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  • NBA roundup: Aldridge clutch, Spurs beat Thunder
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, November 18, 2017

    SAN ANTONIO -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points, the final two on a crucial basket in the last minute, as the San Antonio Spurs roared back from a ragged beginning to defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-101 on Friday at the AT&T Center.

    • After trailing by as many as six points in the fourth quarter, Oklahoma City pulled to within 100-99 on a free throw by Paul George with 45 seconds to play. On the ensuing possession Aldridge scored on a putback of a missed 3-pointer by Danny Green to push San Antonio's lead to 102-99 before the Thunder's Carmelo Anthony canned a jumper with his right foot on the 3-point line with 5 seconds remaining to cut the lead to 102-101.

      Pau Gasol then hit two free throws with 2 seconds to play and, after a time out, Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook had to settle for a contested, wild shot at the buzzer that didn't even hit the rim.

      Cavaliers 118, Clippers 113, OT

      CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 19 of his 39 points in the second half and overtime to lead Cleveland over Los Angeles.

      Kevin Love added 25 points and Dwyane Wade scored 23 points with a season-high 11 rebounds for the Cavs, who didn't lead until overtime and trailed by as many as 15.

      The Clippers have lost seven straight. Blake Griffin led them with 23 points but shot 8-for-25.

      Kings 86, Trail Blazers 82

      SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Willie Cauley-Stein set a season high with 22 points, the last one a free throw with 3.4 seconds remaining that lifted Sacramento over Portland.

      Cauley-Stein, relegated to coming off the bench for the first time this season, scored 13 in the second half and had two key put-backs in the fourth quarter.

      Sacramento won its third straight at home and snapped a three-game losing streak.

      Timberwolves 111, Mavericks 87

      DALLAS -- Jimmy Butler scored 21 and Andrew Wiggins added 19 points to lead a balanced attack and Minnesota rallied from a 14-point deficit to rout Dallas.

      The Timberwolves had six players score in double figures, including all five starters.

      Karl-Anthony Towns (15 points and 11 rebounds), Jeff Teague (15 points and 10 assists) and Taj Gibson (10 points and 11 rebounds) each notched double-doubles.

      Bulls 123, Hornets 120

      CHICAGO -- Justin Holiday scored 27 points, Kris Dunn had 22 and Lauri Markkanen hit a pair of free throws with 2.6 seconds remaining as Chicago beat Charlotte.

      Denzel Valentine scored 18 points to go along with 16 from Markkanen. Jerian Grant and Bobby Portis each finished with 10 points for the Bulls (3-10).

      Kemba Walker scored 47 points for Charlotte, which lost its sixth straight.

      Nets 118, Jazz 107

      NEW YORK -- Spencer Dinwiddie compiled a career-high 25 points and eight assists as Brooklyn beat Utah.

      Dinwiddie made his third start of the season in place of D'Angelo Russell, who underwent arthroscopic knee surgery earlier in the day. With Russell watching the game on television from his Manhattan hospital room, Dinwiddie hit 9 of 14 shots, 6 of 10 3-pointers and grabbed five rebounds in 31 minutes.

      Allen Crabbe added 18 points, DeMarre Carroll contributed 17 and Trevor Booker chipped in 14.

      Raptors 107, Knicks 84

      TORONTO -- Kyle Lowry scored 22 points and added 10 assists and eight rebounds as Toronto defeated New York.

      DeMar DeRozan also scored 22 points and added seven assists and six rebounds for the Raptors, who have won three games in a row.

      The Raptors led by as many as 22 points early in the third quarter and carried a 14-point lead into the fourth quarter.

      Heat 91, Wizards 88

      WASHINGTON -- Hassan Whiteside had 22 points and 16 rebounds as Miami fended off a frenzied comeback attempt by Washington.

      Otto Porter's two free throws with 11.3 seconds remaining pulled the Wizards within 89-88. After Miami's James Johnson hit one of two free throws with 5.8 seconds left, Bradley Beal missed a potential game-tying jumper with 2.6 seconds showing.

      Beal scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half.

      Pacers 107, Pistons 100

      INDIANAPOLIS -- Victor Oladipo scored 21 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to help Indiana rally from a 22-point third-quarter deficit.

      Indiana scored the first seven points of the third quarter to cut the lead to 58-54 but fell behind 78-56. The Pacers went on a run of trim the deficit to 10 points after three quarters.

      Indiana narrowed the deficit to 92-91 on Lance Stephenson's 3-pointer with 5:43 left. Domantas Sabonis hit two free throws to give the Pacers a 93-92 lead. After a basket by Stephenson, Tobias Harris sank a 3-pointer to tie it at 95.

      Nuggets 146, Pelicans 114

      DENVER -- Jamal Murray scored 31 points, Gary Harris returned from missing two games with a sore right shoulder to score a season-high 22, and Denver routed New Orleans.

      Paul Millsap had 20 points, six rebounds and seven assists, Nikola Jokic had 13 points and 11 rebounds and Emmanuel Mudiay scored 19 for Denver.

      Forward Anthony Davis scored 17 points for New Orleans before leaving early in the third quarter with a concussion, the team said. He didn't return.

      Suns 122, Lakers 113

      LOS ANGELES -- Devin Booker scored 22 of his 33 points in the first half and Phoenix held on to defeat Los Angeles.

      Alex Len had 17 points and 18 rebounds off the bench, Tyler Ulis had 14 points and seven assists and T.J. Warren had 13 points and seven rebounds for the Suns (6-11).

      Kyle Kuzma scored 28 of his season-high 30 points in the second half for the Lakers. Brook Lopez had 19 points and 10 rebounds and Brandon Ingram had 17 points and eight rebounds for Los Angeles, which beat the Suns in Phoenix twice this season.

  • Grizzlies, without Conley, prepare for Rockets
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, November 18, 2017

    The struggling Memphis Grizzlies will try to find a way to deal with a sizzling James Harden when they host the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

    • The Grizzlies were without star guard Mike Conley when they opened a four-game homestand with a 116-113 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

      The loss was Memphis' third straight and sixth in its last eight games after a 5-1 start that included a 103-89 home win over the Rockets.

      Conley, who has been bothered by pain in his Achilles, remains out indefinitely, creating an intriguing matchup of two physically similar guards: Harden and the Grizzlies' Tyreke Evans.

      Harden against pretty much anybody is a mismatch these days. He is coming off a 48-point explosion Thursday night at Phoenix, a game in which the Rockets scored 90 points in the first half and finished with 21 3-pointers.

      Harden had six of the 3s and 18 free throws in 18 attempts, helping the Rockets ease to the seventh win in their last eight games.

      Harden, the league's leader scorer at 31.8 points per game, has averaged 40.2 points in his last six games.

      The win at Phoenix also marked the return of Rockets newcomer Chris Paul, who was last seen struggling with a bruised left knee on opening night at Golden State.

      He played 21 minutes after his 13-game layoff, contributing, according to coach Mike D'Antoni, more than just the 11 points and 10 assists on the score sheet.

      "Everybody was psyched up to get Chris back," the coach said afterward. "Just one of those nights where we played well offensively."

      Offense wasn't the Grizzlies' problem in their loss to the Pacers on Wednesday. They matched their season-high with 113 points, even without Conley, their floor leader and third-leading scorer.

      One reason was the play of Evans, whose 18 points gave him double-figure scoring in 13 of 14 games this season, all off the bench.

      Evans found himself running the point with the first unit much more than usual against the Pacers and responded with nine assists, three more than he'd had in any other game.

      After Conley sat out for the second time this season, the Grizzlies pondered bringing him back for Saturday's game. But cooler heads prevailed and a decision to bench him indefinitely was announced Friday.

      "We're going to get some different opinions on it and see if it's something that he is doing or that we're doing that we can do differently," Grizzlies coach David Fizdale reported Wednesday night.

