Dec 12, 2017; Dallas, TX, USA; San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard (2) runs back up the court during the second half against the Dallas Mavericks at the American Airlines Center. The Mavericks defeat the Spurs 95-89. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
(The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of National Basketball Association games on Tuesday:
Mavericks 95, Spurs 89
Kawhi Leonard made his long-anticipated season debut Tuesday and looked to be in mid-season form, although his San Antonio Spurs fell apart in the fourth quarter without him and lost to the Dallas Mavericks 95-89.
The Spurs’ All-Star forward missed the first 27 games of the season because of a quad injury. He quickly displayed his all-around excellence, producing 13 points on 6-of-12 shooting and adding six rebounds, one assist, one steal and a block.
Leonard did it all in 16 minutes as coach Gregg Popovich promised a gradual reintroduction. Leonard’s lone offensive rebound was a tip-out to himself that led to a bucket for a 55-50 San Antonio lead, and Popovich pulled him for good soon after.
The Mavericks, sparked by guard J.J. Barea’s aggressive drives to the basket, opened the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run, went up 91-80 with 4:01 to go and held on to snap the Spurs’ four-game winning streak as well as end their own three-game skid.
76ers 118, Timberwolves 112 (OT)
Joel Embiid had 28 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and J.J. Redick scored 26 points as Philadelphia pulled out an overtime victory over Minnesota.
Ben Simmons was held scoreless until 1:17 remained in regulation, but he ended up with seven points and eight assists for Philadelphia. The 76ers snapped a four-game losing streak by scoring the first six points of overtime and holding on in the back-and-forth game.
Jimmy Butler scored a season-high 38 points for Timberwolves, who shot only 40.7 percent from the field. Karl-Anthony Towns had his league-leading 22nd double-double with 19 points and 16 rebounds, and Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points for Minnesota.
Knicks 113, Lakers 109 (OT)
Kristaps Porzingis scored 37 points as New York emerged with an overtime victory over Los Angeles.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope paced the Lakers with 24 points. Los Angeles rookies Lonzo Ball (17 points, eight rebounds, six assists) and Kyle Kuzma (19 points) played well in their Madison Square Garden debuts.
Kuzma hit a 3-pointer with 23.9 seconds left to tie the game at 99, but New York’s Michael Beasley had two baskets and an assist on a Doug McDermott layup during a 69-second run in overtime to give the Knicks a six-point lead they would not relinquish.
Cavaliers 123, Hawks 114
Setting a season high with 20 3-pointers, Cleveland topped Atlanta.
LeBron James scored 25 points and tied a career high with 17 assists. He made two 3-pointers. Kyle Korver (19 points) drained six 3-pointers, and Kevin Love (17 points, 12 rebounds) added four treys, as did Jose Calderon (14 points, tying a season high).
Taurean Prince paced the Hawks with 24 points, and Kent Bazemore added 20.
Nuggets 103, Pistons 84
Jamal Murray fired in 28 points and reserve Trey Lyles tossed in 20, leading Denver to the easy victory over slumping Detroit.
Wilson Chandler scored 18 points, while Mason Plumlee supplied 10 points and a season-high 13 rebounds for the Nuggets, who never trailed. Gary Harris added eight points, six rebounds, nine assists and four steals.
The Pistons lost their seventh straight, their longest skid since dropping 10 in a row during February and March 2015. Langston Galloway led Detroit with 18 points.
Nets 103, Wizards 98
Allen Crabbe shook off a rough shooting night to hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 44 seconds left as Brooklyn beat Washington.
Crabbe was among seven Nets in double figures, finishing with 13 points. He shot 3 of 15 overall, 3 of 14 from 3-point range on a night when Brooklyn made 23.3 percent from long range.
Bradley Beal led Washington with 28 points but only scored three points in the fourth quarter. He shot 11 of 33 and missed all seven of his 3-point attempts.
Kings 99, Suns 92
Zach Randolph scored 11 of his 17 points during the final five minutes, and his three-point play with 44.9 seconds left helped lift Sacramento past Phoenix.
George Hill scored 18 points, and Buddy Hield contributed 14 points off the bench as Sacramento ended a three-game home losing streak.
TJ Warren scored 18 points to lead the Suns, who have dropped four in a row and nine of their past 11. Reserve Mike James scored 17 points in 20 minutes, Tyler Ulis added 10 points, and Tyson Chandler had seven points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix.
DeMar DeRozan had 26 points, nine assists and seven rebounds and Gregg Popovich continued his climb up the NBA’s career wins list as the visiting San Antonio Spurs defeated the Detroit Pistons 119-107 on Monday.
