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NBA game roundup: Spurs hold off Cavs

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CLEVELAND — Tim Duncan scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs held on for a 92-90 victory over the Cavaliers on Wednesday night when Cleveland forward LeBron James turned the ball over in the final seconds.

The Cavaliers were without any timeouts after guard Manu Ginobili split two free throws with 9.1 seconds left. James grabbed the rebound and sprinted up the floor but lost his dribble after he went behind his back trying to maneuver around Ginobili.

The Spurs came up with the loose ball with 1.9 seconds left, and Ginobili dribbled out the clock.

James finished with 15 points, six rebounds and nine assists.

Bucks 122, Nets 118 (3 OT)

NEW YORK — Forward Kris Middleton connected on two big jumpers in the third overtime, and Milwaukee outlasted Brooklyn.

Rookie forward Jabari Parker scored 23 points and guard O.J. Mayo added 21 off the bench for the Bucks, who gave Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd a win in his first game against his former team.

Center Brook Lopez paced the balanced Nets with 26 points. Guard Bojan Bogdanovic added 19 for Brooklyn, which lost its fifth consecutive game.

Pacers 88, Hornets 86

INDIANAPOLIS — Solomon Hill’s tip-in of a Rodney Stuckey miss at the buzzer gave Indiana a victory over Charlotte.

After a Hornets miss with 18 seconds to play, the Pacers called a timeout, setting up a play in which Stuckey tried to win it with a jumper, but Hill’s offensive rebound provided the game-winner.

The Pacers earned their 11th consecutive victory against Charlotte in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Suns 88, Pistons 86

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Eric Bledsoe made the go-ahead layup and scored a team-high 18 points, and Phoenix escaped with a win over Detroit.

Phoenix gave up nine unanswered points in the final two minutes to squander an eight-point lead before shooting guard Bledsoe’s basket with 28.7 seconds left.

Reserve forward P.J. Tucker had 16 points while guards Gerald Green and Goran Dragic added 12 apiece for the Suns, who are 2-1 on their six-game road trip. Forward Greg Monroe notched his sixth double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost for the sixth time in seven games. Point guard Brandon Jennings contributed a game-high 19 points.

Celtics 101, 76ers 90

PHILADELPHIA — Brandon Bass scored a season-high 23 points off the bench as Boston snapped a three-game losing streak by beating winless Philadelphia.

Forward Jared Sullinger added 22 points, 11 coming in the last 5:55, for Boston. He also had nine rebounds.

Guard Tony Wroten had 21 points to lead Philadelphia (0-11). It is the team’s worst start since the 76ers lost their first 15 games in 1972-73. They went 9-73 that season, the worst full-season record in NBA history.

Clippers 114, Magic 90

ORLANDO, Fla. — Reserve guard Jamal Crawford scored 22 points, and Los Angeles opened a seven-game road trip by overwhelming Orlando.

The Clippers led from start to finish while hitting 12 of 21 shots from 3-point range.

Los Angeles forward Blake Griffin scored 20 points, and point guard Chris Paul added 16 points and nine assists. Center DeAndre Jordan had a team-high 11 rebounds.

Mavericks 105, Wizards 102

WASHINGTON — Guard Monta Ellis scored 24 of 34 points in the first half, and Dallas handed Washington its first home loss of the season.

Forward Brandan Wright and guard J.J. Barea each scored 14 points for the Mavericks. Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki had an injury scare but finished the game and scored 13 points. The highest-scoring team in the league has won six straight and nine in a row over the Wizards.

Bradley Beal, the Wizards’ leading scorer in the playoffs last season, scored 21 points in 26 minutes in his season debut. The wing guard underwent left wrist surgery on Oct. 12 after sustaining an injury against the Hornets during Washington’s third preseason game.

Raptors 96, Grizzlies 92

TORONTO — Kyle Lowry scored 18 points, including two field goals down the stretch, and added seven assists as Toronto defeated undermanned Memphis.

Lowry broke a 92-92 tie with a layup with about 90 seconds left in the game. The Grizzlies got the ball after a miss by guard DeMar DeRozan, but forward Zach Randolph missed his shot and Lowry hit a fadeaway jumper with 8.9 seconds left to stretch the lead to four.

