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  • Lakers G Rondo cleared for full-contact practice
    By Field Level Media / Friday, January 18, 2019

    Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo has received clearance to resume full-contact practices, the team announced Friday.

    • Rondo has missed the team's past 12 games after surgery to repair a Grade 3 sprain to his right ring finger, suffered during a win over Golden State on Christmas Day. While he finished out the game, during which LeBron James also suffered a left groin strain, Rondo was in considerable pain the next day and unable to use his hand. He had surgery three days later and was expected to miss at least four weeks with the injury.

      This is the second injury to his right hand that Rondo has rehabbed this season. In November he fractured a bone in the hand and missed 17 games.

      In 14 games this season, Rondo is averaging 8.4 points, 6.7 assists and 4.4 rebounds. This is his first season with the Lakers, who signed him in July as a free agent.

      His limited appearances are due not only to injures but also to a three-game suspension for fighting in October. Rondo had just returned to action Dec. 21 following his November hand surgery and played three games in four days before getting hurt again.

      The Lakers play the Rockets in Houston on Saturday before returning home to face Golden State on Monday. James did not join the team for its two-game road trip, but the Lakers announced earlier this week that he was cleared to practice next week.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mavericks PG Smith to miss road trip
    By Field Level Media / Friday, January 18, 2019

    The impasse between the Dallas Mavericks and second-year point guard Dennis Smith Jr. continues, and coach Rick Carlisle said Friday that Smith won't be on an upcoming two-game road trip.

    • Smith, who is unhappy with the club, didn't report to practice on Friday, according to Carlisle. The Mavericks visit the Indiana Pacers on Saturday and the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday.

      Smith has missed the past four games while reportedly being frustrated with his role and having heavy friction with Carlisle.

      The club listed back soreness as the reason for why Smith missed three straight games. Then Smith's agent called in sick for his client for a practice on Tuesday and for Wednesday's 105-101 loss to the San Antonio Spurs.

      Multiple reports claim Smith is upset that his role is different this season with rookie star Luka Doncic evolving as the leader of the offense.

      Carlisle said he reached out to Smith and his agent on Thursday night to reiterate he'd like the 21-year-old to return to the team.

      "Dennis Smith is not here, but I wanted to let everybody know that I reached out to him and his agent last night to let them know that when he's feeling better he's welcome to rejoin the team at any time," Carlisle told reporters. "We would love to have him back. In his year and a half here he has started every game that he has been available to play, and during that period of time he has experienced significant growth on both sides of the ball. And I'm very proud of the progress that he has made.

      "So that's where we are. I don't expect him to be on this trip, but, again, I just think that he's part of this team and we'd love to have him back."

      The Dallas Morning News reported earlier this week that Smith craves a fresh start with a new team.

      Smith is averaging 12.6 points, 3.9 assists and 2.6 rebounds this season. As a rookie, he averaged 15.2 points, 5.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds.

      The Mavericks selected Smith with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He played one season at North Carolina State.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Anthony has 'multiple options' for return to NBA
    By Field Level Media / Friday, January 18, 2019

    Carmelo Anthony has "multiple options" available to him if he wants to return to the NBA, The Athletic reported Friday.

    • Anthony, 34, is on the roster of the Houston Rockets, but he and the team divorced in mid-November. He signed a one-year, $2.4 million contract in the summer.

      He is expected to choose one of the options before the NBA trade deadline on Feb. 7. It is unclear whether the Rockets would try to trade him or waive him. No potential suitors were named.

      Anthony, a 16-year veteran, never found his place with the Rockets and appeared in just 10 games, averaging 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game. He shot just 40.5 percent, and in his final game with the Rockets, he was 1-of-11 shooting and missed six shots from 3-point range.

      For his career, he has averaged 24.0 points. He is a 10-time All-Star, and his 25,551 career points put him third in scoring among active NBA players, trailing only LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Lakers take down Thunder in OT
    By Field Level Media / Friday, January 18, 2019

    Kyle Kuzma scored 32 points to help the Los Angeles Lakers earn a 138-128 overtime win over the host Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night.

    • Kuzma hit seven 3-pointers, and Los Angeles' Ivica Zubac scored a career-high 26 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Lonzo Ball added 18 points, including five in overtime as the Lakers outscored Oklahoma City 16-6, and dished out 10 assists.

      The Thunder lost for the fifth time in six games. The Lakers won their second in a row and improved to 5-7 without LeBron James (groin) and Rajon Rondo (hand).

      The Thunder faltered from behind the arc in overtime, going 2-for-12 from 3-point range. Oklahoma City attempted just one field goal inside the arc in the extra session. Paul George led the Thunder with 27 points. Russell Westbrook had 26 points and 13 assists but shot just 7 of 30 from the field.

      Raptors 111, Suns 109

      Pascal Siakam made a layup at the buzzer and Toronto defeated visiting Phoenix. Siakam ended the game with 10 points and 12 rebounds.

      Kyle Lowry had 16 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Raptors. Serge Ibaka added 22 points.

      Devin Booker scored 30 points for the Suns. Deandre Ayton added 15 points and 17 rebounds while Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 18 points and had nine rebounds off the bench.

