National Basketball Association
NBA News Wire
  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Warriors' Bogut sidelined indefinitely
    By The Sports Xchange

    Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut is undergoing therapy on his injured right knee and lost to the team indefinitely.

    • Bogut will miss his fifth consecutive game on Thursday night against the Oklahoma City Thunder after undergoing platelet-rich treatment on his knee in consultation with Warriors doctors and his personal physician.

      "We fully support Andrew in his decision to undergo the PRP treatment," Warriors general manager Bob Myers said. "Our number one concern is that Andrew is 100 percent healthy and we will continue to support him in any way to make that happen."

      With an NBA-best 21-3 record, the Warriors are playing well without the 7-foot Bogut, who is averaging 7.1 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.2 blocks this season.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Reports: Celtics, Mavs talk Rondo trade
    By The Sports Xchange

    Reports circulated Thursday that the Boston Celtics are engaged in discussions with the Dallas Mavericks about a deal for point guard Rajon Rondo.

    • According to ESPN, the Mavs would send multiple draft picks, including a first-rounder, and center Brandan Wright and possibly others to the Celtics to make the deal fit under the salary cap.

      Other reports indicated that the Los Angeles Lakers, Indiana Pacers, New York Knicks, Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets expressed interest in a deal for Rondo.

      ESPN reported that the Lakers offered draft picks and point guard Steve Nash, who is injured and in the final year of his contract, to the Celtics. Two weeks ago, Lakers guard Kobe Bryant had breakfast with Rondo while in Boston but said it was a social meeting and not about business.

      Rondo is set to become a free agent this summer after his contract expires and has been the subject of multiple trade rumors the past few years.

      "It's a way of life since I've been here," he said. "It's just part of it."

      Celtics general manager Danny Ainge told WBZ-FM in Boston on Thursday that his job is to make the team better, but in the past he has said he sees Rondo as part of the Celtics' future.

      "Listen, my job is to look at all the different ways and pathways for us to be a championship team," Ainge said. "This is the time of the year that there's a lot of talking and calling that's going on. Part of my job is to explore the variety of ways there are to get us to our next championship. And that's all we're trying to do -- just build a winner."

      The 28-year-old Rondo has expressed a desire to remain in Boston but is expected to test the free-agent waters this summer.

      Could the Celtics move on without him?

      "I don't know. That's a good question," Ainge said. "Rajon has been a big part of our team, not just this year but for the past years, as we know. We haven't really seen what (rookie) Marcus Smart has been able to do yet because he hasn't been healthy. He's got such a shortage of minutes and opportunities to play with the ankle sprain. So it's a good question. I don't think any of us know the answer to that."

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Warriors call up C Kuzmic
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Golden State Warriors recalled center Ognjen Kuzmic from Santa Cruz of the NBA Development League on Thursday.

    • The 7-foot Kuzmic contributed three points, seven rebounds, two assists and five blocked shots to Santa Cruz's 104-89 victory over the Oklahoma City Blue on Wednesday night.

      In eight games for the Warriors this season, Kuzmic averages 0.3 points and 1.3 rebounds per game.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Harden carries Rockets past Nuggets in OT
    By The Sports Xchange

    DENVER -- James Harden struggled with his shot for four quarters, but with the game on the line, he had no second thoughts when the ball was in his hands.

    • The Houston guard scored eight of his game-high 41 points in overtime, including a key jumper late, and the Rockets beat the Denver Nuggets 115-111 Wednesday night.

      Harden added a season-high 10 assists, and center Dwight Howard had 24 points and 16 rebounds for Houston.

      Harden was the catalyst, amassing his 41 points on 11-of-21 shooting from the floor. He was 1-for-7 from 3-point range but made up for it by hitting 18 of 21 free throws.

      He hit both of his field-goal attempts in overtime, including a step-back 20-footer with 1:16 left that gave the Rockets a 109-105 lead.

      "I couldn't throw a rock in the ocean in the first 40-plus minutes of the game," Harden said. "I work on my shot every day, and confidence is a big thing. My teammates had confidence for me to shoot the basketball, and I shot it."

      His late success propelled the Rockets (19-5) to their seventh win in eight games.

      The last two victories came against Denver, but unlike Saturday, this one was close down the stretch until Houston took control.

      After Harden's shot, the Nuggets had a chance to tie, but guard Arron Afflalo, whose 3-pointer sent the game into overtime, missed a free throw with 24.8 seconds left.

      Harden was fouled and hit two free throws, and then Denver forward Danilo Gallinari missed a 3-pointer from the corner.

      "That's exactly how we drew it up," Denver guard Ty Lawson said. "We wanted to have a screen with Arron and (Gallinari). They made a mistake, and he had a wide-open three. Gallo had a chance, just didn't make it."

      Houston guard Patrick Beverley hit four free throws in the final 23 seconds to seal it.

      Forward Wilson Chandler led Denver (10-15) with 23 points, and Afflalo had 22. Lawson had 12 points and 16 assists for the slumping Nuggets, who lost for the seventh time in eight games.

      "If we had to do it all over again, I'd take the same looks we got," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "Gallo got a good look that would have tied the game. We defended, we scrapped, and we couldn't keep them off the free-throw line. These kinds of losses I can stomach a little bit better."

      The Rockets took a five-point lead late in the fourth quarter on a 3-pointer by forward Trevor Ariza and a layup by Howard.

      The Nuggets tied it at 92 on forward Darrell Arthur's 3-pointer with 3:32 left.

      Howard hit just one of four free throws, and Afflalo's layup and forward Kenneth Faried's follow slam gave Denver a 96-93 lead with 1:24 remaining.

      The Rockets rallied, and Harden's 3-pointer with 10.4 seconds left gave Houston a 98-96 lead. Harden missed a chance to ice it when he split a pair of free throws with 6.5 seconds left.

      Afflalo took advantage of the opening and hit a 27-footer at buzzer to send it into overtime tied at 99.

      "They had no timeouts, and I wanted to foul," Houston coach Kevin McHale said. "We should have fouled before he got to half-court. He made a helluva shot. I'm glad the guys bailed us out in overtime."

      Houston improved to 8-0 in games decided by five points or fewer.

      "This team doesn't give up," McHale said. "We're resilient, we've been that way all year, and it's just an opportunity for us to win the game."

      Harden kept the Rockets in it with 23 points in the first half, 13 of which came from the foul line.

      Denver led by 16 after Faried, back after missing a game with a right ankle strain, hit a running jumper with 3:48 left in the second quarter.

      Harden had six points in the third quarter to get the Rockets to within 78-75 heading into the fourth.

      NOTES: Rockets G Jason Terry left the team for Dallas to be with his wife, who is expecting the couple's fifth child. ... Nuggets F Danilo Gallinari returned to action after missing the previous three games with a bruised right knee. ... Houston G Isaiah Canaan returned to action, going scoreless in seven minutes. The second-year player from Murray State missed seven games with a sprained right ankle. ... Nuggets coach Brian Shaw and Houston coach Kevin McHale were teammates with Boston in the late 1980s and early 1990s. ... Rockets G Francisco Garcia missed his fourth consecutive game due to a right calf strain.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Clippers hold off Pacers
    By The Sports Xchange

    LOS ANGELES -- Nowhere near peak performance, the Los Angeles Clippers still grinded out a win Wednesday.

    • Forward Blake Griffin scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and the Clippers held off the Indiana Pacers for a 102-100 victory at Staples Center.

      Point guard Chris Paul had 20 points, nine assists, five steals and six rebounds for the Clippers (18-7), who earned their sixth consecutive home win. Los Angeles guard J.J. Redick contributed 16 points and hit three late free throws that were crucial.

      "It was tough. We knew that going into the game," said Paul, who hit seven of his 14 shots from the floor. "They did a good job of making us play at their pace, and we never really got a chance to get a lot of consecutive stops."

      Center DeAndre Jordan, who turned out to be the Clippers' most reliable stopper, also finished with 15 points and a season-high 23 rebounds.

      "Is it too early to start campaigning for Defensive Player of the Year?" Clippers coach Doc Rivers asked, referring to Jordan. "My gosh, what he's doing every night is unbelievable. And he does it every night, doesn't ask for the ball, sets picks, rolls, still scores because he's so active. He's the perfect guy to have on the team."

      Forward David West and reserve guard C.J. Miles had 17 points apiece to lead the Pacers. Reserve forward Lavoy Allen finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots. Indiana (8-18) snapped an eight-game skid Monday against the Lakers but fell to 3-10 against Western Conference teams with the defeat two nights later.

      "(We) got some tough calls and they made some tough plays," said West, who also had 10 rebounds. "We weren't able to make enough plays down the stretch to give ourselves a chance."

      Two free throws by Jordan with 3:34 left gave Los Angeles the lead for good at 94-93, but it took two more foul shots by Redick, lifting the Clippers to a 101-98 advantage, to seal the decision with 15.8 seconds left.

      Guard C.J. Watson's layup pulled Indiana within 101-100 with 3.4 seconds left before Redick hit a free throw with two seconds remaining to cap the scoring. Miles' 30-foot desperation shot at the buzzer was well short.

      "It was us strapping up at the end of the game and getting stops," Jordan said. "Ultimately, that is what it came down to, us getting stops and executing."

      Paul's jumper and a free throw by Griffin put the Clippers up 97-93 with 2:35 remaining.

      Pacers guard Rodney Stuckey hit a jumper to cut the margin to two, but Griffin answered with a dunk to push the advantage back to four with 1:29 left.

      After being fouled by Redick on a 3-point attempt, Watson hit all three free throws to pull the Pacers to within 99-98 with 34.9 seconds remaining. However, after a Clippers turnover, Stuckey missed a turnaround jumper over Redick in the lane that went in and out with 18.9 seconds remaining.

      "That's the game of basketball," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. "It was a great look by a great offensive player. We will live with the results. We played the game to get that kind of shot, and we will live with the results."

      Indiana took its biggest lead, 89-83, after a dunk by Miles with 7:44 left. A free throw by Redick after a technical foul on Vogel, a jumper by Griffin and a Paul layup cut the margin to 89-88. However, buckets by Allen and Stuckey pushed the Pacers' lead to five.

