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  • Kerr: Players' health is priority over best record
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 25, 2019

    Sure, the Golden State Warriors want to be the top seed in the Western Conference and be assured of having the home-court edge through the conference playoffs.

    • But not if finishing first means brushing aside his team's health concerns, coach Steve Kerr said Sunday before the Warriors defeated the visiting Detroit Pistons 121-114.

      The win put Golden State (50-23) one-half game ahead of the Denver Nuggets -- who lost to Indiana on Sunday -- in the conference standings, but the Warriors won without center DeMarcus Cousins and guard/forward Andre Iguodala, who were given the night off to rest.

      It's hardly a new idea. On Saturday, while the Warriors were crushed 126-91 on their home court by the lowly Dallas Mavericks, they did not have Stephen Curry and Shaun Livingston, who were given the night off.

      Kerr said Cousins is still recovering from last season's left Achilles tendon injury, which sidelined him until Jan. 18 of this season.

      "With DeMarcus, we made the decision based on Rick's assessment [that] he should just not play back-to-backs this season, so he's not going to," Kerr said, referring to Rick Celebrini, the Warriors' director of sports medicine and performance.

      That means at least two more games Cousins will miss, because the Warriors have back-to-backs on April 4-5 and again to close out the regular season on April 9-10.

      Kerr also said Celebrini advised that Curry needed some rest.

      "Every once in a while, it'll just come up that Rick will recommend let's give somebody a rest," Kerr said. "Last night it was Steph. He's been going a couple months straight. Has looked a little tired the last couple of weeks, so it made perfect sense. I think we'll be better for it in the long run. So within all that, we try to win."

      The Warriors have nine games remaining, and the Nuggets (49-23) have 10 games left, and the teams play each other April 2 in Oakland, Calif. That date is not part of a back-to-back for the Warriors, though it's the front end of one for Denver.

      Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said this week he would consider getting his key players some rest down the stretch, noting that the Warriors have a friendlier schedule down the stretch to claim the top spot in the conference.

      The Houston Rockets are third in the conference, 3 1/2 games behind the Warriors.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Curry returns, Warriors retake No. 1 seed
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 25, 2019

    Stephen Curry returned from a one-game absence to hit five 3-pointers and total a game-high 26 points Sunday night as the Golden State Warriors shook off the embarrassment of a 35-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks one day earlier to turn back the Detroit Pistons 121-114 in Oakland, Calif.

    • The Golden State win, coupled with Denver's loss at Indiana earlier in the day, allowed the Warriors to move a half-game ahead of the Nuggets in the race for the best record in the Western Conference.

      The loss dropped Detroit from sixth to seventh in the Eastern Conference and further jumbled the five-team battle for the final three playoff spots. That duel also includes the Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Charlotte Hornets.

      Blake Griffin had 24 points, and Andre Drummond had a 12-point, 11-rebound double-double for the Pistons, who shot 46.4 percent overall and 12 for 31 (38.7 percent) on 3-pointers.

      Spurs 115, Celtics 96

      LaMarcus Aldridge scored 48 points and grabbed 13 rebounds as visiting San Antonio rolled to a win over reeling Boston to snap a two-game losing streak.

      Aldridge's points were the second-most of his career, following his 56 in a double-overtime win over Oklahoma City earlier this season. DeMar DeRozan added 16 points for the Spurs, who have won 10 of their past 12, while Patty Mills hit for 12 points off the bench, and Jakob Poeltl grabbed 10 rebounds for San Antonio.

      Marcus Smart led the Celtics with 14 points, with Marcus Morris and Gordon Hayward adding 13 each, and Kyrie Irving and Daniel Theis scoring 11 points apiece. Hayward paced Boston with 10 rebounds and Irving had 12 assists as the Celtics lost their fourth game in a row.

      Rockets 113, Pelicans 90

      James Harden scored 28 points and Houston clinched a playoff berth with an easy victory over host New Orleans.

      Harden, who leads the NBA with an average of 36.4 points per game, didn't sustain the pace that saw him score a combined 118 points in the previous two games, but it wasn't necessary. He played just 29 minutes as the Rockets rolled to a 14-point lead at the end of the first quarter and cruised to their 14th victory in 16 games and remained in third place in the Western Conference.

      Frank Jackson scored 19 points, Julius Randle added 15, Stanley Johnson scored 13 and Anthony Davis had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Pelicans, who lost for the eighth time in nine games as they played the opener of a five-game homestand.

      Hornets 115, Raptors 114

      Jeremy Lamb's desperation 48-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer gave visiting Charlotte a stunning victory in Toronto.

      After the Raptors trailed by 14 points less than a minute into the fourth quarter, Kawhi Leonard gave them the lead on a jumper with 45 seconds left, then made a block at the other end. But the Hornets had one big play left in them, and they won their third straight game.

      Kemba Walker scored 15 points and added 13 assists and eight rebounds for the Hornets, who were led in scoring by Dwayne Bacon with 20 points. Miles Bridges added 16 points, Willy Hernangomez and Lamb had 13 each, and Devonte' Graham and Marvin Williams 10 points each.

      Pacers 124, Nuggets 88

      Bojan Bogdanovic exploded for 35 points while teammates Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis recorded double-doubles as host Indiana avenged a loss to Denver last week in a duel of teams battling for NBA playoff positioning.

      The win allowed the Pacers, coming off a four-game road losing streak that included a 102-100 defeat in Denver on March 16, to solidify their standing as the No. 4 team in the Eastern Conference with just eight games remaining.

      Meanwhile, the Nuggets failed in their quest to win a 50th game as they challenge Golden State for the top spot in the West, with the Warriors ending Sunday with a half-game lead.

      Bucks 127, Cavaliers 105

      Giannis Antetokounmpo collected 26 points and 10 rebounds as host Milwaukee posted a 22-point victory over Cleveland.

      George Hill and Khris Middleton each had 17 points, and Brook Lopez scored all 14 of his points in the first half for the Bucks, who avenged a 107-102 setback to the Cavaliers on Wednesday. Antetokounmpo sat out that contest with an ankle injury, but he made his presence felt on Sunday by shooting 11 for 16 from the floor and adding seven assists and four blocks.

      Kevin Love highlighted his 20-point performance with four 3-pointers and added 19 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who fell to 6-30 away from home. Jordan Clarkson scored 19 points, and rookie Collin Sexton added 18 in the loss.