      "It's just been a very frustrating 12, 13 games for him and for all of us. He can't hide it. The guy is giving us everything he can, but he's doing it on one foot right now. We've got to figure something out with that to get him better and back to us as fast as possible."

      The Rockets and Grizzlies already are meeting for the fourth time this season. The Grizzlies limited Harden to 20 points and just a pair of 3-pointers in the 103-89 win the last time the clubs met at Memphis on Oct. 28.

  • Pelicans C Davis out of game with concussion
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, November 18, 2017

    DENVER -- New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis left Friday night's game against the Denver Nuggets with a concussion, the team announced.

    • Davis was injured when he was hit in the face by Nikola Jokic's head as the Nuggets center was backing down for position 58 seconds into the third quarter.

      Davis was down on the court for a minute before getting up and walking to the locker room.

      He had 17 points and five rebounds before leaving.

  • Nets G Russell undergoes knee surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, November 17, 2017

    NEW YORK -- Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell underwent arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Friday, but general manager Sean Marks said the injury is not season-ending.

    • Marks said the procedure was done to remove loose bodies in Russell's knee, which are small fragments of cartilage or bone that move freely around in joint fluid. Marks said there is not a set timeline for Russell's return and said the 21-year-old will be evaluated daily while continuing to get treatment.

      "This is the direction that's best for D'Angelo for this coming season and also long-term for his career," said Marks, who added the plan is for Russell to return at some point this season.

      Russell was injured late in the fourth quarter of last Saturday's 114-106 loss to the Utah Jazz, when he collided with a defender. He became the second Nets' point guard to undergo knee surgery.

      Russell was acquired in June from the Los Angeles Lakers and the third-year guard was slated to start alongside Jeremy Lin. Lin tore the patella tendon in his right knee in Brooklyn's season-opening loss at Indiana on Oct. 17.

      "It's definitely frustrating for D'Angelo," Marks said. "I was just with him before. He's going into this as another challenge. He knows he'll bounce back from this and we have no doubts in our mind that he'll be better and stronger than he was before."

      The Nets acquired him from the Los Angeles Lakers in a June trade for Brook Lopez and Russell is leading the team with 20.9 points along with 5.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds in 12 games. He missed Brooklyn's 112-107 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Oct. 25 with right knee soreness.

      Spencer Dinwiddie scored 22 points in Russell's first absence and will be the starting point guard.

      Last season Russell missed 11 games in November and December with left knee soreness and three more contests in January with a right knee injury and eventually underwent platelet-rich plasma injections. Marks said this injury is not related to knee issues from last year.

      "I think with any 21-year-old that's played a lot of basketball you're going to have a little bit of wear and tear," Marks said.

  • Grizzlies PG Conley out indefinitely with sore heel, Achilles
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, November 17, 2017

    Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley will be sidelined indefinitely due to soreness in his left heel and Achilles, the team announced Friday.

    • The team listed no timetable for Conley's return, and indicated an update would be provided in approximately two weeks.

      Conley, who missed Wednesday's game against the Indiana Pacers, will undergo therapy and treatment in hopes of diminishing the soreness.

      The 11-year veteran is averaging 17.1 points and 4.1 assists in 12 games this season.

      Memphis has dropped six of its last eight games.

      Conley averaged a career-best 20.5 points last season.

  • Heat F White undergoes foot surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, November 16, 2017

    Miami Heat forward Okaro White underwent surgery to repair a fifth metatarsal fracture in his left foot, the team announced Thursday.

    • The Heat did not disclose how long White would be sidelined.

      In what he deemed as a "freak accident," the 25-year-old White told reporters he felt his foot "pop" as he went up for a reverse layup in practice on Tuesday.

      White, who is in the second year of a contract that pays $1.3 million per season, averaged 3.3 points and 1.8 rebounds while appearing in six games (four starts) for Miami this season. He is averaging 2.9 points and 2.3 rebounds in 41 career contests.

  • NBA roundup: Embiid lifts 76ers over Lakers
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, November 16, 2017

    LOS ANGELES -- Joel Embiid recorded career highs with 46 points, seven blocks and seven assists, and Ben Simmons added 18 points and 10 assists as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Los Angeles Lakers 115-109 on Wednesday night.

    • Philadelphia won its second straight and concluded a five-game road trip 3-2. Robert Covington scored 12 points and J.J. Redick added 11.

      Los Angeles lost for the fourth time in five contests. Brandon Ingram and Kyle Kuzma established career-high with 26 and 24 points, respectively, for the Lakers. Los Angeles was an eye-popping 3 for 27 from beyond the arc.

      Embiid established the career high in points on 14-for-20 shooting from the field, 16-for-19 from the foul line and added 15 rebounds. His previous high was 33 points against Brooklyn on Dec. 18, 2016.

      Cavaliers 115, Hornets 107

      CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- LeBron James scored 31 points and Cleveland continued its mastery of Charlotte.

      The Cavaliers have won the past seven meetings and 11 of the last 12. James has a career record of 44-6 over the Hornets and Bobcats in his 15 seasons in the NBA. Cleveland also got 22 points and 10 rebounds from Kevin Love.

      Michael Kidd-Gilchrist led the Hornets with 22 points and Kemba Walker scored 20. Nicolas Batum finished with 16 in his first game of the season after missing the first 12 because of elbow surgery as Charlotte dropped its fifth straight.

      Timberwolves 98, Spurs 86

      MINNEAPOLIS -- Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 16 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season, and Jeff Teague added 16 points and six assists as Minnesota defeated San Antonio.

      Nemanja Bjelica added 11 points off the Timberwolves' bench, which outscored the Spurs' reserves 29-26 and keyed a second-quarter run to give Minnesota the lead after a sluggish start.

      LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 10 rebounds for San Antonio, which had won five of their previous six games. Pau Gasol added 13 points as the Spurs continue without injured Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker.

      Wizards 102, Heat 93

      MIAMI -- John Wall provided 27 points and Bradley Beal added 26 to lead Washington over Miami.

      Washington made 29 of 31 from the free throw line, breaking a string of five consecutive losses to the Heat. Miami made 16 of 19 free throws.

      Hassan Whiteside had 14 points and 21 rebounds to lead the Heat. It was his third 20-plus rebound game of the season. Goran Dragic (21 points) and Dion Waiters (19) led Miami in scoring.

      Bucks 99, Pistons 95

      MILWAUKEE -- Eric Bledsoe scored eight of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, including four in the final minute, as Milwaukee won its fourth straight.

      Bledsoe added six rebounds, eight assists, three steals and two blocks. All five Bucks starters scored in double figures, led by 27 from Khris Middleton. Giannis Antetokounmpo added 21.

      Avery Bradley scored 28 points to pace the Pistons, whose five-game winning streak was snapped.

      Pacers 116, Grizzlies 113

      MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Darren Collison scored a season-high 30 points as Indiana held on to defeat Memphis.

      Victor Oladipo had 21 points with six rebounds, three assists and two blocks for Indiana. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 16 points and Domantas Sabonis contributed 13 points, six rebounds and four assists off the bench for the Pacers.

      Pao Gasol finished with 35 points, 13 rebounds, five blocks and five assists for the Grizzlies. Tyreke Evans contributed 18 points, nine assists, six rebounds, and Chandler Parsons scored 13 for Memphis.

      Raptors 125, Pelicans 116

      NEW ORLEANS -- DeMar DeRozan scored 17 of his team-high 25 points in the third quarter and Toronto placed six other players in double figures in defeating New Orleans.

      The Raptors won their sixth consecutive game over the Pelicans. Toronto also has defeated New Orleans in 14 of its last 17 meetings. Kyle Lowry scored 22 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 21 points for the Raptors.

      The Pelicans were led by DeMarcus Cousins with 25 points and Anthony Davis with 19.

