The Miami Heat turned in easily their best defensive performance of the NBA season to overcome reigning champions the Toronto Raptors 84-76 on Thursday night.
The Eastern Conference’s third-placed team enhanced their lead over fourth-placed Toronto with a superb all-round effort to bounce back from an upset loss to the Washington Wizards, taking their win-loss record to 9-0 in games following defeats this season.
Bam Adebayo had 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Heat in the low-scoring game, in which Miami’s pressure helped keep Toronto’s shooting rate to just 31.5 per cent. The Raptors’ 76 points eclipsed this season’s previous low against Miami, which came when the Heat beat the New Orleans Pelicans 109-94 in November.
Bam faked out all of 🇨🇦 tonight with this one! pic.twitter.com/ftQoWqDXsH
— Miami HEAT (@MiamiHEAT) January 3, 2020
Serge Ibaka racked up 19 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto, while Kyle Lowry scored 15 points.
In Dallas, the Mavericks eased past the Brooklyn Nets 123-111, with Luka Doncic leading the way with 31 points.
Scores were level at the end of the third quarter before Doncic exploded in the final period, scoring 15 points as Dallas pulled away to win this mid-table contest.
Seth Curry scored 25 points for the Mavs, while Spencer Dinwiddie made 19 points for Brooklyn.
— Dallas Mavericks (@dallasmavs) January 3, 2020
The Denver Nuggets scored a 124-116 win at the Indiana Pacers, with Michael Porter Jr scoring a career-high 25 points.
Jamal Murray added 22 points, with Nikola Jokic making the same total for the Nuggets, who are second in the Western Conference and have now won three out of four.
Jeremy Lamb made a season-high 30 points for the Pacers.
🔥🔥 MPJ 🔥🔥
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) January 3, 2020
In other games, the Oklahoma City Thunder edged the San Antonio Spurs 109-103, the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the visiting Golden State Warriors 99-84, the Utah Jazz won 102-98 at the Chicago Bulls, and the Charlotte Hornets won 109-106 at the Cleveland Cavaliers.