National Basketball Association
NBA News Wire
  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Bulls' Rose will have surgery Friday
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is scheduled to have surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee on Friday.

    • Team physician Dr. Brian Cole will perform the surgery, the team announced Thursday. A timetable for Rose’s return will be determined after the procedure.

      It will be the third knee surgery since 2012 for Rose, the first overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft.

      The Bulls announced Tuesday night that Rose had torn the medial meniscus for the second time in 15 months and would need surgery.

      Rose, who is averaging 18.4 points and 5.0 assists in 46 games this season, sat out Tuesday's practice with "lower-body soreness" but an exam and subsequent MRI confirmed the injury.

      Rose, after missing eight of 15 games in November, hadn't missed a game since Jan. 10.

      "For us, first and foremost, our concern is for Derrick, not only as a basketball player but as a person," coach Tom Thibodeau said Wednesday. "He's been through a lot. He's had to endure a lot. And he's gotten past a lot. It's disappointing news, and we're hopeful that everything will work out fine.

      "Initially, the last procedure he had on the meniscus, we knew this was a possibility. So unfortunately it didn't take. Now they have to go back in and take care of it. We knew that it could happen, and it did. But our concern is with Derrick. I think you guys know how we all feel about him, the organization, the players, everybody. So it's tough news."

      Rose could miss his fourth straight postseason, but Thibodeau isn't counting out Rose just yet.

      "That's what makes him who he is; he's got mental toughness," Thibodeau said. "He's gotten past a lot of hurdles. This is another one. He'll get past this one too."

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    NBA notebook: Rose will have surgery Friday
    By The Sports Xchange

    Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose is scheduled to have surgery to repair a torn medial meniscus in his right knee on Friday.

    • Team physician Dr. Brian Cole will perform the surgery, the team announced Thursday. A timetable for Rose’s return will be determined after the procedure.

      It will be the third knee surgery since 2012 for Rose, the first overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft.

      The Bulls announced Tuesday night that Rose had torn the medial meniscus for the second time in 15 months and would need surgery.

      Rose, who is averaging 18.4 points and 5.0 assists in 46 games this season, sat out Tuesday's practice with "lower-body soreness" but an exam and subsequent MRI confirmed the injury.

      Rose, after missing eight of 15 games in November, hadn't missed a game since Jan. 10.

      --- Paul George returned to practice with the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, his first with the team since he was sidelined by a compound leg fracture in a Team USA scrimmage in August.

      "It felt good. It felt really good," he said.

      The All-Star forward has not played in a game this season and was projected to be out until April.

      George, who said he is up to 235 pounds from 220 last season, said he would like to be back by mid-March.

      "I do feel stronger on the court. I've put on a lot of strength in the weight room," he said Thursday.

      --- Sacramento Kings guard Darren Collison will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a core muscle injury, the team announced Thursday.

      Collison, who was injured during the first half of Sacramento's game against the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 5, is scheduled to consult with Dr. William Meyers on Monday at the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia before the surgery.

      According to the Kings, Collison will then be re-evaluated in three to six weeks, which means he might not return this season.

      The 27-year-old Collison hasn't played since suffering the injury. He is averaging 16.1 points and 5.4 assists in 45 games this season. Guards Ray McCallum and Andre Miller have stepped in to replace him.

      --- The Miami Heat signed forward Michael Beasley to a 10-day contract.

      Beasley, who averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 55 games for the Heat last season, signed a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association in October and averaged 27.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.92 steals in 37 games while shooting 51.3 percent.

      He earned MVP honors at the 2015 CBA All-Star Game by scoring 59 points off the bench.

      This marks Beasley's third stint with Miami. He was the No. 2 overall pick by the Heat in 2008 and played two seasons with the franchise before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Pacers' George returns to practice, could play in March
    By The Sports Xchange

    Paul George returned to practice with the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, his first with the team since he was sidelined by a compound leg fracture in a Team USA scrimmage in August.

    • "It felt good. It felt really good," he said Thursday afternoon.

      The All-NBA forward has not played in a game this season and was projected to be out until April.

      George, who said he is up to 235 pounds from 220 last season, said he would like to be back by mid-March.

      "I do feel stronger on the court. I've put on a lot of strength in the weight room," he said Thursday.

      The Pacers have not cleared George to play in a game and head coach Frank Vogel repeated there is no rush to push him back into action.

      "I'm hopeful, but a lot has to happen before then," he said.

      During the All-Star Break, George said

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Kings' Collison faces surgery
    By The Sports Xchange

    Sacramento Kings guard Darren Collison will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair a core muscle injury, the team announced Thursday.

    • Collison, who was injured during the first half of Sacramento's game against the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 5, is scheduled to consult with Dr. William Meyers on Monday at the Vincera Institute in Philadelphia before the surgery.

      According to the Kings, Collison will then be re-evaluated in three to six weeks, which means he might not return this season.

      The 27-year-old Collison hasn't played since suffering the injury. He is averaging 16.1 points and 5.4 assists in 45 games this season. Guards Ray McCallum and Andre Miller have stepped in to replace him.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Heat sign Beasley to 10-day contract
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Miami Heat signed forward Michael Beasley to a 10-day contract.

    • Beasley, who averaged 7.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 55 games for the Heat last season, signed a one-year deal with the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association in October and averaged 27.1 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.92 steals in 37 games while shooting 51.3 percent from the floor.

      He earned MVP honors at the 2015 CBA All-Star Game by scoring 59 points off the bench.

      This marks Beasley's third stint with Miami. He was the No. 2 overall pick by the Heat in 2008 and played two seasons with the franchise before being traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2010.

