Raptors, Rockets secure tight victories

HOUSTON INTO PLAYOFFS::The Rockets scored a 111 to 107 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder to secure a place in the post-season for the second year in a row


Sun, Apr 06, 2014 - Page 19

Terrence Ross scored 24 points to lead the short-handed Toronto Raptors 102-94 over the Indiana Pacers in the NBA on Friday.

Jonas Valanciunas added 22 points and nine rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan scored 20 for the Raptors, who earned their fifth win in six games despite missing starters Kyle Lowry and Amir Johnson.

Greivis Vasquez and Nando De Colo each had 10 points, while Patrick Patterson, who started in place of Johnson in only his third game since missing 11 with an elbow injury, had seven rebounds.

Paul George had 26 points to top the Pacers and David West added 21.

There was a post-season vibe to Friday’s Eastern Conference matchup between two teams that could potentially meet in the second round of the playoffs.

The Pacers had led the East all season until a recent slide saw them fall below the Miami Heat. The playoff-bound Raptors entered the night in third.

The Raptors cobbled together an 11-point lead in the third quarter, but it was short-lived as Indiana used a 12-3 run to pull within two points.

There were some heated moments in the third when John Salmons went nose-to-nose with George. The two had to be separated, and received technicals.

The game was tied 75-75 heading into the fourth. The Pacers went on a quick 7-0 run midway through

the quarter to take a three-point lead, but the Raptors responded with a run.

When Valanciunas grabbed his own rebound and finished with a hook shot, it put Toronto up 96-94 with three minutes remaining.

Valanciunas scored the next basket to make it a four-point lead, and the Raptors held fast on the defensive end the rest of the way.

In Miami, Corey Brewer hit one of two free throws with 1.8 seconds left in the second overtime, as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the Miami Heat 122-121.

Kevin Love scored 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Minnesota, who got 24 from Chase Budinger, 15 from Gorgui Dieng and 13 apiece from J.J. Barea and Ricky Rubio, who also added 14 assists.

Ray Allen missed a wild jumper as time expired for Miami, who blew a chance to move two games clear of Indiana in the loss column atop the Eastern Conference standings.

LeBron James scored 34 points for the Heat, who got a season-high 24 from Mario Chalmers and 24 more from Chris Bosh, including a tying three-pointer with 10.8 seconds left in the second overtime.

Marc Gasol had 24 points, Mike Conley scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, as the Memphis Grizzlies kept their playoff hopes alive with a 100-92 victory over the Denver Nuggets.

Zach Randolph added 20 points, including the last four points for Memphis, and grabbed 15 rebounds. Tayshaun Prince scored 12 before leaving with an ankle injury in the first half and Courtney Lee scored 10 for Memphis, who won their 11th straight home game.

The Houston Rockets clinched their second straight playoff berth by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder 111, 107.

James Harden scored 39 points and Houston ended a three-game skid.

Kevin Durant scored 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds for his 40th straight game with at least 25 points, the longest streak since Michael Jordan also did it 40 consecutive times in 1986-1987.

Durant’s three-pointer cut Houston’s lead to one with 1 minute, 1 second remaining, but Houston answered with four straight free throws. He made another three with 16 seconds left, but Harden made two free throws to end the scoring.

Harden was 17 of 20 from the line and had nine rebounds and seven assists.

The Rockets were playing without Dwight Howard and Patrick Beverley, who both missed their fourth straight games. Howard has missed seven games recently because of a left ankle strain and Beverley is out indefinitely with a torn meniscus in his right knee.

In other games on Friday it was:

‧ Pistons 104, Nets 116

‧ Magic 80, Bobcats 91

‧ Wizards 90, Knicks 89

‧ Cavaliers 98, Hawks 117

‧ 76ers 111, Celtics 102

‧ Suns 109, Trail Blazers 93

‧ Kings 69, Warriors 102

‧ Mavericks 107, Lakers 95

‧ Bucks 90, Bulls 102

‧ Pelicans 96, Jazz 100