Raptors blow out Hawks 105-80 in clash of East leaders
ATLANTA (AP) — Toronto turned the anticipated clash of the NBA Eastern Conference’s top two teams into a mismatch, winning 105-80 at Atlanta on Friday, with Lou Williams making seven 3-pointers.
Resuming after the All-Star break, the Raptors — who have giant advantage atop their own division — moved within 5-1/2 games of the Hawks for the East lead.
Elsewhere, Golden State beat San Antonio in the meeting of league leader and defending champion, Dallas beat Houston to move onto the tail of its state and division rival, and LeBron James led Cleveland to a rout of Washington.
Toronto’s Williams scored 26 points and DeMar DeRozan added 21 points for the Raptors, who outscored the Hawks 28-13 in the third quarter to open a 23-point lead.
Toronto has three wins from four this season against the Hawks, who have not lost more than once to any other opponent.
Golden State’s Stephen Curry had 25 points and 11 assists as the Warriors beat San Antonio 110-99, opening a 4-1/2 game lead atop the Western Conference.
Klay Thompson scored 20 while Curry controlled the game the way he so often has this season, burnishing his MVP credentials by leading Golden State to big runs at the end of the second and third quarters.
The Warriors went ahead by 21 points entering the fourth, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rested his regulars the final 12 minutes.
Dallas beat Houston 111-100 to move within half a game of the Rockets in the Southwest Division.
Devin Harris scored 17 points and Al-Farouq Aminu set season highs with 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Mavericks.
James Harden scored 26 points to lead the Rockets.
Cleveland’s LeBron James set aside first-half foul trouble to finish with 28 points in only 25 minutes and help the Cavaliers overwhelm Washington 127-89.
Kyrie Irving scored 25 points for Cleveland, which led by 22 points before halftime and as many as 40 to cruise to a 15th win in 17 games.
John Wall had 18 points and nine assists for the Wizards, who suffered their heaviest defeat of the season.
An undermanned Detroit won 100-91 against Chicago, with Andre Drummond contributing 18 points and 20 rebounds.
Greg Monroe and Caron Butler each scored 20 points for the Pistons, who dressed only 10 players, having traded four away Thursday to get Reggie Jackson and Tayshaun Prince. Jackson was on Detroit’s bench but didn’t get clearance in time to play. Prince won’t arrive until Saturday.
Jimmy Butler had 30 points for the Bulls, whose lead over Cleveland atop the Central was trimmed to half a game.
Utah dominated in the second half to beat Portland 92-76.
Gordon Hayward scored 20 points, and Trey Burke had 19 points off the bench for the Jazz, who used a 39-10 run over the third and fourth quarters to turn an eight-point deficit into a 21-point lead.
Damian Lillard scored 19 points for the Trail Blazers.
Milwaukee’s new-look roster came up with an 89-81 win against Denver.
Khris Middleton scored 15 points and John Henson added 14 for the Bucks, who overhauled the squad at the trade deadline.
Michael Carter-Williams, who was acquired from Philadelphia as part of a three-team deal that sent Brandon Knight to Phoenix, did not play because of a sprained toe.
Wilson Chandler led Denver with 19 points.
Orlando won consecutive games for the first time in five weeks, beating New Orleands 95-84.
Minnesota edged an undermanned Phoenix 111-109, with the Suns only having 10 players available, having traded Goran Dragic, Isaiah Thomas and three others the previous day.
Sacramento made new coach George Karl a winner on his return to the NBA, beating Boston 109-101, with DeMarcus Cousins having 31 points and 15 rebounds.
Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson scored 23 points and Brook Lopez added 22 off the bench to lead the Nets to a 114-105 victory over the skidding Los Angeles Lakers.
Indiana made it five wins from six with a 106-95 victory at Philadelphia, with Rodney Stuckey scoring a season-high 30 points off the bench.
Miami compensated for the absence of a hospitalized Chris Bosh and a yet-to-be-available Goran Dragic by having eight players scored in double figures in a 111-87 win against New York.