      NOTES: Los Angeles PG Chris Paul, who is president of the NBA players' union, wore an "I Can't Breathe" T-shirt under his leather jacket to the postgame press conference, the first public display by one of the Clippers since NBA players began donning the shirts over the past month. ... Clippers F/C Spencer Hawes missed his third consecutive game due to a left knee bruise. ... Pacers G George Hill, still sidelined due to a left knee contusion, continued practicing with the team. He could make his season debut during the club's current three-game road swing, which continues Saturday in Denver and Sunday in Minnesota. ... The Clippers play the Nuggets in Denver on Friday. ... Indiana's bench scored a season-high 66 points -- 30 of those by reserve G C.J. Miles -- in the Pacers' 103-96 loss to the Clippers on Dec. 10. On Wednesday, Pacers reserves had 42 points.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    NBA game roundup: Grizzlies edge Spurs in 3 OTs
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN ANTONIO -- Power forward Zach Randolph scored 21 points, including all six of the Grizzlies' points in the third overtime, and Memphis emerged with a 117-116 win at the AT&T Center on Wednesday.

    • A 3-point barrage in the second half allowed the Spurs to erase a big early deficit and put themselves in a position to win. However, couldn't close out the Grizzlies due to poor foul shooting. Instead, Memphis recorded its second big victory in as many nights after ending the Golden State Warriors' 16-game winning streak Tuesday.

      Both teams hit clutch baskets to keep the game going deep into the night.

      Memphis center Marc Gasol (game-high 26-points) drilled a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer of regulation, and he scored a put-back with 9.4 seconds left in overtime to keep the game alive.

      Spurs power forward Tim Duncan (23 points, 16 rebounds) matched Gasol's heroics with a long 2-pointer that banked off the backboard and bounced on the rim several times before falling through to knot the game again to end the second extra session.

      Rockets 115, Nuggets 111 (OT)

      DENVER -- Guard James Harden scored eight of his game-high 41 points in overtime, and Houston beat Denver.

      Harden added a season-high 10 assists, and center Dwight Howard had 24 points and 16 rebounds to lead Houston to its seventh win in eight games.

      Forward Wilson Chandler led Denver with 23 points, and guard Arron Afflalo, whose 3-pointer sent the game into overtime, had 22. Guard Ty Lawson had 12 points and 16 assists for the slumping Nuggets, who lost for the seventh time in eight games.

      Clippers 102, Pacers 100

      LOS ANGELES -- Forward Blake Griffin scored 31 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, and Los Angeles held off Indiana.

      Point guard Chris Paul had 20 points, nine assists, five steals and six rebounds for the Clippers, who have won six in a row at home. Los Angeles guard J.J. Redick contributed 16 points, and center DeAndre Jordan finished with 15 points and a season-high 23 rebounds.

      Forward David West and reserve guard C.J. Miles had 17 points apiece to lead the Pacers, who snapped an eight-game skid Monday against the Lakers but fell to 3-10 against Western Conference teams in the defeat.

      Hawks 127, Cavaliers 98

      CLEVELAND -- Shelvin Mack set career highs in both points and 3-pointers, and Atlanta routed Cleveland. Mack shot 6-for-6 on 3-pointers and scored 24 points after entering the night with just nine 3-pointers and shooting 20 percent from behind the line.

      Al Horford scored 20 points and Paul Millsap had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks, who shot a season-best 65 percent from the field.

      Forward LeBron James scored 21 points and forward Kevin Love had 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Cavs, who lost for the first time in their past nine games against the East and the first time at home in nearly a month.

      Jazz 105, Heat 87

      MIAMI -- Utah posted a rare road win, overcoming 42 points by Miami's Dwyane Wade.

      Utah won for the second time in 14 games and is now 3-10 on the road. Before Wednesday, the Jazz last won at Miami on Nov. 9, 2010.

      Gordon Hayward had 29 points and a game-high seven assists and Enes Kanter added 18 points to lead Utah.

      Suns 111, Hornets 106

      CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to score 23 points and Phoenix rallied from a 17-point deficit against Charlotte.

      The Suns outscored the Hornets 10-2 in the final 2:30, with Thomas hitting a jumper with 1:12 left and two key free throws with 19.9 seconds remaining. The run capped a comeback from a 50-33 deficit midway through the second quarter.

      Phoenix snapped a six-game losing streak. The Suns had not won since beating the Mavericks in Dallas on Dec. 5.

      Celtics 109, Magic 92

      BOSTON -- Boston continued its home-court dominance of Orlando as Rajon Rondo had 15 assists to help send the Magic to their eighth straight loss at TD Garden, where they haven't won since 2010.

      Rondo made a run at his fourth triple-double of the year, producing 13 points and seven rebounds. Brandon Bass, coming off the bench, had 10 of his team-high 18 points in the final run. Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger both finished with 16 points and Kelly Olynyk contributed 15 points and six boards off the bench.

      Center Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 18 points and 13 rebounds, but he had 12 points and eight boards in the first quarter. Forward Tobias Harris scored 17 points.

      Mavericks 117, Pistons 106

      AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Chandler Parsons poured in a season-high 32 points and Monta Ellis supplied 25 to lead Dallas over Detroit.

      Parsons, who has been battling back soreness, finished two points shy of his career high and also grabbed seven rebounds. Ellis had eight assists from his shooting guard spot for Dallas (19-8), which has an 8-0 road record against Eastern Conference opponents.

      Andre Drummond racked up 19 points and a season-high 24 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost their 11th straight at home, a season franchise record.

      Raptors 105, Nets 89

      TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry had 20 points and 12 assists and Toronto pulled away from Brooklyn.

      The Raptors outscored the Nets 29-16 in the fourth quarter to improve their record to 20-6. They reached 20 wins before the Christmas break for the first time in franchise history.

      Mason Plumlee led with Nets with 23 points and eight rebounds.

      Trail Blazers 104, Bucks 97

      PORTLAND, Ore. -- Guard Damian Lillard and forward LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 52 points to lift Portland to a victory over Milwaukee.

      Lillard scored 29 points and Aldridge collected 23 points along with 15 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who won their third straight game. Portland forward Thomas Robinson came off the bench to match his career high in points (15) and grab a season-high 16 boards.

      Guard Brandon Knight topped the Bucks with 24 points, while forward Khris Middleton added 17 points.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Robinson's big night buoys Blazers
    By The Sports Xchange

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- With center Robin Lopez out of the lineup due to a broken hand, the Portland Trail Blazers needed somebody to step in and fill the energy and rebounding void.

    • Enter forward Thomas Robinson, who matched his career high with 15 points and grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds in Portland's 104-97 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night at the Moda Center.

      It was the first career start for the third-year pro, and if not for a 5-for-15 shooting performance from the free-throw line, he could have had a career night.

      "T-Rob was a monster," said guard Damian Lillard, who led the Blazers (20-6) with 29 points. "It seemed like every time the ball came off the rim, a make or a miss, he was right there, waiting for it to come off.

      "But that's him. We've seen him do that every day in practice -- bring that energy and compete like that. He was the difference tonight."

      Forward LaMarcus Aldridge collected 23 points and tied his season high with 15 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who won their third consecutive game.

      Guard Brandon Knight topped the Bucks (13-13) with 24 points, while forward Khris Middleton added 17 points.

      Portland outrebounded the Bucks 52-32, grabbing 16 boards off the offensive glass.

      "We couldn't get the rebounds," Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said. "We gave ourselves a chance to win on the road against a very good team, but they got offensive rebounds in crucial parts of the game that led to a three or a basket."

      Lillard's 17 points were enough to give Portland a two-point lead at intermission, the Blazers rallying from a 10-point, second-quarter deficit.

      Milwaukee started the third quarter on a 9-2 run to go on top 50-45, but Portland answered with a 10-1 spurt to go back in front 55-51. The Bucks regained the lead at 70-68 heading into the final period.

      It was 79-79 when forward Nicolas Batum drained a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 run, pushing the Blazers ahead 88-79 with 4:05 remaining. The Bucks went to fouling Robinson intentionally on five straight possessions, and he made four of 10 attempts, just enough to keep the visitors at bay.

      "I'm mad I missed that many free throws," Robinson said. "That's something I've been working on all summer. I got out there and got a mental block. But if that's my biggest concern right now, I'm happy."

      The Bucks jumped to a 10-2 lead in the game's first three minutes, the Blazers making only one of their first eight shots from the field. Milwaukee went 11-for-18 in rolling to a 25-18 advantage after one quarter while Portland heated up only marginally, making eight of 26 shots over the first 12 minutes.

      Milwaukee stoked the margin to 39-29 midway through the second quarter when the Blazers made a move, outscoring the visitors 14-2 over the final three minutes to take a 43-41 edge into halftime.

      Both teams had players take terrible spills during the game.

      Milwaukee forward Giannis Antetokounmpo injured an ankle and fell hard to the floor late in the second quarter. He did not return. Portland forward Nicolas Batum, pushed by Milwaukee center Larry Sanders while dunking with 3:01 left, landed on his stomach. After several minutes, he got up under his own power and stayed in the game.

      NOTES: Milwaukee was playing its first game without the No. 2 pick in the June draft, F Jabari Parker, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in Monday's 96-94 victory at Phoenix. Veteran F Jared Dudley started in Parker's absence, and he contributed three points and five assists in 27 minutes. ... Portland was playing its first game without starting C Robin Lopez, who broke his right hand Monday in a victory over San Antonio. ... The two head coaches, Terry Stotts of Portland and Jason Kidd of Milwaukee, were together for four seasons in Dallas (2008-12) and won an NBA championship together (2010-11). Stotts was the chief assistant to Rick Carlisle, Kidd the Mavericks' veteran point guard. "One of the smartest players I've been around," Stotts said. ... Bucks F Ersan Ilyasova, who has missed the past seven games with a broken nose, is back to non-contact duty in practice and is getting close to a return. "We'll see as the week goes on," Kidd said. "It's not his first time breaking his nose. He's used to the mask, but it'll take a little time."

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Reports: Mavs in talks to acquire Rondo
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Boston Celtics are engaged in trade talks that could result in point guard Rajon Rondo heading to the Dallas Mavericks, multiple media outlets reported Wednesday.

    • Boston would receive a package that would include a 2015 first-round pick with limited lottery protection, according to Yahoo Sports. ESPN.com reported that Dallas center Brandan Wright is likely to be included along with multiple draft picks.

      According to the Boston Globe, Mavericks forward Jae Crowder is another player who could be headed to the Celtics.

      Other teams including the Houston Rockets reportedly expressed interest in Rondo, 28.

      Following Boston's 109-92 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday, Rondo was asked about the latest rumors, and he reiterated that he remains committed to the Celtics.