      In six NBA seasons, Beasley has appeared in 409 regular-season games, averaging 13.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 24.9 minutes while shooting 45 percent from the floor, 34.8 percent from three-point range and 75.8 percent from the foul line.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Matthews' late 3-point spree lifts Blazers past Spurs
    By The Sports Xchange

    PORTLAND, Ore. -- Through three quarters Wednesday night at the Moda Center, Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews had unusual shooting statistics: 6-for-6 on 2-point shots, 0-for-6 on 3-point attempts.

    • Then Matthews put it all together, hitting four straight treys en route to a 16-point fourth quarter as the Trail Blazers blew away the San Antonio Spurs 111-95.

      "About time," said Matthews, who finished with a season-high 31 points on 11-for-18 shooting. "Got to keep shooting. My teammates kept finding me, dropping it into me, and my confidence never wavered. I was just taking shots that were there."

      Matthews scored four points while missing all seven shots from the field -- four from 3-point range -- on Sunday in the Blazers' 98-92 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

      "He was kind of mad," Portland forward Nicolas Batum said. "You know how he gets when he's mad. I knew he was going to be ready tonight."

      Portland guard Damian Lillard had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and Batum collected 15 points, nine assists and four rebounds. The Trail Blazers (37-19) snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the seventh time in 18 games.

      Forward Tim Duncan scored 20 points on 9-for-12 shooting to go with eight rebounds for the Spurs (34-23). Guard Danny Green added 17 points, and forward Kawhi Leonard had 14 points and eight rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who lost for the fourth consecutive game.

      Portland shot 50.6 percent from the field, including 50 percent (13-for-26) from 3-point range.

      "We have a lot of good shooters," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "The shots were good, the ball movement was good.

      "I don't think we've shot the ball as well as we can through this whole season. We haven't been able to get on the roll that we can. We've been kind of waiting to break out. It was good to have a breakout night."

      San Antonio shot 52.5 percent in the first half but only 35.6 percent through the final two periods.

      "We actually played better tonight than we have in a while," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "It seems odd to say that, but I was encouraged that we were getting back to the way we play. ...

      "We do it together. We don't have people to give the ball to and say, 'Go score.' We've always done it for each other. We got away from that, and we're trying to get back to that."

      Duncan went 7-for-7 from the field and scored 14 points as San Antonio came back from a 19-point, second-quarter deficit to trail only 51-50 at the half. Batum had 12 points and Matthews 10 at the break for the Blazers, who shot 55.3 percent from the field but had nine turnovers.

      Portland outscored San Antonio 16-4 to start the third quarter, increasing its advantage to 67-54. The Blazers upped the margin to 76-62 before settling for an 81-71 edge heading into the final period.

      The Spurs opened the fourth quarter with consecutive 3-pointers to cut the difference to 81-77, but Matthews answered with back-to-back shots from beyond the arc to fuel a 10-0 run for a 91-77 Portland lead. San Antonio never got closer than nine points the rest of the way.

      With Batum leading the way, Portland jumped to a 32-16 lead after one quarter. Batum went 4-for-4 from the field in the period, including 2-for-2 from 3-point range, collecting 10 points, three assists, two rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot.

      Portland built the difference to 37-18 before the Spurs rallied, outscoring the Blazers 30-11 to tie the count at 48-48 with two minutes left in the second quarter.

      NOTES: Portland won the regular-season series with San Antonio 3-1 and improved to 16-7 against the Spurs dating to 2009. ... The Blazers won for the 11th time in the past 13 regular-season meetings with the Spurs in Portland dating to 2008. ... Blazers G Damian Lillard, who finished with 18 points Wednesday, scored at least 20 points in each of his other 10 regular-season appearances against San Antonio through his three-year career. ... The Blazers shot 50 percent or better from beyond the arc for the first time in 25 games. ... The Spurs fell to 2-5 on their nine-game road trip. Their last home game was Feb. 6 against the Miami Heat, and their next home date is March 4 vs. the Sacramento Kings.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Kings outslug Grizzlies, move to 2-1 under Karl
    By The Sports Xchange

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Barring a ridiculous collapse, the Memphis Grizzlies will play postseason basketball this season.

    • New Sacramento Kings coach George Karl is aware that such a day is still at least a season away for his club.

      For one night, though, the two teams played a game with playoff intensity, complete with the physical and emotional components, and this time the underdog won.

      "It had a physicality to it like a playoff game in a lot of ways," Karl said after the Kings prevailed 102-90 at Sleep Train Arena, ending their three-year misery against Memphis. "Our guys were able to stand their ground."

      Forward Rudy Gay scored 28 points to lead the Kings, and center DeMarcus Cousins scored eight of his 16 during Sacramento's 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Both efforts helped Sacramento end a nine-game slide against the Grizzlies. Sacramento beat Memphis for the first time since March 20, 2012.

      "It's definitely a confidence boost," Cousins said. "We've got to continue to play together and stick together like we did tonight, only do it more consistently."

      Sacramento improved to 2-0 at home under Karl while recording a second straight home victory for the first time since November. The Kings are 2-1 since they made Karl their third coach this season, following Michael Malone and Tyrone Corbin.

      Forward Zach Randolph finished with 20 points but only five rebounds for Memphis, which held Sacramento scoreless for the first 4:40 of the third quarter and erased a 62-52 halftime deficit with a 13-2 run. Randolph also canned a 62-footer at the halftime buzzer.

      However, the Kings responded. Cousins opened the final quarter with a 20-foot jumper, the first of seven straight points he scored to begin the period. The Kings scored the first 10 points of the quarter, turning a 77-76 deficit into a nine-point lead they wouldn't relinquish.

      "They got anything they wanted offensively," Grizzlies coach David Joerger said. "We were just kind of chasing them the whole night."