The Grizzlies were without five players who were stricken by a stomach virus and were chartered back to Memphis. Two of them were starters — guard Courtney Lee and forward Tony Allen.

Timberwolves 115, Knicks 99

MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Martin scored a season-high 37 points and tied a career high with seven 3-pointers, leading Minnesota to a win over New York.

The victory snapped a five-game losing streak for the Wolves, who played their first game at home following a five-game, 18-day road trip that spanned nearly 6,000 miles.

The Knicks lost for the ninth time in 10 games.

Nuggets 107, Thunder 100

DENVER — Forward Wilson Chandler scored a season-high 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds, guard Ty Lawson had 15 points and a season-high 15 assists, and the Denver Nuggets held off the Oklahoma City Thunder 107-100 Wednesday night.

Center Timofey Mozgov had 17 points and three blocks for the Nuggets, who won their second straight and their third in the past four. Denver has its first winning streak of the season.

Forward Serge Ibaka had 22 points and 13 rebounds, and guard Sebastian Telfair added 18 points off the bench for the Thunder, who lost their third in a row.

Lakers 98, Rockets 92

HOUSTON — Wesley Johnson converted a critical three-point play with 43.2 seconds remaining, and Los Angeles completed a stunning rally to topple Houston.

The Lakers closed the game with a 12-1 run to defeat the Rockets, who played without center Dwight Howard (strained knee). Johnson pushed the Lakers in front to stay with his transition basket, stealing the ball from Houston guard James Harden before scoring through a Harden foul.

Johnson gave the Lakers a 94-92 lead with his play. Harden scored the last Houston basket with 2:42 remaining and finished with 24 points and seven assists. Lakers guard Kobe Bryant tallied 29 points and seven assists, while center Jordan Hill added 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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Rockets spoil Griffin’s return in testy affair

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If James Harden needed any extra motivation against the Los Angeles Clippers, he found it in the first half.

Harden scored 34 points, and the Rockets held on for a 100-98 victory over the Clippers in a sometimes testy affair on Sunday at Staples Center.

Point guard Chris Paul, who finished with 23 points, missed a contested shot at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.

“It was very important for us just to go out there and play well,” said Harden, who hit seven of 16 shots from the floor, three of five from 3-point range and 17 of 18 free throws. “The last two games we kind of struggled a little bit, but we got our pop back a little bit today, and it was a good win for us.”

Harden provided much of that pop, particularly in the second quarter after Clippers forward Matt Barnes was whistled for a flagrant-1 foul after pushing Harden to the court at 6:02. Harden scored 15 of his 18 points in the period after that, leading the Rockets to a 58-50 halftime lead.

Did the flagrant foul add more fuel for the Rockets’ All-Star guard and MVP candidate?

“Yeah. Things like that are fun,” said Harden, who had 24 points in the first half. “We have fun, we got boosted off of that.”

The win ended a two-game skid for the Rockets (44-22). Houston forward Trevor Ariza scored 19 points and grabbed nine rebounds, while forward Terrence Jones added 16 points and 12 boards.

“This was a win that we needed, especially on the road,” Ariza said. “Going into the home stretch, these are the types of games we have to win.”

Los Angeles forward Blake Griffin returned after missing 15 games due to surgery on his right elbow. Griffin had 11 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists, but committed five turnovers in 41 minutes.

“I didn’t think I played well,” said Griffin, who managed 4-of-10 shooting. “I was out of rhythm. Way too many turnovers, obviously.”

Barnes scored 19 points and guard J.J. Redick had 15 for the Clippers (42-24), who fell into a tie for the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference standings with the Dallas Mavericks.

Paul lamented a host of turnovers in the defeat, including a critical one involving center DeAndre Jordan.

“I had some bad turnovers,” said Paul, who committed three of the Clippers’ 20 miscues compared to 13 for the Rockets. “On one, I drove it off DeAndre’s foot, the other one I lost towards the end of the half. We have to take better care of the ball. We still had an opportunity to win, but we just didn’t do it.”

The Clippers came back from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit. Paul scored seven straight points, capping it with a 3-point basket to tie the score at 96 with 3:05 left in the game. Houston got a 3-pointer by Jones, but Barnes countered with a basket to keep Los Angeles within 99-98 with 1:35 left. Los Angeles, though, never scored again.

