Pacers edge skidding Bucks in jumbled East standings

USA Today Images

Pacers edge skidding Bucks in jumbled East standings

MILWAUKEE -- Victor Oladipo had 21 points, and the Indiana Pacers nearly blew a 17-point lead in the middle of a mistake-laden fourth quarter before holding off the Milwaukee Bucks for a 103-96 win Friday night.

With his team trailing by five, Milwaukee's Khris Middleton missed a corner 3-pointer off an inbounds play with 8.9 seconds left. Bojan Bogdanovic hit two foul shots at the other end to seal it and hand the Bucks their fourth straight loss.

The Bucks nearly stormed back from a 93-76 deficit with 6:34 left. Indiana committed four turnovers during a 12-0 Milwaukee run that tightened what looked to be a blowout.

But the Pacers held on for a key road victory against a fellow Eastern Conference playoff hopeful, erasing the bitter taste of back-to-back losses to 40-loss teams Atlanta and Dallas during the first two stops of a four-game road trip.

Oladipo hit a runner in the lane with 1:13 left for a 98-92 lead to slow Milwaukee's momentum. He also scored six straight Indiana points during a 14-1 spurt in the third that helped the Pacers build a double-digit edge in the fourth.

Lance Stephenson added 16 points for Indiana, and Bogdanovic had 14 after going 12 of 13 from the foul line.

Middleton led all scorers with 30 points, and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Bucks. Milwaukee looked out of sorts at times offensively and alternated near-misses with out-of-control possessions until the near-comeback in the fourth quarter (see full recap).

DeRozan, Miles lead surging Raptors to victory
WASHINGTON -- DeMar DeRozan scored 23 points, reserve CJ Miles added 20 and the Toronto Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 102-95 on Friday night.

The Raptors have won 10 of their last 11 games, including a season-high four straight on the road.

Miles scored 11 points in the second half and was 6 of 9 from 3-point range in the game as the Raptors' bench outscored the Wizards' reserves 50-15.

Jonas Valenciunas and Fred VanFleet added 12 points apiece for Toronto.

Otto Porter Jr. led Washington with 24 points on 9-of-12 shooting and Bradley Beal rebounded from an eight-point effort Wednesday against Golden State to finish with 23.

Eighteen Washington turnovers led to 27 Toronto points.

Neither team led by more than four points in the fourth quarter until Miles' 3-pointer from the corner made it 94-88 with 3:06 left.

Beal's free throws cut the lead to four, but DeRozan scored four straight points and his layup gave the Raptors a 98-90 lead with 56 seconds remaining. The Wizards got no closer than five points in the final minute (see full recap).

Magic beat free-falling Pistons in OT to snap 7-game skid
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Aaron Gordon had 27 points and 13 rebounds to help the Orlando Magic stop a seven-game losing streak with a 115-106 victory against the Detroit Pistons in overtime Friday night.

Nikola Vucevic added 22 points and 12 rebounds, and D.J. Augustin had 20 points and nine assists for the Magic. Evan Fournier scored 17, including seven in the extra period.

James Ennis and Reggie Bullock led Detroit with 21 points apiece. Blake Griffin, Dwight Buycks and Anthony Tolliver had 12 each for the slumping Pistons, who have lost seven of nine.

Fournier scored the first six points in overtime, giving Orlando a 110-104 lead going into the final two minutes.

Detroit, which had only one field goal in the final 5:57 of regulation, missed all eight shots from the field and its first three free throws in overtime. Tolliver's two free throws with 32 seconds left were the only points the Pistons scored in the extra period.

The Magic could have won it in regulation. Fournier drilled a 3-pointer that gave Orlando a 104-102 lead with 47 seconds left in the fourth quarter.

The Pistons tied it when Griffin got a long rebound and found Ennis for a breakaway dunk that tied the game at 104 with seven seconds left.

The Magic muffed their chance for a game-winner. Vucevic lost his balance when driving the lane and turned the ball over, leading to overtime (see full recap).

Western Conference streaks give Sixers a boost

USA Today Images

Western Conference streaks give Sixers a boost

SAN ANTONIO -- LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and nine rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs won their fifth straight, 98-90 over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

San Antonio remained in sixth place in the Western Conference, one-half game behind fourth-place Oklahoma City. The Spurs close out a six-game homestand on Friday against Utah, which is 1 games behind San Antonio in eighth place.

Bradley Beal and Kelly Oubre Jr. each had 21 points to lead the Wizards, who dropped into sixth in the Eastern Conference.