      Nuggets 135, Bulls 105

      Jamal Murray scored 22 of his 25 points in the third quarter, Nikola Jokic had 18 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds, and host Denver routed Chicago. The Nuggets were coming off a 142-111 home loss to Golden State on Tuesday in which the Warriors set an NBA record for points in a first quarter with 51.

      Paul Millsap finished with 14 points, and Gary Harris, returning from missing five games due to a strained left hamstring, scored 14 off the bench for Denver.

      Lauri Markkanen had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Robin Lopez finished with 17 points and Jabari Parker had 15 for Chicago. The Bulls have lost nine in a row and have yet to win in the 2019 calendar year.

      76ers 120, Pacers 96

      Joel Embiid, despite battling a sore lower back, had 22 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists to lift visiting Philadelphia past Indiana in Indianapolis. It was Embiid's 38th double-double of the season and his 12th in his past 13 games.

      Jimmy Butler scored 27 points for the 76ers, and JJ Redick added 20, highlighted by six 3-pointers. Mike Muscala also contributed 11 while Ben Simmons had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

      Thaddeus Young led the Pacers with 27 points while Victor Oladipo added 15 on 6-of-20 shooting. Indiana had its four-game home winning streak snapped.

      Hornets 114, Kings 95

      Kemba Walker led a balanced attack with 23 points, and Charlotte gained revenge on the visiting Kings after a loss on Saturday in Sacramento.

      The Hornets erupted for 43 points in the second quarter after trailing by as many as 13 early, and they went on to lead by 13 at halftime and by 21 in the second half.

      The Hornets also got 15 points each from Miles Bridges and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, 14 points apiece from Jeremy Lamb and Tony Parker. Buddy Hield led the Kings with 24 points.

      Wizards 101, Knicks 100

      New York's Allonzo Trier was called for goaltending with less than one second remaining, and Washington rallied from 16 points down to win at the O2 Arena in London.

      Trailing 100-99, the Wizards inbounded with 3.3 seconds left and Thomas Bryant drove the lane. His floater was deflected with less than one second remaining. The trail official made the goaltending call, and after a review of several minutes, the call stood.

      New York inbounded with four-tenths of a second remaining on the clock, and Emmanuel Mudiay's shot was off the mark. Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 26 points, Mudiay had 25, and Otto Porter Jr. added 20.

      --Field Level Media

  • Rockets' Capela has thumb surgery, out 4-6 weeks
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    The news for Houston Rockets center Clint Capela didn't get any better on Thursday following an injury to his right thumb in a loss to the Orlando Magic on Sunday.

    • After undergoing surgery Thursday to repair a torn ligament in the thumb, the fifth-year big man is expected to miss four to six weeks, according to Rockets general manager Daryl Morey. The procedure was done in Los Angeles by Dr. Steven Shin.

      Capela, who signed a five-year, $80 million contract extension this summer, has career-high averages of 17.6 points and 12.6 rebounds in 34.2 minutes through 42 games this season, along with 1.8 block shots a game.

      According to ESPN sources, the Rockets expect him to miss the remaining 15 games before the All-Star break, then possibly return for a Feb. 21 game at the Los Angeles Lakers.

      Capela joins Chris Paul (hamstring) and Brandon Knight (knee) on the injured list while Eric Gordon (knee) remains day-to-day, leaving the Rockets in survival mode, even with James Harden playing at the top of his game.

      "Thirty-three minutes of All-Star-level basketball -- you can't make that up," Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said recently. "Other guys are going to have to step up and play and play well, and we'll have to figure out different ways. ... (Getting) Chris back will help as soon as we can. But in the meantime, you're not going to replace Clint. We're going to try to do as well as we can to play around (his absence). I still think we've got enough to hang in there until he gets back."

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: All-Star Game draft to be televised
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    A year after being criticized for failing to televise its All-Star Game draft, the NBA on Thursday confirmed the 2019 version will air on live TV. The draft is scheduled for Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. ET and will be shown on TNT. The game will be played Feb. 17 in Charlotte, N.C.

    • For the second year in a row, the All-Star Game rosters will be set through a draft, with two captains selecting players, regardless of conference, from a pool of starters voted in by fans, players and media, and reserves selected by coaches.

      The leading vote-getter from fan balloting for each conference will be the captain. The third update of fan balloting shows the Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James leading the Western Conference and the Milwaukee Bucks' Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the East.

      Last season, James and Stephen Curry were captains and made selections via conference call. The order in which they selected players ultimately was leaked, and many -- including several players -- argued the draft should have been televised.

      --Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving called former teammate LeBron James to apologize for "being that young player" when both were in Cleveland.

      Irving told reporters he delivered his mea culpa to James last Saturday after the Celtics' frustrating loss in Orlando that resulted in Irving airing his displeasure with coach Brad Stevens and teammate Gordon Hayward.

      "Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call (LeBron) and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold," Irving said. "I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people."

      --Approaching his 70th birthday, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich remains undecided about coaching the Spurs beyond this season.

      "I don't know the answer," Popovich told The New York Times after Wednesday night's 105-101 victory against the Dallas Mavericks.

      Popovich, whose birthday is Jan. 28, is in the final season of a five-year contract extension he signed after the Spurs' most recent NBA championship in 2014.

      --Beginning next week, NBA referees will interact with fans and answer questions in real time on Twitter during a select number of games the rest of this season, ESPN reported.

