Basketball

Leonard inspires Raptors' hot streak

Toronto rack up fifth straight win with 125-115 victory over Miami

Kawhi Leonard delivered 29 points and 10 rebounds as the NBA-leading Toronto Raptors won their fifth consecutive game by cruising past the Miami Heat 125-115 yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Kyle Lowry finished with 12 points and 10 assists for the Raptors, who are off to their best 21-game start in history with 17 wins and four losses.

Jonas Valanciunas had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Pascal Siakam finished just two points shy of his career best with 21 points.

Veteran Dwyane Wade turned back the clock by scoring a season-high 35 points. It was the most points ever for a Heat player coming off the bench, but they still lost for the seventh time in their last nine games.

And that won't cut it against Toronto, who are 11-0 against teams with losing records.

Josh Richardson scored 19 points and Bam Adebayo had 16 points and a career-high 21 rebounds in the loss.

The Raptors, who made a season-high 17 three-pointers in Friday's win over Atlanta, shot 11 for 35 from beyond the arc against the Heat.

Elsewhere, Nikola Vucevic finished with 31 points and 15 rebounds as the Orlando Magic snapped the Los Angeles Lakers' three-game winning streak with a 108-104 victory.

I lead by example coming into practice every day. Just going hard and coming into these games focused. Kawhi Leonard, responding to recent criticism from San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich about his leadership

Terrence Ross had 16 points, including a clutch lay-up with 34 seconds left as the Magic beat the Lakers for the second time in eight days. On Nov 17, Orlando defeated Los Angeles 130-117.

"We're trying to build something, and wins like these can really help you build some momentum," Vucevic said.

Aaron Gordon had 17 points and DJ Augustin added 12 points and nine assists for the Magic.

LeBron James had 24 points and seven assists for the Lakers, who have won six of their last seven NBA games. Kyle Kuzma scored 21 points and Brandon Ingram added 17.

The Magic used a rock-solid defence and some timely scoring by Gordon and Vucevic to outscore the Lakers 35-19 in the third quarter and seize a 86-71 lead.

James and Kuzma were a combined zero-for-five in the quarter in which the team shot just five-of-21.

James said they need to be more consistent.

"Defensively, we kind of broke down and the energy level was a little lower than our expectations, and they took advantage of that," James said.

In the fourth, James missed a three-pointer and Ross made him pay by driving to the rim for a basket which broke a 104-104 tie. - AFP

SELECTED RESULTS: LA Lakers 104 Orlando 108, Brooklyn 125 Philadelphia 127, Portland 100 LA Clippers 104, Memphis 98 New York 103

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