      Knicks 106, Jazz 101

      NEW YORK -- Tim Hardaway Jr. had 26 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 22 as New York rallied to defeat Utah.

      Two days after squandering a 23-point lead to LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Knicks came back from a 12-point deficit against a Jazz squad missing its top post player in injured Rudy Gobert. Hardaway had 10 points in the fourth quarter.

      Rodney Hood scored 27 points to lead the Jazz, who have lost for the fifth time in the last six games. Hood has been consistent in his new sixth-man role, with at least 16 points and three 3-pointers in each of his last three games.

      Hawks 126, Kings 80

      ATLANTA -- Dennis Schroder had 21 points and eight assists, and Dewayne Dedmon scored a career-high 20 points to go with 14 rebounds as the Hawks handed Sacramento its 11th straight loss in Atlanta.

      It was the largest victory margin for Atlanta since a 141-97 victory over Detroit in March 1994. The Hawks, who have lost their first four home games, shot 63.3 percent overall and made 16 of 32 3-point attempts.

      Zach Randolph scored 16 points and George Hill had 12 points as the Kings lost their eighth straight road game after winning their first away from Sacramento this season. The Kings have lost 16 of the past 18 games against Atlanta.

      Trail Blazers 99, Magic 94

      PORTLAND, Ore. -- Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Shabazz Napier combined for 69 points as Portland defeated Orlando.

      Lillard scored 26 points, McCollum 24 and Napier a season-high 19 for the Trail Blazers. Lillard also had a season-high 11 rebounds and seven assists. Napier came off the bench to go 5 of 5 from 3-point range.

      Evan Fournier scored 22 points for the Magic, who finished their road trip 1-3.

      Thunder 92, Bulls 79

      OKLAHOMA CITY -- Russell Westbrook had 21 points, five rebounds and seven assists as Oklahoma City won its third straight game.

      Carmelo Anthony added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Thunder, who led 58-34 at halftime.

      Rookie Lauri Markkanen led the Bulls with 16 points and six rebounds. Chicago scored only seven points in the first quarter -- one from tying a franchise record for fewest points in a quarter -- while committing five turnovers.

  • Surging Spurs face improving Timberwolves
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    MINNEAPOLIS -- A season-high, four-game losing streak is a faint memory for the San Antonio Spurs as they head to Minnesota on Wednesday for the second game of a back-to-back situation.

    • The Timberwolves have become good at recovery as well.

      Wednesday's game in Minnesota features two teams surging in the Western Conference. San Antonio has won five of its past six games after a 97-91 win in Dallas on Tuesday. The Wolves came back from a poor showing in Phoenix on Saturday to beat Utah on the road 109-98 on Monday.

      With the Spurs playing without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker all season, LaMarcus Aldridge has led San Antonio. The 6-foot-11 forward scored a season-high 32 points in Tuesday's win.

      "His comfort level, his confidence is good. He's in a good spot right now," point guard Patty Mills said of Aldridge. "We try to let him do his thing and, as a team, mold around him."

      Mills added his own season high in Tuesday's win with 19 points as San Antonio (9-5) works through the absence of Parker with Mills and Dejounte Murray. Parker is with the team but hasn't been able to play a game as he tries to return from left quadriceps tendon surgery.

      Guard Danny Green did return Tuesday night after missing one game with a hamstring injury.

      Leonard has missed the entire season because of right quadriceps tendinopathy, but is getting closer to a return. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said Tuesday that Leonard will be back "sooner rather than later," but then added, "What the hell does that mean?" to leave the all-star's status in the dark.

      Without the two veterans, Aldridge has picked up the slack, averaging 22.5 points per game, his highest in three seasons in San Antonio.

      "Everything is good. I am definitely more confident. I'm playing my game more this year," Aldridge said. "Pop has definitely tweaked some things so I can be myself out there more, be more confident, and it's working out for us."

      Aldridge has typically enjoyed playing Minnesota too. He's averaged 18.9 points and 7.9 rebounds in 41 career games against the Wolves.

      Of course, this isn't the same type of Minnesota squad Aldridge has faced so often through the years. The Timberwolves (8-5) appear primed to end a 13-year playoff drought after dramatic offseason changes.

      One constant the past few seasons has been young center Karl-Anthony Towns, who continues his development into one of the league's best big men.

      Towns had team highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds in Monday's win against Utah. He became the second player in NBA history, after Dwight Howard, to score 3,000 points and grab 2,000 rebounds before his 22nd birthday, which is Wednesday.

      "I take what the defense gives me," Towns said. "We have sets and our sets have me in different spots and I just try to be as efficient as possible."

      With Towns and Andrew Wiggins taking most of the scoring load, newcomers Jimmy Butler, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jamal Crawford have supplied across-the-board production and an offensive spark when needed.

      Minnesota is off to the second-best start in team history and has scored more than 100 points for a team-record 12 straight games.

      Towns, Butler and Gibson are all coming off double-doubles. Butler had 21 points and 10 assists on Monday, while Gibson notched his fourth straight double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

      "He's just a pro's pro," Wolves coach Tom Thibodeau said of Gibson. "He sets great screens, he goes hard to the basket, puts great pressure on the rim, goes to the offensive boards hard, can play back to the basket. ... It's just the activity level that he brings."

      Gibson and the newcomers have provided the veteran presence and stabilizing attitude for what's been a young team. Minnesota also surged after back-to-back disappointing losses earlier this season without Butler.

      San Antonio beat the Wolves 107-99 at home in the season-opener for both teams.

      Minnesota forward Gorgui Dieng missed Monday's game with a finger injury.

  • Magic road trip ends against Trail Blazers
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- Coming off a 110-100 loss at Golden State on Monday, the Orlando Magic hope to end a four-game road trip on a winning note when they visit Moda Center to face the Portland Trail Blazers Wednesday night.

    • "I have confidence in this team's resiliency," Orlando coach Frank Vogel said. "We have an opportunity to go 2-2 on a tough trip. That's our only focus."

      Orlando (8-6) began the trip with a 128-112 victory at Phoenix on Friday. The Magic fell 125-107 at Denver the next night, then were tripped up by the defending champion Warriors.

      "Our only goal now is to go 2-2, to go to Portland and get a win," Orlando power forward Aaron Gordon said.

      Gordon is off to a splendid start to his fourth NBA season, averaging 18.3 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting .537 from the field and .519 from 3-point range, ranking third in the league in the latter category. But the 6-9, 220-pound Gordon made only 4 of 13 shots from the field while collecting 10 points and 10 rebounds against the Warriors.

      "Lack of patience on my part," Gordon said. "I really feel we could have won that game had we done a couple of things differently.

      "The ball has to keep moving. It stuck a little too much. (The Warriors) switch so much, it forces you into more one-on-one ball. They do a really good job of staying home."

      Orlando has one of the best front lines in the league, with Gordon, small forward Evan Fournier and center Nikola Vucevic. Fournier leads the Magic with a 19.6-point scoring average, shooting an outstanding .513 from the field and .436 on 3-point attempts. Vucevic averages 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds, shooting .507 from the field and .403 from beyond the arc.

      Portland (7-6) is coming off its most complete performance of the season in a 99-82 dismantling of Northwest Division rival Denver on Monday. The Blazers shot a season-best .521 from the field and held the Nuggets (8-6) to a season-low .357 mark. It was the poorest shooting game by a Portland opponent all season.

      The Blazers had lost their previous two games and were only 4-4 at home this season going into the Denver outing.

      "We knew what was at stake," said guard CJ McCollum, who made 7 of 11 shots from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range, en route to a 17-point game. "We didn't want to lose three games in a row. We didn't want to have another letdown against a very good team that was playing extremely well. We knew we had to raise our level of intensity, especially at the defensive end."

      Veteran forward Ed Davis hopes the performance is a portent of what is ahead.

      "If you hold a team under 90, you're going to win," he said. "Even though our record is not what we want it to be, I feel like if we're defending every game, it's going to turn around eventually.