      "How many times you want me to say it?" he said, according to the Globe. "We discussed it on media day (in September). My thoughts and my opinions as far as the organization hasn't changed."

      Rondo, who finished with 13 points, 15 assists and seven rebounds Wednesday, is averaging 8.3 points, 10.8 assists and 7.5 boards per game this season.

      Over his nine NBA seasons, all with the Celtics, Rondo is averaging 11 points, 8.5 assists and 4.7 rebounds. He is a four-time All-Star, and he won a championship with Boston in 2007-08.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Grizzlies need three overtimes to hold off Spurs
    By The Sports Xchange

    SAN ANTONIO -- A 3-point barrage in the second half allowed the San Antonio Spurs to erase a big early deficit and put themselves in a position to win Wednesday night.

    • However, the Spurs couldn't close out the Memphis Grizzlies from the free-throw line, and that proved costly.

      Power forward Zach Randolph scored 21 points, including all six of the Grizzlies' points in the third overtime, and Memphis emerged with a 117-116 win at the AT&T Center on Wednesday.

      Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley rebounded a final shot from Spurs guard Manu Ginobili and threw the ball to the other end of the court as time expired.

      Memphis (21-4) earned its second big victory in as many nights after snapping the Golden State Warriors' 16-game winning streak Tuesday. The Spurs (17-9) dropped their second straight and fourth in the past six games.

      "It was a great game," Grizzlies coach David Joerger said. "Great game to be a part of, lot of great plays. They made some mistakes, we made some mistakes, and both teams kept going at it. We have a long history. We've played each other a ton of times, so it's great to get a win."

      The Spurs trailed by as many as 23 points in the first half and 17 after a 10-0 Memphis run to start the third quarter, but they quickly got back in the game with a 14-0 spurt that included four consecutive 3-pointers.

      San Antonio made 17 of their 35 3-point attempts but shot only 13-for-27 from the foul line. The Grizzlies made 10 of 27 long-range shots, but they were a steadier 11-for-14 on free throws.

      Both teams hit clutch baskets to keep the game going deep into the night.

      Memphis center Marc Gasol drilled a desperation 3-pointer at the buzzer of regulation, and he scored a put-back with 9.4 seconds left in the first overtime to keep the game alive.

      Spurs power forward Tim Duncan matched Gasol's heroics with a long 2-pointer that banked off the backboard and bounced on the rim several times before falling through to knot the game again to end the second extra session.

      It was all Randolph in the third OT, however, as he gave the Grizzlies a four-point lead with a fadeaway jumper as the clock rolled under a minute.

      The Spurs got a 3-pointer from shooting guard Danny Green -- his seventh of the night -- and a stop on Memphis' next possession, but Ginobili's off-balance shot with the time running down barely drew iron.

      Gasol finished with a game-high 26 points and added nine rebounds. Memphis reserve guard Vince Carter scored 10 of his 18 points in the first quarter. Center Kosta Koufos added 16 points, while Conley had 14 points and 10 assists, and guard Courtney Lee also scored 14.

      Duncan had a big night statistically with 23 points, 16 rebounds and five assists, but he shot 5-for-15 from the foul line, including 2-for-6 in the first overtime. Green scored 25 points, grabbed seven rebounds and blocked five shots, and Ginobili contributed 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

      "It was in my head from the first half," Duncan said of his free-throw issues. "I'm trying to change things every time I go up there. The feel just wasn't there for whatever reason. I was short on everything and couldn't fix it."

      Spurs power forward Boris Diaw finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and guard Marco Belinelli chipped in with 15 points.

      Memphis sprinted out of the gates in each of the first three quarters, outscoring the Spurs 8-1 to start the first, 10-2 over the first 4 1/2 minutes of the second before the 10-0 run to open the third.

      San Antonio didn't take its first lead of the night until Green buried a 3-pointer from the left wing to make it 80-77 with 8:22 remaining in the fourth.

      "I was really proud of them," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of his players. "I thought they squeezed every bit of blood out of a rock that they could. They were tired as heck. Memphis was, too, so it's not an excuse.

      "Getting down the way they did and playing poorly to start the game and to start the third quarter, they showed a lot of fortitude. We made some errors that are pretty odd, unique-type errors with a couple of passes, rebounds and missed free throws. That is the game. We made too many of those mistakes."

      NOTES: San Antonio was without PG Tony Parker (mild left hamstring strain) and SF Kawhi Leonard (bruised right hand). ... The Spurs lost for the first time this season when recording at least 25 assists. They began the night 13-0 in such contests. They ranked sixth in the NBA with an average of 24 assists per game. ... Memphis is off to its best start in franchise history, and it has the best regular-season record in the league in the 2014 calendar year (58-19). ... The Grizzlies improved to 8-2 this season when allowing 100-plus points. They finished 23-58 the previous four years in such games.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Raptors take suspense out of first meeting with Nets
    By The Sports Xchange

    TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets played it close all last season.

    • The Nets eked out a victory in the seventh game of their first-round playoff series on May 4 that went down to the last play.

      The Raptors took the suspense out of their first meeting this season on Wednesday, pulling away in the fourth quarter in a 105-89 victory as guard Kyle Lowry scored 20 points and dished out 12 assists.

      "We gave them a battle for three quarters and then we kind of fell apart," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. "We just started throwing the ball to them instead of us, or throwing the ball out of bounds."

      The Raptors (20-6) outscored the Nets 29-16 in the fourth quarter and won their fourth in a row to reach 20 wins before the Christmas break for the first time in franchise history. The Nets dropped to 10-14 after losing on two successive nights.

      "I thought in the second half we did a better job of keeping them off the boards," Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. "That's what was killing us in the first half, our lack of defensive rebounding and finding the body. It sounds very fundamental but that's what we have to do. Defensive rebounding is our Achilles heel right now."

      Center Mason Plumlee led the Nets with 23 points and eight rebounds and said fatigue was not the problem.

      "A lot of mistakes, turnovers and defensive breakdowns," he said. "I don't think it was being tired or anything. It was mentally making errors that really cost us."

      The teams meet three more times this season and the next meeting is Jan. 30 in Brooklyn.

      "This is going to be a great series," Plumlee said. "They're a very good team. It's going to be good when they come to Brooklyn, too."

      Center Jonas Valanciunas added 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for Toronto. Forward Amir Johnson, forward Patrick Patterson and guard Greivis Vasquez each scored 13 and guard Lou Williams added 10.

      Forward Joe Johnson added 17 points for the Nets while forward Mirza Teletovic chipped in with 14 and point guard Deron Williams had 11.

      "We have to be able to keep our focus and be concentrating in the fourth quarter," Teletovic said. "I know a lot of teams they read the games, they reset after half time and they come in and try to take away everything we have been doing right."

      Vasquez did not feel the win was more rewarding because it was against the team that eliminated them last season.

      "No, it's another win for us, which is important especially when we get them at home," Vasquez said. "So we just have to take care of home. We did that tonight. So we just have to be professional about it and keep playing. Yes, I feel we're better (than last season) but it is just still too early. We can't really be too happy."

      The Nets were ahead by as many as 11 points before finishing the first quarter with a 35-27 lead. The Raptors came back to take a 52-51 lead at halftime on Lowry's bank shot.

      The lead was still one until forward James Johnson's layup with 33 seconds left in the third quarter gave the Raptors a 76-73 lead heading into the fourth.

      The Raptors extended their lead to nine on a 3-pointer by Williams. Lowry put the Raptors ahead by 11 points with 5:41 to play on a driving layup and Patterson's jumper 30 seconds later pushed the lead to 11.

      After Williams hit a jumper for the Nets, Patterson's 3-pointer made it 95-81 with 4:35 to play. Lowry scored to give the Raptors an 18-point lead with just more than three minutes left and the Raptors were in command.

      It was 105-87 when Vasquez hit a 3-pointer approaching the final minute.

      "There were a couple of games last season where we were in situations where we could have run away with it," Patterson said. "But they kept fighting and fighting. We were missing shots and they were playing great defense. It seemed like it was back and forth a lot. The team that we have this year we feel we can compete with the best of them. Going up against Brooklyn tonight, what we did, it's not a shock."

      NOTES: G Sergey Karasev (strained left oblique) did not play for the Nets against the Raptors after leaving Tuesday night's loss to Miami with a side injury. ... Nets F Kevin Garnett, who played 21 minutes on Tuesday, was not in the lineup Wednesday, the fourth straight time he has missed the second half of back-to-backs. ... Raptors G Landry Fields, who has spent most of the season on the bench until recently, made his first 3-pointer since March 22, 2013, against Orlando on Monday. ... After splitting four games last season, the teams met in the first round of the playoffs with the Nets winning the seventh game 97-96 on a last-second stop. On aggregate, each team scored 1,070 points in their meetings. ... The Raptors visit the Detroit Pistons on Friday. The Nets travel to Cleveland to play the Cavaliers on Friday.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Jazz claim first win in Miami since 2010
    By The Sports Xchange

    MIAMI -- For the Utah Jazz, it was a rare win, especially on the road.

    • For the Miami Heat, who have made the NBA Finals in each of the past four seasons, it was all part of their alarming new reality.

      In fact, not even Dwyane Wade's vintage 42-point performance could save the Heat on Wednesday night as the Jazz left AmericanAirlines Arena with a 105-87 victory.

      Small forward Gordon Hayward had 29 points and a game-high seven assists to lead the Jazz, prompting Utah coach Quin Snyder to praise his young star's leadership.

      "The more we can hear his voice, I think it has a positive impact," Snyder said. "From the very beginning of the game, we were in front of our bench, defensively, and you could hear our guys talking to each other. There was a connectivity on defense that we were looking for (all season)."

      That connectivity helped Utah hold Miami to 38.6 percent shooting from the field, including 4 of 17 on 3-pointers (23.5 percent). The Jazz were plus-seven on rebounds, holding the Heat to 11 second-chance points and 30 points in the paint.

      Utah (7-19) won for the second time in 14 games and is now 3-10 on the road. Before Wednesday, the Jazz last won a road game on Nov. 14 at the New York Knicks and last won at Miami on Nov. 9, 2010.

      Power forward Enes Kanter added 18 points to lead Utah, which took control of the game midway through the first quarter and never trailed again.

      Kanter, who had a career-high 29 points on Tuesday at New Orleans, has a combined total of 47 points in his past two games.

      "He's playing extremely well," Hayward said. "There were a couple of plays tonight when Enes made a big corner 3-pointer and then he had a heck of a move on the baseline for a score. Those are momentum-swingers."

