Two superstars sat out the NBA’s marquee Christmas Day program.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant missed his fourth consecutive game Thursday because of sprained right ankle, while Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant did not play because of soreness.
The Thunder beat the defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs 114-106 with Durant, who injured his ankle last Thursday when Golden Warriors’ center Marreese Speights stepped on his foot just before halftime. It is uncertain when he will be ready to return.
The Spurs were without forward Kawhi Leonard because of a bruised right hand.
Bryant, 36, said “old age” was the main factor why he would miss his second consecutive game. He also sat out Tuesday as the Lakers rolled to a 115-105 win over the Golden State Warriors.
Bryant said the chances were slim that he would return for the Lakers’ next game, Friday against the Dallas Mavericks.
–Knicks forward Quincy Acy was ejected from New York’s game against Washington after an altercation with Wizards point guard John Wall in the fourth quarter.
Acy was called for a flagrant foul-2 on Thursday when he pushed Wall with 5:31 left in the game. Wall was not happy about being fouled in the face by Acy and started shoving.
Acy appeared to retaliate with a left forearm to Wall’s face that looked to be a punch before Wizards forwards Nene and Kris Humphries along with referees Mark Lindsay and Kane Fitzgerald intervened to prevent further escalation.
–Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry are the leading vote-getters after the first returns of the NBA All-Star balloting, the league announced.
This season’s All-Star Game will be played Feb. 15 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
James is the overall vote leader, with 552,967 votes, and he has nearly twice as many votes as anyone else in the Eastern Conference. Curry is not far behind James with 549,095 votes.
–The Toronto Raptors assigned forward Bruno Caboclo to the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League, the team announced. Caboclo will still be included on the Raptors’ roster and will remain on the team’s inactive list.
–The Phoenix Suns sent rookie guard Tyler Ennis, second-year guard Archie Goodwin and rookie forward T.J. Warren to Bakersfield of the NBA Development League.
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