      "I hope this is the one that starts a little streak, where we can get hot and put together a seven- or eight-game win streak."

  • Young guns clash as Lakers host 76ers
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    LOS ANGELES -- Two of the youngest teams in the NBA will go head-to-head when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Philadelphia 76ers at Staples Center on Wednesday.

    • The 76ers (7-6) had the second-youngest opening-day roster in the NBA at 24.7 years of age, and the Lakers (6-8) were tied for the third-youngest at 24.9.

      Philadelphia had the No. 1 draft pick each of the past two years and the Lakers selected No. 2 in both drafts, though only three of those players will be on the court Wednesday.

      76ers point guard Ben Simmons, the No. 1 overall pick out of LSU in 2016, is averaging 17.8 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists. He's the top rebounding point guard in the NBA and fifth in assists.

      "He's a difference-maker," 76ers coach Brett Brown told reporters after Simmons had 22 points, 12 rebounds and four assists in a 109-105 victory at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. "He is a game-changer at a 6-10 point guard position. ... The thing I like the most, and get excited the most is, he's barely scratched the surface. He has so much more to give and to improve on and knowledge to take in."

      This year's No. 1 overall pick, Markelle Fultz, has been sidelined since Oct. 25 with a sore right shoulder.

      Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball was taken second overall behind Fultz and he's been solid in some areas and disappointing in others.

      Ball is seventh in the NBA in assists at 7.2 a game and third among point guards at 6.6 rebounds, but continues to struggle with his shooting accuracy.

      Ball's overall field goal percentage sits at 31.3 percent, though he's only bettered that mark in three of 14 games. He averages the most 3-point attempts on the Lakers at 4.9 per game, but has made only 25 percent of his tries from deep.

      Los Angeles seems to have the right complement off the bench, however, and it was Jordan Clarkson who kept Ball on the bench in the fourth quarter of a 100-93 victory against the Phoenix Suns on Monday.

      Clarkson didn't arrive in Los Angeles with nearly the expectations of Ball, but the former second-round pick has been one of the team's best scorers.

      He shot 11-for-19 from the field and scored his season high of 25 points against the Suns. He only had three assists, but didn't turn the ball over in 26 minutes either.

      Clarkson shot between 43 and 45 percent from the field in each of his first three seasons, but is at 51.2 so far this season, including 40 percent from 3-point distance.

      Lakers coach Luke Walton told the Los Angeles Times that Clarkson seems more focused and serious this season.

      "Just his overall approach each day," Walton said. "Asking questions to the way he's been practicing. The effort he's been giving on defense, for the most part, is a huge step up from last year. Just his overall presence around the court."

      Clarkson should be happy to see the 76ers, too. He scored his then-career high of 30 points against Philadelphia last season.

  • NBA roundup: Celtics win 13th straight game
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, November 15, 2017

    NEW YORK -- A masked Kyrie Irving scored 25 points as the Boston Celtics ran their winning streak to 13 games with a 109-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday.

    • Irving was considered questionable for the game after taking an inadvertent elbow from teammate Aron Baynes 1:50 into Friday's game against Charlotte. He missed Boston's 12th straight win Sunday against the Toronto Raptors but returned with a protective mask over his face, shot 8 of 20 in 29 minutes and helped Boston finish off its latest win.

      Marcus Morris added 21 points 10 rebounds while Al Horford totaled 17 and 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season.

      Rookie Jayson Tatum added 19 points and Jaylen Brown chipped in 14 for the Celtics, who are on their first 13-game winning streak since winning 14 straight from Nov. 22 to Dec. 22, 2010.

      Reserve Joe Harris led the Nets with 19 points while Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added 16. For the Nets.

      Raptors 129, Rockets 113

      HOUSTON -- DeMar DeRozan scored a team-high 27 points as Toronto ended Houston's six-game winning streak.

      Kyle Lowry and C.J. Miles scored 19 points apiece for Toronto, with Miles drilling 6 of 9 3-pointers off the bench.

      Houston sliced a 20-point deficit to 108-103 midway through the fourth quarter but followed with a string of turnovers that fueled another Raptors run to a double-digit lead.

      James Harden paced Houston with 38 points and 11 assists.

      Spurs 97, Mavericks 91

      DALLAS -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored a season-high 32 points and Patty Mills also hit a season high with 19 to lead San Antonio past Dallas.

      The Spurs, still playing without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, took a 34-31 lead with about eight minutes to go in the second quarter and managed to hold on the rest of the way. The Spurs have won five of their past six games.

      The Mavs, who dropped to 2-13, shot below 35 percent for most of the game and finished just 10 of 34 from beyond the 3-point arc.

      Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. led Dallas with 27 points.

  • Hornets G Batum slated to make season debut
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    Charlotte Hornets guard Nicolas Batum is in line to make his regular-season debut on Wednesday after tearing his ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow last month.

    • Batum will be in the starting lineup against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers barring a "drastic" setback, Hornets coach Steve Clifford said on Tuesday.

      "He did a ton yesterday, and he feels good today," Clifford said, to the Charlotte Observer. "He feels good and he looks good."

      Batum said as much on Tuesday, telling the newspaper that he's ready to play.

      "If the coaches and the training staff are OK with it, it should be a go tomorrow," Batum told the Observer.

      The 28-year-old Batum injured his elbow just 34 seconds into a preseason game against the Detroit Pistons on Oct. 4.

      Batum averaged 15.1 points, 6.2 rebounds and 5.9 assists last season in his second campaign with Charlotte. He is entering the second season of a five-year, $120 million contract.

  • NBA roundup: Down 24, Cavs rally to beat Knicks
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, November 14, 2017

    NEW YORK -- LeBron James had 23 points and came one rebound short of a triple-double as the Cleveland Cavaliers stormed back from a 24-point deficit to defeat the host New York Knicks 104-101 on Monday night at Madison Square Garden.

    • James hit a step-back, 27-foot 3-pointer to put the Cavs up by three with 1:23 left in the game, the final dagger in an 8-0 Cleveland run to complete a rousing comeback. James finished with 12 assists and nine rebounds, and Kyle Korver added 21 points for the Cavs.

      New York led by as much as 24 in the third quarter before heading into the fourth up 15 and still led by double figures with 6:53 remaining. Cleveland put on the defensive clamps late, though, and the Cavs hit four 3-pointers in the last 4:35, including two by Korver, to upend the previously hot Knicks.

      Warriors 110, Magic 100

      OAKLAND, Calif. -- Playing without superstar Stephen Curry, Golden State went on a trademark third-quarter surge to defeat Orlando for its seventh straight win.

      Curry sat out with a right thigh contusion, and his replacement, Shaun Livingston, rose to the challenge with 16 points and six assists. Kevin Durant led the Warriors with 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds. Draymond Green had 20 points.

      Nikola Vucevic led the Magic, who were tied with the Warriors 56-56 at halftime, with 20 points. Aaron Gordon had a quiet night with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

      76ers 109, Clippers 105

      LOS ANGELES -- Joel Embiid scored 32 points, and Robert Covington added 31, including two key fourth-quarter 3-pointers, as Philadelphia beat Los Angeles to end a two-game losing streak.

      Ben Simmons added 22 points and 12 rebounds, and Embiid had a game-high 16 boards.

      Lou Williams scored 30 points off the bench for the Clippers, who saw their losing streak reach six games. Blake Griffin scored 29 for Los Angeles, who has not won since Nov. 1 against the Dallas Mavericks.

      Timberwolves 109, Jazz 98

      SALT LAKE CITY -- Karl-Anthony Towns scored 24 points and collected 13 rebounds while Jimmy Butler added 21 points and 10 assists to help Minnesota overwhelm Utah.

      Taj Gibson also finished with a double-double for Minnesota, adding 15 points and 10 rebounds. Jeff Teague chipped in 22 points.