      Cousins, the Kings' lone All-Star, turned his left ankle during the scoring spree but remained in the contest and played eight of his 24 minutes in the final quarter. He also contributed nine rebounds and six assists.

      "To me, that's an awfully good game," Karl said. "There are not many guys who can put those numbers up in 24 minutes. Memphis is a good defensive team, and they have good defensive players. The game didn't start well for DeMarcus, but he sustained it and had a spurt in the fourth quarter."

      Gay's contributions also were vital. He made 12 of 20 shots, and his back-to-back jumpers -- one of them a 3-pointer -- were part of a 19-6 run in the final period.

      "Shots went in," he said. "We had good spacing, good type of play, the players got me good shots and they went in."

      Center Marc Gasol scored 14 points, guard Mike Conley added 12 and forward Jeff Green had 11 for the Grizzlies, who lost for just the fourth time in 19 games since acquiring Green from the Boston Celtics in January. Memphis (41-15) trails only the Golden State Warriors (44-10) in the Western Conference standings.

      The Grizzlies didn't lead until the third quarter and never were on top by more than three points. Memphis converted just 40.5 percent of its shots from the field and made just four of 16 from beyond the arc. The Grizzlies also were outrebounded 47-38.

      Guard Ben McLemore had 16 points, and forward Jason Thompson and guard Ray McCallum finished with 10 points apiece for Sacramento (20-35). Gay scored 13 of his 28 in the second period after Sacramento canned 11 of 19 shots during the opening quarter to race to an early 11-point lead.

      Sacramento shot 48.8 percent from the field and won despite giving the ball away 21 times.

      "Our guys should feel good about this win," Karl said. "It was a good win."

      NOTES: The Grizzlies are 13-5 against the other seven teams holding a Western Conference playoff position. They are 12-5 against the conference's bottom seven. ... Sacramento G Darren Collision (hip flexor strain) missed his seventh consecutive game, the longest absence of his six-year career. He saw a specialist in Southern California on Wednesday, but it remains unclear when he will return. ... Sacramento C DeMarcus Cousins and Memphis C Marc Gasol, All-Star teammates, squared off. Cousins ranks second in the NBA in double-doubles (34), trailing only Gasol's brother, Chicago Bulls F Pau Gasol (38). Marc Gasol's 15 double-doubles rank second on the Grizzlies, trailing F Zach Randolph's 31. ... Newly hired Sacramento assistant coach Vance Walberg was on the sidelines for the first time under head coach George Karl. The last time the two were together, the 2012-13 Denver Nuggets went 57-25.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    NBA roundup: Hawks win NBA-best 26th home game
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- Forward Paul Millsap had 15 points and eight rebounds to spark the Atlanta Hawks to a 104-87 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday.

    • Millsap scored seven of his points during a 13-0 stretch in the second quarter that allowed the Hawks (45-12) to go from four points behind to nine points ahead. Millsap tied the game with a 3-pointer and capped the streak with a steal and dunk and another driving basket that put Atlanta ahead 66-57.

      The win was the NBA-leading 26th home victory for the Hawks, who have won two straight and swept the season series with the Mavericks. Atlanta has swept five series against teams from the Western Conference. Dallas had its two-game winning streak snapped.

      Atlanta had six players in double figures: guard Dennis Schroder (17), guard Kyle Korver (16), forward DeMarre Carroll (13), center Al Horford (11) and guard Jeff Teague (11).

      Dallas (39-21) was led by guard Monta Ellis with 17 points, 15 in the first half. J.J. Barea, who started at point guard in place of the suspended Rajon Rondo, had 13 points and seven assists. Forward Richard Jefferson and guard Devin Harris each scored 10.

      Pelicans 102, Nets 96

      NEW ORLEANS -- Forward Quincy Pondexter scored a career-high 25 points, including a 3-pointer from the left wing with 49.9 seconds left, and guard Tyreke Evans scored 15 points and dished out 11 assists to lift short-handed New Orleans to a victory over Brooklyn at the Smoothie King King Center.

      Pondexter's final 3-pointer -- his fourth in eight attempts -- gave New Orleans a 101-91 lead, and the Pelicans (30-27) coasted to their third consecutive victory.

      The Nets (23-32) were led by forward Joe Johnson with 21 points and forward Thaddeus Young with 19.

      Timberwolves 97, Wizards 77

      MINNEAPOLIS -- Kevin Garnett had five points and eight rebounds as Minnesota defeated Washington at the Target Center.

      For Garnett, acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at last Thursday's NBA trade deadline, it was his first game in a Timberwolves uniform since April 9, 2007 -- a span of 2,879 days.

      Minnesota (13-43) has struggled all season, but it wasn't evident from the packed house of 19,856 -- the largest crowd all season. Lines stretched out of the arena two hours before the game as fans waited to catch a glimpse of the franchise's career leader in every major statistical category.

      Hornets 98, Bulls 86

      CHICAGO -- The first game after learning of Derrick Rose's latest knee injury did not go well for Chicago, which looked lackluster in a loss to Charlotte at the United Center.

      The Hornets (23-32) pulled away in the fourth quarter after a tight back-and-forth game through the first 36 minutes. Two free throws by forward Taj Gibson pulled Chicago (36-22) within 78-74 with 8:13 left in the game, but the Hornets used a 17-4 run in the next six minutes to ice the game.

      Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and center Al Jefferson combined to score 16 of the points in the run, adding eight each. Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead five Hornets players in double-figures scoring.

      Guard Mo Williams scored 17 points, guard/forward Gerald Henderson scored 11 and guard Brian Roberts chipped in 12 for Charlotte, which snapped a five-game losing streak.