Griffin got a steal as Ariza attempted a pass to Harden, but Ariza drew a charging foul as Griffin bolted to the bucket with 12 seconds remaining. Griffin remained unhappy about the call after the game.

“If I speak on that, I’ll get fined,” Griffin said.

Harden hit one of two foul shots with 8.9 seconds left, capping the scoring before Paul failed to connect on a jumper in the lane with Ariza defending.

The Rockets outscored Los Angeles 36-20 in the second quarter despite making just 38.5 percent of their shots compared to 44.4 percent for the Clippers. Overall, the Clippers hit 43.9 percent to 37.2 percent for the Rockets. They also held an edge in 3-point shooting, converting 12 of 26 attempts to seven of 30 for Houston. The Rockets, though were 29 of 36 from the foul line to 14 of 24 for Los Angeles.

Jordan finished with 20 rebounds and four blocks.

NOTES: F Blake Griffin’s return benefits PG Chris Paul as much as any Clipper. “Teams have been able to trap (Paul) far more than they can when Blake is on the floor because of (Griffin’s) ability to pass,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “I’m sure CP is the happiest of all to have him back.” … Rivers isn’t sure if injured G Jamal Crawford would return before the playoffs. Crawford has missed six games with a right calf contusion. … Rockets C Dwight Howard sat out his 18th game with a right knee edema. “He’s doing everything he can, he’s trying to get better, but until you’re on the floor, it’s impossible to say,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said regarding Howard’s return. … Both clubs resume play Tuesday. Houston hosts the Orlando Magic, while Los Angeles plays the Charlotte Hornets at Staples Center.

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NBA notebook: Clippers’ Griffin cleared to return

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Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin, out the last 15 games with an elbow injury, was cleared to return Sunday against the Houston Rockets.

Griffin had surgery five weeks ago to remove a staph infection in his right elbow.

“He said, ‘I’m ready,'” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before Sunday’s game. “Yesterday the trainers called me and said, ‘If he can go, he can go. He’s been cleared.'”

Rivers said timing likely will be an adjustment for Griffin.

“Timing is timing,” Rivers said. “You lose it when you don’t play in an NBA game. Sometimes you come back and you play great the first game and then you lose your timing. Sometimes it doesn’t. As far as the way we play, it won’t be hard for him at all.”

In 51 games this season, Griffin is averaging 22.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists.

–Spurs guard Manu Ginobili had to be helped off the floor late in the third quarter against Minnesota on Sunday. Ginobili went down with 43 seconds left in the quarter and with the Spurs leading the Timberwolves by 30 points.

He was helped off the floor and immediately was led to the locker room. He did not put any weight on his right leg as he was carried off the court.

Up to that point, Ginobili had scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in 19 minutes. He battled a stomach illness last week, forcing him to miss a game against Toronto and play limited minutes against Cleveland on March 12.

–Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr sent emails to three fans who were disappointed that he rested several prominent players, including All-Star guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, in Friday’s loss to the Nuggets in Denver.

“There’s two really good sides to the story,” Kerr said, according to the Associated Press report. “Nobody’s wrong here. … I can’t argue with them.”

Kerr received an email from a family that drove from South Dakota to Denver to see Curry, Thompson and the entertaining Warriors play. But Curry, Thompson, center Andrew Bogut and reserve guard Andre Iguodala did not play so they could be rested, and the Warriors lost 114-103.

“I heard from some fans. I received a few emails, stories about driving in from a long distance off and spending a lot of money on tickets,” Kerr said. “I have great sympathy for those people. I really do. It’s a tricky one. It’s something that I think Adam Silver is trying to address through the scheduling shuffling that he’s talking about.

–The Dallas Mavericks recalled center/forward Dwight Powell from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League on Sunday.

The 6-foot-11, 240-pound Powell played in one game during his most recent assignment to the D-League and finished with 28 points, five rebounds and two assists to lead the Legends in a 115-89 win over the Austin Spurs on Saturday night.

Powell has appeared in 19 games for the Mavericks this season, averaging 3.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 10.0 minutes per game.