      Clippers 124, Knicks 113

      Lou Williams scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, while Danilo Gallinari added 26 points and hit the go-ahead 3-pointer as surging Los Angeles ran its winning streak to five games while handing host New York its 60th loss.

      Gallinari reached 20 points for a career-high ninth straight game and teamed with Williams to spark the Clippers to their 10th win in 11 games.

      The Knicks have lost four straight and 12 of their last 13 games. They must win at least three of their eight remaining games to avoid exceeding the worst record in team history (17-65 in 2014-15).

      Lakers 111, Kings 106

      LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists to lead Los Angeles past visiting Sacramento.

      Kyle Kuzma also scored 29 points and JaVale McGee overcame early foul trouble to finish with 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks for the Lakers, who ended a five-game losing streak.

      Marvin Bagley III had 25 points and 11 rebounds off the bench for the Kings, who fell 6 1/2 games behind the San Antonio Spurs for eighth place in the Western Conference with nine games left.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Hornets storm back to stun Celtics
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, March 24, 2019

    Kemba Walker had 36 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, and the Charlotte Hornets rallied from an 18-point fourth-quarter deficit for a stunning 124-117 victory over the visiting Boston Celtics on Saturday night.

    • The Hornets closed out the game on a 30-5 run after falling behind 112-94 with 8:21 left in the fourth quarter. Walker keyed it all, and his 3-pointer with 1:19 remaining gave his team the lead for good.

      Charlotte (33-39) has now won two straight, while the Celtics (43-30) have lost three in a row.

      The Hornets also got 20 points from Miles Bridges, 13 each from Marvin Williams and Malik Monk, and 11 from Dwayne Bacon. Williams hit four free throws in the final 41.2 seconds to help salt away the win.

      Hawks 129, 76ers 127

      Rookie point guard Trae Young scored 32 points, including the game-winner with a tenth of a second remaining, to give Atlanta a win over visiting Philadelphia.

      The Hawks tied the game 127-127 on a layup by Taurean Prince with 27.5 seconds left, then got a final shot when the 76ers allowed the 24-second clock to expire. With 3.5 seconds left, Atlanta's Kevin Huerter inbounded the ball to Young, who made a floater over Jimmy Butler to put the Hawks ahead.

      After calling timeout, Philadelphia's inbounds pass hit the rim to end the game.

      Mavs 126, Warriors 91

      Luka Doncic recorded his sixth triple-double of the season, and Dallas exploded for 74 first-half points in a shocking demolition of Golden State in Oakland, Calif.

      Dirk Nowitzki bombed in five 3-pointers, while Doncic and Maxi Kleber buried four apiece as the Mavericks hit 21 shots from beyond the arc, one shy of their franchise record, and outscored Golden State 63-12 on 3s.

      The loss came on the front end of a home back-to-back for the Warriors, who chose to rest Stephen Curry, Shaun Livingston and Andrew Bogut. The 35-point margin of defeat was the largest of the season at home for Golden State.

      Trail Blazers 117, Pistons 112

      Damian Lillard scored 28 points, and Portland outscored visiting Detroit 14-3 over the final 4 1/2 minutes en route to the victory.

      Al-Farouq Aminu chipped in a season-high 22 points for the Trail Blazers, who won for the sixth time in seven games.

      Blake Griffin tallied 27 points, Reggie Jackson added 24 points and Andre Drummond collected 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who lost for only the fourth time in their last 12 games.

      Jazz 114, Bulls 83

      Rudy Gobert notched a double-double of 21 points and 14 rebounds, and six other teammates scored in double figures to boost visiting Utah to a rout of Chicago.

      The Jazz raced to a 33-18 lead after one quarter, and their 70-36 halftime lead was their largest on the road at the half in the history of the franchise, which began play in the 1974-75 season in New Orleans.

      Donovan Mitchell added 16 points for the Jazz, while Joe Ingles (13), Derrick Favors (13), Ricky Rubio (12), Jae Crowder (11) and Raul Neto (10) followed to complement a balanced attack that overwhelmed the Bulls.

      Heat 113, Wizards 108

      Dwyane Wade scored 11 of his team-high 20 points in the fourth quarter as visiting Miami defeated Washington.

      The Heat (36-37) are fighting to hold on to the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot, and this victory gave them a one-game edge over idle Orlando (35-38). The two teams will meet Tuesday in Miami.

      Wade went 5-for-7 from the field in the fourth quarter as Miami took charge of a game that swung back and forth throughout the first three periods. The veteran guard helped the Heat take a 109-99 lead late.

      Timberwolves 112, Grizzlies 99

      Karl-Anthony Towns totaled 33 points and 23 rebounds as Minnesota halted a nine-game road losing streak by dominating the third quarter in a victory over Memphis.

      The Timberwolves recorded their first road win since beating New York on Feb. 22. They also halted a five-game losing streak, a night after being eliminated from playoff contention.

      Towns recorded his seventh straight double-double and 49th overall. He also recorded his 19th 30-point game and fifth career game with at least 30 points and 20 boards.

      Kings 112, Suns 103

      Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes scored 25 points apiece to lead host Sacramento to a victory over Phoenix.

      Marvin Bagley III added 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings. Nemanja Bjelica recorded 13 points and a career-best 17 rebounds and De'Aaron Fox had 13 points and nine assists.

      Hield made seven 3-pointers to set a franchise single-season record with 245. He broke the mark of Peja Stojakovic (240 in 2003-04), who is now the club's assistant general manager.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Bucks' Gasol out for rest of regular season
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 23, 2019

    Milwaukee Bucks center Pau Gasol will miss the rest of the regular season with an injured left ankle, ESPN reported Saturday.

    • Gasol is expected to miss about a month. That timetable would allow him to return at some of the point in the postseason, depending how far the NBA-best Bucks (54-19) advance.

      Gasol joined Milwaukee less than three weeks ago after reaching a buyout with the San Antonio Spurs. He has played in just three games for the Bucks, averaging 1.3 points and 3.3 rebounds.

      In 30 overall games this season, Gasol is averaging career lows of 3.9 points and 4.6 rebounds.

      Gasol's injury comes after the Bucks recently lost guard Malcolm Brogdon (foot) and forward Nikola Mirotic (fractured thumb).

      The 38-year-old Gasol is a six-time All-Star.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: Surgery successful for Timberwolves G Rose
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 23, 2019

    The Minnesota Timberwolves announced on Saturday that guard Derrick Rose has undergone successful arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow and will be out indefinitely.