      Bucks 104, 76ers 88

      MILWAUKEE -- Michael Carter-Williams got Milwaukee career off to a successful beginning and barely had to break a sweat in doing so. Playing against his struggling former teammates, the point guard needed only 17 minutes to post seven points and eight assists as the Bucks dismantled Philadelphia.

      Center John Henson scored 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting to lead five Milwaukee players in double figures. The Bucks (32-25) took a big lead early and were never threatened as they snapped a two-game skid.

      Milwaukee led by 29 at the half as Philadelphia (12-45) was sloppy from the start in committing 19 turnovers by halftime and 28 for the game. The Bucks were far from sharp, giving the ball away 24 times.

      Heat 93, Magic 90 (OT)

      ORLANDO, Fla. -- Forward Luol Deng scored 21 points to lead Miami to an overtime victory over Orlando at the Amway Center.

      The Heat (25-31) erased an eight-point deficit in the final 42 seconds of regulation, then smothered the Magic in overtime when guard Dwyane Wade scored four points.

      Heat center Hassan Whiteside finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Wade had 18 points, and point guard Goran Dragic added eight points and five assists.

      Magic center Nikola Vucevic had 26 points and eight rebounds, and guard Victor Oladipo contributed 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Forward Tobias Harris had 12 points and eight rebounds.

      Celtics 115, Knicks 94

      BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas and Jonas Jerebko, making their home debuts with their new team, both came off the bench and helped Boston to a victory over hapless New York.

      The Celtics, who still have a shot at an Eastern Conference playoff berth despite a 22-33 record, used a 34-6 run during the second half of the third quarter and the first 4:15 of the fourth to walk away with the game while sending the Knicks to their seventh straight loss.

      Thomas, a guard acquired from the Phoenix Suns, followed two 21-point performances on the road by scoring 19 points and adding seven assists and six rebounds. Jerebko, picked up from the Detroit Pistons, used his first serious Celtics playing time to score a season-high 20 points and grab five rebounds.

      Celtics guard Evan Turner posted the first triple-double of his NBA career with 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Forward Jae Crowder, also coming off the bench, had 18 points, six rebounds and four assists. Rookie guard Marcus Smart, also off the bench, had 16 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.

      Rockets 110, Clippers 105

      HOUSTON -- Corey Brewer and Josh Smith provided Houston with a needed punch off the bench, leading the way to a victory over Los Angeles at Toyota Center.

      Brewer paired 20 points with six rebounds while Smith added nine points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks as Houston (39-18) snapped a six-game series losing streak to the Clippers (37-21).

      With All-Star guard James Harden on the bench, the Rockets opened the fourth with a 13-1 run. Brewer and Smith co-authored the run to a double-digit lead, with Smith thwarting shots at the rim while Brewer scored in transition and from behind the arc. His second 3 of the period pushed Houston to a 97-86 lead and followed two fast-break baskets.

      Crawford paced the Clippers with 24 points while guard Chris Paul (22 points, 14 assists) and center DeAndre Jordan (22 points, 19 rebounds) posted double-doubles.

      Suns 110, Nuggets 96

      DENVER -- Guard Brandon Knight had 19 points, guard Eric Bledsoe scored 18 as Phoenix beat Denver.

      Forward Gerald Green had 15 points off the bench for the Suns, who ended a five-game losing streak. Phoenix won on the road for the first time in seven weeks.

      Phoenix (30-28) kept its fading playoff hopes alive with its first win since before the All-Star break. The Suns trail Oklahoma City by two-and-a-half games for the eighth spot in the Western Conference and can get closer when they host the Thunder Thursday night.

      Forward Will Barton scored a season-high 22 points and forward Danilo Gallinari had 20 points for the Nuggets. Denver has lost eight straight at home and 18 of 20 overall.

      Lakers 100, Jazz 97

      SALT LAKE CITY -- Shooting guard Jordan Clarkson scored a game-high 22 points and short-handed Los Angeles rallied to beat Utah at EnergySolutions Arena.

      The Lakers used a 31-19 fourth quarter to surprise the home team, which was riding high after consecutive impressive wins over Portland and San Antonio. Los Angeles (15-41) won its second straight game after ending a seven-game losing streak.

      Center Jordan Hill, guard Wayne Ellington and center Robert Sacre each sank two free throws in the final 19 seconds to help the Lakers hold on.

      Small forward Gordon Hayward scored a team-high 20 points for Utah, which dropped to 21-35 after winning four of its previous five games.

      Kings 102, Grizzlies 90

      SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Forward Rudy Gay scored 28 points, center DeMarcus Cousins scored eight of his 16 during Sacramento's 10-0 run to start the fourth quarter, and the Kings ended their misery against Memphis with a victory at Sleep Train Arena.

      Gay made 12 of 20 shots, and his back-to-back jumpers -- one of them a 3-pointer -- were part of a 19-6 run in the final period that allowed Sacramento to end a nine-game skid against the Western Conference's second-best team. The Kings (20-35) also snapped a five-game home slide against Memphis (41-15) and won back-to-back home contests for first time since November.

      Sacramento is 2-0 at home under new coach George Karl.

      Cousins was quiet until opening the final quarter with a 20-foot jumper, the first of seven straight points he scored to begin the period. The Kings scored the first 10 points of the quarter, turning a 77-76 deficit into a nine-point lead they wouldn't relinquish. The Kings' All-Star also contributed nine rebounds and six assists.

      Trail Blazers 111, Spurs 95

      PORTLAND, Ore. -- Guard Wesley Matthews scored 21 of his season-high 31 points in the second half as Portland broke things open in the fourth quarter of a victory over San Antonio at the Moda Center.

      Blazers guard Damian Lillard had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and forward Nicolas Batum collected 15 points, nine assists and four rebounds. Portland (37-19) snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the seventh time in 18 games.

