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Raptors improve NBA’s best record

Orlando Magic center Nikola Vucevic (9) drives to the basket in front of Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (22) during overtime in an NBA basketball game on Dec 26 in Orlando, Fla. (AP)

Nets win thriller

MIAMI, Dec 27, (AP): Kawhi Leonard scored 30 points, Danny Green’s 3-pointer with 22.7 seconds left put Toronto ahead for good and the Raptors improved the NBA’s best record to 26-10 by topping the Miami Heat 106-104 on Wednesday night.

Green had 18 points and Fred VanVleet added 16 for the Raptors, who survived a wild fourth quarter that saw 12 lead changes and four ties. Miami had three shots on the game’s final possession, with Dwyane Wade and Justise Winslow missing 3s and Wade having a chance at a tip-in that wouldn’t fall.

Winslow scored 21 points for Miami, which saw its five-game winning streak snapped.

Nets 134, Hornets 132, 2OT

In New York, Joe Harris made the tie-breaking layup with 3.4 seconds left in the second overtime and finished with a season-high 27 points as Brooklyn outlasted Charlotte. The teams swapped mistakes over the final stretches of regulation and overtime.

Spencer Dinwiddie had 37 points and 11 assists for the Nets, who won for the ninth time in 10 games. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with 16 points and 15 rebounds, and rookie Rodions Kurucs had 13 points and 12 boards.

Pistons 106, Wizards 95

In Detroit, Blake Griffin had 23 points and nine rebounds, Andre Drummond got his 10th straight double-double, and Detroit beat Washington. Detroit had lost 9 of 11 but used a hot start in the third quarter to pull away. Drummond had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Langston Galloway scored 22 points off the bench.

The Wizards lost for the eighth time in 10 games and are 4-16 on the road. John Wall had 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, and Bradley Beal scored 21 points.

Suns 122, Magic 120, OT

In Orlando, Fla, Devin Booker scored 35 points and T.J. Warren added 24 points, including all four Phoenix points in overtime, to lead the Suns.

Kelly Oubre Jr scored had 19 points and Josh Jackson added 10 for Phoenix, which has won five of its last seven games.

D.J. Augustin led Orlando with 27 points and six assists. Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and Terrence Ross scored 18 points off the bench. Orlando has lost four straight.

Timberwolves 119, Bulls 94

In Chicago, Derrick Rose had 24 points and eight assists in just his second career game in the United Center against his former team, lifting Minnesota.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 20 rebounds as the Timberwolves won their second straight on the road.

Rose, the top pick in the 2008 draft, played his first seven seasons in Chicago and was named the NBA’s most valuable player in 2011.

Pacers 129, Hawks 121

In Atlanta, Thaddeus Young scored 21 points, Domantas Sabonis and Tyreke Evans each added 19, and Indiana won its third straight game.

The Pacers have won 10 of 12. Indiana coach Nate McMillan used nine players, eight of whom finished in double figures. Kent Bazemore tied a career high with 32 points, John Collins added 21 points and 11 rebounds and Dewayne Dedmon had 18 points and a season-best 15 rebounds for the rebuilding Hawks, who had won three straight.

Grizzlies 95, Cavaliers 87

In Memphis, Tenn, Marc Gasol had 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists to help Memphis beat Cleveland. Kyle Anderson and Mike Conley added 15 points each, with Conley handing out eight assists. Garrett Temple and Jaren Jackson Jr had 11 points each.

Cleveland dropped its fourth straight. Jordan Clarkson led the Cavaliers with 24 points off the bench, and rookie Collin Sexton had 16 points and six assists. Cedi Osman had 10 points.

Mavericks 122, Pelicans 119

In Dallas, Luka Doncic scored 21 points, including the tiebreaking free throws with 30 seconds left, and Dallas ended a six-game losing streak.

The 19-year-old rookie made 11 of 12 free throws, including the last three points of the game in the final half-minute. He added 10 assists and finished a rebound shy of a triple-double.

DeAndre Jordan had 20 points on 7-of-7 shooting and 12 rebounds for his 22nd double-double.

Spurs 111, Nuggets 103

In San Antonio, DeMar DeRozan had 30 points, LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 and San Antonio defeated Denver.

Bryn Forbes added 15 points for the resurgent Spurs (19-16), who have won eight of 10 to move within two percentage points of first-place Houston in the Southwest Division.

Juancho Hernangomez had 27 points for the Nuggets (21-11), who lost their second consecutive game and fell just behind Golden State for the best record in the Western Conference. Denver, which leads the Northwest Division by a half-game over Oklahoma City, is 13-3 at home but 8-8 on the road.

Clippers 127, Kings 118

In Los Angeles, Lou Williams scored 24 points, Montrezl Harrell added 22 and the Clippers nearly squandered a 27-point lead before holding off Sacramento. Reserves were the leading scorers for the Clippers even though every Los Angeles starter reached double figures for the first time this season. Tobias Harris had 17 points and Avery Bradley scored 15.

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