      According to the report, referees who are watching the chosen games will answer questions about the officiating in those games, responding to tweets to the @OfficialNBARefs handle or using the hashtag #RefWatchParty.

      The first games to be part of the program this season will be the Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers game on TNT next Monday and the Spurs-76ers game in Philadelphia next Wednesday on ESPN.

      --The NBA has fined Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin $15,000 for verbal abuse of a game official.

      The incident took place at the end of the Pistons' 100-94 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday night.

      It's unclear what Griffin said to which official, but he was frustrated with calls throughout the game and vented after the final whistle.

      --The Miami Heat fined reserve guard Dion Waiters an undisclosed amount for his profanity-filled complaints about playing time earlier this week.

      Coming back from ankle surgery that sidelined him for nearly a year, Waiters has played in only five of Miami's first 42 games this season. After logging only 12 minutes in Tuesday's 124-86 loss at Milwaukee, he expressed his frustrations with the team's patient approach.

      "F--- patience," Waiters told a reporter from the Sun-Sentinel. "I want to play. I've been patient."

      --Field Level Media

  • Heat fine Waiters after profanity-laced complaints
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    The Miami Heat fined reserve guard Dion Waiters an undisclosed amount Thursday for his profanity-filled complaints about playing time earlier this week.

    • Coming back from left ankle surgery that sidelined him for nearly a year, the 27-year-old Waiters has played in only five of Miami's first 42 games this season.

      After logging only 12 minutes in Tuesday night's lopsided 124-86 loss at Milwaukee, Waiters expressed his frustrations with the team's patient approach.

      "F--- patience," he told a reporter from the Sun-Sentinel. "I want to play. I've been patient."

      Miami coach Erik Spoelstra called it an internal matter.

      "We fined him and we addressed it as a team," Spoelstra said Thursday. "I have empathy for everything he's gone through in the last year to get back to where he is right now. But this is not about him. This is only about the team and it's about winning."

      The Heat are 21-21 entering Friday's game at Detroit.

      Waiters believes he is ready to make a difference. In his first two seasons with Miami, he appeared in 76 games (73 starts) and averaged 15.2 points, 4.1 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 30.3 minutes per game.

      "I've been patient long enough," Waiters said Tuesday. "What I got to be patient for? Come on, man. Yeah, if I'm out there, play me right now."

      Waiters is part of a deep wing rotation that includes Dwyane Wade, Josh Richardson, Rodney McGruder, Tyler Johnson and Wayne Ellington.

      Asked about his next step, Waiters said, "Get back to my regular self, get me back in the starting lineup, s--- like that. That's what it is. You all know what it is. F---, I'm tired of this. I'm being patient right now."

      --Field Level Media

  • Harden, Durant trail in NBA All-Star fan balloting
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Houston Rockets guard James Harden is leading the NBA in scoring with a whopping 35.4 points per game average, but he's not first in the hearts of NBA fans.

    • In the latest NBA All-Star voting results released Thursday, Harden was behind Golden State's Stephen Curry and Minnesota's Derrick Rose in fan voting among Western Conference guards. All-Star starters are named based on the voting of fans (50 percent), NBA players (25 percent) and media (25 percent).

      Warriors forward Kevin Durant also finds himself on the outside in the fan balloting, trailing leading vote-getter LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas rookie Luka Doncic and Oklahoma City's Paul George in the front court.

      In the Eastern Conference, the leading vote-getters among fans in the front court are Giannis Antetokounmpo of Milwaukee, Kawhi Leonard of Toronto, Philadelphia's Joel Embiid and Boston's Jayson Tatum. At guard, Boston's Kyrie Irving and Miami's Dwyane Wade are in the lead, followed by Kemba Walker of Charlotte and Ben Simmons of Philadelphia.

      The 2019 NBA All-Star Game will be played Feb. 17 in Charlotte, N.C.

      Also on Thursday, the NBA announced the All-Star Game draft will be televised on Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. ET. It will air on TNT.

      In the draft, the two captains will select players, regardless of conference, from the elected starters and the reserves chosen by coaches.

      The leading vote-getter from fan balloting for each conference will be the captain.

      Last season, James and Golden State's Stephen Curry were team captains and made their selections via conference call. The order in which they selected some players was ultimately leaked, and many -- including several players -- argued the draft should have been televised in the first place.

      According to reports, the original plan was indeed to televise the draft but the players' union pushed back and the draft was moved to a conference call.

      --Field Level Media

  • Thunder C Noel cleared to play against Lakers
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Oklahoma City center Nerlens Noel has been cleared to play Thursday night against the Los Angeles Lakers after suffering a concussion earlier this month, the club announced.

    • Noels took an inadvertent elbow to the head from Minnesota's Andrew Wiggins on Jan. 8.

      Noel lost consciousness while being knocked to the floor at the 5:16 mark of the third quarter. He was taken off the court on a stretcher and was held overnight at OU Hospital for tests and observations.

      Noel was released from the hospital the following day and was placed in the NBA's concussion protocol.

      Noel, 24, is in his first season in Oklahoma City after four seasons with Philadelphia and Dallas. He has appeared in 39 games for the Thunder, averaging 5.1 points and 4.6 rebounds. He has posted 20 straight games with a blocked shot.