      Forward Tim Duncan scored 20 points on 9-for-12 shooting to go with eight rebounds for the Spurs (34-23). Guard Danny Green added 17 points, and forward Kawhi Leonard had 14 points and eight rebounds for the defending NBA champions, who lost for the fourth consecutive game.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Lakers rally to defeat Jazz on road
    By The Sports Xchange

    SALT LAKE CITY -- With all of the talk of losing, the lottery and injuries swirling around the Los Angeles Lakers, they did something that might quiet detractors for a day or two.

    • Win.

      In comeback fashion, on the road even.

      Shooting guard Jordan Clarkson scored a game-high 22 points and the short-handed Lakers rallied to beat the Utah Jazz 100-97 on Wednesday night at EnergySolutions Arena.

      "We played really well," Lakers power forward Carlos Boozer said. "They got on a little bit of a roll and got up 12 or 13 and our guys woke up and started playing better."

      The Lakers used a 31-19 fourth quarter to surprise the home team, which was riding high after consecutive impressive wins over Portland and San Antonio. Los Angeles (15-41) won its second straight game after ending a seven-game losing streak.

      Center Jordan Hill, guard Wayne Ellington and center Robert Sacre each sank two free throws in the final 19 seconds to help the Lakers hold on.

      "I thought we kept our composure," Lakers coach Byron Scott said. "I thought our guys did a really good job of our press and our zone tonight. ... We've got a bunch of resilient guys. They just kept playing and kept giving us an opportunity."

      Small forward Gordon Hayward scored a team-high 20 points for Utah, which dropped to 21-35 after winning four of its previous five games.

      Hayward had six of the Jazz's 21 turnovers that the Lakers converted into 22 points.

      Jazz coach Quin Snyder didn't mince words when it came to describing his team's sloppy play.

      "It (was) a lack of toughness, a lack of precision, being weak-minded and looking for someone to blame and not taking responsibility for someone knocking the ball out of your hands," Snyder said. "It's an NBA game. People are going to be physical. It just can't be that easy to give up the ball."

      Power forward Derrick Favors had 18 points and nine rebounds, and center Rudy Gobert totaled 16 points, 14 rebounds and three blocked shots for Utah.

      The Lakers, who trailed by as many as 13 points, caught up to the lackadaisical Jazz with 4:37 remaining when Hill tied it at 88 with a dunk. Clarkson then put the Lakers ahead for good with four minutes remaining on another fast break.

      Hill finished with 16 points and five rebounds. Clarkson hit 10 of 16 shots from the field and added four rebounds, three assists and two steals.

      Boozer, who played in Utah from 2004 to 2010, contributed 14 points with six rebounds and three steals for the Lakers.

      Los Angeles won despite continuing to be plagued by injuries. Already without Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Julius Randle, the Lakers didn't have the services of Nick Young (knee) or Ronnie Price (season-ending elbow surgery).

      Missed free throws and missed shots equaled a missed opportunity for the Jazz, who were looking for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

      Hayward hit two free throws with 13.7 remaining and Favors trimmed the lead to one with two foul shots with 2.2 seconds left, but the Lakers responded each time.

      Utah made only 22 of 34 free throws while shooting 46.6 percent from the floor. L.A. hit 18 of 21 free throws.

      "It was just a mental game," said Millsap, the younger brother of All-Star Paul Millsap. "We made a lot of mental mistakes. It's on us."

      The Jazz got nice contributions from two first-year bench players. Small forward Elijah Millsap had a career-high 17 points and seven rebounds, and rookie Rodney Hood, two games back from an extended foot injury absence, scored 11 points.

      NOTES: Lakers coach Byron Scott continues to fight the trend when it comes to analytics. "I don't knock people who believe in it. That's their prerogative," the 53-year-old former player told reporters before Wednesday's game. "But I'm just more of an old-school type guy." ... Scott was born in Ogden, Utah. ... The Jazz welcomed two new players to their team this week after calling up G Bryce Cotton and PF Jack Cooley from the NBA Development League for 10-day contracts. Cooley was with Utah in training camp but was cut before the regular season began. ... The Jazz assigned G Ian Clark to Idaho of the D-League. ... Jazz PF Trevor Booker and Lakers F/C Jordan Hill are cousins. Both were born in Newberry, S.C.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Suns end skid with road win against Nuggets
    By The Sports Xchange

    DENVER -- The Phoenix Suns got an elusive road win and put themselves back in the playoff conversation.

    • Guard Brandon Knight had 19 points, guard Eric Bledsoe scored 18 and the Phoenix Suns beat the Denver Nuggets 110-96 on Wednesday night.

      Forward Gerald Green had 15 points off the bench for the Suns, who ended a five-game losing streak. Phoenix won on the road for the first time in seven weeks.

      Phoenix (30-28) kept its fading playoff hopes alive with its first win since before the All-Star break. The Suns trail Oklahoma City by two-and-a-half games for the eighth spot in the Western Conference and can get closer when they host the Thunder on Thursday night.

      "We got the monkey off our back," Bledsoe said of ending the road losing streak. "Oklahoma City is playing well right now but there's no telling what could happen."

      Forward Will Barton scored a season-high 22 points and forward Danilo Gallinari had 20 points for the Nuggets. Denver has lost eight straight at home and 17 of 19 overall.

      The home losing streak is the longest since 1998 and the third longest in team history.

      "What starts to happen is guys start looking forward to playing on the road because the home crowd starts to get antsy," Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. "Things don't go well and they start to get on us, especially if it seems like we're not hustling and coming up with the loose balls."

      The Nuggets, who haven't won at home since Jan. 14, were already shorthanded when forward Darrell Arthur suffered a knee injury just 3:01 into the game. Things got worse when rookie center Jusuf Nurkic got tangled up on the defense end and suffered a right lateral ankle sprain with 9:29 left in the game. He was helped off the court and then wheeled to the locker room in obvious pain.