    • Minnesota had announced two days earlier that Rose wouldn't play in the final 11 games of the season as the club was well out of the last playoff spot.

      Rose had missed the four games prior to that because of a chip fracture and a loose body in his right elbow. He averaged 18.0 points and 4.3 assists in 51 games (13 starts).

      Rose, 30, will be a free agent after this season.

      --The Chicago Bulls are shutting down injured rookies Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison for the rest of the season, the team announced. The move to shelve both players was posted on Twitter by Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson.

      Carter, a 6-foot-10 center and first-round pick (seventh overall) out of Duke, hasn't played since Jan. 15 because of a left thumb injury. He underwent surgery on Jan. 21 to repair the ulnar collateral ligament.

      Hutchison, a forward who has an injury to his right toe, was the 22nd overall pick of the 2018 draft by the Bulls out of Boise State.

      --Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball said he no longer is working with a family friend after $1.5 million from Ball's personal and business bank accounts apparently remains missing.

      The second-year player told ESPN that the man, Alan Foster, "used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately."

      Foster owns 16.3 percent of the family's Big Baller Brand and also has managed the family companies. He met the Balls about a decade ago through his son, who became friends with Lonzo Ball in seventh grade. Family patriarch LaVar Ball has said it was Foster's idea to launch the Big Baller.

      --Veteran forward Donatas Motiejunas may be back in Texas with the NBA soon, this time with the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

      The 28-year-old Lithuanian native last played in the NBA in 2017 for the New Orleans Pelicans and was a member of the Houston Rockets from 2012-16. He was the No. 20 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who traded his draft rights to the Houston the following day.

      In 248 career NBA games, Motiejunas averaged 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists and shot 46.9 percent from the field.

      --The Boston Celtics are bringing back a familiar face, signing center Greg Monroe to a 10-day deal, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

      Monroe, 28, averaged just 11.1 minutes in 38 games (two starts) for the Toronto Raptors this season, tallying 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest, but was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in February in exchange for cash considerations. The Nets then waived the ninth-year veteran.

      A lottery pick (seventh overall) by Detroit in 2010, Monroe played with the Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics before signing a one-year, $2.2 million deal with Toronto as a free agent in August 2018.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bulls shut down Carter, Hutchison for rest of season
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 23, 2019

    The Chicago Bulls are shutting down injured rookies Wendell Carter Jr. and Chandler Hutchison for the rest of the season, the team announced Saturday.

    • The move to shelve both players was posted on Twitter by Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson.

      Carter, a first-round pick (seventh overall) by the Bulls in 2018 out of Duke, hasn't played since Jan. 15 because of a left thumb injury. He underwent surgery on Jan. 21 to repair the ulnar collateral ligament. He was expected to be sidelined from eight to 12 weeks.

      The 6-foot-10 center averaged 10.3 points and 7.0 rebounds in 44 games, all starts.

      Hutchison, a forward who has an injury to his right toe, also played in 44 games (14 starts), averaging 5.2 points and 4.2 rebounds. After playing at Boise State, he was the 22nd overall pick of the 2018 draft by the Bulls.

      --Field Level Media

  • Spurs nearing deal with veteran F Motiejunas
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 23, 2019

    Veteran forward Donatas Motiejunas may be back in Texas with the NBA soon, this time with the San Antonio Spurs, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

    • The 28-year-old Lithuanian native last played in the NBA in 2017 for the New Orleans Pelicans and was a member of the Houston Rockets from 2012-2016. He was the No. 20 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, who traded his draft rights to the Houston the following day.

      In 248 career NBA games, Motiejunas averaged 7.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists and shot 46.9 percent from the field.

      The Spurs play in Boston on Sunday in the second game of a three-game road trip.

      --Field Level Media

  • Timberwolves G Rose has successful surgery
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 23, 2019

    The Minnesota Timberwolves announced on Saturday that guard Derrick Rose has undergone successful arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow and will be out indefinitely.

    • Minnesota (32-40) had announced two days prior that Rose wouldn't play in the final 11 games of the season as the club was well out of the final playoff spot.

      Rose had missed the four games prior to that because of a chip fracture and a loose body in his right elbow. He averaged 18.0 points and 4.3 assists in 51 games (13 starts).

      Rose, 30, will be a free agent after this season.

      The former No. 1 overall pick had signed a one-year deal with the Timberwolves.

      --Field Level Media

  • Lakers G Ball fires family friend after $1.5M goes missing
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 23, 2019

    Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball said he no longer is working with a family friend after $1.5 million from Ball's personal and business bank accounts apparently remains missing.

    • The second-year player told ESPN that the man, Alan Foster, "used his access to my business and personal finances to enrich himself. As a result, I have decided to sever all ties with Alan, effective immediately."

      Foster owns 16.3 percent of the family's Big Baller Brand and also has managed the family companies. He met the Balls about a decade ago through his son, who became friends with Lonzo Ball in seventh grade.

      Family patriarch LaVar Ball has said it was Foster's idea to launch the Big Baller Brand rather than have Lonzo, and eventually his younger brothers LaMelo and LiAngelo, sign with Nike, Adidas or another shoe and apparel company.

      In a lengthy report released on Friday, ESPN said it reviewed documents and correspondence, including communication from Lonzo's financial adviser, who said that neither the tax returns of the player or the company could be filed because of the $1.5 million in question. The network said Lonzo had told his father several times that he was concerned by Foster's dealings but that LaVar said he would handle things.

      And despite the warnings of the past few months, LaVar only this week reviewed all the communication, and he said in a statement to ESPN that the situation was "devastating."

      "Regretfully, I put my complete trust in Alan Foster to manage my son's business affairs," LaVar said. "At the end of the day, family comes first, and I support Zo wholeheartedly. Together, we will make this right."

      Foster initially agreed to arrange to meet with ESPN to give his side of the story, but then put it off, saying he was "super busy."

      It wasn't immediately clear if police in Southern California are investigating Foster in this case, but he does have a criminal record.

      ESPN said federal court documents showed that Foster was sentenced to more than seven years in prison in 2002 after pleading guilty to one count of mail fraud and two counts of money laundering. He also was ordered to pay restitution of $3.7 million to the 70 victims of the crime.

      Lonzo, 21, said he was unaware of that prison sentence.

      Foster has two other marks on his criminal record: a conviction in 1999 for carrying a concealed handgun without a license, and in 2009, a five-month prison sentence after being arrested for an unspecified violation of his supervised release in the 2002 case.

