Victor Oladipo powers Pacers up standings

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Victor Oladipo powers Pacers up standings

WASHINGTON — Victor Oladipo scored 33 points, Bojan Bogdanovic added 20 and the Indiana Pacers defeated Washington 98-95 on Sunday night to overtake the Wizards by a half-game in the crowded Eastern Conference standings.

Myles Turner added 12 points and 13 rebounds for Indiana, which almost gave away a 17-point lead but never trailed in a victory that vaulted it into fourth place in the East. The Pacers finished their four-game road trip 2-2 after beginning it with two losses.

Bradley Beal scored 22 points and had a career-high 11 assists for Washington, which lost its third straight for the first time this season.

Beal, the Wizards' leading scorer this season, shot just 8 of 27 from the floor, missing three potential tying or go-ahead shots inside the final 19 seconds. And as Washington fell to 10-6 without All-Star point guard John Wall (knee surgery), Beal also committed two of his five turnovers on late possessions when the Wizards could have tied or taken the lead.

Otto Porter Jr. added 17 points for Wizards, who sank to fifth place, a half-game ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers, who played later Sunday.

Down 17, Washington climbed back into the game with a 12-0 run that began late in the third quarter and stretched into the fourth. Beal scored seven in that span, and then found Jodie Meeks for a 3-pointer that cut it to 80-75 with 9:44 left.

The Wizards eventually got within one before Beal missed a transition layup with Oladipo and Cory Joseph contesting to keep the score 96-95 with 19 seconds left.

From there, Oladipo and Joseph each hit one of two free throws, and Beal missed a game-tying jumper attempt on one possession before his look at a game-tying 3 fell short near the buzzer (see full recap).

Raptors capture 11th win in last 12
TORONTO — DeMar DeRozan scored 19 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 13 rebounds and the Raptors beat the Charlotte Hornets 103-98 on Sunday night, Toronto's 11th win in 12 games.

Serge Ibaka scored 17 points and Kyle Lowry had 14 as the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors completed their first season sweep of Charlotte since 2006-07. Both DeRozan and Lowry made key 3-pointers down the stretch as Toronto improved to 26-5 at Air Canada Centre, the best home record in the NBA.

Fred VanVleet and C.J. Miles each scored 12 points for the Raptors, who have won four straight since an overtime loss to Milwaukee on Feb. 23.

Kemba Walker scored 27 points and Dwight Howard had 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who lost their third straight, all on the road. Charlotte is 10-21 away from home.

Jeremy Lamb scored 16 points, Frank Kaminsky had 15 and Nicolas Batum added 10.

Charlotte's Michael Kidd-Gilchrist scored the game's opening basket but the Hornets never led again.

The Hornets cut the deficit to two, 88-86, on a three-point play by Lamb with 5:11 left in the fourth quarter. Lowry answered with a 3 for Toronto and, after Walker split a pair at the line, DeRozan added a corner 3, giving Toronto a 93-87 lead with 3:22 remaining.

This was the first time in four meetings with Charlotte this season that the Raptors failed to score at least 120 points (see full recap).

Holiday leads Pels to 8th-straight win
DALLAS — Jrue Holiday scored 30 points, Nikola Mirotic added 24 in a rare start and the New Orleans Pelicans won their eighth in a row, 126-109 over the Dallas Mavericks on Sunday night.

On a night when his jumper wasn't falling, Anthony Davis had 23 points and 13 rebounds, scoring most of his points from inside 5 feet.

Holiday scored 19 in the first half as the Pelicans held a double-digit lead for most of the last three quarters, save for one fleeting Dallas run at the start of the fourth.

New Orleans has averaged 127 points during its streak and cleared 118 in all eight games.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 23 points for the Mavericks, passing Elvin Hayes for eighth all-time in field goals with 10,980.

Dallas opened the fourth quarter on a 9-0 run to get within 91-87, with Kyle Collinsworth scoring on a three-point play and Nowitzki and J.J. Barea hitting 3-pointers. After calling timeout, New Orleans answered with 10 straight points, including 3s by Holiday and Mirotic.

Dennis Smith Jr. also scored 23 for Dallas, which has lost three straight and 17 of 21.

Nowitzki scored 11 points in the first quarter, including a 3 at the buzzer, but New Orleans led 33-25 after one.

Holiday took advantage of the smaller Dallas guards to get inside, scoring 19 in the first half. Mirotic hit three 3s in a 19-8 run to start the second quarter, which gave the Pelicans their biggest lead at 19.

Dallas got within 10 in the third quarter and had the ball, but Smith threw away an outlet pass, and Davis and Ian Clark scored all of the Pelicans' points in a subsequent 12-4 run (see full recap).

Western Conference streaks give Sixers a boost

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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.”