      Shaw said X-rays were negative.

      Nurkic's ankle was noticeably swollen in the locker room as he sat with his head in his hands

      "He wouldn't let anyone touch him when he was on the court," Shaw said. "He hasn't ever really been hurt before so for that to happen would be pretty scary for him."

      The injuries took their toll, especially on the glass. Phoenix outrebounded Denver 65-40, the Suns' high rebounding total of the season despite the fact that center Alex Len, with 10 rebounds, was the only Phoenix player in double digits.

      "Our guys went after it tonight," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said. "We played with a little more desperation than what we have been playing with."

      The Suns built a nine-point lead in the first half, saw Denver cut it to 67-66 on Nurkic's layup with seven minutes left in the third and then went on a 12-0 run to take an 83-69 lead late in the quarter.

      Gallinari tried to keep the Nuggets in it with another strong offensive game but the lack of offense from leading scorer, guard Ty Lawson, doomed Denver to another home loss.

      "We lost because we allowed a lot of offensive rebounds," Gallinari said. "They had 23 offensive rebounds and it's hard to win a game if you let that happen."

      The Nuggets were within 10 at the start of the fourth but Phoenix built a 15-point lead early in the period.

      Consecutive 3-pointers by Gallinari and Lawson and two free throws from forward Joffrey Lauvergne got Denver within 91-85 with 7:17 remaining. Knight hit two straight 3-pointers as Phoenix responded with a 10-2 run to push the lead back to 14 with 4:49 left.

      "Those were some big shots that went in for us that pushed the lead back up," Knight said. "But we got stops and that compounded it."

      Knight had his best game since being acquired from Milwaukee last week.

      "He's been doing that all season long," Bledsoe said.

      NOTES: Nuggets F Wilson Chandler did not play because of a groin injury, and F Kenneth Faried was out with a bruised left thumb. Faried was hurt in the first half of Monday's loss to the Brooklyn Nets but played in the second half. ... The Suns turned over nearly half their roster from opening night. Seven of the 15 players from Oct. 29 either were traded or waived. ... The Nuggets are on pace for their worst record in 12 years. They were 17-65 in 2002-03 before reaching the playoffs the next 10 seasons. ... Entering Wednesday, Suns C Alex Len was averaging 9.7 points, 11 rebounds and 4.3 blocks over his previous three games.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Rockets get past Clippers
    By The Sports Xchange

    HOUSTON -- A mere two months have passed since forwards Corey Brewer and Josh Smith joined the Houston Rockets, yet in that span they have developed an on-court chemistry that belies their brief time together as teammates.

    • Brewer and Smith provided the oomph the Rockets needed to seize momentum in the fourth quarter and paced a 110-105 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night at Toyota Center.

      Brewer scored 20 points off the bench, including 10 during a 15-1 blitz that opened the final period and turned a one-point deficit entering the fourth into a 99-86 lead with 7:32 left. Smith was equally assertive on the defensive end, protecting the rim with aplomb while chipping in nine points, nine rebounds, four assists and two blocks to help Houston (39-18) snap a six-game series losing streak to the Clippers (37-21).

      "We do a great job of playing with each other," Smith said of the bench unit. "We're very unselfish. The ball is moving from side to side and we're looking for the open man."

      With All-Star guard James Harden on the bench, the Rockets ran their way to their first double-digit lead, with Brewer sandwiching a pair of 3-pointers around a transition dunk at the 9:06 mark and a fast-break layup 19 seconds later. When Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas (18 points, nine rebounds) converted a layup with 7:32 left, the Rockets completed an 18-3 rally and held their biggest lead of the contest.

      The Clippers made one final push and closed to within four points on a driving layup from reserve guard Jamal Crawford with 37.8 seconds left, but their comeback sputtered. Crawford paced the Clippers with 24 points while guard Chris Paul (22 points, 14 assists) and center DeAndre Jordan (22 points, 19 rebounds) produced double-doubles.

      Harden posted 21 points and 10 assists despite shooting just 4 for 13. He did score eight points over the final 4:56 and assisted on the only other Houston field goal down the stretch, a Brewer driving layup that Brewer converted through a foul for a three-point play and 106-93 lead.

      "There's always a five- or six-minute gap, especially in our losses, where the other team goes on a run," Crawford said. "We can't let that happen."

      The Rockets' win was their first over the Clippers with Harden in the lineup. Harden sat out the Rockets' 98-81 victory on March 30, 2013.

      "It feels a whole lot better than getting beat by them," Rockets coach Kevin McHale said of the win. "They were beating the tar out of us. We had a heck of a time staying in games with them, to be truthful.

      "They've had our number. It was good to get that win."

      Trailing 27-26 entering the second quarter, the Clippers caught fire on two fronts, with Crawford blitzing Houston with 13 second-quarter points before Paul and Jordan delivered some pick-and-roll brilliance.

      After Crawford capped his individual run of showmanship with a 3-pointer that gave the Clippers a 45-42 lead at the 6:08 mark, Paul and Jordan combined to score 13 of the Clippers' final 15 points of the half.

      The Clippers shot just 6 of 16 in the third quarter yet outscored the Rockets by making 12 trips to the charity stripe and converting 11 free throws. Houston largely siphoned off the Paul/Jordan pick-and-roll but struggled to defend without fouling. But when Jordan departed with his fourth foul at the 2:46 mark of the third quarter, the Rockets got going.

      "We really have to be more consistent and keep teams off the free-throw line," Paul said. "They got way too many 3s (17). Threes and free throws is what they do. That's why we've been so success on them by not letting them get both, and tonight they got everything."