      Donovan Mitchell scored 24 points and Rodney Hood added 16 points to lead the Jazz. Utah lost for the fourth time in its last five games on its home floor.

      Wizards 110, Kings 92

      WASHINGTON -- John Wall scored 21 points and continued his torrid 3-point shooting against Sacramento as Washington won its third consecutive game.

      Marcin Gortat had 18 and Otto Porter 15 for the Wizards, who matched their longest winning streak of the season and closed their four-game homestand at 3-1. Washington opened the season 3-0, but lost five of seven, including a loss to the one-win Dallas Mavericks on Nov. 7.

      George Hill scored 13 of his 16 points in the first quarter for Sacramento. Zach Randolph and Buddy Hield each had 12 points.

      Bucks 110, Grizzlies 103

      MILWAUKEE -- John Henson scored eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter and Milwaukee rallied down the stretch for the win.

      Tyreke Evans scored 14 of his 27 points in the fourth quarter for the Grizzlies, but Memphis couldn't hold off Milwaukee, which won its third straight.

      Khris Middleton also scored 17 points for the Bucks, who were paced by 27 points from Giannis Antetokounmpo -- his second-lowest total of the season -- and Eric Bledsoe finished with 15.

      Pelicans 106, Hawks 105

      NEW ORLEANS -- Darius Miller hit four 3-pointers in the final 5:45 and scored 14 of his 21 points in the fourth-quarter run to lift New Orleans to the win.

      Guard E'Twaun Moore was the Pelicans' leading scorer with 24 points and DeMarcus Cousins added 22 points, 16 rebounds and seven assists.

      Atlanta led 101-97 with 2:35 left when Tyler Cavanaugh hit an open 3-pointer, but Miller responded with a 3-pointer from the right wing and another from the top of the key with 52 seconds left to put New Orleans on top 106-104.

      Lakers 100, Suns 93

      PHOENIX -- Jordan Clarkson scored 25 points in 25 minutes off the bench and Corey Brewer and Kyle Kuzma combined for 13 points in the fourth quarter to lift Los Angeles past Phoenix.

      Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 15 points and Brook Lopez added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Lakers, who ended a three-game losing streak in a game where neither team had a double-digit lead until 2:30 remained.

      Devin Booker had 36 points for Phoenix, his sixth 30-plus-point performance in the first 15 games of the season.

      Trail Blazers 101, Nuggets 97

      PORTLAND, Ore. -- Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum scored 17 points apiece and Damian Lillard chipped in 15 points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals to lead Portland past Denver.

      Portland shot a season-best 52.1 percent from the field and held Denver to a season-low 35.7 percent. It was the poorest shooting game by a Portland opponent all season.

      Paul Millsap and Jamal Murray each scored 18 points for the Nuggets, who had won seven of their last nine outings.

  • Blazers look to end home woes vs. Nuggets
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 13, 2017

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- When the Portland Trail Blazers looked at their early-season schedule, they figured they had a chance to make some hay.

    • After playing their first three games on the road, 10 of the next 11 were at home. And at raucous Moda Center, the Trail Blazers enjoy one of the biggest home-court advantages in the NBA.

      But after a 101-97 home loss to injury-riddled Brooklyn on Friday night, Portland is 6-6 heading into Monday night's game against Northwest Division rival Denver (8-5). The Blazers are 2-4 in games decided by four points or fewer.

      "What makes it so frustrating is we could very easily be 10-2," point guard Damian Lillard said after the Nets game. "It makes losses like this hurt even more, because you've already let some games slip that we should have won.

      "We shouldn't be having our heads down. We've been in worse situations. But being here is our fault. We've had our chances."

      The Trail Blazers are solid in many statistical categories, leading the league in rebound percentage (.542) and ranking fifth in 3-point percentage (.385). But they have been woeful at scoring in transition. They rank dead last in fast-break points at 4.6 per game. Golden State leads at 27.6. New York is 29th at 6.0.

      "Part of it is, we've been inconsistent defensively," Lillard said. "It's easier to run when you get a stop than when you're taking the ball out of the net."

      The Nuggets come in on a roll, having won seven of their last nine outings, including back-to-back home romps past Oklahoma City and Orlando on Friday and Saturday.

      In a 125-107 rout of the Magic, Denver scored 70 points in the first half and led by as many as 30 points. Point guard Jamal Murray set career highs in scoring (32 points) and 3-point shots (six) and shooting guard Will Barton had season highs in scoring (26) and rebounds (nine) while starting in place of the injury Gary Harris.

      "Offensively, we're starting to figure it out," Denver coach Mike Malone told reporters. "You can see the confidence, the chemistry, the spacing -- guys playing off of each other. And more importantly, guys playing for each other. We have a lot of weapons."

      Monday night's affair will be a battle between former teammates -- centers Nikola Jokic of Denver and Jusuf Nurkic of Portland. Nurkic, unhappy in a backup role in with the Nuggets, went to Portland at the trade deadline last season and made an immediate impact with the Blazers.

      When the teams last met last March, Nurkic went for 33 points and 15 rebounds -- sinking 12 of 15 shots from the field and 9 of 11 from the free-throw line -- in a 122-113 victory over his former team.

      The Blazers are hopeful Lillard will be able to play. His left hand got banged up in the final minute against the Nets.

      "It went numb for a while," Lillard said. "But I don't plan on missing any games. I think I'll be all right."

  • Lakers, Suns look to get on track
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 13, 2017

    PHOENIX -- The last time Los Angeles Lakers rookie point guard Lonzo Ball faced the Phoenix Suns, he fell one assist short of becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double.

    • Three weeks later, Ball returns to Phoenix with that box on his Big Baller resume checked.

      Ball, the second player taken in the 2017 draft, had 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds in a 98-90 loss at Milwaukee on Saturday, breaking LeBron James' record as the youngest in league history with a triple-double. Ball was 20 years and 15 days old, five days younger than James.

      The Lakers (5-8) will look to build on that when they play in Phoenix for the second time this season Monday.

      The Suns (5-9) broke a five-game losing streak with a 118-110 victory over Minnesota on Saturday, when guard Devin Booker and small forward TJ Warren had 35 points apiece.

      Ball, who also had four blocked shots and three steals against the Bucks, was not particularly taken by the record because of the outcome of the game.

      "We took a loss, so it really doesn't mean nothing," Ball said.

      "They were blitzing (aggressively attacking the high pick-and-roll) a lot, so that makes that roll pretty much open if you pass it quick enough. When they went under (the pick), I just shot it."

      Ball made 7 of 12 field-goal attempts, 3 of 5 3-pointers. Rookie forward Kyle Kuzma had 21 points and reserve forward Julius Randle had 17 against Milwaukee, the Lakers' third straight loss.

      "I've been shooting my whole life, so I'm not going to stop now," said Ball, whose unorthodox shooting style was questioned by some scouts.

      Ball had 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists in the Lakers' 132-130 victory in Phoenix on Oct. 20, the second game of the regular season for both.

      "The triple-double is going to be the norm for him," Bucks coach and former NBA All-Star point guard Jason Kidd told reporters Saturday. "He's going to fill up stat sheets. We just need to give him time. We are trying to put him in a microwave and speed him up. He's going to make mistakes. But he competes."

      The Suns got back on track when Booker and Warren combined for 70 points on 28-of-44 shooting Saturday. Booker had nine points late and Phoenix went on a 14-0 run for a 111-103 lead.

      The pair were the first Suns' teammates to score at least 35 points in the same game since Amar'e Stoudemire (41) and Steve Nash (36) in a victory over Denver on March 31, 2008.

      "When they're both rolling, it's going to be a good night for us," Suns coach Jay Triano said. "And I thought they both just found ways. 'Book' carried himself with his 35, but he also made sure when he had the basketball he was looking for TJ to make plays as well, and our guards did a good job of that."