      Wade had his highest scoring game since Feb. 25, 2011. But with starting forwards Chris Bosh and Josh McRoberts out with injuries, the Heat fell to 12-14 as no other Miami player had more than 11 points.

      "You want to win games like this so you can feel good about yourself," said Wade, who has a combined total of 70 points in the past two games. "The way we lost ... at home ... I'm not used to that."

      Indeed, Miami is 8-6 on the road and 4-8 at home, including seven losses in its past eight games in its arena. The Heat have lost four straight home games, the first time that has happened since March 2011.

      Utah came out fast, shooting 65 percent from the field and leading 33-16 after the first quarter. Hayward was nearly perfect, making 4 of 5 from the floor, including 2 of 2 on 3-pointers, and 3 of 3 from the foul line. He finished the quarter with 13 points.

      Miami, which shot just 31.3 percent from the floor, had the second-lowest scoring quarter of its season.

      Wade had his best half of the season with 23 points, including 17 in the second quarter, and his performance kept things from being worse for Miami.

      Even so, the Jazz led 55-41 at halftime. Utah made 8 of 11 3-pointers in the first half (72.7 percent), and Hayward went into the break with 18 points and four assists.

      Miami got as close as seven points in the third quarter before Utah pulled away again. The Jazz closed the quarter on a 15-4 run and took a 77-59 lead into the fourth quarter.

      "After getting a good win on the road (Tuesday night against the Nets), coming back with this effort as a group is unacceptable," Wade said. "That's our problem. We have to fix that. Our coaches can't do (anything) about that part."

      NOTES: Jazz F Trevor Booker argued with a referee's call and was hit with two technical fouls and ejected with 3.5 seconds left in the half. ... Jazz PF Derrick Favors returned to the starting lineup after missing two games with a sprained right ankle. He had 11 points and six rebounds. ... With Favors back, Jazz C Rudy Gobert returned to the bench. Gobert averaged 6.5 points, nine rebounds and three blocks in his two starts. ... Heat PF Chris "Birdman" Andersen made his first start of the season and had six points and a team-high nine rebounds. ... Miami PF Josh McRoberts, who is set to have knee surgery on Monday or Tuesday and is likely out for the season, has played just 17 games for Miami. He was supposed to be a starter, but toe, back and knee injuries ruined his season. ... Heat PF Chris Bosh (calf injury) missed his third consecutive game. He could be out a couple of weeks. ... Miami C Justin Hamilton (two points) started despite a bruised left quad. ... Up next, Utah plays the Magic in Orlando on Friday. Miami plays host to the Washington Wizards on Friday.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Parsons scores 32 as Mavericks dump Pistons
    By The Sports Xchange

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Chandler Parsons did not let a sore elbow and an achy back prevent him from scoring a season high Wednesday.

    • Parsons poured in 32 points, including 21 in the second half, and led the Dallas Mavericks to a 117-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday at The Palace. Parsons finished two points shy of his career high and also grabbed seven rebounds.

      He only cooled off when he got to the locker room. His elbow, which he hyperextended while guarding New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony on Tuesday, was wrapped in ice. So was his lower back, which was sore enough on Saturday to force him to miss a showdown with the NBA-leading Golden State Warriors.

      "It's definitely not 100 percent. It's just part of a long season," said Parsons, a small forward who was signed away from Houston with a three-year, $46 million contract during the offseason. "You're going to have some bumps and bruises. You've just got to stick with it and do what you can."

      While Parsons is taking more hits, he is delivering some crushing blows as well. He scored 28 or more points in three of his past five outings.

      "I'm just in a good rhythm right now," he said. "My teammates are doing a great job of finding me, and I'm playing with confidence. I knew it was going to happen, it was just going to be a matter of time. The longer I play with these guys, the more comfortable I'm going to get. We're rolling right now."

      Shooting guard Monta Ellis added 25 points and eight assists for Dallas, which has an 8-0 road record against Eastern Conference opponents. He had 11 points and five assists during the second half, when the Mavericks (19-8) scored 64 points.

      "Parsons hit a lot of big shots, and when we were struggling a little in the third quarter, Monta Ellis just took over the game with some one-on-one stuff that got us going," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said. "Both of those guys were huge for us."

      Mavs power forward Dirk Nowitzki added 18 points and 10 rebounds, and center Tyson Chandler chipped in 16 points and nine rebounds for the league's highest-scoring team. Chandler grabbed his 8,000th career rebound during the first quarter to become the 68th player in NBA history to reach the milestone.

      Center Andre Drummond racked up 19 points and a season-high 24 rebounds for the Pistons (5-21), who lost their 11th straight at home, a single-season franchise record. They had 10-game home losing streaks from Jan. 23-Feb. 27, 1980, and from Dec. 21, 1993, to Jan. 31, 1994.

      Drummond also made four steals and three blocks, but Detroit still lost for the 15th time in 17 games.

      "He jumps and it seems like he hangs in the air until he gets his hand on the ball," Carlisle said of Drummond. "That's how it looks. I've never seen a guy get his hands on so many lobs, shots, everything. I was amazed."

      Drummond gave the Pistons a chance for an upset, but he didn't get enough help from his teammates.

      "I just really raised my game up and played hard on the offensive and defensive end," he said. "I tried to do my best to help my team get in a good position to win, and it didn't happen for us."

      Defense was the Pistons' biggest issue, as the Mavs shot 50.6 percent from the field. They are 11-1 when making at least half of their field-goal attempts.

      "They got everything they wanted," Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said. "It was an offensive game, even in the first half. We couldn't keep up with them in the third quarter. They were scoring easily, we were struggling, and the game got away."

      Shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 14 points, and point guard Brandon Jennings and power forward Jonas Jerebko had 13 points apiece for Detroit. The Pistons shot 44.9 percent from the floor.

      NOTES: Dallas defeated Detroit for the sixth consecutive meeting. ... The Mavs have already tied their season record by making at least 15 3-pointers in four games. Coach Rick Carlisle attributes it to dribble penetration. "If you're getting open looks with no defense because the defense has been broken down, you're going to have a lot better chance to make them," he said. Dallas shot 10-for-22 from 3-point range Wednesday. ... Detroit SG Jodie Meeks averaged 12.7 points in his first three games after returning from a back injury, but Dallas limited him to nine points. Coach Stan Van Gundy wants to run more set plays for him. "We'll put more and more in over the days leading up to Christmas when we have more practice time," he said.

  • Thursday, December 18, 2014
    Celtics continue home mastery of Magic
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- This Boston Celtics rebuilding project would go much quicker if they could play more home games against the Orlando Magic.

    • Wednesday night, the Celtics cranked up their defense and beat the Magic for the eighth straight time at TD Garden, blowing open a close game in the fourth quarter to cruise to a 109-92 victory.

      The Magic haven't won at TD Garden since Feb. 7, 2010.

      "We started to really defend," Boston coach Brad Stevens said after his team shook off a slow defensive start, especially against center Nikola Vucevic, and never trailed in the second half.

      Vucevic had 12 points and eight rebounds in the first quarter but was held to six points and five boards the rest of the way.

      Guard Rajon Rondo had 15 assists and helped a balanced Boston attack as the Celtics (9-14) went 13 of 19 from the floor in the fourth quarter and won for the fifth time in eight games.

      The Celtics used a 10-2 run in the fourth quarter to break the game open.

      Rondo made a run at his fourth triple-double of the year, producing 13 points and seven rebounds as six Celtics scored in double figures. He did have six of his team's 14 turnovers, but four of those came in the first quarter.

      Forward Brandon Bass, coming off the bench, had 10 of his team-high 18 points in the final run. Forwards Jeff Green and Jared Sullinger both finished with 16 points.

      "We just turned up the heat," Sullinger said. "Everyone played one hell of game tonight."

      Big man Kelly Olynyk, coming off a career-high 30 points and nine rebounds in Monday night's win at Philadelphia, contributed 15 points and six boards off the bench. Olynyk has 45 points and 15 rebounds on 18 of 25 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range in the last two games.

      "Kelly really wants to be good," said Stevens, pointing to the second-year man's work ethic.

      Backup point guard Phil Pressey was also a spark off the bench with a season-high nine points, four assists and two rebounds in 19 minutes. He was on the court with Rondo as the Celtics went small for the deciding spurt.

      "I felt like Phil Pressey was really active and aggressive both on the ball handler and then away from the ball," Stevens said.

      The Magic, playing their league-high 19th road game, fell to 10-18 (7-12 on the road).

      "Not our best effort tonight," Orlando coach Jacque Vaughn said. "When I say effort I mean it just wasn't a good day for us. Not our best game.

      "We still have a long way to go and nights like this stare you right in the face and let you know that."

      Forward Tobias Harris scored 17 points as five Orlando players scored in double figures.

      "Our defense was poor all night," Harris said. "They were just scoring at will on us basically. It's just something we got to work on; not going to beat teams if you don't play defense, (and allow them to) score over a hundred points. It's just a tough game to win."

      The Magic used a 10-0 run in just 1:17 to take an eight-point lead. The run grew to 14-2 and the lead was 10 with 4:44 left in the first half. But the Celtics outscored the visitors 19-6 in the final 4:31 to take a three-point lead at the break.

      NOTES: Yahoo Sports reported the Celtics are becoming more interested in dealing G Rajon Rondo. Citing sources, the report said the asking price would be "pretty high, probably higher than most want to pay," and that the focus is on moving the team captain to the Western Conference. The report also said the Celtics are shopping F Jeff Green, hoping to land a first-round draft pick. ... Boston G Marcus Smart (Achilles) and G Marcus Thornton (calf) remained out. ... Orlando rookie G Elfrid Payton was part of a pre-draft workout in Boston on June 13, with the Celtics owning the Nos. 6 and 17 picks in the draft. He went 10th to Philadelphia and was traded to Orlando. ... The Magic practiced at Harvard on Tuesday. ... Orlando, which has played more road games (19 of 28) than any team in the league, open a four-game homestand against the Utah Jazz on Friday. The Celtics host the Minnesota Timberwolves the same night.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Suns rally to beat Hornets, end six-game skid
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The Phoenix Suns' morale was tested during a six-game losing streak, but their perseverance finally paid off Wednesday night.

    • The Suns rallied from a 17-point deficit to snap the skid with a 111-106 victory over the struggling Charlotte Hornets.