      NOTES: The Clippers signed F Jordan Hamilton to a 10-day contract and he traveled with the team to Houston. Hamilton, a 2011 first-round draft pick of the Dallas Mavericks, played in 126 games with the Denver Nuggets and Houston Rockets and was averaging 18.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 27 games with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Developmental League. ... Clippers C DeAndre Jordan played in his 298th consecutive game, the longest active streak in the NBA. ... Rockets G Patrick Beverley missed his second consecutive game with flu-like symptoms and F Kostas Papanikolaou sat out his second straight game with a right ankle sprain.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Bulls struggle without Rose in loss to Hornets
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- The first game after learning about the third knee injury of Derrick Rose's career did not go well for the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night at the United Center.

    • They looked lackluster in a 98-86 loss to the Charlotte Hornets, who came into the game on a five-game losing streak.

      "I was just really sad (when I found out)," said Bulls center Joakim Noah, who had four points and 11 rebounds. "Angry, sad ... he doesn't deserve it. It's just really disappointing. It was tough (tonight). We didn't play well."

      The Hornets (23-32) pulled away in the fourth quarter after a tight back-and-forth game through the first 36 minutes. Two free throws by forward Taj Gibson brought Chicago (36-22) within 78-74 with 8:13 left, but Charlotte used a 17-4 run in the next six minutes to ice the game.

      Forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and center Al Jefferson combined to score 16 of the points in the run, adding eight each. Kidd-Gilchrist finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead five Hornets players in double-figures scoring.

      Guard Mo Williams scored 17 points, guard/forward Gerald Henderson had 11 and guard Brian Roberts chipped in 12 for Charlotte.

      "I thought we had great intensity and focus," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. "We had a very good fourth quarter, which is really important. Al Jefferson delivered big for us."

      Forward Pau Gasol was big for the Bulls. He led all scorers with 25 points and pulled down 13 rebounds for his NBA-best 38th double-double. Chicago guard Jimmy Butler added 14 points, reserve guard Tony Snell scored 10 and guard Aaron Brooks -- who started instead of Rose -- finished with 12 points and four assists.

      Chicago lost for the first time in three games and just the second time in the previous eight.

      "It was difficult," Gasol said. "You could tell that emotionally it was tough for us tonight. We tried to fight through it, tried to give ourselves a chance, but it just wasn't perfect tonight."

      Charlotte led 67-65 starting the fourth quarter thanks in large part to Williams producing 13 points in the third. Gasol scored nine in that quarter for the Bulls, who trailed 67-61 until Gibson sank two free throws and guard Kirk Hinrich drilled a jumper with 51.9 seconds left to close within a basket.

      That was as close as the Bulls got.

      "We just kept playing," Jefferson said. "Things have been going bad for us. We kept at it. We just kept playing hard, especially on defense, and then the offense followed."

      Each team used nice early runs to finish tied 20-20 at the end of the first quarter. The Bulls built a 15-6 lead through the first 6:26 of the game and the Hornets countered by outscoring Chicago 14-5 in the final five minutes of the quarter.

      The Bulls got their points in the first from three players -- Brooks, Butler and Gasol -- and the Hornets had seven guys score.

      The second quarter wound up with the same score on each side, making it 44-44 at the half, but there weren't any extended runs and the see-saw quarter had eight ties.

      Chicago struggled from the free-throw line, shooting 65.2 percent (15 of 23) and went 3 of 17 from the 3-point line. Each came back to haunt the Bulls.

      "We had good looks," said Brooks, who made 1 of 5 3-pointers. "We just didn't knock 'em down."

      After the game, Chicago's locker room had a somber feel. The loss they'd just been dealt on the court wasn't the cause.

      "We all were affected by it," Gasol said of Rose's injury. "They might've been through this before (as a team), but this is the third time it's happened. So you feel really bad for your teammate, for your friend. It's just difficult."

      NOTES: Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau opted to start 6-foot G Aaron Brooks against the Hornets in the absence of PG Derrick Rose, who is out with a meniscus tear in his right knee. Thibodeau said he would likely divide Rose's minutes between Brooks, G Kirk Hinrich, G Tony Snell and possibly G E'Twaun Moore, who is averaging just 7.6 minutes per game. ... Hinrich and PF Taj Gibson returned from illnesses that held them out of the Bulls' 87-71 victory Monday against the Milwaukee Bucks. ... Hornets G/F Kemba Walker (left knee surgery) missed his 13th game, and C/F Bismack Biyombo (right knee contusion) missed his 10th game.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Timberwolves defeat Wizards in Garnett's return
    By The Sports Xchange

    MINNEAPOLIS -- With a week's worth of buildup complete, the only thing left was to play the game.

    • Kevin Garnett had five points and eight rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Washington Wizards 97-77 on Wednesday night at the Target Center.

      For Garnett, acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at last Thursday's NBA trade deadline, it was his first game in a Timberwolves uniform since April 9, 2007 -- a span of 2,879 days.

      Minnesota (13-43) has struggled all season, but it wasn't evident from the packed house of 19,856 -- the largest crowd all season. Lines stretched out of the arena two hours before the game as fans waited to catch a glimpse of the franchise's career leader in every major statistical category.

      "The place was rocking tonight tonight," Garnett said. "It felt like my rookie year; the energy, the anticipation, I looked in the crowd and saw my friends and family. It was a special time and I can't even put it into words.

      "I've been back before and never paid attention to how much love is still here for me. Tonight it was over the top. This is full circle. I did not know the city missed me like this."

      After an emotional pregame video and lineup introduction, Washington (33-25) quieted the crowd in the early going, taking a 9-1 lead in the opening minutes as Minnesota started the game by missing its first 11 shots from the field.

