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NBA roundup: Raptors end Hawks’ home winning streak

The Sports Xchange



ATLANTA — The Toronto Raptors did something Friday that no other team has done since the day after Christmas — beat the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena. And they did it emphatically.

Guards DeMar DeRozan and Lou Williams combined for 47 points, fueling a 105-80 rout of the Hawks in a battle of the teams with the best records in the Eastern Conference.

The loss snaps a 12-game home winning streak for Atlanta. It’s also the third loss in the last four games for the Hawks (43-12), who have lost back-to-back contests for the first time since November.

DeRozan scored the Raptors’ first eight points and finished with 21. Williams, an Atlanta native and a former Hawk, came off the bench for 26 points.

Toronto (37-17) has won four straight and trails the Hawks by 5 1/2 games in the race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

Atlanta turned it over 22 times and shot 33 percent from the floor.

Pacers 106, 76ers 95

PHILADELPHIA — Indiana guard Rodney Stuckey scored 30 points off the bench, and guard C.J. Miles added 17 points to aid the Pacers’ win.

The Pacers, who have won their last four road games, led for all but 13 seconds of the first quarter. They were ahead by as many as 24 points and shot 48.2 percent from the floor.

With their fifth win in six games, the Pacers (22-33) sit only 1 1/2 games out of the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Rookie center Nerlens Noel carried Philadelphia, just missing the first triple-double of his career with 12 points, nine rebounds and a career-high nine blocked shots in 33 minutes.

Magic 95, Pelicans 84

ORLANDO, Fla. — Second-year guard Victor Oladipo scored 22 points in leading Orlando over the slumping Pelicans.

Magic center Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 13 rebounds, and forward Evan Fournier, starting in place of injured Tobias Harris, had 16 points.

The Pelicans (27-27) lost their fourth consecutive game as they struggle to stay in the race for a Western Conference playoff spot.

All-Star forward Anthony Davis, who had scored at least 20 points in each of his previous 13 games, had only 13 points and 11 rebounds. He had missed the previous two games with shoulder bruise.

Heat 111, Knicks 87

NEW YORK — The under-manned Miami Heat — using just nine players, eight of whom scored in double figures – beat the Knicks easily.

The Heat (23-30) did not have guards Goran and Zoran Dragic, acquired from the Phoenix Suns on Thursday as part of three-team trade. Miami was also without its starting center Chris Bosh. He didn’t make the trip due to an illness and went to a hospital Thursday night to undergo tests regarding his lungs.

However, the Heat was buoyed by the return of guard Dwyane Wade, who scored 12 points in 22 minutes after missing seven games with a strained hamstring.

Rookie guard Langston Galloway paced the Knicks with 19 points.

Pistons 100, Bulls 91

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — Greg Monroe and Caron Butler had 20 points apiece and Andre Drummond dominated inside with 18 points and 20 rebounds as the depleted Pistons surprised Chicago.

Detroit had only 10 players in uniform after dealing away four players just before Thursday’s trade deadline. Pistons rookie point guard Spencer Dinwiddle contributed 12 points and nine assists in his first career start.

Shooting guard Jimmy Butler’s 30 points led the Bulls (34-21), who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Cavaliers 127, Wizards 89

WASHINGTON — Forward LeBron James scored 28 points in 25 minutes and guard Kyrie Irving had 25 as the Cavaliers returned from the All-Star break with a dominating win.

Irving scored 18 points in the first half as the surging Cavaliers (34-22) led by as many as 40 points.

The Cavaliers went 14-2 over their final 16 games before the break despite losing 113-98 at the Chicago Bulls in their final contest.

Forward Nene and guard John Wall each scored 18 points for the Wizards (33-22).

Timberwolves 111, Suns 109

MINNEAPOLIS — The Timberwolves got 28 points from guard Kevin Martin to get their fourth win of their past six games.

Martin’s short floater in the lane gave the Wolves the lead for good with 3:38 remaining.

Phoenix, which dropped out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the West just before the All-Star break, have now lost six of seven.

Suns forward Markieff Morris led all scorers with 31 points as all five Phoenix starters finished in double figures.

Bucks 89, Nuggets 81

MILWAUKEE – Shooting guard Khris Middleton scored 15 points and center John Henson had 14 to help Milwaukee extend its winning streak to four games.

The first of Middleton’s two 3-pointers came with 3:22 left in the third quarter, capping a 12-2 run and giving the Bucks their first lead of the game.

Forward Wilson Chandler led the Nuggets with 19 points.

Denver was without shooting guard Arron Afflalo, who was dealt Thursday to Portland, and point guard Ty Lawson, who did not play for disciplinary reasons.

Jazz 92, Trail Blazers 76

SALT LAKE CITY — Forward Gordon Hayward scored 20 points and guard Trey Burke added 19 points off the bench to help Utah run away from Portland.

Forward Derrick Favors added 16 points and nine rebounds for Utah (20-34), which snapped a five game losing streak in their series with Portland.

Guard Damian Lilliard scored 19 points, forward LaMarcus Aldridge added 14 and guard Wesley Matthews chipped in 13 for the Blazers.

Hayward scored 10 points in the third quarter, and his final basket, a 3-pointer that came as part of a 22-5 run, put the Jazz ahead for good at 56-53.

Mavericks 111, Rockets 100

DALLAS — The Mavericks beat Houston for the first time this season after losing their previous two games against the Rockets.

Backup point guard Devin Harris scored 17 and dished out seven assists to pace a balanced team effort for the Mavericks.

Dallas’ bench accounted for 51 points, 24 rebounds and 14 assists on the second night of a back-to-back coming out of the All-Star break. The Mavericks (37-20) were blown out Thursday night at Oklahoma City.

Houston guard James Harden topped all scorers with 26 points.

Kings 109, Celtics 101

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Center DeMarcus Cousins had 31 points and 15 rebounds, leading Sacramento over Boston in their first game under coach George Karl.

Small forward Rudy Gay added 28 points for the Kings, who overcame a 16-point first-quarter deficit to win despite committing 24 turnovers. Point guard Avery Bradley scored 28 points to lead four players who scored in double figures for Boston. Center Tyler Zeller scored 22 points.

The Kings hired Karl during the All-Star break, signing him to a four-year, $15 million deal. Karl replaced Tyrone Corbin, who went 7-21 after taking over

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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