      Phoenix outscored Charlotte 10-2 over the final 2:30 to win a game that almost got out of hand early, when the Hornets raced to a 50-33 lead midway through the second quarter.

      Guard Isaiah Thomas came off the bench to lead the Suns with 23 points, including a jumper and two huge free throws in the final 1:12. Afterward, he talked about the team's collective heart.

      "This is huge, especially the way we won," Thomas said. "We were down the whole game and it didn't look good for us, but we just kept fighting and kept fighting and finally got over the hump. That's what the definition of this team is. No matter how bad it is, no matter how good it is, just keep fighting. So hopefully this gives us some momentum."

      The Suns lost twice during the skid on last-second shots, including Monday night at home when Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 96-94 win. Phoenix also lost by two to the Detroit Pistons and by one in overtime at the Los Angeles Clippers during the skid.

      "It's about time we won a game," Phoenix coach Jeff Hornacek said. "After you have lost six in a row, it feels like you haven't won in forever. Our guys have been playing hard, so it's good to get a win and get their confidence back up."

      The Suns (13-14) had not won since beating the Mavericks in Dallas on Dec. 5.

      Charlotte (6-19) took its fourth consecutive loss and fell for the 14th time in 16 games.

      The Hornets seemed to be headed toward a blowout in the first half, leading 50-33 with 7:01 remaining in the half. However, the Suns chipped away at the lead, getting it down to 61-54 at halftime and 87-83 after three quarters.

      The Suns took their first lead at 105-104 on a fastbreak layup by guard Eric Bledsoe, after a steal by guard Goran Dragic. Thomas then hit a jumper on Phoenix's next possession for a 107-104 lead with 1:12 left.

      Charlotte center Al Jefferson hit a jumper to cut the margin to 107-106 with 51.3 seconds left, and guard Kemba Walker had a chance to give the Hornets the lead but missed a jumper with 25 seconds left.

      Thomas calmly hit two free throws with 19.9 remaining for a 109-106 lead, and after Charlotte guard Gary Neal missed an attempt at a tying 3-pointer, Phoenix forward P.J. Tucker salted the game away with two free throws with 5.6 seconds left.

      "We just got stops at the end," Thomas said. "We executed the plays that coach wanted us to execute, and that was the name of the game. We just stuck to it and got some key stops toward the end."

      Dragic, in his first game back after missing two games with a back injury, finished with 20 points and eight assists. Forward Gerald Green scored 16 for the Suns, and Bledsoe finished with 15. Forward Markieff Morris had 13 points and eight rebounds before picking up two technical fouls and being ejected for arguing in the third quarter.

      Jefferson led the Hornets with 28 points and 10 rebounds, including 18 points in the first quarter. Walker had 27 points, and Neal scored 13.

      "We're not an offensive juggernaut," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said, "but our problem is not the offense. Our problem right now is that we can't guard. We're playing guys that are going to be good players in this league and we're going to be a good team, but the game's going to be based around their defense. Normally, if we score 106, we have a win, but tonight that's not the way it was."

      Walker added, "Tonight, I just thought we had bad execution down the stretch. You've got to make those plays whenever you have the ball, make a play for your team. But it was bad decisions or a turnover or having to force a shot at the end of the shot clock, and it cost us."

      NOTES: NBA commissioner Adam Silver attended the game and said it is a matter of when, not if, Charlotte will host a future All-Star Game. The next available date is 2017. ... Hornets F Cody Zeller played despite breaking his nose in a 97-88 loss at Cleveland on Monday. He finished with seven points and nine rebounds Wednesday. ... The Hornets won the previous game between the teams, 103-95 at Phoenix on Nov. 14. ... Hornets G Jeffery Taylor came off the NBA's suspended list after sitting out the previous 24 games, but he was made inactive for Wednesday's game. Coach Steve Clifford said he plans to work Taylor back into the mix slowly. ... The Suns opened a three-game Eastern swing. They play at New York on Saturday and at Washington on Sunday. ... The Hornets hit the road for a game at Philadelphia on Friday. ... The Suns came into the game leading the NBA in team free-throw percentage at .810, but they finished 16-for-21 (76.2 percent) Wednesday.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Hawks 127, Cavaliers 98
    By The Sports Xchange

    CLEVELAND -- Atlanta Hawks guard Shelvin Mack set career highs in both points and 3-pointers in a thorough beating of the Cleveland Cavaliers by a final score of 127-98 on Wednesday.

    • Mack shot 6 of 6 on 3-pointers and scored 24 points after entering the night with just nine 3-pointers and shooting 20 percent from behind the line. Center Al Horford scored 20 points and forward Paul Millsap had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Hawks, who shot a season-best 65 percent and have now beaten the Bulls and Cavs in consecutive games -- the two teams still considered to be the best in the East.

      The Hawks, winners of 11 of their last 12, lost at Cleveland last month when the Cavs made a franchise-record 19 3-pointers and rolled to a 33-point win. The Hawks returned the favor Wednesday by making a season-best 16 3-pointers without point guard and leading scorer Jeff Teague, who missed the game with a sore hamstring.

      Guard Dennis Schroder had 10 points and 10 assists in place of Teague and forward Mike Scott had 15 points off the bench for the Hawks.

      Forward LeBron James scored 21 points and forward Kevin Love had 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Cavs, who lost for the first time in their last nine games against the East and the first time at home in nearly a month. The Cavs even led 50-38 midway through the second quarter Wednesday before the defense crumbled and the Hawks enjoyed open looks across the floor. The Hawks scored a combined 69 points between the second and third quarters to take command, opening a 31-point lead in the fourth quarter.

      Guard Dion Waiters scored 21 points off the bench and guard Kyrie Irving had nine points and six assists for the Cavs. James is now three points shy of tying Charles Barkley (23,757) for 23rd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

      NOTES: The Hawks were beaten by 31 points in a game at Cleveland last month. The Cavs began that night making nine consecutive 3-pointers. "We put in a special request that they don't do that again," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer joked. ... G Dennis Schroder started in place of Jeff Teague (hamstring) at point guard. ... G Kyrie Irving is the only player in the league averaging at least 20 points, 5.0 assists and less than two turnovers per game. ... Cavs G Mike Miller missed his seventh consecutive game on Wednesday. He has been cleared of his concussion, which forced him to miss the first six games, but coach David Blatt said Miller still has a stiff neck. "Honestly, he really could've got out there," Blatt said. "We just decided to give it one more day."

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Warriors reassign C Kuzmic
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Golden State Warriors assigned center Ognjen Kuzmic to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League on Wednesday.

    • The 7-foot, 260-pound Kuzmic, 24, has played in eight games with Golden State, scoring two points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Durant hits milestone as Thunder thump Kings
    By The Sports Xchange

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- After early-season injuries, guard Russell Westbrook and forward Kevin Durant are doing their thing again, and the Oklahoma City Thunder are back to clicking off victories.

    • After an encouraging early-season start, the Sacramento Kings are starting over again, and victories are as scarce as ever.

      So it remained for both teams Tuesday. Westbrook scored 32 points, and Durant added 26 -- including the 15,000th of his career -- as the Thunder ruined the debut of Kings interim coach Tyrone Corbin with a 104-92 victory at Sleep Train Arena.

      Oklahoma City won its seventh straight, the longest current winning streak in the NBA after the Golden State Warriors' 16-game winning streak ended in a 105-98 road loss to the Memphis Grizzlies earlier in the night. It was also the Thunder's ninth win in 10 games since a 3-12 start.

      "We're just trying to get better every single day," Durant said after becoming the second-youngest player in NBA history to reach the 15,000-point milestone. "That's how we always approach it."

      Durant, 26, cracked the 15,000-point milestone in his 550th career game. Only Michael Jordan (460 games), LeBron James (540) and Shaquille O'Neal (547) did so in fewer contests. Only James was younger.

      "It's nice. I don't want to overlook the accomplishment," Durant said. "It makes me think back at all the players and coaches and teammates who helped me get to this point."

      Durant missed Oklahoma City's first 17 games with a broken right foot, and Westbook sat out the first 14 with a broken finger. They were at their best late against the Kings, combining for 14 consecutive points during a 19-8 run to close the game.

      "Durant and Westbrook are two of the best players in this league, and they're going to have runs," Corbin said. "I thought that our guys fought back. We had a chance to win the game."

      Forward Rudy Gay finished with 22 points for Sacramento, and forward Carl Landry added 14 off the bench, but the Kings never led by more than a point during Corbin's debut. Corbin was appointed the team's interim coach Monday after the firing of Michael Malone.

      "It's tough on both sides," Gay said. "It's tough for the coaches and for the players. ... It's a new system, and it's gonna take time. We've had one practice and a shootaround."

      Sacramento lost for the ninth time in 11 games and fell to 2-8 in 10 games without starting center DeMarcus Cousins (viral meningitis). Cousins possibly could return Thursday when the Kings host the Milwaukee Bucks.

      The Kings didn't start out auspiciously under Corbin. Oklahoma City scored the game's first nine points and did not trail until forward Carl Landry's basket inched the Kings in front 84-83 with 8:05 left in the final quarter.

      Two possessions later, with the Kings on top 86-85, Thunder guard Reggie Jackson converted a three-point play on a driving layup for an 88-86 Oklahoma City lead. The Thunder never trailed again.

      Oklahoma City guard Anthony Morrow added 10 points, and Thunder coach Scott Brooks credited forward Serge Ibaka for shutting down the Kings' attempts to pick-and-roll, as well as guard Andre Robertson for his work containing Sacramento point guard Darren Collision off the dribble.

      Collison finished with six points, three assists and three turnovers. He shot 2-for-8 from the field and is 3-for-18 over the past two contests.

      "I don't want to make excuses," Collison said. "At the end of the day, it's just basketball. You try to make it that way, but we just weren't on the same page player-wise. We've got to clean some things up offensively and defensively."

      Guard Ramon Sessions finished with 11 points, and guard Ben McLemore had 10 for the Kings, who promised a more up-tempo style under Corbin but scored just eight fastbreak points.

