The red-hot Miami Heat showed no signs of sluggishness from their massive US Thanksgiving dinner at LeBron James’ house, grinding out a 90-83 win over the Toronto Raptors for their ninth consecutive victory on Friday.
A day after some Heat players were photographed at James’ Akron, Ohio, home passed out from a massive meal typical of the holiday, Miami was forced to fight off a spirited Toronto rally before extending the league’s longest win streak.
Miami looked headed for a blowout after building a 20-point lead with about five minutes left in the third quarter, but the Raptors closed out the period with a 16-4 run and pulled to within two points with less than five minutes to play.
However, James took over from there, scoring his team’s final seven points to lead the two-time defending champions Heat with a game-high 27 points on 10-for-17 shooting.
“We’re a veteran ball club and we’ve been in every situation that a game can present itself with,” James said. “We don’t panic. We just want to try to get stops and execute offensively, and we did that in the last couple minutes.”
DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points for the Raptors, who were undone by horrendous free-throw shooting, especially late in the game when they missed six from the line in the final five minutes.
It marked the second successive loss for Toronto (6-9), who entered the game with a one-game lead in the Atlantic Division, where all five teams have losing records.
Miami (13-3), one of just three teams in the 15-team Eastern Conference with a winning record, were to enjoy a day off before hosting the Memphis Grizzlies today.
While Miami seemed sharp for the bulk of Friday’s game, the chance to have a full day of rest after Thursday’s big meal may be just what some of the players were craving.
“It was good,” James said of the meal he helped prepare for his team. “It put a lot of people to sleep and when people are sleeping, that means it was a success.”
In Boston, Jordan Crawford notched a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists on Friday as the Boston Celtics routed the Cleveland Cavaliers 103-86.
Jeff Green poured in 31 points and Avery Bradley scored 21 for Boston, who shot 61 percent in the first quarter as they powered to an 18-point lead.
Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger had 12 points apiece for the Celtics, who never trailed in snapping a four-game home losing streak.
Dion Waiters came off the bench to score 21 points for Cleveland, who have lost five in a row and eight of their last nine games.
Bradley had eight points in the first period, including a brace of three-pointers in the first two minutes.
Crawford also helped the Celtics build a quick lead with a 13-0 scoring run that ultimately resulted in an 18-2 margin.
Crawford’s jump shot took the Celtics to a 12-2 lead and he delivered a pass for Bass’ alley-oop basket that capped the run.
Boston led 28-10 after the first period and their lead never slipped below double digits.
The Celtics led by as many as 25 points, limiting Cleveland to 37.2 percent shooting from the floor.
Kyrie Irving had 17 points for the Cavaliers, who also received 10 points and 12 rebounds from Anderson Varejao.
Cleveland’s reserves scored 56 points. The Cavaliers bench players have recorded at least 50 points in four of their past five games.