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NBA roundup: League plans to oust Sterling’s wife, too

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The NBA believes it can legally prevent Shelly Sterling, the wife of Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, from keeping her ownership portion of the franchise, ESPNLosAngeles.com reported.

According to the report, the NBA is claiming that it can stop Shelly Sterling from taking over the team because she was never approved as majority owner by its Board of Governors.

Even though commissioner Adam Silver specifically banned Donald Sterling, the NBA believes it can also legally oust Shelly Sterling.

Shelly Sterling has made it known that she intends to keep her 50 percent ownership interest in the Clippers. However, she has been cooperative with the NBA in actions taken to bar her husband for life and in the process of forcing him to give up the team.

The NBA has assumed operation of the Clippers since banning Sterling for making racist comments recorded on tape two weeks ago. Team president Andy Roesner was removed by the NBA and replaced by new CEO Dick Parsons on Friday.

Shelly Sterling has to be approved by the NBA’s Board of Governors to be controlling owner of the team, but that is unlikely because of her association with her long-time husband.

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Magic Johnson said Friday that players would refuse to play for the Clippers if Shelly Sterling assumes ownership of the team because of her association with her husband and her past involvement in housing discrimination claims.

—TNT analyst Steve Kerr is seeking a five-year, $30 million contract to coach the New York Knicks, according to the New York Post.

Kerr, a former NBA guard and Phoenix Suns general manager, has been pursued by the Knicks to replaced fired coach Mike Woodson.

Knicks president Phil Jackson, who coached Kerr when he played for the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, has targeted Kerr for several weeks.

—The Golden State Warriors plan to interview Lionel Hollins for the coaching job next week, according to Yahoo Sports.

Hollins, the former Memphis Grizzlies coach, is expected to meet with the Warriors during the NBA pre-draft camp in Chicago.

The Warriors are looking to replace Mark Jackson, whom they fired on Tuesday. They also plan to contact Chicago Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau and former Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. They already contacted former Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy.

—Washington Wizards point guard John Wall is expected to play Sunday against the Indiana Pacers after getting treatment for a scratched right eye.

Wall was poked in the eye on a drive to the basket early in the second half of Friday’s loss to the Pacers. Wall said Saturday he “could barely see” in the third quarter of the Wizards’ loss.

Wall wore a contact lens during practice Saturday with a solution on it to help the eye. Coach Randy Wittman said he believes Wall will be fine on Sunday.

—Portland Trail Blazers guard Mo Williams will not play Saturday night’s playoff game against the visiting San Antonio Spurs because of a groin injury, according to Comcast SportsNet Northwest.

Williams, the Blazers’ backup point guard, played just nine minutes in Game 2 and scored four points. Earl Watson will likely take Williams’ spot in the rotation off the bench.

The Spurs lead the Western Conference semifinals series 2-0.

—Former No. 1 overall draft pick Greg Oden acknowledged that he may go down as one of the biggest disappointments in NBA history.

Oden, who was selected first by the Portland Trail Blazers in 2007, has been mired by knee injuries that have limited him to just 105 games since he was drafted. Oden played in the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons before his career was cut short. Following nearly four years of rehab, he signed with the Miami Heat this season and averaged just 9.2 minutes over 23 games.

Oden told Grantland.com, “I know I’m one of the biggest busts in NBA history and I know that it’ll only get worse as Kevin Durant continues doing big things. … It’s frustrating that my body can’t do what my mind wants it to do sometimes. But worrying or complaining about it isn’t going to fix anything. … I wish the circumstances would let me play more, but I certainly don’t regret coming back, and I don’t regret signing with the Heat.”

—The city of Sacramento finalized an agreement to build a downtown arena for the Kings, according to the Associated Press.

Sacramento released the 35-year lease agreement Friday night. City Council is expected to vote on the deal May 20.

Cost for the arena is estimated at $477 million. The city is financing $223 million and the Kings will pay $254 million. The Kings hope the arena opens in time for the 2016-17 season.

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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