Popovich earned the 1,221st victory of his career, tying him with Jerry Sloan for third on the NBA’s all-time list among coaches. The 23rd-year Spurs coach trails only Don Nelson (1,335) and Lenny Wilkens (1,332).
San Antonio dominated the last three quarters after falling behind early. Just as they did against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, the Pistons got off to a good start, jumping out to a 21-9 lead with 4:55 remaining in the first quarter.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting for the Spurs, who have won five straight and six of their last seven. Blake Griffin had 34 points and eight assists, and Andre Drummond had 19 points and 14 rebounds in defeat for the Pistons, who have lost five of six.
Rockets 125, Nuggets 113
James Harden produced another sparkling double-double but this time received plenty of help as Houston extended its home-court winning streak to 10 games with a victory over Western Conference-leading Denver.
Harden paired 32 points with 14 assists. The Rockets also received a career-high 31 points from center Clint Capela (plus nine rebounds) and 21 points apiece from P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green. The Rockets bounced back after having their six-game win streak end Saturday against the Trail Blazers.
Houston finished 22 of 47 from behind the arc to outflank the Nuggets, who had a five-game winning streak snapped and lost to the Rockets for the second time this season. Nikola Jokic paced Denver with 24 points and 13 rebounds.
Celtics 116, Nets 95
Marcus Smart drained 3-pointers on consecutive possessions in the first quarter to begin a game-changing run by host Boston, which went on to beat Brooklyn.
The Celtics have won three straight and four of five. The Nets, who were trying to reach .500 beyond the midway point of the season for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign, had a three-game winning streak snapped and lost for just the fourth time in the last 16 games.
Kylie Irving, who returned after missing two games with a left eye injury, scored 17 points to lead a balanced Celtics attack. Seven other players scored in double figures for Boston. Rookie Rodions Kurucs scored 24 points and drained five 3-pointers for the Nets.
Bucks 114, Jazz 102
Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 30 points and 10 rebounds to help Milwaukee register a win over visiting Utah.
Malcolm Brogdon added 21 points for the Bucks, who won for the 10th time in their past 12 games. Brook Lopez contributed 15 points and eight rebounds, Thon Maker also scored 15 and Khris Middleton had 14 points and seven rebounds.
Donovan Mitchell scored 26 points for the Jazz but missed all five shots while going scoreless in the fourth quarter. Rudy Gobert added 14 points and 15 rebounds.
Lakers 107, Mavericks 97
Los Angeles put together a dominant third quarter to rally from a 15-point deficit and win at Dallas.
Brandon Ingram scored a season-high 29 points, Lonzo Ball had 21 and Michael Beasley, with 13 points, was key contributor in a third quarter the Lakers won 32-13. Los Angeles earned just its second victory in seven games playing without injured star LeBron James.
Mavs rookie Luka Doncic finished with a team-high 27 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Pelicans 114, Grizzlies 95
Anthony Davis had 36 points and 13 rebounds as host New Orleans defeated Memphis. The Pelicans, who handed the Cavaliers their ninth consecutive loss on Saturday in Cleveland, gave the Grizzlies their sixth consecutive loss.
The Pelicans last won consecutive games during a three-game winning streak from Nov. 16-19. Memphis dropped to 3-13 since a 107-103 victory against the host Pelicans on Dec. 7.
Frank Jackson came off the bench to add 17 points for the Pelicans. Mike Conley led Memphis with 22 points and 10 assists, JaMychal Green came off the Grizzlies’ bench to score 16.
Kings 111, Magic 95
De’Aaron Fox led a balanced attack with 20 points as host Sacramento followed up a record-setting shooting performance with one of its best defensive efforts of the season in a victory over travel-weary Orlando.
The Kings limited the Magic to 36.8 percent shooting and the third-lowest scoring output for a Sacramento opponent this season en route to their second straight season-series sweep of Orlando.
Terrence Ross came off the bench to score 20 points for the Magic, who were playing their fifth straight on the road and second in two days, having lost to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
Trail Blazers 111, Knicks 101
Jusuf Nurkic scored 20 points to lead six Trail Blazers in double figures as Portland swept to a victory over visiting New York.
CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard both added 17 points, and Lillard had nine assists for the Trail Blazers, who won for the ninth time in 13 games. Seth Curry scored 13 points, and Jake Layman and Evan Turner had 10 apiece for Portland.
Enes Kanter came off the bench for 18 points and 14 rebounds, Emmanuel Mudiay scored 17 points, and Noah Vonleh contributed 16 points and 14 boards for the Knicks, who have lost in 14 of their past 16 outings.