      --Field Level Media

  • Spurs' Popovich unsure about coaching in 2019-20
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Approaching his 70th birthday, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich remains undecided about coaching the Spurs beyond this season.

    • "I don't know the answer," Popovich told The New York Times after Wednesday night's 105-101 victory against the Dallas Mavericks.

      Popovich, whose birthday is Jan. 28, is in the final season of a five-year contract extension he signed after the Spurs' most recent NBA championship in 2014.

      Popovich told the Times' Marc Stein he has periodically discussed various options with team president R.C. Buford.

      "He'll coach as long as he wants to coach," Buford said.

      Popovich is a three-time NBA Coach of the Year and has won five NBA titles in San Antonio. Entering Friday's game at Minnesota, he ranks third in league history with 1,223 wins. He trails only Hall of Fame coaches Don Nelson (1,335) and Lenny Wilkens (1,332).

      The Spurs (26-20) are seeking a 22nd consecutive playoff appearance under Popovich, a remarkable run that began in his first full season as head coach in 1997-98.

      On his birthday, he will join Bill Bertka (71), Hubie Brown (71) and Larry Brown (70) as the only head coaches to work into their 70s, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

      Popovich has committed to spending the next two summers coaching the USA Basketball men's national team at the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China and the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: NBA refs to answer fan tweets during games
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Beginning next week, NBA referees will interact with fans and answer questions in real time on Twitter during a select number of games the rest of this season, according to a report Thursday by ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

    • According to the report, referees who are watching the chosen games will answer questions about the officiating in those games, responding to tweets to the @OfficialNBARefs handle or using the hashtag #RefWatchParty.

      The officials responding to the tweets will have access to the same NBA replay center in Secaucus, N.J., that the actual officials calling the game will have, including every available camera angle.

      The NBA experimented with the idea during an NBA Finals game last season and, based on the response, have decided to expand the project to more games this season, including some playoff games, Windhorst reported.

      The first games to be part of the program this season will be the Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers game on TNT next Monday and the Spurs-76ers game in Philadelphia next Wednesday on ESPN.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA levies $15K fine on Griffin for verbal abuse of refs
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    The NBA fined Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin $15,000 for verbal abuse of a game official, the league announced Thursday.

    • The incident took place during at the end of the Pistons' 100-94 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday night.

      It's unclear what Griffin said to which official, but he was frustrated with calls throughout the game and vented after the final whistle.

      Griffin finished the game with 19 points, four assists and four rebounds in the loss.

      --Field Level Media

  • Irving apologized to LeBron for ‘being that young player’
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving called former teammate LeBron James to apologize for "being that young player" when both were in Cleveland.

    • Irving, fresh off a 27-point, 18-assist performance in Wednesday night's staple victory over the Toronto Raptors, told reporters he delivered his mea culpa to James last Saturday after the Celtics' frustrating loss in Orlando that resulted in Irving airing his displeasure with coach Brad Stevens and teammate Gordon Hayward.

      "Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call [LeBron] and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold," Irving said. "I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.

      "[LeBron] was one of those guys who came to Cleveland and tried to show us how to win a championship, and it was hard for him, and sometimes getting the most out of the group is not the easiest thing in the world," Irving said.

      Irving said Saturday that the Celtics lacked "experience" but then apologized after being called out by teammate Jaylen Brown, who said the team "can't be pointing fingers."

      "I did a poor job of setting an example for these guys of what it's like to get something out of your teammates," Irving said Wednesday. "You go and you say something publicly, and it ends up received in so many different ways, and you never know how fragile or what guys are going through when you say things like that. You're expecting results, but at the same time, I should've kept it in-house.

      "[Jaylen] was right. I gotta do the right things and not point fingers at individuals and really realize what we can do as [a] group, despite when we go on the road or the mishaps we may have.

      Cleveland's Kevin Love told The Athletic he was out with LeBron in L.A. when Irving called to apologize.

      "LeBron looked down at his phone and he showed us," Love told The Athletic. "He was like, ‘I wonder what he wants?'"

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Nets shock Harden, Rockets in OT
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, January 17, 2019

    Spencer Dinwiddie converted a three-point play with 28 seconds remaining in overtime, and the Brooklyn Nets erased a seven-point deficit in the extra session for a 145-142 victory over the host Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

    • Dinwiddie scored 25 of his 33 points in the fourth period and overtime, including three 3-pointers in the final 27 seconds of regulation, allowing Brooklyn to overcome a season-high 58 points from Houston's James Harden.

      Harden recorded his second consecutive 50-point game, and he added 10 rebounds and six assists. The Rockets set an NBA record with 70 3-point attempts, with PJ Tucker hitting a 3-pointer with 1:09 left in regulation to bypass the old mark of 61.

      Brooklyn's Treveon Graham added 21 points while Jarrett Allen piled up 20 points and 24 rebounds.

      Warriors 147, Pelicans 140

      Stephen Curry led a comeback with seven 3-pointers in a 23-point third quarter as Golden State rallied past New Orleans in Oakland, Calif.

      Curry finished with 41 points and Kevin Durant scored 30 as the Warriors capped an impressive sweep of Denver on the road and New Orleans at home on consecutive nights.