San Antonio's winning streak follows a 3-11 skid that briefly dropped the Spurs out of playoff position.

Aldridge has been critical to the turnaround, averaging 29.6 points and 9.2 rebounds during the streak.

Against Washington, Aldridge scored nine points during a 23-9 run that gave San Antonio a 17-point lead with four minutes left in the third quarter.

Without injured All-Star John Wall, the Wizards were unable to answer (see full recap).

Davis, Pelicans outlast Pacers for 3rd straight win
NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis capped a 28-point, 13-rebound, five-block performance with a 15-foot baseline fade, a gritty put-back and two free throws in the final minute, and the New Orleans Pelicans outlasted the Indiana Pacers 96-92 on Wednesday night.

E'Twaun Moore scored 23 for New Orleans, which had to overcome a scrappy defensive effort by Indiana to win its third straight.

The Pelicans, who average nearly 112 points per game, were limited to 43 percent (34 of 79) accuracy by the Pacers, who also turned 20 New Orleans turnovers into 15 points.

The Pacers shot only 36.6 percent (34 of 93), but kept the game close with 15 offensive rebounds and 17 second-chance points.

Neither team led by more than six, and the game was tied at 87 with 1:49 left, after Victor Oladipo's block of Jrue Holiday sent Darren Collison away for a fast-break layup as he was fouled by Moore.

Moore put back his own miss with 1:24 to play to put the Pelicans back in front, and after Oladipo was called for a travel with 1:12 to go, Davis hit his clutch fade in front of the Pacers' bench, holding his right arm up triumphantly as the shot went down (see full recap).

Howard has historic night in Hornets’ comeback
NEW YORK -- Dwight Howard had 32 points and 30 rebounds, becoming the first player with a 30-30 game against the Nets since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1978, and the Charlotte Hornets stormed back to beat Brooklyn 111-105 on Wednesday night.

Kemba Walker scored 10 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter for the Hornets, who trailed by as many 23 points in the second half to win in front of an announced crowd of 10,231 at Barclay Center while a heavy snowfall outside blanketed the New York City area.

Trailing 105-102 with 2:14 left in regulation, the Hornets went on a 9-0 run to pull off the impressive comeback.

Jeremy Lamb, who had 17 points to help end Charlotte's two-game losing streak, made a layup to cut the deficit to 105-104. The Hornets then called a timeout after a miss by Caris LeVert with 23 seconds left. On the ensuing possession, Walker spun around Quincy Acy and capped a three-point play to put Charlotte up 107-105, the Hornets' first lead of the night since a 16-15 advantage with 5:46 in the opening quarter.

LeVert missed a chance to tie it when he was met by Howard under the basket. Howard then hit a pair of free throws to make it 109-105.

D'Angelo Russell scored 19 points and LeVert added 11 for the Nets, whose two-game winning streak was cut short. They have yet to have won three consecutive this season (see full recap).

Robert Covington shoveled snow before Sixers' win

Robert Covington shoveled snow before Sixers' win

Did you hire someone to shovel out your driveway in Winter Storm Toby?

Robert Covington didn’t. 

“I shoveled my driveway and the sidewalk and my walkway,” Covington said following the Sixers' 119-105 win over the Grizzlies on Wednesday (see observations). “[It took me] about 20 minutes. It wasn’t that bad because the snow wasn’t really heavy and it wasn’t sticking, so I just kind of, in and out.” 

The thing is, Covington actually likes to shovel snow. It’s a task he grew up doing during the winters in Illinois and one that taught him the value of hard work. He shoveled to help his family and elderly neighbors who needed a hand. 

“The responsibility that my parents instilled in me was, when you’re told to do something, you’ve got to make sure you handle your business and you have to do it at a certain level,” Covington said. 

Covington, who signed a $60 million contract this season, easily could have hired a snow removal service to help him get to the game on time. But there was something he liked about taking care of it.  

“I’ve always done it myself,” Covington said. “It kind of gives you a sense of still working and still doing the simple things. Everybody tells me I could have paid someone to do it, one of the kids in the neighborhood, but it wasn’t about that. It was just something quick. I chose to go out there and do it, knock it out.”

The snow didn't slow down Covington at all. He scored 15 points in less than 23 minutes, shooting an efficient 6 for 9 from the field and 3 for 4 from three. 

So given how well he played following the shoveling, did he stumble upon a new pregame routine?

“No,” Covington said with a laugh. “I won’t continue to do that because I kind of got a little sniffles while I was out there. No, I won’t be out doing that too much because I don’t want to get sick.”