      Lonzo's personal manager, Darren Moore, issued a statement regarding Foster this week.

      "Alan Foster was more than a trusted adviser," Moore said. "He was a mentor, a father figure and someone Lonzo and I respected, loved and listened to. ... I'm proud of Lonzo for waking up and taking back his power. Together, we will fight for justice."

      Lonzo said in his statement to ESPN that he has put together a team of trusted advisers to further investigate the matter.

      "This has been a very difficult decision as I had a great deal of love and respect for Alan," Lonzo said. "But the time has come for me to take responsibility for my own career both on and off the court."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Monroe signs 10-day deal with Celtics
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 23, 2019

    The Boston Celtics are bringing back a familiar face, signing center Greg Monroe to a 10-day deal on Saturday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

    • Monroe, 28, averaged just 11.1 minutes in 38 games (two starts) for the Raptors this season, tallying 4.8 points and 4.1 rebounds per contest, but was traded to the Brooklyn Nets in February in exchange for cash considerations. The Nets then waived the ninth-year veteran.

      A lottery pick (seventh overall) by Detroit in 2010, Monroe played with the Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics before signing a one-year, $2.2 million deal with Toronto as a free agent in August 2018.

      Monroe's best years were with the Pistons. He averaged a career-high 16.0 points in 2012-13 and a career-high 10.2 rebounds in 2014-15.

      In 627 career games, Monroe has a .513 field-goal percentage and averages of 13.2 points and 8.3 boards per game.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Harden scores 61 as Rockets stop Spurs
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 23, 2019

    James Harden matched his career high with 61 points, delivering early and late to bail out the host Houston Rockets in their 111-105 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.

    • Harden, who also scored 61 points on Jan. 23 at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks, finished 19 of 34 from the floor while drilling 9 of 13 from 3-point range.

      After the Rockets coughed up a 19-point, third-quarter lead and fell into a 100-94 hole late in the fourth, Harden responded with three successive 3-pointers and a pair of drives to the basket to secure the victory, the Rockets' third consecutive win over the Spurs.

      Bryn Forbes led five Spurs in double figures with 20 points while Derrick White added 18 with eight rebounds. DeMar DeRozan posted 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists while LaMarcus Aldridge paired 10 points with five blocks for San Antonio, which captured its first lead at 85-84 on a Patty Mills reverse layup with 10:48 to play.

      Nets 111, Lakers 106

      Joe Harris scored 26 points, and visiting Brooklyn made enough plays down the stretch to earn the victory and eliminate Los Angeles from postseason contention.

      The Nets followed up their historic comeback win in Sacramento and improved to 2-3 on a season-high, seven-game road trip that continues Monday in Portland. D'Angelo Russell had 21 points and 13 rebounds for Brooklyn. JaVale McGee led Los Angeles with career highs of 33 points and 20 rebounds.

      The Lakers lost their fifth straight, dropped to 2-12 in their last 14 games and will miss the playoffs for the sixth straight season. The loss officially ensured that LeBron James will miss the postseason for the first time since his second season with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2004-05. James had 25 points, 14 assists and nine rebounds.

      Thunder 116, Raptors 109

      Russell Westbrook had his 28th triple-double of the season as he scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and added 13 assists, and visiting Oklahoma City came back to defeat Toronto and end a four-game losing streak.

      Paul George added 28 points, and Dennis Schroder had 26 points for the Thunder, who lost to the Raptors in overtime on Wednesday and overcame a 13-point deficit on Friday.

      Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points for Toronto. Pascal Siakam added 25 points while Danny Green had 19 points.

      Nuggets 111, Knicks 93

      Nikola Jokic scored 21 points and pulled down 17 rebounds night for surging Denver, which moved back into a tie for the top seed in the Western Conference by cruising past host New York.

      With their sixth straight win, the Nuggets (49-22) tied the idle Golden State Warriors for the best record in the West. Denver has never earned the top seed in the West and has yet to make an appearance in the NBA Finals.

      Jamal Murray scored 18 points for the Nuggets, who also received 14 points from Gary Harris.

      Bucks 116, Heat 87

      Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 27 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead host Milwaukee over Miami. The Bucks' Khris Middleton contributed 18 points, a game-high 10 assists and eight rebounds.

      The Heat, who were led by Hassan Whiteside's 14 points, nine rebounds and a game-high three blocks, had closed their deficit to 63-58 early in the third quarter before falling apart. Their three-game winning streak ended.

      The Bucks have the best record in the NBA at 54-19. Their 29-6 home record is the best in the Eastern Conference.

      Clippers 110, Cavaliers 108

      Danilo Gallinari scored 27 points, and Los Angeles hung on to beat host Cleveland. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 16 points, adding five assists and two steals as the Clippers earned their ninth win in 10 games.

      Lou Williams scored 15 and had six assists off the bench for Los Angeles. Montrezl Harrell scored 14 and had a crucial offensive board late in the game to stave off the Cavaliers.

      Kevin Love led Cleveland with 22 points and had eight rebounds. The Cavaliers had their four-game home winning streak snapped.

      Magic 123, Grizzlies 119 (OT)

      Evan Fournier gave Orlando its first lead of the game with 4:05 to go in overtime, then gave the Magic the upper hand for good with another hoop with 1:14 remaining, giving the Eastern Conference postseason hopefuls a much needed victory over visiting Memphis.

      The come-from-behind win allowed the Magic to stay within arm's length of the seventh and eighth playoff positions in the East, spots currently held by Brooklyn and Miami.

      Fournier finished with 27 points, eight rebounds and six assists while teammate Terrence Ross led all scorers with 31 points. Memphis lost despite a 23-point, 24-rebound performance by Jonas Valanciunas.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Cousins returns, leads Warriors to win
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 22, 2019

    DeMarcus Cousins contributed six points to a third-quarter runaway in his return to the lineup Thursday night, helping the Golden State Warriors blow out the Indiana Pacers 112-89 in Oakland, Calif.

    • All five starters scored in double figures as the Warriors were able to retain a half-game lead over Denver in their duel for best record in the Western Conference. The Pacers saw their lead over Boston trimmed to a half-game in their fight for the fourth seed in the East.

      Cousins, who had missed the final two games of Golden State's just completed four-game trip with a sore ankle, recorded 19 points and 11 rebounds in 26 minutes of action. Klay Thompson had 18 points, and Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry each scored 15 for the Warriors.

      Tyreke Evans had a game-high 20 points off the bench, and Thaddeus Young 18 for the Pacers, who went 0-4 on a Western swing.

