It's been an interesting few weeks for the Toronto Raptors. After dealing Rudy Gay to Sacramento, Toronto has reeled off eight wins in its last 10 games to pull to .500 after 30 games for the first time since 2010.
Kyle Lowry has been one of the keys to Toronto's recent success. He had 13 points and 14 assists in Wednesday's game and is enjoying the best year of his career, highlighted by a 32-point, 11-assist outburst on Dec. 28 against the Knicks.
Elsewhere, the Timberwolves made it three wins in four games to improve to .500, and Dallas won its third straight behind a late fourth-quarter run.
Timberwolves 124, Pelicans 112
It always helps when you can have seven different players score in double figures in a game. Minnesota got just that, led by 22 from Nikola Pekovic on 7-of-12 shooting. Kevin Martin had 20 of his own, highlighted by this transition dunk, which was, let's just say, emphatic.
The Timberwolves, of course, needed all the offense they could get on Wednesday after yielding 112 points on 52 percent shooting from New Orleans. Minnesota shot 56 percent from the field and 80 percent from the line to bounce back from a tough two-point loss to Dallas on Monday.
Ryan Anderson had 25 points for the Pelicans in the losing effort.
Raptors 95, Pacers 82
The Raptors were already red-hot coming into their game against the Pacers. But when you take down the team with the best record in the NBA, people take notice. It was a game of runs on Wednesday with Toronto getting the last laugh. The Raptors scored the final nine points of the third quarter, then rolled in the fourth to keep the Pacers in check.
Lowry and DeMar DeRozan led the way for the Raptors on Wednesday. DeRozan had 26 points and nine rebounds to add to Lowry's double-double.
Toronto is now 8-2 since the Rudy Gay trade and suddenly appears to be a playoff contender in the weak Eastern Conference. The Pacers, meanwhile, had won five in a row until this one and now fall into a tie with Oklahoma City for the best record in the NBA (25-6).
Mavericks 87, Wizards 78
Even on an off night, the Dallas Mavericks had enough to get by Washington. Uncharacteristically, it was because of the team's defense this time. Dallas held Washington to just 37.5 percent shooting from the field and got enough offense from Monta Ellis to knock off the Wizards, 87-78.
Ellis went off for 23 points and five rebounds, aided by converting nine of 10 trips to the line. Vince Carter (13 points) and Brandan Wright (10 points) added some much needed scoring off the bench. It was an off-night for Dirk Nowitzki, who finished 3-of-14 from the field to score nine points after returning from an ankle injury early in the game.
John Wall led the Wizards with 22 points and seven rebounds. He also had one of the prettiest buckets of the night:
The Bobcats have made major strides defensively in their first season under coach Steve Clifford, but Charlotte had no answer for Blake Griffin on Wednesday. Griffin went off for 31 points and 12 rebounds on 14-of-20 shooting to power the Clippers to 112-85 victory. Jared Dudley turned in what might have been his best game of the season, scoring 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting with six three-pointers. Chris Paul steered the ship as always, dropping 17 points and 14 assists.
Charlotte struggled all night, shooting 38 percent from the field. Al Jefferson had 14 points and 12 rebounds in the loss to lead the Bobcats.
The 76ers blitzed the Nuggets in transition and from the three-point line in a 114-102 victory. Evan Turner led seven Philadelphia scorers in double-figures by posting 23 points, six assists and five rebounds. Thaddeus Young added 17 points, Michael Carter-Williams had 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Spencer Hawes chipped in 13 points in the victory.
The 76ers hit 9-of-23 three-pointers and finished with a 17-5 advantage in fast break points. Denver struggled to get into a rhythm the entire night. J.J. Hickson led the way for Denver with 19 points, but the team shot just 40 percent from the field.