      Anthony Davis finished with 30 points, 18 rebounds and seven assists, and Nikola Mirotic bombed in six 3-pointers in a 29-point effort for the Pelicans. New Orleans lost to the Warriors for the 22nd time in their past 24 regular-season meetings.

      Celtics 117, Raptors 108

      Kyrie Irving made a go-ahead jumper and added a 3-pointer during an 11-0 run late in the fourth quarter as Boston defeated visiting Toronto.

      Irving finished with 27 points and a career-best 18 assists as the Celtics ended a three-game losing streak and snapped Toronto's five-game winning streak. Al Horford contributed some big points down the stretch in a 24-point game for the Celtics, and Gordon Hayward added 18.

      Kawhi Leonard scored 33 points to top Toronto, which led by four in the middle of the fourth quarter and was tied 106-106 with 2 1/2 minutes to go. Serge Ibaka added 22 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors.

      Spurs 105, Mavericks 101

      San Antonio relied on its bench to rally from a 19-point deficit and win at Dallas.

      Marco Belinelli led the bench charge in the second half, and he topped the Spurs in scoring with 17 points. Patty Mills had 14 and Davis Bertans added 12 points, including a dagger 3-pointer with 1:42 to play.

      Rookie Luka Doncic led Dallas with 25 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.

      Bucks 111, Grizzlies 101

      Giannis Antetokounmpo recorded 27 points and 11 rebounds as Milwaukee posted a victory at Memphis.

      Eric Bledsoe added 16 points as the Bucks won for the 14th time in the past 17 games. D.J. Wilson scored a career-best 13 points for Milwaukee, which led by as many as 31 points.

      Omri Casspi scored 17 points for Memphis, which has dropped nine of its past 10 games and 16 of 20. JaMychal Green had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

      Pistons 120, Magic 115

      Blake Griffin scored 30 points, including the last seven in overtime, and host Detroit emerged with a win over Orlando.

      The Pistons blew an 11-point lead in the fourth-quarter before pulling out the victory. Andre Drummond had 14 points and 22 rebounds, and Luke Kennard contributed 14 points off the Detroit bench.

      Terrence Ross and Nikola Vucevic had 24 points apiece for the Magic, and Vucevic pulled down 13 rebounds.

      Jazz 129, Clippers 109

      Rudy Gobert had 23 points and 22 rebounds to lead Utah to its season-high fifth consecutive win, a blowout at Los Angeles. The Clippers lost their fourth in a row to match their season-worst skid.

      Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points to surpass his season scoring average (21.5) for the seventh straight game. He is averaging 29.7 points in that stretch.

      Utah also received 23 points from Jae Crowder and 19 from Kyle Korver, both players coming off the bench. Derrick Favors added 11 points and 10 rebounds, and Royce O'Neale contributed 10 points. Lou Williams scored 23 points off the bench to lead the Clippers.

      Trail Blazers 129, Cavaliers 112

      Damian Lillard scored 33 points to lead Portland past visiting Cleveland.

      CJ McCollum added 19 points and Jusuf Nurkic finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his first career triple-double for the Trail Blazers, who won their fifth straight home contest.

      Jordan Clarkson came off the bench for 22 points and Rodney Hood added 20 for the Cavaliers, who lost for the 13th time in 14 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • LeBron cleared to return to practice next week
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James has been cleared to return to practice next week, about one month after he suffered a strained groin on Christmas Day.

    • James, 34, will not travel with the team for road games against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday and the Houston Rockets on Saturday.

      The four-time NBA MVP was evaluated by the team's medical staff on Wednesday. No date was set for his first game back, with a statement released by the Lakers saying only that he would "progress towards a return to game play thereafter."

      So far, the Lakers are 4-7 since James got hurt in the Dec. 25 victory at Golden State, including a 107-100 win against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.

      In his first season with Los Angeles, James is averaging 27.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 7.1 assists in 34 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Turkey seeks warrant for Knicks' Kanter
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Sabah newspaper reported Turkish prosecutors are seeking a warrant for the arrest of New York Knicks center Enes Kanter on accusations he is part of a terrorist organization.

    • Chief prosecutors in Istanbul reportedly have prepared an extradition request for Kanter, who responded to the report immediately via Twitter on Wednesday.

      "Turkish Government can NOT present any single piece of evidence of my wrongdoing," Kanter wrote. "I don't even have a parking ticket in the US (True). I have always been a law-abiding resident."

      Kanter's Turkish passport was revoked in 2017 and he refused to travel to London with the Knicks this week, claiming spies or other Turkish operatives could assassinate him.

      Knicks head coach David Fizdale said he wasn't aware of the report as the team met media in London on Wednesday.

      "We miss him," Fizdale added.

      Mario Hezonja, a teammate and close friend of Kanter's, said Wednesday the team wishes he was part of the trip.

      "I'm just extremely sad that he's not with us," Hezonja said. "As you all know he's an amazing guy to have around, so I'm just sad that he's not with us and he's not going to be on the court with us."

      The newspaper said prosecutors are seeking an Interpol "Red Notice" over alleged ties to Fethullah Gulen, blamed for a failed coup in 2016, and accusations that Kanter provided financial support to that mission.

      A Red Notice is a formal request to locate and arrest an individual facing extradition.