      Hawks 117, Jazz 114

      Rookie Trae Young scored 23 points, including the go-ahead three-point play with 1:47 remaining, and Atlanta hung on to beat visiting Utah.

      Dewayne Dedmon made a free throw with 6.2 seconds left to give the Hawks a 117-114 lead. Utah's Kyle Korver then missed two free throws, the second on purpose, and Donovan Mitchell missed a 3-pointer that was rebounded by Atlanta's Kent Bazemore as the clock expired.

      The win broke Atlanta's three-game losing streak and snapped Utah's five-game winning streak. The Jazz got 34 points from Mitchell, his second straight 30-point game.

      Nuggets 113, Wizards 108

      Nikola Jokic had 15 points and 11 assists, and visiting Denver held off Washington for its fifth straight win.

      Eight Nuggets scored in double figures, including Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Torrey Craig at 15 points each.

      Bradley Beal scored 25 points for the Wizards, who have lost three straight. Thomas Bryant added 22.

      Hornets 113, Timberwolves 106

      Kemba Walker scored 31 points, and host Charlotte rolled to a much-needed victory over Minnesota.

      The Hornets scored seven straight points early in the fourth quarter to gain a working margin, and then they went on to lead by as many as 11 down the stretch, the latest at 111-100.

      The Hornets had lost four of their previous five and 11 of their previous 15. The Timberwolves, who got 21 points and 16 rebounds from Karl-Anthony Towns, have lost five straight.

      Kings 116, Mavericks 100

      Buddy Hield scored 29 points, and host Sacramento took care of Dallas. The Kings bounced back after blowing a 25-point, fourth-quarter lead in their last outing against visiting Brooklyn on Tuesday, resulting in a 123-121 loss.

      Hield connected on seven 3-pointers and now has made 238 treys. He trails Peja Stojakovic by only two for the most in a single season in Kings history. Marvin Bagley III came off the Sacramento bench to score 22 points and grab 12 rebounds, and Willie Cauley-Stein had 10 points and 18 rebounds.

      Former Kings forward Justin Jackson led the Mavericks with 19 points. Luka Doncic scored 13 points and hauled down 10 boards.

      Pistons 118, Suns 98

      Wayne Ellington scored 23 points, hitting six 3-pointers, and Detroit pulled away for a win at Phoenix.

      Detroit's Blake Griffin had 17 points, seven rebounds and eight assists despite shooting 4 of 17 from the field. Andre Drummond supplied 16 points and 19 rebounds, and Luke Kennard also scored 16 points to help the Pistons win for the third time in four games.

      Devin Booker led the Suns with 26 points, and rookie Deandre Ayton contributed 20 points and eight rebounds.

      --Field Level Media

  • James likely to rejoin Lakers' lineup Friday
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 21, 2019

    LeBron James participated in about half of practice Thursday, and coach Luke Walton expects him to play Friday when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets, The Athletic reported.

    • The team listed James' status as probable.

      With the Lakers managing the superstar's minutes down the stretch, the superstar forward has sat out two of the past three games.

      He did not play in last Friday in the Lakers' 111-97 loss at Detroit or Tuesday on Los Angeles' 115-101 defeat at Milwaukee.

      James did start and play 35 minutes Sunday in the Lakers' 124-123 loss at New York, finishing with 33 points on 11-of-26 shooting with eight assists and six rebounds. His potential game-winning jumper was blocked by Knicks forward Mario Hezonja in the final seconds.

      James, 34, is averaging 27.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists in his first season with Los Angeles.

      He missed 17 games with a groin injury earlier this season and is all but assured of playing the fewest games of his 16-year career.

      In the unlikely event he plays in all 11 of the Lakers' remaining games, he would finish with 62 and match the career low he set during the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season with Miami.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: Lakers expect James to play Friday
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 21, 2019

    LeBron James participated in about half of practice Thursday, and coach Luke Walton expects him to play Friday when the Los Angeles Lakers host the Brooklyn Nets, The Athletic reported.

    • With the Lakers managing the superstar's minutes down the stretch, the superstar forward has sat out two of the past three games. He did not play in last Friday in the Lakers' 111-97 loss at Detroit or Tuesday on Los Angeles' 115-101 defeat at Milwaukee.

      James did start and play 35 minutes Sunday in the Lakers' 124-123 loss at New York, finishing with 33 points on 11-of-26 shooting with eight assists and six rebounds. His potential game-winning jumper was blocked by Knicks forward Mario Hezonja in the final seconds.

      --Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was fined $50,000 by the NBA for shoving Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in a Wednesday game.

      In its announcement, the NBA said the amount of Smart's fine "was also based on his repeated acts of unsportsmanlike conduct during NBA games." Smart drew a $35,000 fine earlier this season for an altercation with DeAndre' Bembry of the Atlanta Hawks, and he has accrued $170,000 in fines during his five-year career, according to MassLive.com.

      Smart drew his latest fine after shoving Embiid from behind, sending the 76ers center sprawling to the floor. The 25-year-old Smart was whistled for a flagrant-2 foul and was ejected from the game after the incident, which occurred with 11:06 to go in the third quarter.

      --Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant's "adopted brother" and close friend Clifford Dixon was shot and killed outside of a metro Atlanta bar early Thursday, according to multiple reports.

      Dixon, 32, was shot multiple times in a parking lot just after 1 a.m., police in Chamblee, Ga., confirmed. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A suspect fled the scene on foot, and no arrests were immediately made.

      According to the Oklahoman, Durant's mother, Wanda Durant, took Dixon into the family's home when he was 16 years old. Dixon was one of the friends Durant thanked during an emotional speech after being named the NBA Most Valuable Player for the 2013-14 season.

      --Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. will have minor surgery on his left thumb and will miss the rest of the season, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported. The recovery is expected to be four to six weeks, according to the report.

      Oubre, 23, has been playing the best ball of his career after the Suns acquired him in December as part of the trade that sent Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards.

      Oubre has averaged 16.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 40 games with the Suns, building on his career average of 9.4 points and 3.7 rebounds over four seasons.

      --The Suns reached a two-year deal with Jimmer Fredette, giving the former college phenom a second crack at the NBA, according to reports.

      Fredette, 30, is awaiting clearance from his current team, the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Fredette averaged 36.9 points per game this season for the Sharks, who were eliminated from the postseason Tuesday.