      NOTES: The Kings retired the No. 16 worn by G Peja Stojakovic, who played the most games (518) in franchise history, averaging 18.3 points per game during eight seasons with Sacramento. Stojakovic, who played in Sacramento from 1998-2006, is the Sacramento-era's all-time second-leading scorer (9,498, trailing only G Mitch Richmond) and ranks in the Top 10 in steals (fifth)and rebounds (ninth). ... New Sacramento coach Tyrone Corbin was 112-146 during four seasons with the Jazz. Corbin, who replaced Jerry Sloan after the latter's 23 seasons in Utah, guided the Jazz to one playoff appearance, during the strike/lockout-shortened 2011-12 season. Utah lost four straight in its first-round playoff elimination against the San Antonio Spurs that season. ... For all the talk about F Kevin Durant's return, Oklahoma City was 7-1 in G Russell Westbrook's first eight games. ... Kings F Omri Casspi missed his fifth consecutive game due to a right knee bone bruise.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Davis takes over as Pelicans outlast Jazz
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams has treated All-Star forward Anthony Davis like a benevolent father during Davis' stunning two-year-plus run through the NBA.

    • But on Tuesday night against the Utah Jazz -- with his prized pupil nursing sore ribs and playing with a flak jacket -- Williams decided a little tough love would go a long way.

      Davis responded to his coach's first-quarter barbs by scoring a game-high 31 points, including a tip-in, a driving layup and a reverse dunk in the final 1:10, to power the Pelicans to a 119-111 comeback victory over the Jazz at the Smoothie King Center.

      "He's a special player," Williams said. "In the first quarter I had to get on him a little bit. I'm sure he didn't like it, but I didn't think he was playing to the level of greatness that we're used to seeing. After that, defensively he got himself involved."

      Williams had very little to complain about Davis' offensive game in the first half. He scored 14 first-half points on 5-of-7 shooting, and he opened the game by knocking down three mid-range jumpers to keep the Pelicans within striking distance.

      But, on the other end, the Jazz shot 58 percent in the first half (25-of-43) and crushed the Pelicans in the paint, 38-20, en route to a 56-53 halftime lead.

      Utah finished with 68 points in the paint and held an 18-9 edge on the offensive boards, something Davis usually does not allow.

      "(Davis) was knocking down his shot, but I didn't think he had the same mojo," Williams said. "He may have been a little apprehensive about his injury, but I think once they got up on us, his pride and ego kicked in and then he started to lead us, and the numbers speak for themselves."

      The Pelicans (12-12), who had not won a game in eight tries this season when trailing entering the fourth quarter, trailed 92-78 with 11:22 left.

      They went on to outscore the Jazz 41-19 in the final 11:05, holding Utah to 29.2 percent shooting (7-of-24) in the final quarter.

      "He definitely stressed defense the whole game, and we weren't doing that," Davis said. "As a coach, he's got to make sure we can't forget that we're a defensive team."

      Davis took several hard shots to the chest -- including one from guard Alec Burks -- and got up a little slowly. But he did not seem overly concerned about the chest injury that forced him to miss a 128-122 overtime loss to Golden State on Sunday.

      "I was just going to play," Davis said. "I got hit in that third quarter, but it felt fine. Maybe it was adrenalin, so I'll probably feel it in a couple of hours."

      Davis scored seven consecutive points down the stretch to turn a 108-106 lead into a 115-108 advantage. Forward Ryan Anderson added 28 points for New Orleans, making 6-of-10 from long range, and guard Tyreke Evans had 19 points -- 17 in the second half -- and six assists.

      Utah (6-19) lost for the 12th time in 13 games. Center Enes Kanter led the Jazz with a season-high 29 points. Forward Gordon Hayward scored 17 points, and guards Alex Burks and Trey Burke added 16 points apiece.

      Utah coach Quin Snyder said Evans' ability to get into the lane in the fourth quarter changed the complexion of the game and allowed the Pelicans to come back from their double-digit deficit.

      "Tyreke Evans getting to the rim," Snyder said, recounting his team's defensive lapse. "He does that maybe better than anyone in the NBA, and he got it going and got to the rim. Anthony Davis is making shots, and Ryan Anderson started making shots."

      Kanter said the Jazz should be able to take some positives out of their effort despite the fourth-quarter collapse.

      "It was just a lot of little mistakes that added up at the end," Kanter said.

      NOTES: Utah F Derrick Favors missed the game due to a sprained right ankle. ... Pelicans F Anthony Davis does not recall how he got hurt in a Friday victory over Cleveland. "I couldn't really breathe and I had a sharp pain in my chest," he said. "It was an unusual pain that I never felt before." ... New Orleans coach Monty Williams took exception to claims by Golden State coach Steve Kerr that Pelicans F Dante Cunningham delivered cheap shots to Harrison Barnes and Draymond Green in a 128-122 overtime loss to the Warriors on Sunday night. "To me, it takes away from how great the game was," Williams said. "If I have a problem with another team, I go talk to the coach. I don't like playing that game of calling the league and whining about what happened in a game. Dante doesn't play that way."

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Illness, leaky roof don't stop Wade in Heat win
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was so sick with a stomach flu Tuesday afternoon that all he managed to eat were three pieces of dry toast and two bananas.

    • "I had to eat something bland, but that's all I could eat," Wade said.

      But with the Heat already without forward Chris Bosh with a calf injury, Wade knew that he had to play.

      "I had to take it on my shoulders," said Wade, who battled through the illness to score a game-high 28 points, 17 of which came in the first half, leading the Heat to a 95-91 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night in a game that was delayed for a half hour in the first quarter due to a leaky roof.

      "If I showed up at the gym, I had to give it a go," Wade said. "I was just trying to be aggressive. I sure got the ball enough and shot enough. At certain times, I felt all right, but there were other times I didn't. I just had to get out here and play. If I wasn't going to play, I could have stayed all night in the hotel and got some rest. I guess I made the right decision."

      The Heat (12-13), who won for only the third time in their last nine games, were in the midst of a 10-0 run that wrapped around a rare 31-minute delay, when a leak was spotted in the roof of the Barclays Center, allowing water to fall directly onto the floor.

      With the Heat holding a 24-21 lead and 1:47 remaining in the first quarter, the game was suspended until Barclays Center officials located a tarpaulin that was stretched across the area of the roof where the water was leaking through, catching the water and enabling the game to continue. Later in the half, it was learned that the leak was caused by the installation of a new green roof.

      By the time the game was resumed, the Nets were in severe trouble, as the Heat went on a decisive 15-4 run, highlighted by two jump shots from guard Mario Chalmers and a bucket from Wade.

      Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra knew that Wade was going to play right before the team went out for pregame warm-ups.

      "He was with us all day, but once I saw him here, I knew he would give it a shot," Spoelstra said. "I don't wish anything bad against Dwyane, but I hope he's just as sick tomorrow."

      Forward Luol Deng, who added 18 points, drained a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Heat a 33-25 lead at the end of the first quarter, a lead they never relinquished.

      The Nets (10-13) were led by center Mason Plumlee, who had a season-high 21 points, and forward Joe Johnson, who added 16. Guard Deron Williams had 15 points and 11 assists. They were looking for their first three-game winning streak of the season. Guard Sergey Karasev scored 11 points, but left the game in the third quarter with a hip injury and didn't return.

      Guard Shabazz Napier, just recalled from a brief stint in the NBA Developmental League, added 11 points off the bench, while forward Shawne Williams, a former Net, and Chalmers each added 10, also in reserve roles.

      Wade was explosive in the first half, scoring 17 points, as the Heat held a 55-45 lead at halftime. It's the highest first-half point total the Nets allowed at home all season.

      "Wade just made a statement that he's still a special player," Nets head coach Lionel Hollins said. "He made a big statement in the first half. He wanted to come out and carry them and he did that."

      "Our best offense all night came through Dwyane," Spoelstra said. "Our guys are really competing and playing with passion."

      Spoelstra said he was happy about the way his team defended.

      "It was good to see our guys compete at that end, because I told them today that we have to fall back on our old mentality, which is being a defensive-minded team," Spoelstra said. "It's been our focus for a while."

      It was the third straight game that Miami held the opponent under 100 points.

      After the Nets trailed by as many as 15 at one point, they sliced the lead to 58-57 with 8:15 left in the third quarter on a jumper from Johnson. But the Heat outscored the Nets 19-10 the rest of the way, as Miami led 76-66 heading into the fourth period.

      The Nets went on a 7-0 run to slice the lead to 85-79, but Wade answered with a baseline jumper to quell the comeback.

      The Nets cut the lead to 93-91 with 35.1 seconds left on consecutive 3-pointers from guards Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanovic. But Deng drained two free throws with 11.8 seconds remaining to ice the victory.

      "It was good to see us have that winning mentality, especially on the road," Spoelstra said.

      Hollins said the early deficit made things difficult for his team.

      "After we fell behind after the break, we were scrambling for the rest of the game," Hollins said. "We tried to keep it close, but then we would miss a shot or turn the ball over. When we needed to, we just couldn't make a shot."

      NOTES: Both teams played Tuesday night without their best post presence. Heat C Chris Bosh sat out with a strained left calf and Nets C Brook Lopez missed his fifth straight game with a lower back strain. ... The Heat lost F Josh McRoberts for the season last weekend with a torn meniscus in his knee. ... Heat G Dwyane Wade was a game-time decision because of an illness but was in the starting lineup. ... Nets C Mason Plumlee reached double figures in points and rebounds in the team's wins over Philadelphia and Charlotte, the first time he achieved that in his career. Plumlee is averaging 10.2 points and 8.0 rebounds in the five games he has started in Lopez's absence. ... The Nets used their seventh different starting lineup in their last seven games. ... The Nets honored superfan Jeffrey Gamblero during a pregame ceremony. Gamblero, a fixture at all home games who used to dance in the stands and entertain fans, died after a fall from a two-story house in Queens last Saturday night. Gamblero, who wore a neon green No. 44 Brooklyn jersey at all home games, was 38 years old.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Grizzlies end Warriors' 16-game winning streak
    By The Sports Xchange

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- To defeat the run-and-gun Golden State Warriors, the grind-it-out Memphis Grizzlies beat them at their own game -- at least during a 20-0 run by their reserves at the start of the second quarter.

    • "We came off the bench hot, pushing the pace," back-up point guard Beno Udrih said after the Grizzlies had stopped Golden State's winning streak at 16 games with a 105-98 victory Tuesday night at FedExForum. "We gave them a taste of their own medicine."

      Not that the stars didn't do their part, too. Center Marc Gasol scored 24 points, and power forward Zach Randolph added 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Grizzlies (20-4) held on for their fifth consecutive win.

      Golden State (21-3) got 22 points from guard Klay Thompson and 19 points from guard Stephen Curry. However, only half of the so-called Splash Brothers was hitting from long range, as Thompson went 4-for-5 and Curry 1-for-10.