      Booker also had team highs with nine rebounds and six assists. He was back in form after being limited to nine points in a loss to Orlando on Friday, tying his season low. He has five 30-point games this season. Only Charlie Scott (1974-75) had more in the first 14 games in franchise history.

      "We locked in with four minutes to go," Booker said. "After the couple losses that we've had, we've been looking for answers, and our answer tonight was effort. Coach said, 'Win, lose or draw coming in at the end of the game, the only box we need to check is effort. Did we play hard?'

      "Tony (Warren) brings it almost every night. I have to keep up with him."

      Warren has two games of at least 35 points while making two-thirds of his shots in each, tying Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo and New Orleans' Anthony Davis as the only players with multiple such games this season. All have two.

  • Jazz will be without Gobert against Timberwolves
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 13, 2017

    SALT LAKE CITY -- Can the Utah Jazz survive without Rudy Gobert?

    • Like it or not, Utah is about to discover the answer to that question. Gobert is expected to be sidelined 4-to-6 weeks after an MRI exam revealed a right tibia contusion. He suffered that injury on Friday when Heat guard Dion Waiters rolled into his knee during the third quarter of an 84-74 loss to Miami.

      Gobert limped to the locker room, but returned to the game in the fourth quarter. He did not play on Saturday in a 114-106 win over Brooklyn and will be sidelined again when the Jazz host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday.

      The 7-foot-1 center is averaging 13.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 12 games this season.

      Utah (6-7) started off on a promising note by defeating the Nets. Derrick Favors stepped up in Gobert's absence, scoring 24 points and collecting 12 rebounds -- both season highs -- for his second double-double of the season.

      "We definitely needed this one," Favors said. "We came together as a team. We just went out there and played with a lot of energy. Rudy (Gobert) was out, so it was a team effort, defensively, offensively. We came in and brought a lot of energy, and won the game."

      Favors is no stranger to the disruption injuries can cause. Back and knee injuries plagued him over the past two seasons and robbed the veteran forward of valuable athleticism. Those injuries also reduced his role in the offense last season.

      For the Jazz to succeed without Gobert, Favors will have to continue to make a big impact on both ends of the floor. That's what Utah got from him against Brooklyn.

      The floor is spaced differently when he is at the five," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "We're small. That being said, whatever the floor looks like, what he did, on both ends of the floor, I think he knew how much we needed him and we rode him."

      The Timberwolves (7-5) are looking for ways to strengthen a suddenly porous defense when they face the Jazz.

      Minnesota fell 118-110 to Phoenix on Saturday to fall to 0-2 on its current road trip. In those two games, the Timberwolves have allowed an average of 121.5 points while allowing their opponents to shoot 55 percent from the field.

      It's a 180-degree turn from how Minnesota started November, when it held three straight opponents under 100 points. The reversal could best be summed up in a late fourth-quarter sequence against the Suns.

      The Timberwolves took a 103-97 lead on a 3-pointer from Jeff Teague with 4:46 left. Then, Phoenix put together a decisive 14-0 run behind several baskets from Devin Booker and T.J. Warren. The duo scored 35 points apiece and had 22 of the Suns' 33 fourth-quarter points.

      "We've got to execute and we didn't execute," Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. "We got the lead and we gave it away. We took some tough shots and we just couldn't stop them."

      Three-point shooting has also been a growing concern over the past two games. The Timberwolves shot a combined 9 of 44 from the perimeter in their losses to Golden State and Phoenix.

      Minnesota defeated Utah 100-97 on Oct. 20, behind 17 fourth-quarter points from Jamal Crawford. The veteran guard, who signed with the Timberwolves in the summer, hit a game-winning 3-pointer with 27.5 seconds left.

  • Hawks will have hands full with Pelicans' Davis, Cousins
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 13, 2017

    NEW ORLEANS -- The New Orleans Pelicans, winners of four of their last five games to improve to 7-6, are garnering attention across the league with the eye-popping numbers posted by Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins.

    • The Atlanta Hawks, at 2-11, have the worst record in the NBA but have been playing opponents closer of late.

      Despite committing turnovers at a rate usually reserved for the digital clock in Times Square that tracks the national debt, the Pelicans are the clear favorites entering Monday night's game at the Smoothie King Center.

      The two biggest reasons are Davis and Cousins, who have been playing so well in their high-post, move-without-the-ball experiment that opposing defenses are struggling to keep up. In a 111-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday night, the Twin Towers combined for 60 points on 23-of-38 shooting, 25 rebounds and 10 assists, which was more than enough to overcome a season-high 23 turnovers and the 51 total points the Pelicans allowed off turnovers and offensive rebounds.

      Davis, in particular, was a force on both ends. In addition to scoring 25 points and grabbing 10 boards, he shadowed Clippers forward Blake Griffin for 40 minutes and hounded him into a 9-of-27 shooting night without committing a foul.

      Still, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry is legitimately concerned about the sloppy ball-handling that could stunt the progress New Orleans has made in its first 13 games. The Pelicans are averaging 16.7 turnovers a game -- sixth worst in the league. Cousins, who often initiates the offense from the high post, is a willing passer but has sometimes tried to do too much, resulting in a league-high 68 turnovers.

      "We're going to have to do something about our turnovers," Gentry said after the win over the Clippers. "That's really just the only thing that is hurting us. I think the offensive rebounding thing we've taken care of. The only thing left for us to do is make sure we're not turning the ball over, because 23 turnovers and 33 points (off them) is way too many."

      To their credit, both Cousins and guard Jrue Holiday, who committed seven turnovers against the Clippers, recognize they have to bear down in protecting the ball.

      "I'm the main culprit of the turnovers right now," Cousins said.

      When Holiday disagreed and said he was to blame, Cousins turned to the stat sheet that showed he had eight turnovers against L.A.

      "I just have to do a better job of taking care of the ball and making better decisions," Cousins said. "Luckily the turnovers didn't affect us today because we were able to pull out the win, but this just can't be a continuous habit because it can rear up later on."

      The Pelicans should get a boost in efficiency when point guard Rajon Rondo, sidelined since the beginning of the season due to surgery on a core muscle, returns to the lineup, possibly as early as Friday night at Denver. Rondo's presence would take some of the ball-handling responsibilities away from Holiday and Cousins.

      The Hawks are playing short-handed and did not have Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Muscala, DeAndre Bembry and Miles Plumlee available in a 113-94 road loss to Washington. They will need more consistent play from point guard Dennis Schroder, who went 2 of 16 from the field against the Wizards.

      The Hawks also have let frustrations boil over onto the court. A critical play in the loss to Washington came when Taurean Prince complained to officials that he was fouled on a layup attempt, allowing an easy 3-pointer on the other end and then committing a technical foul. A seven-point deficit ballooned to 11 late in the third quarter.

      "We've got to do a better job of keeping our emotions, and everything, our frustrations in check," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said.

  • Bucks' new lineup gets next test from Grizzlies
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, November 13, 2017

    MILWAUKEE -- After getting back to .500 with a victory over the Los Angeles Lakers last weekend, the Milwaukee Bucks will try to continue their winning ways when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night at the Bradley Center.

    • The Bucks are still getting settled after a trade last week that brought Eric Bledsoe to Milwaukee. Coach Jason Kidd moved the veteran into the starting lineup, shifting Malcolm Brogdon to the bench, where he has provided scoring punch to a unit that has struggled this season.

      "Malcolm going to the bench (is) giving us something that we haven't had," Kidd said "He's giving us points and rebounds."

      The reigning Rookie of the Year has been a fixture in Milwaukee's starting lineup since early last season but wasn't upset at all about his new role.

      "I think we're playing well together," Brogdon said. "I think it helps having two point guards coming off the bench, me and (Matthew Dellavedova), playing together. It helps the ball be facilitated. Everybody's touching it, everybody feels like they're into the game and they play defense harder. ...

