ROLLING RAPTORS BREAK FRANCHISE RECORD WITH CLOSE WIN

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The Toronto Raptors’ reign of supremacy ushered in by their president of operations Masai Ujiri continued on Wednesday.

In an edge-of-the-seat thriller the reigning NBA champions set a franchise record with their 12th straight NBA win. They edged the Indiana Pacers 119-118 to take their regular-season record to 27-14

They still trail Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings. However, their winning run is keeping the NBAs’ lone Canadian franchise strongly in contention for a second successive NBA crown.

In the meantime the Los Angeles Clippers, second to the LA Lakers in the Western Conference, also remained in championship contention.

Kawhi Leonard and Paul George combined for 37 points and 19 assists as they swept to victory against Miami Heat. In the process, the Clippers also set a franchise record. In their case they hit 24 three-pointers, with Landry Shamet (six) and Paul George (five) leading the way.

George finished with 23 points and 10 assists, while Leonard went five-of-13 from the field for his 14 points, to go with nine assists and seven rebounds.

Serge Ibka was Raptor’s hero

But getting back to the Raptors, Canada’s first-ever NBA champions; Serge Ibaka was their hero of the night. He clinched their last-gasp victory with a go-ahead three-pointer with only 30 seconds remaining.

Ibaka finished with 30 points, Kyle Lowry had a double-double of 32 and 10 assists and Pascal Siakam poured in 25.

The Raptors have had their most successful run ever under Ujiri, an England-born Nigerian administrator who joined them in 2013. They won five division titles but no Conference Championships until after they traded Leonard and Danny Green for DeMar DeRozan in early 2019.

Then, led by DeRozan and fellow backcourt star Lowry, the Raptors won both that year’s Eastern Conference and the NBA championship. Now they are well in the hunt to retain their titles.

In other matches on Wednesday night:

  • Nikola Jokic had a triple-double of 30 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists in the Denver Nuggets’ narrow 98-95 win against the Utah Jazz.
  • Trae Young starred for the Atlanta Hawks as his 38 points and 11 assists helped them past the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-120.
  • Andre Drummond had 31 points and 19 rebounds in the Detroit Pistons’ 116-108 win over the Phoenix Suns.
  • The Timberwolves are still in trouble. Their 122-127 loss to the Atlanta Hawks was their 13th straight loss. It saw them they fall to 15-35.

Footnote: Two of the Western Conference’s best teams go head-to-head at the Staples Center on Thursday. The visiting Houston Rockets (32-18) are set to play the Lakers (38-11).

Wednesday’s NBA results

Detroit Pistons 116-108 Phoenix Suns
Boston Celtics 116-100 Orlando Magic
Brooklyn Nets 129-88 Golden State Warriors
Toronto Raptors 119-118 Indiana Pacers
Atlanta Hawks 127-120 Minnesota Timberwolves
Oklahoma City Thunder 109-103 Cleveland Cavaliers
Memphis Grizzlies 121-107 Dallas Mavericks

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