Beasley leads Knicks past Celtics; Raptors win
CLEVELAND (AP) – LeBron James scored 34 points, Kevin Love added 27 and the Cleveland Cavaliers won their 12th straight home game, 115-112 over the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night as injured point guard Isaiah Thomas moved even closer to his return.
James had 11 points in the fourth quarter and dropped a pair of free throws with 11.1 seconds left as the Cavs won for the 19th time in 21 games and ended Chicago’s seven-game winning streak.
With Cleveland’s Jae Crowder guarding him closely, Chicago’s Denzel Valentine was short with a tying 3-pointer in the final second. Rookie Lauri Markkanen scored 25 points for the Bulls.
Cavs coach Tyronn Lue missed the game with an undisclosed illness. Assistant coach Larry Drew filled in for Lue, who conducted his usual media session about 90 minutes before tip-off and was in Cleveland’s locker room before the team announced he was sick.
KNICKS 102, CELTICS 93
In New York, Michael Beasley scored 28 of his season-high 32 points in the second half, helping New York shake off Kristaps Porzingis’ dismal return to beat Boston.
Beasley went back to the bench with Porzingis back from a knee injury, but he was on the floor in the fourth quarter while Porzingis watched from the sideline as the former No. 2 overall pick punished the Celtics inside and out to help the Knicks pull away.
Porzingis was 0 for 11 from the field and finished with one point after missing two games with a sore left knee.
The “MVP! MVP!’’ chants he has heard this season instead went to Beasley, who also had 12 rebounds. Kyrie Irving scored 32 points for the Celtics.
RAPTORS 114, 76ERS 109
In Philadelphia, DeMar DeRozan scored a career-high 45 points and Toronto overcame a 22-point deficit to beat Joel Embiid-less Philadelphia.
DeRozan also set a career high with six 3-pointers. His jumper with 4:13 left put the Raptors ahead to stay after they trailed 76-54 early in the third quarter. Kyle Lowry added 23 points to help the Raptors win their fifth straight and 11th in 12 games.
Ben Simmons scored 20 points for Philadelphia.
Embiid missed two games with back tightness after logging a career-high 49 minutes in a triple-overtime loss to Oklahoma City last Friday. Embiid didn’t show any discomfort during pregame drills, but was ruled out about 30 minutes before tipoff.
SUNS 97, GRIZZLIES 95
In Phoenix, former Memphis guard Troy Daniels hit a 3-pointer with 17 seconds to play to give Phoenix the lead, and the Suns held off the Grizzlies for their third victory in four games.
T.J. Warren led the Suns with 27 points, and Daniels – acquired from the Grizzlies in September – added 14 off the bench. Phoenix won at home for the first time since Nov. 19 against Chicago.
Tyreke Evans led Memphis with 23 points. The Grizzlies have lost eight of nine games and nine straight on the road.
JAZZ 100, SPURS 89
Rodney Hood scored 29 points and Utah fended off multiple comeback attempts by San Antonio.
Hood took over in the fourth quarter after San Antonio cut the lead to 82-81. Utah went on a 13-2 run with Hood scoring nine straight points, including a contested pull-up 3-pointer from the corner and a spinning, mid-range jumper to push the lead to 12.
Ricky Rubio had 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Derrick Favors finished with 14 points and nine rebounds.