      "It seemed like they were very hyped by the game," Curry said. "The fans were into it. It was fun."

      But not as much fun as it might have been as the Grizzlies held Golden to 41.1 percent shooting from the floor (39 for 95) and 29 percent (9 for 31) from behind the arc.

      "We gave a little bit different look between Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince to Klay Thompson," Memphis coach Dave Joerger said. "One is a guy who plays in your spaces and bodies you up (Allen), the other (Prince) uses his length. With Curry, a lot of that was the bigs communicating and being active and trying to show him different looks in pick-and-rolls."

      The Warriors were only down 90-88 when Prince hiked the Grizzlies' lead to 93-88 on a corner 3-pointer with 4:39 remaining. After a driving layup from Memphis point guard Mike Conley (17 points) made it 95-88 with 3:05 left, both Golden State coach Steve Kerr and guard Andre Iguodala were hit with technical fouls for arguing that Conley traveled. Guard Courtney Lee made both free throws for a 97-88 lead.

      Golden State forward Marreese Speights (18 points off the bench) sliced the lead to 101-98 with 25.3 seconds left. But Gasol pushed the margin back to five with two free throws and the Grizzlies closed things out.

      The Grizzlies' reserves outscored Golden State's 40-39. Guard Vince Carter led the Grizzlies' second unit with 16 points. Forward Jon Leuer had 11 points, and Udrih finished with six points and eight assists.

      Golden State led 30-24 after one quarter, but the Grizzlies' reserves wiped out that lead with a 24-4 run to take the largest lead of the first half, 48-34, with 5:03 left in the second quarter. Carter provided 11 of the 24 points, nine coming on 3-pointers. Back-up center Kosta Koufos had five rebounds, two steals and a block during the run.

      "The pair of Kosta and Jon Leuer changed the rhythm for us defensively," Gasol said.

      Kerr believed the Warriors at times fell into playing "wild," something he said they can get away with a lot of nights but not this night.

      "You can't be wild against a great team on their home floor," Kerr said.

      The Grizzlies showed the ability to run with the Warriors -- at least for a stretch -- while remaining true to their own game. But the reverse was true as well as each team scored 50 points in the paint.

      But it was the bench's 20-0 run to start the second quarter that had Conley excited.

      "Night and day difference from the past few years," he said of the bench play. "They pretty much won the game for us."

      And they ended the Warriors' franchise-record 16 game-winning streak.

      "I hated for the streak to end, but we can't expect to win 60 games in a row," said Warriors forward Draymond Green (10 rebounds and five blocks). "We've just got to start a new one."

      NOTES: Golden State C Andrew Bogut sat out his fourth straight game Tuesday because of right knee tendinitis. Bogut is averaging a team-high 9.0 rebounds and also 7.1 points and 2.2 blocks (fourth in the NBA). "They'll play small more," Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger predicted pregame, adding with a laugh, "Like they'll have a problem with that." ... Tuesday's game featured the NBA's fifth-leading scorer in Warriors G Stephen Curry (23.7 points) and sixth-leading rebounder in Memphis PF Zach Randolph (11.0). ... While Curry and teammate Klay Thompson had combined for 134 made 3-pointers before Tuesday, Grizzlies guards Courtney Lee (55 percent on 33 of 60) and Mike Conley (44.9 percent on 35 of 78) were first and 10th in the NBA, respectively, in accuracy. "Conley just seems to get better every year," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. "His 3-point shooting ... he's always been a great penetrator, he uses both hands and is a ball-hawk defensively."

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Mavericks defeat Knicks in Chandler's return to NY
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Tyson Chandler made an emphatic statement early on in his return to Madison Square Garden Tuesday to face the New York Knicks.

    • The Dallas Mavericks center, traded from New York over the summer, recorded three dunks, four rebounds and a blocked shot in the first six minutes of the Mavericks' 107-87 win over the Knicks.

      Chandler, who received a nice ovation during the player introductions, finished with eight points and 14 rebounds. He's one rebound shy of becoming the 68th player in NBA history to collect 8,000 boards in a career.

      Dirk Nowitzki paced Dallas (18-8) with 16 points. Shooting guard Monta Ellis contributed 14 points, forward Chandler Parsons added 13 and guards Devin Harris and J.J. Barrea scored 11 and 10 points, respectively.

      New York forward Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks (5-22) with 26 points, marking the 20th time this season he has topped the team in points. Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. added 14 points.

      The Knicks failed to score at least 100 points for the 21st time this season. They are 3-11 at home and have lost by as many as 20 points on three occasions.

      Dallas used the long ball early in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Barrea nailed two treys and Harris added one for a 92-75 Mavericks lead.

      The Knicks never led and trailed by as many 19 points in the first quarter. The closest they got in the fourth quarter was 10 points (83-73) with 10 minutes to play, but Dallas used an 18-7 blitz to pull away.

      Chandler came to New York a few months after helping the Mavericks win the 2011 NBA championship. He won a Defensive Player of the Year award while helping the Knicks to a division title and two playoff appearances.

      But he had a disappointing, injury-plagued 2013-14 season and was traded back to Dallas on the eve of the draft along with guard Raymond Felton for guards Jose Calderon and Shane Larkin and center Samuel Dalembert.

      The 7-foot-1 Chandler entered the game third in the league in shooting from the field (68.2) and went 4-of-5 on the night in 25 minutes. He came in fifth in the NBA in rebounds, averaging 11.5. No Knick is averaging in double figures rebounding this season.

      "I had a positive experience here, besides last year," Chandler admitted. "I enjoyed my time here with my teammates and the city. To get a positive response from the fans felt great because I felt great about them.

      "I wouldn't say there is any vindication. It was a little weird coming over here into the visitor's locker room, but it was good to get it out of the way, not for me, but everybody makes a big deal about coming home or coming to your former team. It was good to get it out of the way early in the season."

      Anthony's 17-foot jump shot brought the Knicks to within 76-66 in the third quarter, but a quick 5-0 run by Dallas made it 81-66 with 1:15 remaining in that period. Nowitzki scored three points in the run, all from the line after getting fouled by Knicks guard Pablo Prigioni beyond the arc.

      Nowitzki and Parsons scored 10 points apiece in the first half, helping the Mavericks to a 54-44 lead.

      New York went on a 10-2 spree to start the second quarter and close to within 38-34. Hardaway Jr., who was making just his fourth start at shooting guard this season, supplied four points in the run. Dallas countered with a 9-2 burst to move the cushion to 47-36 with 5:07 left in the second.

      Dallas opened the game on a 29-11 run, with Nowitzki accounting for 10 of those points, en route to a 36-24 lead. The Knicks recorded six turnovers in the quarter, three from Anthony. The Mavericks connected on 14 of their 19 shots from the floor.

      Knicks coach Derek Fisher pulled all of his starters just 6:40 into the game and his team down 26-11.

      "The guys who started the game were a disappointment to their teammates," Fisher lamented. "Guys who start the game have to be mentally and physically ready to play."

      Anthony thought the slow start was the difference in the game.

      "They (Mavericks) came out guns blazing," said Anthony. "They came out shooting the ball extremely well. It got us on our heels early.

      "We were fighting ever since that first quarter. We worry about not losing so much that we kind of lose focus on believing and having faith that we can win the basketball game."

      NOTES: Dallas F Chandler Parsons returned to the lineup after missing one game with lower back soreness. He scored 13 points and registered six assists in 23 minutes. "I've been doing tons and tons of rehab," he said. "You kind of forget about any pain once you are playing." ... Dallas had 30 assists on 42 made baskets. The Mavs are 12-0 when they hand out at least 25 assists. … New York was without G Iman Shumpert (dislocated left shoulder) and G J.R. Smith (sore left heel). ... Dallas G Ricky Ledo was recalled from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League. ... Mavericks G Raymond Felton has yet to play this season due to a sprained right ankle. ... The Mavericks began the night first in the league in points per game (110). The Knicks were 27th (93.9). ... The Knicks have used 13 different starting lineups in 27 games.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Illness, leaky roof does not stop Wade in Heat win
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW YORK -- Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade was so sick with a stomach flu Tuesday afternoon that all he managed to eat were three pieces of dry toast and two bananas.

    • "I had to eat something bland, but that's all I could eat," Wade said.

      But with the Heat already without forward Chris Bosh with a calf injury, Wade knew that he had to play.

      "I had to take it on my shoulders," said Wade, who battled through the illness to score a game-high 28 points, 17 of which came in the first half, leading the Heat to a 95-91 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night in a game that was delayed for a half hour in the first quarter due to a leaky roof.

      "If I showed up at the gym, I had to give it a go," Wade said. "I was just trying to be aggressive. I sure got the ball enough and shot enough. At certain times, I felt all right, but there were other times I didn't. I just had to get out here and play. If I wasn't going to play, I could have stayed all night in the hotel and got some rest. I guess I made the right decision."

      The Heat (12-13), who won for only the third time in their last nine games, were in the midst of a 10-0 run that wrapped around a rare 31-minute delay, when a leak was spotted in the roof of the Barclays Center, allowing water to fall directly onto the floor.

      With the Heat holding a 24-21 lead and 1:47 remaining in the first quarter, the game was suspended until Barclays Center officials located a tarpaulin that was stretched across the area of the roof where the water was leaking through, catching the water and enabling the game to continue. Later in the half, it was learned that the leak was caused by the installation of a new green roof.

      By the time the game was resumed, the Nets were in severe trouble, as the Heat went on a decisive 15-4 run, highlighted by two jump shots from guard Mario Chalmers and a bucket from Wade.

      Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra knew that Wade was going to play right before the team went out for pregame warm-ups.

      "He was with us all day, but once I saw him here, I knew he would give it a shot," Spoelstra said. "I don't wish anything bad against Dwyane, but I hope he's just as sick tomorrow."

      Forward Luol Deng, who added 18 points, drained a long 3-pointer at the buzzer, giving the Heat a 33-25 lead at the end of the first quarter, a lead they never relinquished.

      The Nets (10-13) were led by center Mason Plumlee, who had a season-high 21 points, and forward Joe Johnson, who added 16. Guard Deron Williams had 15 points and 11 assists. They were looking for their first three-game winning streak of the season. Guard Sergey Karasev scored 11 points, but left the game in the third quarter with a hip injury and didn't return.

      Guard Shabazz Napier, just recalled from a brief stint in the NBA Developmental League, added 11 points off the bench, while forward Shawne Williams, a former Net, and Chalmers each added 10, also in reserve roles.