      Fredette, a 6-foot-2 guard who was the all-time leading scorer in BYU and Mountain West Conference history, will be signed through the rest of this season, with a team option for 2019-2020. He was the unanimous national player of the year in college basketball in 2011 after shattering NCAA scoring records.

      --The Minnesota Timberwolves announced they will be without forward Robert Covington and guards Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague for their final 11 games of the season.

      Covington hasn't played since Dec. 31 and recently experienced a setback in his recovery from a right knee bone bruise. Rose has missed the past four games because of a chip fracture and a loose body in his right elbow. Teague, having aggravated a left foot injury originally sustained in December, also has missed the past four games.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA fines Celtics G Smart $50K
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 21, 2019

    Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart was fined $50,000 by the NBA on Thursday for shoving Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid in a game on Wednesday.

    • In its announcement, the NBA said the amount of Smart's fine "was also based on his repeated acts of unsportsmanlike conduct during NBA games." Smart drew a $35,000 fine earlier this season for an altercation with DeAndre' Bembry of the Atlanta Hawks, and he has accrued $170,000 in fines during his five-year career, according to MassLive.com.

      Smart drew his latest fine after shoving Embiid from behind, sending the 76ers center sprawling to the floor. The 25-year-old Smart was whistled for a Flagrant 2 foul and was ejected from the game after the incident, which occurred with 11:06 to go in the third quarter.

      In 71 games (51 starts) this season, Smart is averaging 8.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.1 assists.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Durant's 'adopted brother' shot, killed in Atlanta
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 21, 2019

    Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant's "adopted brother" and close friend Clifford Dixon was shot and killed outside of a metro Atlanta bar early Thursday, according to multiple reports.

    • Dixon, 32, was shot multiple times in a parking lot just after 1 a.m., police in Chamblee, Ga., confirmed. He was transported to Grady Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. A suspect fled the scene on foot and no arrests have been made.

      According to the Oklahoman, Durant's mother, Wanda Durant, took Dixon into the family's home when he was 16 years old.

      Dixon was one of the friends Durant thanked during an emotional speech after being named the NBA Most Valuable Player for the 2013-14 season.

      "You keep me every day. There are days I come home upset after a game or a practice and you just brighten my day up," Durant said. "I thank you guys. I wouldn't be be here without you guys. This is our trophy, too."

      Dixon, who played basketball at Western Kentucky from 2009-11, reportedly had been out celebrating his birthday.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Suns F Oubre (thumb) out for season
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 21, 2019

    Phoenix Suns forward Kelly Oubre Jr. will have minor surgery on his left thumb and will miss the rest of the season, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday.

    • The recovery is expected to be four to six weeks, per Wojnarowski.

      Oubre, 23, has been playing the best ball of his career after the Suns acquired him in December as part of the trade that sent Trevor Ariza to the Washington Wizards.

      Oubre has averaged 16.9 points and 4.9 rebounds in 40 games with the Suns, building on his career average of 9.4 points and 3.7 rebounds over four seasons.

      Oubre, the 15th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, has been averaging 20.2 points and 5.7 rebounds after being inserted into the starting lineup after the All-Star break. He will be a restricted free agent after the season.

      The Suns on Wednesday were reportedly signing former NBA player Jimmer Fredette for the rest of the season, with a team option for 2019-20. Fredette, 30, is awaiting clearance from his current team, the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Fredette averaged 36.9 points per game this season for the Sharks, who were eliminated from the postseason Tuesday.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Suns sign Fredette for rest of season
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 21, 2019

    The Phoenix Suns have reached a two-year deal with Jimmer Fredette, giving the former college phenom a second crack at the NBA, according to reports.

    • Fredette, 30, is awaiting clearance from his current team, the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association. Fredette averaged 36.9 points per game this season for the Sharks, who were eliminated from the postseason Tuesday.

      The Athletic and 98.7 Arizona's Sports Station reported the move.

      He will be signed through the rest of this season, with a team option for 2019-2020.

      Fredette, a 6-foot-2 guard, was the unanimous national player of the year in college basketball in 2011 after shattering NCAA scoring records. He is the all-time leading scorer in BYU and Mountain West Conference history. He holds five other MWC records, as well as 11 BYU records.

      However, the wunderkind's game did not translate well to the NBA; he averaged just 6.0 points per game in five NBA seasons, spanning 235 games. He shot 38.1 percent from 3-point range.

      Fredette was drafted 10th overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2011 and subsequently traded to the Sacramento Kings.

      After two-plus seasons with the Kings, Fredette played briefly for the Chicago Bulls, one-plus season with the New Orleans Pelicans, and just two games with the New York Knicks in 2016.

      --Field Level Media

  • Timberwolves shut down trio of players
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 21, 2019

    The Minnesota Timberwolves announced they will be without forward Robert Covington and guards Derrick Rose and Jeff Teague for their final 11 games of the season.

    • Minnesota (32-39) was 9.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference heading into Thursday night's game at the Charlotte Hornets.

      Covington hasn't played since Dec. 31 and recently suffered a setback in his recovery from a right knee bone bruise. He averaged 13.3 points and 5.5 rebounds this season, split between Philadelphia and Minnesota, which acquired him as part of the Jimmy Butler trade.

      Rose has missed the past four games because of a chip fracture and a loose body in his right elbow. He averaged 18.0 points and 4.3 assists in 51 games (13 starts).

      Teague, having aggravated a left foot injury originally suffered in December, also has missed the past four games. He averaged 12.1 points and 8.2 assists in 42 games, starting all but one.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Grizzlies top Rockets in OT despite Harden's 57
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 21, 2019

    Jonas Valanciunas' offensive rebound and free throw with 0.1 second left in overtime helped the host Memphis Grizzlies topple the Houston Rockets 126-125 on Wednesday.

    • Valanciunas paired a career-high 33 points with 15 rebounds and teamed with Mike Conley (35 points, eight assists) to help Memphis fend off James Harden and the rallying Rockets. Valanciunas corralled a miss by Conley before absorbing a foul from Houston center Clint Capela on the game's deciding play.

      That followed an MVP-caliber stretch from Harden, who scored 18 of his game-high 57 points in the fourth quarter before adding eight points during a 28-second stretch in overtime.

      Memphis averted a four-game season series sweep against Houston, which lost for just the third time since the All-Star break. Former Rockets forward Chandler Parsons drilled two 3-pointers in overtime to keep the Grizzlies in control despite Harden's efforts.