      The United States would have to comply with the request and likely would do so only in the event there is compelling evidence Kanter committed a crime that could be prosecutable in the U.S.

      --Field Level Media

  • Lakers without James at least two more games
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    LeBron James will not travel with the Los Angeles Lakers for the team's upcoming road games to Oklahoma City and Houston, ESPN reported Wednesday morning citing agent Rich Paul.

    • James strained his left groin Christmas Day against the Golden State Warriors and has missed 11 games. The Lakers are 4-7 without him, including a 107-100 win over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday.

      Paul told ESPN James has not been ruled out for Monday's date with the Warriors, a Martin Luther King Jr. Day game at Staples Center.

      Earlier Tuesday, Lakers coach Luke Walton said he was optimistic the Lakers would get good news when James is evaluated Wednesday.

      James was active and upramped his physical activity on Tuesday, shooting and passing in half-court activities.

      "I think we'll get good news back," Walton said.

      James has not taken part in any full-court team activities.

      On Monday, injured point guard Rajon Rondo was cleared by doctors to dribble with his right hand. He also was injured in the Christmas game and three days later had surgery to repair a ligament in his right ring finger. It was estimated he would miss four to five weeks.

      James and Rondo both practiced 3-pointers at Tuesday's shootaround.

      "I was encouraged," Walton said. "(Always) good to see those two on the court."

      --Field Level Media

  • Rockets, House fail to reach deal
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    After a reported breakdown in contract negotiations, the Houston Rockets lost a small forward, and Danuel House Jr. lost his spot on an NBA roster.

    • House returned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G-League on Tuesday night after he and the Rockets could not find common ground. The 25-year-old Houston native provided a feel-good story for the Rockets this season but had run out of his allotment of NBA service days on his two-way contract.

      The Rockets offered a multiyear, partially guaranteed contract to keep House instead of securing his roster spot with a standard NBA contract for the remainder of this season, according to the Houston Chronicle. House reportedly wanted a fully guaranteed deal for the rest of this season but did not want a multiyear deal because he can become a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

      In 25 games (12 starts) this season, House averaged 9.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and one assist per game. He has played in 49 NBA games over parts of three seasons with the Washington Wizards, Phoenix Suns and Rockets.

      Houston might try to add a small forward on a 10-day contract to replace House, the Chronicle reported. One option is James Nunnally, who appeared in 13 games with the Minnesota Timberwolves earlier this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Warriors score record 51 in 1st quarter
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, January 16, 2019

    Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson scored 31 points apiece, Kevin Durant had 27, and the hot-shooting Golden State Warriors routed the host Denver Nuggets 142-111 on Tuesday night.

    • The Warriors set an NBA record for a first quarter by scoring 51 points. The previous record of 50 points was held by five teams, with the Phoenix Suns the last club to accomplish the feat on Nov. 10, 1990.

      Overall, Golden State shot 60 percent from the floor, including 53.8 percent from 3-point range. The Warriors hit 10 3-pointers in the first period to set a franchise record and finished 21 of 39 from long distance. Curry finished 8 of 13 and Thompson 5 of 8 from 3-point range.

      Malik Beasley scored 22 points and Jamal Murray had 21 for the Nuggets.

      Hawks 142, Thunder 126

      Trae Young scored 24 points and added 11 assists and six rebounds as Atlanta blew out visiting Oklahoma City. It was his 14th double-double of the season.

      Atlanta's John Collins made his first 11 field-goal attempts and finished the night 12-for-14 to score 26 points. Many of Young's assists were turned into baskets by Alex Len, who scored 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting and grabbed 11 rebounds.

      Russell Westbrook had 31 points and 11 assists for the Thunder. Paul George added 24 points and eight rebounds.

      76ers 149, Timberwolves 107

      Joel Embiid scored 31 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lift host Philadelphia to an easy victory over Minnesota.

      Embiid recorded his league-leading 37th double-double. In addition, Embiid posted his league-best 30th game with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds.

      Ben Simmons had 20 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, while Jimmy Butler added 19 points in his first game against his former team. JJ Redick also had 15 for the Sixers, who made a franchise-record 21 3-pointers. Derrick Rose topped the Timberwolves with 15 points.

      Bucks 124, Heat 86

      Giannis Antetokounmpo posted his 13th career triple-double with 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, leading host Milwaukee to a win over Miami. It was the largest margin of defeat for the Heat this season.

      Antetokounmpo also had three steals in his third triple-double of the season. The leading scorers for the Bucks were Eric Bledsoe (17 points) and Malcolm Brogdon (16).

      Milwaukee, which has the second-best record in the NBA at 31-12, improved its home mark to a league-leading 20-4.

      Pacers 131, Suns 97

      Bojan Bogdanovic scored 10 of his 20 points in the first 4:14 of the game as Indiana ran up a 19-point lead in the first quarter en route to a romp over visiting Phoenix.

      Myles Turner, returning from a four-game absence caused by a sore right shoulder, scored 18 points and was among seven Pacers in double figures. Indiana won its second straight in the opener of a five-game homestand.

      T.J. Warren had a team-high 18 points and Kelly Oubre Jr. 16 for the Suns, who were tipping off a four-game trip.

