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Nets stun Clippers with last-minute rally

The Sports Xchange



NEW YORK — Guards Alan Anderson and Jarrett Jack combined to shoot 4-for-17 over the first 47-plus minutes Monday night.

However, the with the game on the line, the Brooklyn Nets got huge baskets from the duo in the final seconds to cap a frantic, come-from-behind, 102-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers at the Barclays Center.

Anderson made a clutch four-point play with 15.3 seconds left to give the Nets a lead, then Jack calmly drained a foul-line jumper with the score tied at 100 and 1.3 seconds left.

The Nets emerged with an improbable victory in a game in which they trailed 98-90 with 1:11 remaining.

“I have to give my coach (Lionel Hollins) and teammates credit to put the ball in my hands with the game on the line,” said Jack, who scored six points Monday after posting 35 points in a 127-122 overtime loss to the Toronto Raptors on Saturday. “I had to come up big for my team. They all had faith in me.”

Jack made just two of 10 shots from the floor prior to the game-winner.

Similarly, Anderson knew that time was running down and he had to be clutch.

“I just had to catch and shoot,” Anderson said. “Blake (Griffin, who fouled out on the play) played me too much, and I was able to execute. I think we were all able to knock down shots. That was the key.”

Anderson connected on just two of seven attempts before his final shot, but he helped the Nets erase an 11-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

“It wasn’t just one guy,” Jack said. “It was a combination of everyone all across the board.”

Brook Lopez paced the Nets with 24 points off the bench, the fourth time this season that the 7-foot center has tallied 20 or more as a reserve. Forward Joe Johnson had 22 points, including a huge 3-pointer in the comeback, right after he misfired on two free throws.

Nets guard Deron Williams, playing in his first game since Jan. 7, scored 15 points, also in a reserve role. Williams missed the previous 11 games due to fractured rib cartilage.

“We’ve lost a lot of tough games,” Hollins said. “So to get a win tonight means a lot. At the end of games, you need players to step up. These guys battled like heck down the stretch. They’ve all been in big games before. When you get in moments like this, you just play. You can’t worry about your record.”

The Nets (19-28) lost four straight overall and six straight at home prior to Monday night. It was the first home win of the calendar year for Brooklyn, which dropped 12 of its prior 14 contests.

The Clippers (33-16) received a stellar effort from center DeAndre Jordan, who posted the first 20-20 of his career, scoring 22 points and collecting 20 rebounds. He had seven dunks. Jordan missed 10 of 12 free throws, but coach Doc Rivers didn’t seem to mind.

“D.J. had great energy tonight and might have been the only one to have it for us,” Rivers said. “He plays with such great spirit and heart every night. He does everything right for us. I just think he should walk onto the floor of the All-Star Game and have someone tell him he can’t play. Who’s going to stop him?”

The Clippers also got 20 points from guard Chris Paul, who hit a running layup with seven seconds left that tied the game at 100, setting up Jack’s heroics. Griffin added 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds before fouling out on Anderson’s shot. Forward Matt Barnes scored 12 points.

The Clippers shot just 32 percent from the line (8-for-25), while the Nets were not much better (8-for-18, 44.4 percent).

NOTES: Nets GM Billy King said he is not looking to trade any of the team’s top players, namely PG Deron Williams, C Brook Lopez and SF Joe Johnson. “We’re not actively shopping anyone,” King said. “We have had discussions about trades, but we’re not looking to trade. We’re not going to make a trade simply to make a trade. That would be foolish.” … Williams declared himself fit for action after missing 11 games with fractured rib cartilage. For now, he will come off the bench and Jarrett Jack will remain in the starting lineup. … Clippers F Blake Griffin had 31 points, 13 rebounds and five assists in 35 minutes in a 105-85 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday. It was the first time an NBA player achieved such statistics in so little time since Kevin Love did it in 2013. … Clippers C DeAndre Jordan saw his streak of 36 games with a blocked shot end. It was the longest active streak in the league.

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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