      Wade was explosive in the first half, scoring 17 points, as the Heat held a 55-45 lead at halftime. It's the highest first-half point total the Nets allowed at home all season.

      "Wade just made a statement that he's still a special player," Nets head coach Lionel Hollins said. "He made a big statement in the first half. He wanted to come out and carry them and he did that."

      "Our best offense all night came through Dwyane," Spoelstra said. "Our guys are really competing and playing with passion."

      Spoelstra said he was happy about the way his team defended.

      "It was good to see our guys compete at that end, because I told them today that we have to fall back on our old mentality, which is being a defensive-minded team," Spoelstra said. "It's been our focus for a while."

      It was the third straight game that Miami held the opponent under 100 points.

      After the Nets trailed by as many as 15 at one point, they sliced the lead to 58-57 with 8:15 left in the third quarter on a jumper from Johnson. But the Heat outscored the Nets 19-10 the rest of the way, as Miami led 76-66 heading into the fourth period.

      The Nets went on a 7-0 run to slice the lead to 85-79, but Wade answered with a baseline jumper to quell the comeback.

      The Nets cut the lead to 93-91 with 35.1 seconds left on consecutive 3-pointers from guards Jarrett Jack and Bojan Bogdanovic. But Deng drained two free throws with 11.8 seconds remaining to ice the victory.

      "It was good to see us have that winning mentality, especially on the road," Spoelstra said.

      Hollins said the early deficit made things difficult for his team.

      "After we fell behind after the break, we were scrambling for the rest of the game," Hollins said. "We tried to keep it close, but then we would miss a shot or turn the ball over. When we needed to, we just couldn't make a shot."

      NOTES: Both teams played Tuesday night without their best post presence. Heat C Chris Bosh sat out with a strained left calf and Nets C Brook Lopez missed his fifth straight game with a lower back strain. ... The Heat lost F Josh McRoberts for the season last weekend with a torn meniscus in his knee. ... Heat G Dwyane Wade was a game-time decision because of an illness but was in the starting lineup. ... Nets C Mason Plumlee reached double figures in points and rebounds in the team's wins over Philadelphia and Charlotte, the first time he achieved that in his career. Plumlee is averaging 10.2 points and 8.0 rebounds in the five games he has started in Lopez's absence. ... The Nets used their seventh different starting lineup in their last seven games. ... The Nets honored superfan Jeffrey Gamblero during a pregame ceremony. Gamblero, a fixture at all home games who used to dance in the stands and entertain fans, died after a fall from a two-story house in Queens last Saturday night. Gamblero, who wore a neon green No. 44 Brooklyn jersey at all home games, was 38 years old.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    NBA game roundup: Grizzlies end Warriors' winning streak
    By The Sports Xchange

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Center Marc Gasol scored 24 points, and power forward Zach Randolph added 17 points and 10 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Golden State Warriors 105-98 Tuesday night at FedExForum, ending the Warriors' 16-game winning streak.

    • This was a matchup of the teams with the two best records in the NBA, and the Grizzlies improved to 20-4 overall and 12-1 at home.

      Golden State (21-3) got 22 points from guard Klay Thompson and 19 points from guard Stephen Curry. However, only half of the so-called Splash Brothers was hitting from long range, as Thompson went 4-for-5 and Curry 1-for-10.

      After a driving layup from Memphis point guard Mike Conley (17 points) made it 95-88 with 3:05 left, both Golden State coach Steve Kerr and guard Andre Iguodala were hit with technical fouls for arguing that Conley traveled. Guard Courtney Lee made both free throws for a 97-88 lead.

      Golden State forward Marreese Speights (18 points off the bench) sliced the lead to 101-98 with 25.3 seconds left. But Gasol pushed the margin back to five with two free throws with 15 seconds left as Memphis won its fifth straight game.

      Heat 95, Knicks 91

      NEW YORK - Miami guard Dwyane Wade, who was a pregame question mark due to an undisclosed illness, scored a game-high 28 points in a game that was delayed for a half hour in the first quarter due to a leaky roof.

      The Heat (12-13), who won for only the third time in their last nine games, were in the midst of a 10-0 run that wrapped around a rare 31-minute delay, when a leak was spotted in the roof of the Barclays Center allowing water to fall directly onto the floor.

      The game was suspended until Barclays Center officials located a tarpaulin that was stretched across the area of the roof where the water was leaking through, catching the water and enabling the game to continue.

      The Nets (10-13) were led by center Mason Plumlee, who had a season-high 21 points.

      Pelicans 119, Jazz 111

      NEW ORLEANS - New Orleans forward Anthony Davis, playing with a flak jacket to protect bruised ribs that kept him out of the previous game, scored a game-high 31 points to lead a comeback win.

      The Pelicans (12-12) trailed by 14 points early in the fourth quarter. They had not won a game in eight tries this season when trailing entering the fourth quarter.

      However, Davis scored seven consecutive points down the stretch to turn a 108-106 lead into a 115-108 advantage. The Pelicans outscored the Jazz 41-22 in the fourth quarter.

      Forward Ryan Anderson shot 6-for-10 from 3-point range and added 28 points for New Orleans.

      Mavericks 107, Knicks 87

      NEW YORK -- Dallas placed five players in double figures, led by Dirk Nowitzki's 16 points.

      New York forward Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks (5-22) with 26 points. Guard Tim Hardaway Jr. added 14 points. The Knicks failed to score at least 100 points for the 21st time this season. They are 3-11 at home and have lost by as many as 20 points on three occasions.

      Wizards 109, Timberwolves 95

      WASHINGTON -- Guard John Wall had 21 points and 17 assists, and swingman Rasual Butler had 18 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as Washington held off Minnesota.

      Butler went 7 of 8 from the field in the final period with three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for the Wizards (18-6), winners of five in a row and nine of 10 overall. Washington sank 10 of 17 from beyond the arc while shooting 50 percent from the field.

      Minnesota forward Thaddeus Young had 19 of his 29 points in the third period.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Walls leads Wizards past Timberwolves
    By The Sports Xchange

    WASHINGTON -- Having coached the rookie version of John Wall, Flip Saunders recognizes the point guard's growth. Sadly for the Minnesota Timberwolves coach, the latest example of the Washington Wizards star’s improvement sent his scuffling team to yet another loss.

    • Wall had 21 points and matched his career high with 17 assists, and swingman Rasual Butler had 18 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Washington Wizards fended off the Minnesota Timberwolves 109-95 on Tuesday night for their eighth straight home win.

      Butler went 7 of 8 from the field in the final period with three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for the Wizards (18-6), winners of five in a row and nine of 10 overall.

      The Wizards led by 14 points in the first half, but only 74-69 after three quarters as Minnesota (5-19) forward Thaddeus Young had 19 of his 29 points in the period. With Butler's shooting and Wall's floor direction, Washington pulled away and led by as many as 20 points.

      Minnesota has lost three straight and nine of 10.

      Now in his fifth season, Wall was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 18.3 points, 11.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.3 while leading the Wizards to a 4-0 record. In his game since the honor, the point guard matched his career high with 17 assists, which also matched Minnesota's entire total.

      "He's just matured. He was a kid when I had him," Saunders said. "The baby has turned into a man now."

      Now in his fifth season, Wall was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week after averaging 18.3 points, 11.8 assists, 5.0 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.3 while leading the Wizards to a 4-0 record. In his first game since the honor, the point guard matched his career high with 17 assists, which also matched Minnesota's entire total.

      Asked about whether the game has slowed down for him, the lightning-fast guard said, "I can read everything. I'm picking and choosing. Now people are at my mercy."

      The Wizards fired Saunders, Wall's first NBA head coach, in January of 2012 after a 2-15 start and a 51-130 record in three seasons.

      The game was the first in Washington on the visiting bench for Saunders, now the Timberwolves coach, team president and part owner. Randy Wittman, then one of Saunders' assistants, took over as head coach and the person often tasked with answering the question of whether Wall is playing his best basketball.

      "No, I think he still has the best ahead of him," Wittman said after Washington improved to 13-2 at home. "I want him to keep driving."

      Butler drained back-to-jumpers early in the final quarter and then tacked on his third straight field goal for Washington as the Wizards led 82-72 with 10:17 remaining.

      The lead ballooned to 107-88 on Butler's fourth and final 3-pointer with 2:14 remaining. He finished 9 of 15 overall, including 4 of 5 on 3-point attempts.

      The final player to make the roster out of training camp, Butler now has scored 23 points in three games this season. As for why he made shots on this night, "I'm just the recipient of playing with one of the best point guards in the NBA in John Wall," he said.

      Washington sank 10 of 17 from beyond the arc while shooting 50 percent from the field. Center Marcin Gortat scored 15 points and forward Nene had 11.

      Forward Shabazz Muhammad scored 21 points and center Gorgui Dieng had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves. Rookie forward Andrew Wiggins scored nine points.

      "Our guys competed," Saunders said. "They're just too good for us right now. We just don't have enough firepower."

      Wall recorded six assists inside the first six minutes of the opening quarter, leading Washington to a 46-36 halftime lead. The point guard has at least 11 assists in eight of his last nine games.

      NOTES: Wizards F Paul Pierce missed his first game of the season with a sore right toe. F Otto Porter, the third overall pick in the 2013 draft, replaced Pierce for his first career start and scored 10 points. ... Timberwolves F Ronny Turiaf underwent season-ending arthroscopic surgery on his right hip Tuesday morning. Turiaf missed the previous 15 games and 20 this season, only playing in two contests. ... F Kris Humphries started his 12th straight game for the Wizards with F Nene coming off the bench since returning from a foot injury on Dec. 5. ... Washington next plays at the Miami Heat on Friday night, the same day Minnesota visits the Boston Celtics.

  • Wednesday, December 17, 2014
    Bucks' Parker out for season with torn ACL
    By The Sports Xchange

    Milwaukee Bucks forward Jabari Parker saw his rookie season come to a premature end Tuesday when he was diagnosed with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

    • ESPN first announced the diagnosis, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that an anonymous source confirmed the story. According to Yahoo Sports, Parker told teammates he tore his ACL.

      Parker, 19, was carried off the floor during the third quarter of Monday's game against the Suns in Phoenix. His knee buckled and he fell to the ground in pain without contact.

      Parker, the No. 2 overall pick in this year's NBA Draft after playing one season at Duke, started all 25 games for the Bucks this season. A Rookie of the Year candidate, he averaged 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 25 games.