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NBA roundup: Pelicans end Hawks’ winning streak

The Sports Xchange



NEW ORLEANS — Forward Anthony Davis shook off a sore groin to pour in 29 points and grab 13 rebounds and guard Eric Gordon added 20 points as the New Orleans Pelicans snapped the Atlanta Hawks’ 19-game winning streak with a 115-100 victory Monday night at the Smoothie King Center.

The Pelicans (26-22) led by as many as 19 points, 103-84, with 4:57 left in the fourth quarter and coasted to the victory. Center Omer Asik contributed a season-high 17 rebounds, and guard Tyreke Evans had 15 points and 12 assists.

The Hawks (40-9) lost for the first time since a 107-77 defeat at the hands of Milwaukee on Dec. 26. Atlanta had won 33 of 35 games — including 12 straight against Western Conference opponents.

Atlanta was led by guard Jeff Teague with 21 points, but the Hawks were miserable from long range, making just 7 of 22. The Hawks had made at least 10 3-pointers in 14 of their previous 15 games.

Cavaliers 97, 76ers 84

CLEVELAND – LeBron James had 18 points and 11 assists and reserve guard Matthew Dellavedova made two big 3-pointers to help the Cleveland Cavaliers win their 11th consecutive game.

The Sixers cut a 20-point deficit down to two points early in the fourth quarter. They were within five before Dellavedova sank a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down, extending the Cavs’ lead to 91-83 with 2:30 left.

Sixers rookie forward Jerami Grant scored a career-high 18 points off the bench.

Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving had 24 points, five rebounds and five assists, and forward Kevin Love grabbed 15 rebounds on a night he struggled with his shot and finished with just five points.

Hornets 92, Wizards 88

WASHINGTON — Center Al Jefferson had 18 points and 12 rebounds, and guard Brian Roberts added 18 points to lead the surging Hornets, who are 11-3 since Jan. 3.

Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Hornets (21-27), who held the Wizards to 37 points in the second half.

Guard Bradley Beal had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Wizards (31-18), who have lost three straight overall and three in a row at home.

Washington forward Paul Pierce made a 3-pointer to reduce Charlotte’s lead to 90-88 with 11.9 seconds remaining, but Roberts made two free throws with 10.4 seconds left to set the final score.

Bucks 82, Raptors 75

TORONTO – Khris Middleton scored 25 points and the Bucks defeated Toronto to extend their winning streak to four games.

Middleton, a forward who started at shooting guard, shot 10 for 17 from the field and grabbed nine rebounds as the Bucks (26-22) snapped the Raptors’ six-game winning streak. Forward Jared Dudley added 14 points for the Bucks, including a big 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter.

Guard-forward DeMar DeRozan led Toronto with 16 points.

Bucks guard O.J. Mayo was ejected from the game after receiving a double technical foul with 4:08 to play in the first half.

Thunder 104, Magic 97

OKLAHOMA CITY — Guard Russell Westbrook posted 25 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists to record his second triple-double of the season and lead Oklahoma City to a victory.

The Thunder (24-24) ended a two-game losing streak despite playing without forward Kevin Durant, who is sidelined due to a sprained left big toe. Oklahoma City remained within striking distance of the Phoenix Suns in the race for the Western Conference’s final playoff spot.

Orlando (15-36) lost its ninth consecutive game.

Nets 102, Clippers 100

NEW YORK — Jarrett Jack nailed a foul-line jumper with 1.3 seconds remaining after Alan Anderson made a four-point play with 15.3 seconds left, leading Brooklyn to a come-from-behind victory.

Anderson’s four-point play capped a 20-8 run that enabled the Nets to erase an 11-point deficit in the final four minutes of the game. Anderson hit a 3-point shot and was fouled by Blake Griffin, fouling him out of the game. Anderson’s free throw gave Brooklyn a two-point lead.

Clippers guard Chris Paul, who finished with a team-high 20 points, tied the game 100-100 with a driving layup before Jack hit the game-winner for the Nets, who snapped a four-game losing streak.

Nets center Brook Lopez had 24 points for Brooklyn, while guard Deron Williams added 15 points in his return after missing 11 games with a rib injury.

Mavericks 100, Timberwolves 94

DALLAS — Minnesota got guard Ricky Rubio back after he had missed 42 games with an ankle injury, and Dallas played without point guard Rajon Rondo, who is out with an eye injury.

Nonetheless, the Mavericks won their third straight game as Dallas guard Monta Ellis led all scorers with 23 points,.

Dallas built a 45-24 in the second quarter, then held off each Minnesota challenge.

Rubio had 10 points and four assists in 21 minutes of court time.

Grizzlies 102, Suns 101

PHOENIX — Memphis center Marc Gasol scored 15 points, collected eight assists and blocked a shot by Phoenix forward Markieff Morris in the final seconds as the Grizzlies won their seventh straight game.

Down 101-94 with 1:49 left, the Grizzlies scored the final eight points of the game. Forward Jeff Green had a big three-point play with 4.5 seconds left, turning Memphis’ 16th offensive rebound of the night into a five-footer as he was fouled by guard Eric Bledsoe. Green added the free throw for the winning point.

Gasol then blocked Morris’ 16-foot shot with one second remaining.

Guard Mike Conley had 23 points for Memphis (36-12), which is 11-1 since a double-overtime win over Phoenix on Jan. 11 in Memphis

Suns guard Isaiah Thomas scored all 24 of his points in the second half and 16 in the fourth quarter.

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


NBA News Wire

Rockets spoil Griffin’s return in testy affair

The Sports Xchange



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 News Wire

Spurs’ Ginobili sprains ankle

The Sports Xchange



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 News Wire

NBA notebook: Clippers’ Griffin cleared to return

The Sports Xchange



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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