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Dallas Beats Memphis Despite Barea Injury

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The crowd at the American Airlines Center held its collective breath as J.J. Barea limped to the locker room midway through the first quarter. The Dallas Mavericks already were missing a pair of starters, their two primary offensive initiators in Deron Williams and Chandler Parsons. They couldn’t afford to lose the surprising star of their improbable playoff push, right?

Yes, they could for at least one night, when the Mavs took a major step toward punching their postseason ticket with a 103-93 win over the Memphis Grizzlies despite Barea’s early exit due to a strained right groin.

Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN

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Sources: Bucks Plan to Sign Sean Kilpatrick

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Milwaukee Bucks plan to sign guard Sean Kilpatrick, league sources tell ESPN. Brooklyn released him last week to make room for Jahlil Okafor trade.

Source: Chris Haynes on Twitter

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LeBron James: ‘Hopefully I can break the mold’ of a Players’ Prime

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As Cavaliers star LeBron James continues to rack up numbers in another potential MVP season, the future Hall of Famer acknowledges he is playing for something more than just another individual trophy at this point in his career.

But when discussing the possibility of winning another MVP award in his 15th season prior to Saturday night’s 109-100 win over the Utah Jazz, James knew it would mean more to him now.

“Team success is always the No. 1, but along the way if you’re able accomplish some individual awards, individual achievements, it would mean a lot,” James said after Saturday’s shootaround. “I feel good. This is my 15th year, but this is one of the best years I’ve had as far as how I feel, and I want to continue that. I want to kind of try to break the mold for the next generation. So just take the narrative out of, ‘OK, you’re past your prime when you get [to] 31, or you’re past your prime in your 12th year in the league, or whatever the case may be.’

“Hopefully I can break the mold, so when the next guy comes, he can still get $200 or $300 million and be 33 years old. I’m serious. You guys are laughing, I’m serious. This is the mold I’m trying to break. It’s not just about me, it’s for the next crew, as well … I’ll be 33 in 15 days. This is my 15th season, and this is the best I’ve felt in my career. I want it all.”

Source: Nick Friedell of ESPN

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Report: James Harden to Play Through Bruised Right Knee

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Rockets guard James Harden said he was “pretty close” to not playing Saturday night due to a bruised right knee and anticipates having to play through pain for an extended period of time.

Harden hurt the knee when he crashed into the basket support after being fouled by San Antonio Spurs guard Brandon Paul during the Rockets’ victory Friday. He was considered a game-time decision Saturday night, then went on to score a game-high 31 points as Houston extended its winning streak to 13 games with a 115-111 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks.

“I wasn’t feeling well at all, but the doc came in and just told me that there’s going to be pain for a bit, but you can play through it,” Harden said. “It can’t get worse, but it’s going to be pretty painful until obviously you give it some time. Once he said that, I was like, ‘Let’s go.'”

Harden, who leads the NBA in scoring (31.5 points per game) and ranks second in assists (9.3), said he didn’t know how long pain in the knee would be a problem. However, he made it clear that he has no intention to miss any games, saying he’d get treatment on the Rockets’ off day Sunday and be ready to play Monday against the Utah Jazz. Harden, who was 8-of-21 from the floor against the Bucks, acknowledged that the soreness in his knee significantly limited his explosiveness.

Source: Tim MacMahon of ESPN

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