      Lakers 107, Bulls 100

      Lonzo Ball had 19 points and eight rebounds, and Los Angeles earned a victory against visiting Chicago, which took its eighth consecutive loss.

      Lakers coach Luke Walton moved veterans Tyson Chandler and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope into the starting lineup at center and shooting guard, respectively, and moved JaVale McGee and Josh Hart to the bench. Caldwell-Pope scored 17 points, Kyle Kuzma had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and Brandon Ingram had 16 points and nine rebounds.

      Jabari Parker scored 18 points off the bench to lead the Bulls, who hadn't lost eight in a row since a 10-game skid from Nov. 19-Dec. 6, 2017. Lauri Markkanen added 17 points, and Chandler Hutchison and Ryan Arcidiacono scored 12 apiece for Chicago.

      --Field Level Media

  • Warriors set NBA record with 51-point first quarter
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    The Golden State Warriors made history with a 51-point first quarter on Tuesday night against the host Denver Nuggets.

    • The record-setting outburst marked the highest-scoring first quarter by any NBA team, according to Basketball Reference. The previous record of 50 points was held by five teams, with the Phoenix Suns the last club to accomplish the feat on Nov. 10, 1990.

      Golden State sprinted into the record books thanks in large part to 10 3-pointers, which marked the most during any quarter in team history, according to the Warriors' public relations staff. Stephen Curry had four 3-pointers, while Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson had three apiece.

      The Warriors led 51-38 at the end of the quarter. The teams' 89 points combined fell just two points shy of the NBA record of 91 points in the first quarter, which the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets set on April 10, 1982. The Nuggets now have been involved in the top four of the league's highest-scoring first quarters.

      Durant capped the scoring with a drive to the rim and a thunderous dunk with 3.9 seconds remaining in the quarter. Durant finished with 17 points on 7-for-7 shooting in the quarter. Thompson had 13 points and Curry had 12.

      Denver entered the contest with the best record in the Western Conference at 29-13.

      --Field Level Media

  • 76ers sign veteran Brewer to 10-day contract
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    The Philadelphia 76ers signed veteran swingman Corey Brewer to a 10-day contract, the team announced Tuesday.

    • The 76ers worked out multiple players over a two-day span and decided to go with Brewer, who was a member of the Dallas Mavericks' 2011 NBA title team.

      "You look at the character, you look at his defense, you look at his ability to shoot the ball," Philadelphia coach Brett Brown told reporters of what made Brewer the player to sign. "It is also draped under he won two national titles at Florida (2006 and 2007), he won an NBA championship, he's a 12-year veteran, he's good people. It all kind of fit."

      Brewer split last season between the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder and averaged 5.3 points in 72 games (18 starts). He also started all six of the Thunder's postseason games.

      Brewer, who turns 33 in March, has career averages of 8.9 points and 1.3 steals, and he is just 13 thefts shy of reaching 1,000 for his career. He has played in 783 games (307 starts) with the Minnesota Timberwolves (two stints), Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Lakers and Thunder.

      Brewer was the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament while with the Gators in 2007.

      He was the seventh overall pick of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Timberwolves, who visit the 76ers on Tuesday.

      The contest will mark Jimmy Butler's first against Minnesota since clashing with the organization and being traded to the 76ers in November.

      --Field Level Media

  • Lakers hope for good news about LeBron
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    LeBron James had a productive day at the Los Angeles Lakers' shootaround on Tuesday, and coach Luke Walton said the team is optimistic that encouraging news about their superstar is forthcoming.

    • James, who has missed 10 games with a groin injury, is scheduled for a medical evaluation on Wednesday. At the shootaround, he was more active than he has been, shooting and passing in half-court activities.

      "I think we'll get good news back," Walton said, according to ESPN.

      James has not taken part in any full-court team activities since he suffered the injury in the Lakers' Christmas Day victory over the Golden State Warriors.

      The Lakers (23-21) have gone 3-7 without James and have fallen into ninth place in the Western Conference standings entering Tuesday's home game against the Chicago Bulls.

      On Monday, injured point guard Rajon Rondo was cleared by doctors to dribble with his right hand. He also was injured in the Christmas game and three days later had surgery to repair a ligament in his right ring finger. It was estimated he would miss four to five weeks.

      James and Rondo both practiced 3-pointers at Tuesday's shootaround.

      "I was encouraged," Walton said. "(Always) good to see those two on the court."

      --Field Level Media

  • Kings G Shumpert prevented from entering Blazers’ lockerroom
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    Sacramento Kings guard Imam Shumpert was prevented from entering the Portland Trail Blazers locker room to confront Jusuf Nurkic after Monday night's game.

    • Shumpert was still upset from a hard screen that Nurkic put on Shumpert in the first quarter of the Kings' 115-107 victory over the Blazers in Sacramento.

      "Some stuff needed to be between me and him, a conversation between two men," Shumpert said. "Some stuff happened out there that we needed to have a conversation about. That's it."

      Shumpert was jawing with the Blazers bench throughout the game, and he earned a technical foul in the 3rd quarter. He finished the game with 6 points, 3 rebounds an assist.

      "I'm not going to worry about it," Nurkic said. "He's going into retirement soon. I'm not going to worry about a guy who's going into retirement soon."