      "Acquiring Eric really allows us to be a deeper team, to be able to bring better players off the bench, to keep coming at teams with strong guards and strong players."

      Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has benefited from the change. With Brogdon playing the point for the second unit, the league's leading scorer (31.7 per game) has been able to spend more time off the ball, leading to better scoring opportunities.

      "For me, it's just easy," Antetokounmpo said after scoring 33 points on 12-of-19 shooting against the Lakers. "I don't have to fight to make plays no more. I'm off the ball and when I want, when I feel like I need the ball, I can get the ball back. ...

      "Malcolm and Delly at the same time sometimes, it just makes the game easier. Delly can handle the ball, Malcolm can handle the ball, Bledsoe can handle the ball and, yeah, I can handle the ball too. ... It just makes the game easier, not just for me, for everybody."

      The Grizzlies come to Milwaukee looking to bounce back from a 111-96 loss to Houston on Saturday night -- their fourth in the last six games.

      They'll need a strong start from Mike Conley, who's scoring 18.0 points per game but is only shooing 39.7 percent from the floor and 31.4 percent from beyond the arc.

      The veteran point guard has been bothered at times by an Achilles' injury this season but wasn't willing to use than as an excuse.

      "I get decent opportunities but more so it's just been the flow of our game and it's just been that way," Conley said. "I've been just moving the ball and making sure we're playing together as a team, and that's how we've been winning. We need to stick to the plan and hope I can make some shots within those opportunities early in the first half. In the second half, I know it's 100 percent my time to go."

      The Grizzlies have lost their last three games in Milwaukee.

  • NBA roundup: Celtics win 12th straight
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 12, 2017

    BOSTON -- The Boston Celtics, playing without Kyrie Irving, hung on for their 12th straight victory on Sunday, beating the Toronto Raptors. And it came right down to the final second.

    • DeMar DeRozen missed two shots in the closing seconds as the Celtics downed the Toronto Raptors 95-94. After DeRozen missed a jumper, rookie Jayson Tatum grabbed the rebound, turned and hit Fred VanVleet with an elbow for an offensive foul with 13.4 seconds remaining. The play was reviewed, the call stood and Toronto kept the ball.

      Al Horford, returning from a two-game absence from a concussion, scored 21 points to lead five Boston players in double figures. Brown added 18 points, Terry Rozier scored 16, Marcus Smart 14 and Tatum had 13 points and seven rebounds.

      DeRozen led the Raptors with 24 points (but was just 8 of 22 from the floor), his seventh straight 20-point game at TD Garden.

      Pistons 112, Heat 103

      DETROIT --Tobias Harris led five players in double figures with 25 points to help Detroit beat Miami and finish unbeaten on the five-game homestand.

      Avery Bradley scored 24 points, Reggie Jackson had 17 points, rookie Luke Kennard scored a career-high 14 points, backup point guard Ish Smith scored 11 points and Andre Drummond added 17 rebounds for the Pistons.

      Hassan Whiteside had 20 points and 12 rebounds, Goran Dragic scored 18 points, Dion Waiters had 16 points and Josh Richardson added 15 points to lead the Heat, who went 13 of 37 from 3-point range.

      Thunder 112, Mavericks 99

      OKLAHOMA CITY -- Even without two starters, Oklahoma City made quick work of Dallas.

      Russell Westbrook -- on his birthday -- had 27 points, six rebounds and five assists, and forward Paul George followed his best scoring performance of the season with 37 points in the absence of center Steven Adams and forward Carmelo Anthony.

      Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks with 22 points, Yogi Ferrell added 18, and Dennis Smith Jr. scored 15 points.

      Rockets 118, Pacers 95

      INDIANAPOLIS -- James Harden, averaging 37.8 points in the previous five games, scored 26 points and had a season-high 15 assists in Houston's romp over Indiana.

      Harden hit 9 of 21 shots from the field and all five free throws.

      Eric Gordon chipped in with 21 points, and center Clint Capela contributed 20 points and a team-high 17 rebounds

      Guard Victor Oladipo led the Pacers with 28 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field.

  • Gobert to miss a month
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 12, 2017

    Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert will miss at least four weeks due to a bone bruise in his knee, the team announced Sunday.

    • Utah announced that an MRI showed a right tibia contusion and Gobert will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

      Gobert was injured in the third quarter of Friday's 84-74 loss to the Miami Heat when he collided with Heat guard Dion Waiters chasing down a loose ball near the foul line. Waiters collided with Gobert's right knee and the 7-foot-1 Frenchman limped off the court before returning to finish the game with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

      After the game, Gobert said it was "dirty play" according to the Deseret News. Before Miami's game in Detroit on Sunday, Waiters denied it was a dirty play.

      "I went for the ball, tell him to get out of his feelings," Waiters told the Miami Herald. "And that's what it is, just like that."

      Utah will likely use 6-foot-10 forward Derrick Favors as its starting center. Favors, who is two inches shorter than Gobert, recorded his first double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's 114-106 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

      Gobert is averaging 13.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and shooting 62.6 percent in 12 games this season. Gobert, who is nicknamed "The Stifle Tower", also leads the NBA with 2.5 blocked shots per game.

  • Jazz C Gobert out with bruised knee
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 12, 2017

    Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert will miss at least four weeks due to a bone bruise in his knee, the team announced Sunday.

    • Utah announced that an MRI showed a right tibia contusion and Gobert will be re-evaluated in four weeks.

      Gobert was injured in the third quarter of Friday's 84-74 loss to the Miami Heat when he collided with Heat guard Dion Waiters chasing down a loose ball near the foul line. Waiters collided with Gobert's right knee and the 7-foot-1 Frenchman limped off the court before returning to finish the game with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

      After the game, Gobert said it was "dirty play" according to the Deseret News. Before Miami's game in Detroit on Sunday, Waiters denied it was a dirty play.

      "I went for the ball, tell him to get out of his feelings," Waiters told the Miami Herald. "And that's what it is, just like that."

      Utah will likely use 6-foot-10 forward Derrick Favors as its starting center. Favors, who is two inches shorter than Gobert, recorded his first double-double with 24 points and 12 rebounds in Saturday's 114-106 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

      Gobert is averaging 13.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and shooting 62.6 percent in 12 games this season. Gobert, who is nicknamed "The Stifle Tower", also leads the NBA with 2.5 blocked shots per game.

  • It could be raining 3s when Magic, Warriors meet
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 12, 2017

    The Golden State Warriors' 3-point-shooting prowess will be tested by one of the big guns from the East when they host the Orlando Magic on Monday night in Oakland, Calif.

    • The Warriors bombed in 14 of their 27 3-point attempts while dispatching of the Philadelphia 76ers 135-114 on Saturday night for their sixth straight win.

      Golden State, which leads the NBA in 3-point field goal percentage (41.6), has made at least 10 3s in all 13 of their games. They rank second to Houston in average made 3-pointers per game at 13.8.

      The Warriors didn't skip a beat in their perimeter shooting when Kevin Durant sat out Wednesday's 125-101 home romp over Minnesota with a bruised quad.

      Now they find themselves dealing with a similar injury issue as they attempt to complete a perfect four-game homestand.

      Stephen Curry helped keep the Timberwolves at bay with two 3-pointers and 22 points, but he left Saturday's win limping and is questionable for Monday's game.

      "It was a bruised quad, same thing that KD had two games ago, just a knee to the thigh," Warriors coach Steve Kerr reported. "Pretty painful."

      With or without Curry, the Warriors will see a Magic team that's one of the most dramatically changed offensive clubs in NBA history.

      Orlando ranked among the worst teams in the NBA in 3-point shooting last season, both in terms of made 3s (8.5 per game, 25th in the league) and percentage (32.8, 29th in the league).

