea Bargnani for the fourth straight game due to a calf injury while Jerryd Bayless sprained his left ankle on Friday.
DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 27 points and 6 rebounds. Two Raptors finished with double-double figures. Center Joey Dorsey scored 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds while forward Amir Johnson had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Raptors cut the Celtics lead from nine to five points at 80-75 but two missed free throws by Dorsey gave Boston the opportunity to pull away once again. Pierce scored on a drive and Allen scored five straight points to push Boston ahead, 87-75.
Lithuania played like true championship contenders in their quarterfinals match against Argentina on Thursday. They defeated favorites Argentina 104-85 to advance to the semifinal round of the FIBA World Championship for the first time. Lithuania is set to meet powerhouse team USA in the semifinals on Saturday.
Lithuania shot well from the floor, distributing the ball well that resulted to a balanced offense that kept the opponents guessing on defense. They also played great defense by limiting Argentina’s leading scorer Luis Scola of the Houston Rockets. The hardworking Scola averaged a shade over 30 points per game but was limited to 13 points.
Seven players from Lithuania scored in double figures led by NBA veteran Linas Kleiza of the Toronto Raptors. Simas Jasaitis, Tomas Delininkaitis and Martynus Pocius added 16 points each. Pocius played for Duke under current US coach Mike Krzyzewski. The semifinals match on Saturday between the US and Lithuania would be an unusual for them.