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NBA game roundup: Trail Blazers win ninth straight

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Wesley Matthews scored a season-high 28 points and the Portland Trail Blazers ran their winning streak to nine with a 105-97 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday night.

The Trail Blazers rallied from a 13-point deficit in the second half, outscoring the Hornets 34-20 in the third quarter and then pushing the lead to as many as 14 in the fourth.

They won despite an off night from leading scorer LaMarcus Aldridge, who made only two of his first 16 field-goal attempts and finished with a season-low nine points and 14 rebounds. The power forward ended up 3 of 18 from the field.

The Hornets (4-12) have now lost seven straight and nine of their last 10.

Nets 99, 76ers 91

PHILADELPHIA — Once again, it was not Philadelphia’s night.

Not even on a night when they erased a deficit that reached 20 in the first half and 17 in the third quarter. Or a night when they held a rare fourth-quarter lead.

Once again they lost, this time to Brooklyn, to fall to 0-15 and match the worst start in franchise history.

Two Nets reserves, guard Alan Anderson and forward Mirza Teletovic, combined for 16 fourth-quarter points, and veteran forward Kevin Garnett added a critical free throw and basket in the final 1:13.

Cavaliers 113, Wizards 87

CLEVELAND — LeBron James had 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as Cleveland beat Washington.

James made a season-high 14 free throws on a night the Cavs were never really threatened. Forward Kevin Love added 21 points and five rebounds, guard Kyrie Irving tallied 18 points and five assists and forward Anderson Varejao recorded 10 points and seven rebounds as the Cavs (7-7) won their second straight after a four-game losing streak.

Forward Paul Pierce scored 15 points for the Wizards (9-5), who lost for the second time in as many nights.

Warriors 111, Magic 96

ORLANDO, Fla. — Hot-shooting guard Stephen Curry scored 28 points and Golden State won its seventh consecutive game by blistering Orlando at the Amway Center.

The Warriors, who won by 17 points in Miami on Tuesday, dominated from the start to hand the Magic (6-11) their third consecutive loss.

Curry, who played just 24 minutes, hit nine of 13 shots and six of eight from 3-point range. He made eight of 11 3-pointers and scored 40 points Tuesday in Miami.

The Warriors (12-2) led by as many as 27 points in the third quarter then coasted through the fourth period with the reserves preserving the victory.

Clippers 104, Pistons 98

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Jamal Crawford piled up 25 points off the bench and Chris Paul had 23 points and seven assists, leading Los Angeles to a victory over floundering Detroit at The Palace.

Power forward Blake Griffin added 15 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for the Clippers (9-5), who are 4-1 on their seven-game road trip.

Point guard D.J. Augustin had 19 points and five assists for the Pistons (3-12), who have lost six straight. That equals their longest losing streak of last season, when they finished 29-53.

Raptors 126, Hawks 115

ATLANTA — Guards DeMar DeRozan and Lou Williams combined for 49 points to lead Toronto to its sixth straight victory, a win over Atlanta.

DeRozan hit his first five field-goal attempts and scored 14 points in the first quarter en route to a season-high matching 27 points. Williams, who played the previous two seasons in Atlanta, scored eight of his 22 points in the fourth

quarter.

Toronto improved to 13-2 with the win and has started the season 4-1 on the road for the first time in franchise history. The Raptors are 2-0 against the Hawks, having also beaten Atlanta in Toronto in the season opener. Toronto has won 11 of its last 12 games, which matches its best stretch of wins in team history.

Thunder 97, Jazz 82

OKLAHOMA CITY — Guard Reggie Jackson scored 22 points to lead Oklahoma City to a victory over Utah at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Jackson shot 10-of-18 from the field as the Thunder (4-12) ended a six-game losing streak.

With 6:42 left in the game, Utah forward Derrick Favors cut the Thunder lead down to nine with a driving layup. Oklahoma City guard Jeremy lamb answered with a 3-point to push the score to 86-74.

Rockets 102, Kings 89

HOUSTON — With James Harden suffering through a miserable shooting night, Isaiah Canaan and Donatas Motiejunas delivered career-best scoring performances to help lift Houston to a win over Sacramento at Toyota Center.

While Harden, Houston’s star shooting guard, made just 10 of 31 shots en route to 26 points, Canaan poured in 24 points on 6-for-10 3-point shooting and Motiejunas added 21 points and six rebounds to lead the Rockets (12-3) to a wire-to-wire victory.

Despite trailing by as many as 22 points, the Kings (9-6) closed to within two points early in the fourth quarter. Houston responded with an 11-4 push capped by Harden’s 3-pointer with 5:09 remaining.

Bucks 103, Timberwolves 86

MINNEAPOLIS — Larry Sanders and Brandon Knight each scored 15 points for Milwaukee as the Bucks took down Minnesota at Target Center.

Six Bucks players scored in double figures in Wednesday’s win, including 13 from forward Giannis Antetokounmpo. Veteran forward Corey Brewer led the young Minnesota squad in scoring with 19 points and added five rebounds in the loss.

In the second battle of the season between the top two picks in this year’s draft — Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins and Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker — Parker and the Bucks had the upper hand in this meeting. Though Wiggins outscored Parker, 14-11, it was Parker whose Milwaukee team won the rematch after beating Minnesota 105-98 back on Oct. 17.

Mavericks 109, Knicks 102

DALLAS — Dirk Nowitzki scored half of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, and center Tyson Chandler was relentless against his former team with 25 rebounds and 17 points to slip Dallas past the shorthanded, but hustling New York Knicks at American Airlines Center.

Nowitzki’s free-throw line jumper with 43.5 seconds to go in overtime sealed a sloppy victory and kept Dallas from its first three-game slide of the season. It wasn’t easy. The Mavs won despite shooting 42.4 percent from floor — and below 40 percent for much of the game — and they went an almost unfathomable 4-of-31 from beyond the arc on a night when the scrambling Knicks played without injured star and leading scorer Carmelo Anthony.

The reeling Knicks, now 4-11, got careless late, throwing it away on three consecutive possessions after Chandler threw down an alley-oop dunk off a fortuitous loose-ball situation for a 101-99 lead with 1:37 left in OT.

Spurs 106, Pacers 100

SAN ANTONIO — One of the staples of San Antonio’s offense over the years is the corner 3-pointer. The Spurs got one from point guard Tony Parker and another on the next possession from small forward Kawhi Leonard during a 13-0 run in the fourth quarter, propelling the Spurs to their fifth straight win, 106-100

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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Spurs’ Ginobili sprains ankle

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SAN ANTONIO — Guard Manu Ginobili was helped off the floor late in the third quarter of the San Antonio Spurs’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday due to a sprained right ankle.

Ginobili went down with 43 seconds left in the quarter and with the Spurs leading the Timberwolves by 30 points. He was immediately was led to the locker room, and he did not put any weight on his right leg as he was carried off the court. He did not return to the game.

In 19 minutes during the Spurs’ 123-97 win over the Timberwolves, Ginobili scored 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting. He battled a stomach illness last week, forcing him to miss a game against the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday and leading him to play limited minutes against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday.

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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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