      But getting significant improvement from multiple sources, the Magic will enter Monday's game second to Golden State in 3-point shooting percentage (40.6) and third to Houston and the Warriors in 3s made per game (11.9).

      On the second stop in a four-game trip, Orlando got outgunned from beyond the arc for one of the few times this season when it made only 11 of 31 in a 125-107 loss at Denver on Saturday night.

      The Magic had won its previous two games, including a trip-opening, 128-112 victory at Phoenix on Friday in which it buried 13 3-pointers.

      The biggest weapon in Orlando's offensive transformation has been forward Aaron Gordon, who returns to his native San Francisco Bay Area no longer known as just a slam-dunk standout.

      Never having made even 30 percent of his 3-pointers in each of his first three NBA seasons, Gordon currently leads the NBA with a 55.3 percentage from behind the arc.

      "People never saw me as a shooter," Gordon said. "It's going to take some time to shift the paradigm, but I don't really care about that, man. I'm just playing a game. I feel comfortable out there. I feel capable of scoring from anywhere. It feels good."

      Orlando's most productive perimeter shooter in Saturday's loss was Marreese Speights, who honed his 3-point-shooting skills as a three-year member of the Warriors.

      After having attempted just 30 3-pointers in five seasons to begin his career, Speights became a fan favorite with Golden State by making 37 of 111 from beyond the arc in his three seasons in Oakland, one of which culminated in the Warriors' first of two recent championships in 2015.

      Speights had a season-best 19 points, making three 3-pointers, in Saturday's loss at Denver.

  • Nets G Russell has knee contusion
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 12, 2017

    Brooklyn Nets guard D'Angelo Russell was diagnosed with a left knee contusion, the team announced Sunday.

    • Russell was examined Sunday by team doctors and underwent an MRI and the Nets said "return to play updates will be provided as appropriate."

      Russell scored 26 points in Saturday's 114-106 loss at Utah but injured his left knee with 2:57 remaining after making contact with a defender. Russell landed awkwardly and hobbled to the bench before going to the locker room.

      Before the Nets announced the injury, ESPN reported Russell will miss "several games." The Nets are scheduled to return home Tuesday against the Boston Celtics and host the Golden State Warriors next Sunday.

      The diagnosis is better than the last time a Nets guard suffered a knee injury. In the season opener, Jeremy Lin tore the patella tendon in his right knee and underwent season-ending surgery.

      Last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Russell missed 11 games with left knee soreness in November and December. He also missed three games in January with a right knee injury and eventually underwent platelet-rich plasma injections.

      Russell is averaging 20.9 points, 5.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds after being acquired in a June trade for Brook Lopez.

      Russell missed Brooklyn's win over Cleveland on Oct. 25 with a right knee sprain and Spencer Dinwiddie scored 22 points in his place.

      Dinwiddie also sat out Saturday's game with a hamstring injury and, if healthy, would start for Russell.

  • NBA roundup: Ball's triple-double not enough as Lakers fall to Bucks
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, November 12, 2017

    MILWAUKEE -- Rookie Lonzo Ball became the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, finishing with 19 points, 13 assists and 12 rebounds, but it wasn't enough as the Los Angeles Lakers were dealt a 98-90 loss by the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday.

    • Ball, who is 20 years, 15 days old, completed the triple-double by getting his 10th rebound early in the fourth. He had 13 points and 11 assists at the time.

      Ball eclipsed the mark set by LeBron James, who was 20 years, 20 days old when he recorded a triple-double Jan. 19, 2005 for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

      Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points to lead the Bucks, who also got 16 off the bench from Malcolm Brogdon. Khris Middleton added 13 points while Eric Bledsoe contributed 11 in his home debut for Milwaukee.

      Knicks 118, Kings 91

      NEW YORK -- Kristaps Porzingis scored 34 points on 21 shots as New York routed Sacramento.

      Porzingis made 11 of 21 shots, including four 3-pointers and grabbed nine rebounds. Courtney Lee added 20 while Enes Kanter posted a double-double of 17 points and 13 rebounds.

      Skal Labissiere scored 19 points and Buddy Hield added 17 for the Kings, whose starting lineup totaled 31 points.

      Warriors 135, 76ers 114

      OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kevin Durant scored 29 points as Golden State beat Philadelphia and notched its sixth straight win.

      Klay Thompson added 23 points and Stephen Curry contributed 22 as Golden State shot 57.7 percent and made 53.8 percent of its 3-pointers.

      J.J. Redick scored 17 points for Philadelphia.

      Cavaliers 111, Mavericks 104

      DALLAS -- Kevin Love recorded his ninth double-double with 29 points and 15 rebounds as Cleveland beat Dallas.

      LeBron James and J.R. Smith added 17 points apiece for Cleveland. James also grabbed 10 rebounds.

      Harrison Barnes led Dallas with 23 points.

      Rockets 111, Grizzlies 96

      HOUSTON -- James Harden scored 38 points as Houston beat Memphis.

      Harden made 11 of 25 shots, including six 3-pointers. Eric Gordon also hit six 3-pointers and added 26 points for the Rockets.

      Reserve Tyreke Evans led the Grizzlies with 22 points. Marc Gasol added 15 while Mike Conley was held to 12 points.

      Pelicans 111, Clippers 103

      NEW ORLEANS -- DeMarcus Cousins totaled 35 points and 15 rebounds as New Orleans beat Los Angeles.

      Anthony Davis added 25 and 10 rebounds for the Pelicans, who shot 53.8 percent. E'Twaun Moore added 18 points for New Orleans.

      Blake Griffin scored 26 points for the Clippers, who lost for the seventh time in eight games. Austin Rivers added 19 points for Los Angeles.

      Wizards 113, Hawks 94

      WASHINGTON -- Bradley Beal scored 19 points as Washington cruised by Atlanta.

      Markieff Morris and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 18 points for the Wizards. John Wall scored 13 after missing the morning shootaround with an illness.

      Taurean Prince led the Hawks with 19 points.

      Spurs 133, Bulls 94

      SAN ANTONIO -- Pau Gasol led eight players in double figures as San Antonio shot 60 percent and routed Chicago.

      Dejounte Murray added 17 points while Rudy Gay and Brandon Paul contributed 15 points apiece.

      Robin Lopez and Bobby Portis scored 17 points apiece for Chicago.

      Nuggets 125, Magic 107

      DENVER -- Jamal Murray scored a career-high 32 points and Will Barton added 21 as Denver beat Orlando.

      Murray made 12 of 21 shots and six 3-pointers as Denver placed six in double figures.

      Marreese Speights led Orlando with 19 points.

      Suns 118, Timberwolves 110

      PHOENIX -- Devin Booker and T.J. Warren scored 35 points apiece as Phoenix beat Minnesota.

      Booker and Warren helped the Suns stop a five-game losing streak by making a combined 28 of 44 shots.

      Andrew Wiggins scored 27 points for Minnesota and Jimmy Butler added 25.

      Jazz 114, Nets 106

      SALT LAKE CITY -- Rookie Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points and Utah beat Brooklyn.

      Derrick Favors added 24 points and 12 rebounds while starting at center in place of Rudy Gobert (knee) for Utah. Joe Ingles contributed 17 points while Ricky Rubio totaled 10 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and four steals.

      D'Angelo Russell led the Nets with 26 points while Rondae-Hollis Jefferson added 19.

  • Jazz C Gobert sits out with knee injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, November 11, 2017

    SALT LAKE CITY -- Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert missed Saturday's game against the Brooklyn Nets due to a right knee contusion.

    • Gobert was injured in the third quarter of Friday's 84-74 loss to the Miami Heat. He was injured while competing for a loose ball with Miami guard Dion Waiters.

      Gobert briefly exited the game but returned and finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds in 35 minutes.

      Derrick Favors moved from forward and started at center while Thabo Sefalosha started for Favors at forward.

      Gobert is averaging 13.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and shooting 62.6 percent in 12 games this season.