      76ers 118, Celtics 115

      Joel Embiid collected 37 points and a career-high 22 rebounds to go along with a late key block on Kyrie Irving as host Philadelphia averted a season sweep by Boston.

      Jimmy Butler scored 15 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter for the 76ers, who have won six in a row overall. Irving scored 16 of his 36 points in the first quarter for the Celtics, who fell short against Philadelphia for just the third time in the teams' past 20 regular-season meetings.

      Al Horford scored 22 points and Terry Rozier added 20 points off the bench for Boston, which saw guard Marcus Smart receive a flagrant-2 foul and an immediate ejection less than a minute into the third quarter following a two-handed shove into the back of Embiid.

      Raptors 123, Thunder 114 (OT)

      Pascal Siakam scored 33 points and grabbed 13 rebounds to lead Toronto to an overtime win at Oklahoma City.

      The Raptors dominated the extra session, outscoring the Thunder 13-4 after letting a 19-point, second-half lead slip away. Oklahoma City didn't score in the extra period until 31.5 seconds remained. Kawhi Leonard scored five of his 22 points in overtime, and Fred VanVleet finished with 23 points for the Raptors.

      Russell Westbrook, returning from a one-game suspension and coming off a 2-for-16 shooting performance Saturday in a loss to the Golden State Warriors, helped lift the Thunder with 42 points and 16-of-29 shooting, including 5-of-10 accuracy from behind the 3-point arc.

      Cavaliers 107, Bucks 102

      Collin Sexton scored 25 points, and Jordan Clarkson added 23 off the bench to lead host Cleveland over short-handed Milwaukee.

      Coming into the game, Sexton had been the first rookie to score at least 23 points in six consecutive games since Tim Duncan did it twice for the San Antonio Spurs in 1998. Sexton now has accomplished the feat in seven straight games.

      Milwaukee dressed only nine players and was without Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Mirotic. Antetokounmpo missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. The Bucks announced Wednesday that Mirotic will be out two to four weeks with a thumb injury. Khris Middleton led Milwaukee with 26 points.

      Heat 110, Spurs 105

      Goran Dragic scored 22 points off the bench, and Dwyane Wade had a big basket and a steal in the final minutes as visiting Miami outlasted San Antonio to snap Spurs' nine-game winning streak.

      After trailing by as many as 18 in the third quarter and by 13 with 9:50 to play, San Antonio charged back, pulling within 106-103 with 2:05 left. With Miami on top 108-105, Wade stole the ball from DeRozan with 9.1 seconds left. Kelly Olynyk then converted a pair of free throws to cement the win for the Heat.

      Dion Waiters scored 18 points for the Heat, who hold a 1 1/2-game lead on the Orlando Magic for the Eastern Conference's final playoff spot. Patty Mills, Marco Belinelli and Aldridge scored 17 points each for the Spurs.

      Magic 119, Pelicans 96

      Orlando led from start to finish, pounding visiting New Orleans for its third consecutive win.

      Evan Fournier scored 22 points for the Magic, and Aaron Gordon had 20. Nikola Vucevic contributed 15 points and 17 rebounds.

      Frank Jackson was the only Pelicans starter to score in double figures, netting 14 points. Reserve Stanley Johnson scored a team-high 18 points off the bench. Pelicans star forward Anthony Davis did not play due to a family matter.

      Bulls 126, Wizards 120 (OT)

      Kris Dunn atoned for a late miss in regulation with a pair of 3-pointers in overtime, and Lauri Markkanen added a back-breaking trey with 32.3 seconds remaining to send Chicago to victory over visiting Washington.

      The loss assured the Wizards (30-42) of a losing season and cost them a key game in their desperate quest to move up from 11th place in the Eastern Conference standings.

      Markkanen, the game's leading scorer with 32 points, also collected a game-high 13 rebounds. Dunn had 26 points and 13 assists for the Bulls, who won their second straight after a five-game losing streak. Jabari Parker scored 28 points for the Wizards against his former team.

      Trail Blazers 126, Mavericks 118

      Damian Lillard scored 33 points and handed out 12 assists as Portland knocked off visiting Dallas.

      Six players scored in double figures for the Trail Blazers, including Seth Curry with 20 off the bench. It was the fifth win in six games for Portland.

      Luka Doncic scored 24 points and Justin Jackson contributed 21 for the Mavericks, who have lost 14 of their past 16 outings.

      Jazz 137, Knicks 116

      Donovan Mitchell scored 30 points in three quarters and Utah easily ran its winning streak to five games by rolling over host New York.

      Mitchell helped the Jazz get their latest win by shooting 12 of 20 and hitting five 3-pointers. Utah matched a team record by hitting 20 3-pointers.

      Rookie Kevin Knox scored 27 points for the Knicks, who lost for the 10th time in 11 games. Mario Hezonja added 23 points for New York, which was without Dennis Smith Jr. (sore back), Allonzo Trier (strained left calf) and Noah Vonleh (ankle).

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA notebook: Antetokounmpo misses 2nd straight game
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    The Milwaukee Bucks played without All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for a second consecutive game Wednesday night as he continues to nurse a sprained right ankle.

    • Antetokounmpo, a candidate for MVP, did not play in the Bucks' road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. He also missed Tuesday's victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without their own superstar, LeBron James (sore left groin).

      Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Antetokounmpo before Wednesday's game, "He's making progress, he just can't go tonight. It's us hopefully being smart and being somewhat cautious, but it's more than that. He can't play. We'll see how the next 24-48 hours go, and I'm hopeful he'll be in a good place as we move forward."

      The NBA-best Bucks (53-19) fell 107-102 to the Cavaliers, who own the third-worst record in the league at 19-53. Milwaukee returns home Friday for a game against the Miami Heat.

      --Bucks power forward Nikola Mirotic will miss two-to-four weeks with a "slight fracture" of his left thumb, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported.

      The Bucks acquired Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans at the trade deadline to provide depth off the bench. The team confirmed the injury but did not update his status.

      Since the trade, Mirotic has played in 14 games (three starts), averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 22.9 minutes per game. Mirotic sustained the injury in the Bucks' 115-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday. The injury likely will keep him out the rest of the regular season.

      --The NBA Summer League will have an international flavor in 2019, as the Chinese and Croatian national teams will join all 30 NBA teams in participating in the league, which will be held July 5-15 in Las Vegas, the NBA announced.

      Team China played in Las Vegas at the 2007 NBA Summer League, but Team Croatia is making its debut at the event, marking the first time the league will have two international teams.