–The Atlanta Hawks signed forward Austin Daye to a 10-day contract Sunday.

Daye appeared in 26 games (four starts) earlier this season with the San Antonio Spurs, averaging 4.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.3 minutes.

In 10 games this season with the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League, Daye has averaged 16.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 blocks in 28.5 minutes.

–The Miami Heat recalled guard Zoran Dragic from the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League on Sunday.

Zoran appeared in four games (one start) and averaged 16.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.50 steals, helping the Skyforce to a 3-1 record over that span.

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Ginobili sprains ankle as Spurs rout Timberwolves

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SAN ANTONIO — The fourth and final meeting of the season between the San Antonio Spurs and the Minnesota Timberwolves looked a lot like the first three.

Forward Kawhi Leonard scored a team-high 15 points as San Antonio defeated Minnesota 123-97 Sunday night at the AT&T Center. The only downside for the Spurs was losing guard Manu Ginobili due to a sprained right ankle.

Leonard was one of seven San Antonio players to score in double figures as the Spurs (41-24) completed a season sweep of Minnesota (14-51). The average margin of victory in the games as 23.

The Spurs earned their seventh win in eight games.

Guard Kevin Martin scored 19 points and guard Zach LaVine added 18 for the Timberwolves, who were missing many players on the final game of a four-game road trip. Minnesota lost its fourth game in a row.

“We moved (the ball) well, but it wasn’t a fair fight,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. “Their guys are devastated by their injuries, so I thought we had good focus under the circumstances. They still played the right way, so that was the best part of the game.”

The Spurs pulled away in the third quarter behind a 13-0 run. The Wolves only shot 27.3 percent in the third, and the Spurs made 63.6 of their field goals while outscoring Minnesota 33-13 in the period.

“That’s what great teams do,” Martin said. “We knew they were going to do that. Kawhi Leonard had a first half that he probably didn’t want to have, and I’m sure Pop let him know about it. He came out in the second half and changed the whole game.”

Ginobili had to be helped off the court late in the third quarter, and he did not return. He was hurt with 43 seconds left in the quarter and with the Spurs up by 30 points.

Ginobili was taken immediately to the locker room and did not put any weight on his right leg, and he will be out for a to 10 days, Popovich said. Ginobili finished the game with 11 points in 19 minutes.

San Antonio forward Jeff Ayres sustained a rib contusion in the second half and also sat out the rest of the contest.

Sunday night marked the first time San Antonio stepped back on the court since a 128-125 overtime loss to the Cavaliers on Thursday that included a 57-point performance by Cleveland guard Kyrie Irving. The loss snapped the Spurs’ six game winning streak.

Minnesota dressed only eight players. Forward Kevin Garnett (knee), guard Ricky Rubio (ankle) and center Nikola Pekovic (ankle) were all ruled out by coach Flip Saunders before the game.

“It wasn’t a fair fight,” Saunders said. “We just weren’t alert mentally, as far as trying to play. They just mauled us basically.”

The Spurs took advantage of Minnesota’s depleted lineup and jumped out to a quick 8-2 lead behind guard Tony Parker, who made his first four shots of the game and finished the night with 11 points and eight assists. Minnesota trailed 60-50 at halftime.

The Spurs led by as many as 39 points in the fourth quarter.

Even though San Antonio was facing a team without a full complement of players, forward Tim Duncan said the final game of a 5-1 homestand was a sign of good things to come.

“We’re turning that corner,” said Duncan, who finished with 10 points, six rebounds and six assists. “I think we’re heading the right direction. The huge loss last game, I felt like we gave that one away. But other than that, we’re on the right track.”

San Antonio will hit the road for back-to-back games in New York on Tuesday and in Milwaukee on Wednesday. The Timberwolves head home to face the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night.

NOTES: San Antonio moved percentage points ahead of the Dallas Mavericks and the Los Angeles Clippers for fifth place in the Western Conference standings. The Clippers lost Sunday, while the Mavericks were idle. … Minnesota F Kevin Garnett (knee) missed his fourth game in a row. … Spurs G Manu Ginobili was back in action against Minnesota after battling a stomach illness that caused him to miss the team’s game against Toronto on Tuesday and play less than 10 minutes against Cleveland on Thursday.

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