      Shumpert made an apology on Twitter early Tuesday morning.

      "I apologize to the fans if I made a scene," Shumpert tweeted, in part.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Harden (57) lights up Grizzlies
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, January 15, 2019

    James Harden scored a season-high 57 points, and the host Houston Rockets survived their first game without center Clint Capela, pulling away in the second half for a 112-94 victory over the reeling Memphis Grizzlies on Monday.

    • Harden recorded his 17th consecutive 30-point game, the longest such streak since Wilt Chamberlain had a 20-game run in 1964. Kobe Bryant had a stretch of 16 straight 30-point games in 2003. Harden scored 36 points in the first half.

      One night after the Rockets lost Capela for up to six weeks with a right thumb injury, Harden shot 17 of 33 from the floor, including 6 of 15 on 3-point tries, while converting 17 of 18 free throws. He added nine rebounds.

      Danuel House Jr. tallied 15 points and Gerald Green scored 14 points for Houston, which has alternated wins and losses over the past seven games. Garrett Temple and Mike Conley scored 14 each for the Grizzlies, who have dropped eight of their past nine games.

      Hornets 108, Spurs 93

      Kemba Walker poured in 33 points and Jeremy Lamb added 19 as visiting Charlotte walked past San Antonio to snap a three-game losing streak.

      The game was the first in San Antonio as a member of the visiting team for Charlotte guard Tony Parker, who played for the Spurs for 17 years before signing with the Hornets in the offseason as a free agent. Parker scored eight points, all in the second half.

      The contest was also a return to San Antonio for Hornets rookie coach James Borrego, who spent the past four seasons as an assistant with the Spurs. LaMarcus Aldridge led the Spurs with 28 points while Derrick White hit for 18.

      Pelicans 121, Clippers 117

      Anthony Davis overcame a slow start and finished with 46 points and 16 rebounds to lead New Orleans to a win at Los Angeles.

      Julius Randle scored 27 points and Jrue Holiday had 19 points and eight assists for the Pelicans, who have won four of five. Davis recorded his 14th straight double-double and 31st of the season.

      Montrezl Harrell had 26 points and 10 rebounds for Los Angeles, which has lost three in a row, the past two at home against teams with losing records. Danilo Gallinari added 25 points and Tobias Harris had 21 for the Clippers.

      Jazz 100, Pistons 94

      Donovan Mitchell scored 28 points, and Rudy Gobert contributed 18 points and a career-high-tying 25 rebounds to lead Utah to a victory over Detroit in Salt Lake City.

      Kyle Korver scored 19 points off the bench for Utah while Joe Ingles added 13 points and matched his season high with eight assists. The Jazz earned their fourth win in a row despite committing 17 turnovers.

      Blake Griffin scored 19 points while Andre Drummond chipped in 15 points and 13 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost for the eighth time in 10 games. Reggie Bullock added 13 points as Detroit fell to Utah for the second time this month, having dropped a 110-105 decision in Michigan on Jan. 5.

      Kings 115, Trail Blazers 107

      Buddy Hield scored 19 points to pace six Sacramento players in double figures as the Kings earned a victory over visiting Portland.

      Bogdan Bogdanovic added 18 points off the bench and De'Aaron Fox contributed 16 points and nine assists for the Kings, who have won four consecutive home games and four of five games overall.

      Damian Lillard scored 35 points for the Trail Blazers, who had won two games in a row.

      Nets 109, Celtics 102

      D'Angelo Russell scored 18 of his 34 points in the third quarter as Brooklyn snapped a 10-game, head-to-head losing streak to Boston by dominating the third quarter in New York.

      The Nets pulled away by outscoring Boston 44-21 in the third. During the period, Brooklyn shot 65.4 percent (17 of 26) and produced its widest point disparity in a third quarter since outscoring Boston by 24 on April 2, 2005.

      Rookie Rodion Kurucs added 19 points for the Nets, who won for the 14th time in 19 games. Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with a career-high 34 points while Jaylen Brown added 22. Kyrie Irving (right quad contusion) and Marcus Smart (illness) sat out for the Celtics.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA clears Cavs of wrongdoing in McCaw signing
    By Field Level Media / Monday, January 14, 2019

    The NBA has determined that the Cleveland Cavaliers did not break any rules when they signed and later released former Golden State Warriors guard Patrick McCaw.

    • "The NBA announced today that it has completed its investigation into the Cleveland Cavaliers' signing and subsequent waiver of Patrick McCaw. Based on the specific facts and circumstances of this matter, the NBA found that there was no violation of the league's Collective Bargaining Agreement, including the anti-circumvention rules," read a statement from the league issued Monday.

      McCaw, 23, won NBA titles with the Warriors in each of his first two seasons and was a restricted free agent entering 2018-19.

      After sitting out the first two-plus months of the season, he agreed to a two-year $6 million offer sheet late last month with the Cavaliers. The Warriors refused to match the offer, likely because they are already dealing with a large luxury tax bill.

      Cleveland then waived McCaw after just three games -- before his deal became fully guaranteed. He played a total of 53 minutes with the Cavs, contributing five points, three rebounds and two assists.

      After clearing waivers, McCaw signed with the Toronto Raptors last week.

      The league had investigated the situation at the request of the Warriors.

      --Field Level Media