      Each of the 32 teams will play four preliminary games, with the top eight teams seeded into a tournament to determine the champion. Those that don't make the championship bracket will play a consolation game.

      --Field Level Media

  • Antetokounmpo to miss second consecutive game
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    The Milwaukee Bucks will have to do without All-Star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo for a second consecutive game Wednesday night as he continues to nurse a sprained right ankle.

    • Antetokounmpo, a candidate for MVP, will not play in the Bucks' road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. He also missed Tuesday's victory over the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without their own superstar, LeBron James (sore left groin).

      Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said of Antetokounmpo before the Wednesday game, "He's making progress, he just can't go tonight. It's us hopefully being smart and being somewhat cautious, but it's more than that. He can't play. We'll see how the next 24-48 hours go, and I'm hopeful he'll be in a good place as we move forward."

      Milwaukee returns home Friday for a game against the Miami Heat.

      Antetokounmpo is averaging 27.5 points, 12.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game this season.

      The news on Antetokounmpo comes on the heels of the revelation that Bucks forward Nikola Mirotic will miss as much as four weeks with a slight thumb fracture.

      The Bucks also were expected to be without Pau Gasol (ankle), Donte DiVincenzo (heel), Sterling Brown (wrist) and George Hill (groin) on Wednesday. Malcolm Brogdon is sidelined long-term due to a foot injury.

      --Field Level Media

  • Bucks F Mirotic fractures left thumb
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    Milwaukee Bucks power forward Nikola Mirotic will miss two to four weeks with a "slight fracture" of his left thumb, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Wednesday.

    • The NBA-best Bucks acquired Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans at the trade deadline to provide depth off the bench. The team confirmed the injury but did not update his status.

      Since the trade, Mirotic has played in 14 games (three starts), averaging 11.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 22.9 minutes per game.

      Mirotic sustained the injury in the Bucks' 115-101 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

      The injury likely will keep him out the rest of the regular season. The playoffs begin April 13.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA adds international teams to summer league
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    The NBA Summer League will have an international flavor in 2019.

    • The Chinese and Croatian national teams will join all 30 NBA teams in participating in the league, which will be held July 5-15 in Las Vegas, the NBA announced Wednesday.

      Team China played in Las Vegas at the 2007 NBA Summer League, but Team Croatia is making its debut at the event, marking the first time the league will have two international teams.

      Each of the 32 teams will play four preliminary games, with the top eight teams seeded into a tournament to determine the champion. Those that don't make the championship bracket will play a consolation game.

      Every NBA team will participate in Las Vegas for the second consecutive year. The Portland Trail Blazers beat the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2018 title.

      China will host and participate in the 32-team FIBA World Cup, which begins Aug. 31. Croatia did not make the field.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Russell (44 points) rallies Nets past Kings
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 20, 2019

    Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored the winning layup with 0.8 seconds remaining as the Brooklyn Nets overcame a 25-point, fourth-quarter deficit to post a stunning 123-121 victory over the host Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night.

    • D'Angelo Russell scored 27 of his career-high 44 points in the fourth quarter as the Nets outscored the Kings 45-18 to improve to 1-3 on a seven-game road trip.

      Hollis-Jefferson scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting and drove through the lane to convert the winning basket. Jarrett Allen scored 13 points, and Spencer Dinwiddie added 10 for Brooklyn.

      Marvin Bagley III scored 28 points, and De'Aaron Fox had 27 points and nine assists for Sacramento. Harrison Barnes scored 17 points, Nemanja Bjelica had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Bogdan Bogdanovic added 10 points for the Kings.

      Rockets 121, Hawks 105

      Clint Capela posted his sixth straight double-double with 26 points and 11 rebounds, and visiting Houston topped Atlanta to extend its winning streak to three games.

      James Harden added 31 points, sinking 11 of 12 from the line, and had 10 assists and eight rebounds. Danuel House Jr. came off the bench to score 19, including six 3-pointers. Chris Paul scored 13 and had 11 assists.

      Atlanta got 21 points and 12 assists from Trae Young, plus 20 points and 10 rebounds from John Collins. Taurean Prince added 16 points, and Vince Carter hit five 3-pointers and scored 15.

      Warriors 117, Timberwolves 107

      Stephen Curry scored 22 of his 36 points in the third quarter, and Klay Thompson added 28 points to lead Golden State past Minnesota at Minneapolis.

      Minnesota trailed 59-47 entering the third quarter before going on a 14-2 run, tying the game at 61-all. That's when Curry took over, scoring eight points in a 94-second span as the Warriors wrested control of the game.

      Karl-Anthony Towns scored 26 points and grabbed 21 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who saw their six-game home win streak end.

      Bucks 115, Lakers 101

      Khris Middleton matched his season high with 30 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, and Milwaukee padded its lead atop the Eastern Conference with a win over visiting Los Angeles.

      Playing without Giannis Antetokounmpo (ankle) and Malcolm Brogdon (foot), the Bucks extended their lead over the second-place Toronto Raptors to three games with 11 left for both teams. Brook Lopez matched his season high with 28 points, and Nikola Mirotic scored 23 while starting in place of Brogdon.

      Kentavious Caldwell-Pope shot 8-for-14 from 3-point range and scored a season-high 35 points off the bench for Los Angeles. The Lakers, who played without leading scorer LeBron James (groin), lost their fourth straight game and ninth in the past 10.

      76ers 118, Hornets 114

      Ben Simmons scored 28 points, and JJ Redick had 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as Philadelphia earned its fifth straight victory, beating host Charlotte.

      Tobias Harris hit three free throws in the final 8.2 seconds, and the Hornets missed a chance to tie the game when Jeremy Lamb was off target on a drive in the lane with two seconds remaining.

      Jimmy Butler added 23 points for the Sixers, who completed a four-game season sweep of the Hornets. Their five-game winning streak is a season high. Charlotte has lost nine of its past 12.

      Clippers 115, Pacers 109

      Danilo Gallinari scored 24 points, and Montrezl Harrell added 20 as host Los Angeles improved its playoff prospects with a win over Indiana.

      Rookie Shai Gilgeous-Alexander added 17 points as the Clippers moved into a tie with the Utah Jazz for seventh place in the Western Conference. The Clippers and Jazz are just 2 1/2 games out of third place in a crowded Western Conference field.

      After scoring just two points in the first half, Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 19 as the Pacers lost their third consecutive game, keeping their playoff-clinching celebration on hold. Tyreke Evans also scored 19.

      --Field Level Media