Nov 13, 2017; New York, NY, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers small forward LeBron James (23) passes the ball out of traffic during the second quarter against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
(The Sports Xchange) – Highlights from National Basketball Association games on Monday:
Cavaliers 104, Knicks 101
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
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.
76ers 109, Clippers 105
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.
Timberwolves 109, Jazz 98
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.
Wizards 110, Kings 92
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.
Bucks 110, Grizzlies 103
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.
Pelicans 106, Hawks 105
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.
Lakers 100, Suns 93
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.
Trail Blazers 101, Nuggets 97
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.
Porzingis scores career-high 40 points as Knicks win again
Nov 5, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) is congratulated by center Enes Kanter (00) after scoring in the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
(The Sports Xchange) – For the second time in three days, it took until the mid-fourth quarter for Madison Square Garden to come alive.
Once it did, though, the legendary arena rocked as it hasn’t in years.
And this time, the New York Knicks were coming back from a 19-point deficit instead of trying to hold onto a big lead.
The Knicks eventually overcame Indiana on Sunday night for a 108-101 win after the Pacers led by more than 10 points for much of the game.
With 3:26 remaining, Kristaps Porzingis hit a leaning jumper while drawing a foul. The Latvian drew chants of “MVP! MVP!” as he sank the free throw, giving New York its first lead since just over three minutes remained in the first quarter.
Soon after, he capped off one of the great all-around NBA performances in more than three decades, finishing with a career-high 40 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, as the Knicks (5-4) won for the fifth time in six games.
Porzingis, who added eight rebounds, six blocks and two 3-pointers — the first 40-5-5-2 NBA performance since 1983-84 — exploded for 10 points in a five-minute stretch to start the final quarter, which the Knicks entered trailing 84-72.
Porzingis made 15 of 24 shots from the field and hit 8 of 9 free throws, concluding a week in which he also put up games of 38 (then a career high) and 37 points.
Porzingis said he was happy to play the role of team leader, even with the extra attention it brings from opposition defenses.
“I’m very comfortable,” he said, according to the New York Post. ”I’m seeing a different type of defense almost every night. No matter who I’m playing against they’re trying to be physical with me.”
Knick coach Jeff Hornacek heaped praise on Porzingis.
“He’s got great confidence when he’s shooting,” Hornacek said.
“We figured out a way to get him the ball. He’s playing great. On defense, he came in there and got one really good block. Can’t argue with the way he’s playing.”
Tim Hardaway Jr. (16 points) and rookie first-round pick Frank Ntilikina (10) were the only other Knicks to score in double figures, though Enes Kanter added nine points and 18 rebounds.
New blood bring life to weary Warriors
FILE PHOTO: Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) moves the ball as center JaVale McGee (1) provides the screen against Los Angeles Clippers guard Patrick Beverley (21) during the first half at Staples Center, October 30, 2017; Los Angeles, CA, USA. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – With each passing trip to the NBA Finals, the Golden State Warriors add to the championship miles that threaten to stall their run.
The price of continued excellence in the National Basketball Association (NBA) is the grind of long seasons and the challenge of sustaining concentration throughout.
Having reached the last three NBA Finals, winning two, the Warriors have shown signs of such weariness during their inconsistent 5-3 start to the campaign.
But helping to balance the redundancy of another Golden State regular season is the insertion of new faces.
Reserves like Omri Casspi of Israel, Nick Young and rookie Jordan Bell will not steal any headlines from Stephen Curry or Kevin Durant this season but their arrival is invaluable to the Warriors’ long journey.
“It’s always important to add some new guys, new blood to a championship team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr told Reuters following his team’s 141-113 rout of the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.
“I think that’s where Omri, and Nick and Jordan Bell come into play. They will help us through the year for sure.”
When the Warriors enter each off-season to target acquisitions it is not just to retool, but to refresh.
Last season, veteran pick ups like David West, Zaza Pachulia and JaVale McGee renewed the team’s spirit and helped propel another title run.
The Warriors are counting on the same effect from this year’s fresh faces.
Chemistry and good vibes aside, Casspi brings versatility at 6-foot-9 as a ball handler and passer; Young is a fun-loving streak shooter and Bell is a spry athlete.
“I think they’re better when you look at all the stuff they’ve added,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “I think they had a great summer.”
The Warriors were a unit in command of all their weapons against Los Angeles on Monday, shooting and passing the Clippers out of the arena.
“Great teams have that balance where every night, no matter what lineup is out there you know what your identity is and how you’re going to get a win,” Curry said.
This year’s version of the Warriors are still finding that identity, and Kerr knows the season will include letdowns like the team’s blown lead defeats to Houston and Detroit this month.
Kerr remembers playing for the two-time defending champion Chicago Bulls who began their 1997-98 campaign with a lackluster 8-7 mark.
“There’s a mental fatigue (after winning championships) more than anything. You feel it after a number of years,” Kerr said.
“I can tell this year is going to be a lot harder than that first year (in 2014).”
Editing by Steve Keating in Toronto
NBA: Cavs target George to challenge Warriors dominance
FILE PHOTO: Apr 29, 2016; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Indiana Pacers forward Paul George (13) celebrates after scoring against the Toronto Raptors during the second half in game six of the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters
Fresh off their NBA Finals loss to the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers are reportedly trying to bring Paul George over from the Indiana Pacers to add firepower and defense to the Eastern Conference champs.
George, a 27-year-old four-time All-Star, is a highly sought after target in the NBA this offseason and combining him with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving could produce a viable challenger to the dominant Warriors next season.
ESPN reported Monday on a possible three-way deal that would see the Cavs send forward Kevin Love to the Denver Nuggets, the Nuggets send several young players to the Pacers, and George forming a new Big Three in Cleveland with James and Irving.
“This blockbuster trade from the Cavaliers standpoint is all determined by what the Golden State Warriors did in the NBA Finals,” ESPN pundit Chris Haynes said on Monday.
Earlier this month the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in five games to claim their second championship over Cleveland in three years.
“The roster as structured right now, (the Cavs) don’t feel like they have the talent and depth to contend with the Warriors,” he added.
The sticking point in the deal is that the Nuggets are not yet willing to part with either of their two best players – 20-year-old guard Jamal Murray and Serbian big man Nikola Jokić – but an agreement could still be reached, Haynes said.
A team that would suffer if George went to Cleveland is the Los Angeles Lakers, who were hoping to nab George to serve as a leader in their locker room, which is budding with young talent.
George, who can become a free agent after next season, had previously expressed interest in returning to LA, where he is originally from, but may not be quick to change teams again if the Cavs move takes place and proves successful.
“If the Cleveland Cavaliers win a title and dethrone the Warriors, Paul George really has to consider his initial basis of trying to get to LA,” Haynes said.
“This is going to be a nightmare for the Lakers and could change the entire look of free agency next season.”
Whether Cleveland is successful in bringing in George or not, the team will also pursue other big names around the Association this offseason including sharp-shooting forward Carmelo Anthony, who may be freed from his New York Knicks deal.
“If things work out in the Cavaliers favor, they will have the firepower necessary to feel like they can contend with the Golden State Warriors,” Haynes said. — By Rory Carroll
(Editing by Larry Fine)