FILE PHOTO: Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol (33) reacts during an NBA playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers last season in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo: Reuters/Justin Ford/USA Today Sports
Marc Gasol scored 26 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and made four 3-point shots to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 100-87 road win on Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Mike Conley added 18 points and nine assists for the Grizzlies, who now have won five of six. The Timberwolves had won three straight since trading Jimmy Butler to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Grizzlies broke open the game in the third quarter by outscoring the Timberwolves, 28-19. Through three quarters, Memphis had forced 16 Minnesota turnovers and the Timberwolves concluded with 20 miscues.
Derrick Rose kept the Timberwolves in the game, scoring 18 off the bench. Rose was 6 of 11 from the field, including 2-for-4 from long range. Newly acquired Dario Saric also gave Minnesota a lift off the bench, scoring 14 points.
The Grizzlies shot 42.7 percent from the field. Minnesota shot 39.2.
A telling sign that Sunday just wasn’t the Timberwolves’ day — with time running out late in the fourth, Garrett Temple threw up a 3-point attempt from 30 feet and hit nothing but net to give Memphis a 96-83 lead.
Another sign — Gasol sank a corner 3 midway through the third to give the Grizzlies a double-digit lead at 66-54. Minnesota had not won a game where it trailed by double digits all season, and still hasn’t.
Shelvin Mack’s 3-point jumper made it 69-54 as the Grizzlies defense smothered the Minnesota offense.
The Timberwolves cut the deficit to eight midway through the fourth and when Covington forced the ball off Conley’s knee, it appeared Minnesota would have a chance to creep even closer.
But a missed call allowed the Grizzlies to keep the ball and Gasol made a 3 making the score 81-69.
Saric answered to cut the lead to 10 but Gasol could not be stopped. Memphis’ big man sank another 3 and it seemed Memphis had an answer every time Minnesota tried to claw back.
Memphis dictated the pace from the get-go but trailed 20-17 after the first quarter. The Grizzlies outscored the Timberwolves 30-23 in the second period and took a 47-43 lead into halftime.
Minnesota shot just 35 percent (14 of 40) in the first half while the Grizzlies were just a little better at 39.1 percent (18-for-46).
The two teams combined to turn the ball over 19 times in the first half.
Sep 24, 2018; El Segundo, CA, USA; LeBron James answers a question during the Los Angeles Lakers media day at the UCLA Health Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (Reuters) – Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James said on Monday his new team has a long way to go before they can dethrone the reigning champion Golden State Warriors but added that he will be excited to get started when training camp kicks off this week.
Donning the iconic gold and purple Lakers jersey, the 33-year-old told reporters that just because he has been to eight consecutive NBA Finals does not mean his squad was destined to represent the Western Conference in the Finals this year.
“We’ve got a long way to go to catch Golden State,” he said of the Oakland-based Warriors, who have defeated the James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in three of the last four NBA Finals, with the Cavs getting some revenge by winning the 2015-16 title.
“They can pick up right where they left off… we’re picking up from scratch,” the three-time NBA champion told a news conference at the Lakers training facility in El Segundo.
“We can only focus on what we can do to get better every day as a Lakers franchise and hopefully someday we can put ourselves in a position where we can compete for a championship as Golden State has done for the last few years.”
James will join a young core group of players that includes 20-year-old Lonzo Ball and 23-year-olds Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart as well as savvy veterans Javale McGee and Rajon Rondo, who like James signed with the Lakers in the offseason.
James’ left Cleveland in July after signing a four-year, $154 million which gives new life to the Lakers, a storied franchise that dominated for periods of the 1980s and 2000s but missed the playoffs in the last five seasons.
LEARNING CURVE James, who is widely considered the best player of his generation, is expected to take on the role of a player-coach on the court, but also said he was eager to improve his own game.
“No matter where I am at in my career, I’m always at a point where I want to learn and get things from team mates and coaches,” he said.
“So I’m looking forward to seeing what we can all bring to the table and how we can all bounce ideas off one another to better our games.”
James bristled at the suggestion he may be spreading himself too thin with the many entertainment projects his SpringHill Entertainment production company is involved with and his starring role in the long-anticipated Space Jam movie.
“I’m a basketball player first. I play ball. That’s what I do, that’s what I live by,” he said.
“When I do it at the level I do it at everything else will take care of itself. As far as my businesses, those things were taking care of themselves way before I even came out here to be part of the Lakers franchise.”
The Lakers kick off their season on Oct. 18 with a visit to the Portland Trail Blazers before playing their first home game against the Houston Rockets at the Staples Center on Oct. 20.
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