TORONTO – After watching his Raptors survive a 50-point game from Damian Lillard and hang on for a 117-115 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto coach Dwane Casey was in disbelief.
“How he isn’t an All-Star in our league? Shame on us,” Casey said. “That young man can score any which way he wants to. Talk about (Stephen) Curry coming across halfcourt and shooting it?
“This young man can come across halfcourt and shoot it also.”
Toronto overcame Lillard’s outburst behind a season-high 38 points from DeMar DeRozan, who set an NBA record with 24 consecutive free throws made in one game. That helped the Raptors win their franchise-record 12th straight home contest.
DeRozan broke Atlanta star Dominique Wilkins’ mark of 23 straight free throws from a Dec. 8, 1992, game against the visiting Chicago Bulls.
Lillard wasn’t selected to the All-Star Game last month in Toronto, and Casey had suggested before the game that the Trail Blazers point guard was playing with a chip on his shoulder as a result of the snub.
“He’s going to be trouble for all of us for a long period of time,” Casey said. Lillard’s 50 points were one shy of his career high, set last month in Portland’s 137-105 win over the Golden State Warriors.
After starting the fourth quarter on the bench, Lillard scored 22 points in the final 12 minutes and went 4 of 7 from 3-point range while the Trail Blazers closed what had started as a 13-point deficit into a two-point game on multiple occasions.
“I told myself on the bench when I get back in the game I’m going after this game, I’m going to go out there and try to take over the game,” Lillard said.
“That was just my mindset.”
In a chippy game, the Raptors relied on DeRozan and also got 28 points from Kyle Lowry.
DeRozan was 24 of 25 at the foul line, and his only miss was an intentional one with 0.9 seconds left to run out the clock. He set career highs for free-throw attempts and makes, and is the first player to make 24 in a game since Dwight Howard had 25 in 2013. No player in NBA history has ever gone 25-for-25 from the line.
“I was just taking what they were giving me, honestly,” DeRozan said.
Cavaliers 108, Wizards 83
In Cleveland, LeBron James flirted with a triple-double before sitting out the fourth quarter, Kyrie Irving scored 21 points and the Cavaliers avenged a recent ugly loss to Washington by throttling the Wizards.
James finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists. Grizzlies 94, Jazz 88
In Memphis, Zach Randolph scored 25 points and grabbed four rebounds in the final minute to lead the hosts past Utah.
Gordon Hayward led the Jazz with 18 points, including keying Utah’s offense in the third quarter.
Hornets 108, Pacers 101
In Charlotte, Kemba Walker scored 33 points and had 10 assists, Nicolas Batum added 31 points and the Hornets got their ninth win in the last 11 games.
Walker shot 9 of 17 from the field and made all 11 free throws for his 10th 30-point game of the season as Charlotte swept the three-game series with the Pacers for the first time in franchise history.
Bucks 116, Timberwolves 101
In Milwaukee, Giannis Antetokounmpo had 27 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds, and Khris Middleton scored 32 points as the Bucks beat Minnesota.
Karl-Anthony Towns scored 21 points for the Timberwolves, but only six after the first quarter.
Celtics 105, Knicks 104
In Boston, Isaiah Thomas had 32 points and eight assists, Avery Bradley hit a go-ahead layup with 17.7 seconds left and the Celtics won their 13th straight at home.
New York’s Carmelo Anthony. who scored 30 points, had a chance to win the game in the closing seconds but badly missed a 3-pointer off the backboard as time expired.
Heat 112, 76ers 102
In Philadelphia, Hassan Whiteside had 19 points and 19 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored 21 points and Miami won its fourth straight.
Goran Dragic added 15 points and 11 assists for the Heat. Luol Deng scored 13 points and Joe Johnson, Amar’e Stoudemire and Gerald Green had 12 points each.
Miami improved to 7-2 since losing Chris Bosh to a blood clot in his calf.
Suns 102, Magic 84
In Orlando, Alex Len scored a career-high 31 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, and Phoenix held the Magic scoreless for a 7½-minute stretch to snap a 17-game road losing streak.
Devin Booker and Ronnie Price added 14 points each for the Suns, who got their first road victory since Dec. 7 at Chicago.
Elfrid Payton had 19 points and 11 assists for Orlando, which shot 35 percent against the NBA’s bottom-ranked team in defensive field-goal percentage.
Nets 121, Nuggets 120 (OT)
In Denver, Brook Lopez had 20 points and tipped in a basket with 0.4 seconds left in overtime to lift Brooklyn over the Nuggets.
Hawks 106, Lakers 77
In Los Angeles, reserve Dennis Schroder led six players in double figures with 16 points and Atlanta completed its first season sweep of the Lakers since 1973-74.