      Wizards center Marcin Gortat capped a three-point play with 4:18 left in the first quarter, giving Washington its largest lead of the night at 18-3.

      "A lot of times, things go like that," Wolves guard Kevin Martin said of the emotion early on. "I think that's what it was for us. He helped us get through that and we just took off from there."

      Minnesota slowly chipped away, narrowing the gap to nine by the end of the quarter. Martin scored 16 points in the second quarter alone to send the game to the half tied at 42.

      That was just the start.

      The Timberwolves opened the third quarter on a 19-8 run, sparked by rookie forward Andrew Wiggins' 13 third-quarter points. Minnesota outscored Washington 32-18 in the third, taking a 74-60 lead to the fourth quarter.

      The 77 points allowed were a season low for Minnesota, which picked a good time to have its best defensive game of the season.

      "It was the only reason we were still in that game," Wolves coach Flip Saunders said. "It becomes infectious. All of the sudden, we've got guys playing more physical and that's what (Garnett) brings. That was one of the reasons why we thought it was important to go get him."

      The Wolves scored 21 points off 19 Washington turnovers and got to the free-throw line 28 times, compared to eight for the Wizards. Washington shot 37.9 percent from the floor, including 22 percent from beyond the arc.

      "We had a bad combination of things," Wizards coach Randy Wittman said. "We can't make a shot, turned the ball over 19 times. We hung in even through it, then in the fourth quarter, you look up and (the deficit) all of the sudden."

      Minnesota led by as much as 23 in the final quarter as the crowd buzzed every time Garnett got on his feet to greet a teammate on the bench. Chants of "KG! KG!" filled the building when he left the game for the final time with just over a minute remaining in regulation.

      "I've never been in an NBA game in the regular season where there was the energy and the enthusiasm as there was in the building tonight," Saunders said. "I've never seen anything like that for one guy."

      Martin finished with a game-high 28 points. Wiggins scored 19 points and center Nikola Pekovic had a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

      The Wizards had three players score in double figures, led by forward Otto Porter's 13 points and Nene's 12. Gortat finished with nine points and 15 rebounds. Guard John Wall had five points and 10 assists.

      "Basically, we lost the game because we let them get into a rhythm at the free-throw line," Wall said. "At the start of the second quarter, they came out and got aggressive and got to the free-throw line a lot and started making the shots they had missed."

      NOTES: Wizards F Paul Pierce did not play because of a left knee injury. ... Washington G Bradley Beal remained out with a right fibula injury. ... Timberwolves G Gary Neal, originally not expected to play because of a sprained right ankle, appeared as a reserve. ... Minnesota F Anthony Bennett did not play because of a sprained right ankle. ... Timberwolves F Robbie Hummel missed the game with a broken right hand. ... Washington continues on its brief two-game road trip Friday at the Philadelphia 76ers. ... Minnesota will play the Bulls in Chicago on Friday before returning to Minneapolis to open a four-game homestand Saturday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Bulls used to moving on after Rose injury
    By The Sports Xchange

    CHICAGO -- Tony Snell sat stone silent in front of his locker inside the Chicago Bulls' locker room Wednesday evening at the United Center.

    • Wearing red headphones, he tuned out the world and the stinging news that star teammate Derrick Rose had yet another meniscus tear in his right knee, the same injury in the same knee that sidelined him for all but 10 games last season.

      A contingent of reporters milled about, including a couple who stood right next to Rose's vacant locker. The only items in Rose's locker were several pair of gym shoes, and everybody in the room wondered the same thing, for the third straight season.

      Who's going fill them?

      If any team in professional sports has a good handle on the answer, it's the Bulls. They've seen Rose miss the entire 2012-13 season battling back from a blown left ACL and last year they watched him struggle through a meniscus tear in the right knee.

      So, here they go again.

      "It's not fair," said usually-stoic coach Tom Thibodeau after the morning shoot around.

      It is, however, reality.

      Again.

      While there is no defined timetable for Rose's return yet, there is another surgery ahead and possibly another extended absence. Like they have done the previous two seasons, the Bulls will trudge dutifully ahead and try to salvage the remainder of their season -- whether he plays again this year or not.

      "When you've gone through something before, I think you have a better understanding of what you have to do," Thibodeau said, less than two hours before opening tip of a lackluster 98-86 loss to the Charlotte Hornets. "They've not only done it once, they've done it a couple times. The important thing for us is we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We have great concern for Derrick and we care about him a lot, but we also have to get ourselves ready."

      The process started with the game against the Hornets, when no Bulls players spoke with reporters pregame. It might've been an early indication about how they plan to approach it, as Thibodeau talked about rallying together and fighting through the latest adversity.

      Afterward, each player who spoke about Rose did so in a somber tone. In the previous 48 minutes, their play spoke volumes about their general mood as a team.

      "We all were affected by it," said Bulls center Pau Gasol, who led all scorers with 25 points. "They might've been through this before, but this is the third time it's happened. So, you feel really bad for your teammate, for your friend. It's just difficult."

      Rose had already missed 11 games with sprains in both ankles (four games), a left hamstring strain (four games), illness (two games) and soreness in his surgically-repaired left knee (one game). The Bulls went a combined 7-4 in those games.

      They're a deep team, up front and in the backcourt, and now that depth will be put to a huge test. Rose is averaging 18.4 points 3.1 rebounds and five assists per game, but he's struggled with an inconsistent jump shot and has drawn criticism for not driving to the basket enough.

      Now that burden falls on his teammates.

      Again.

      "We can't feel sorry for ourselves," Gasol said. "We've got to pick it back up and understand this is just part of what we do. If we want to have an opportunity to do something this season, we need to pick it up, put that aside and focus on winning games."

      Thibodeau concurred.

      "It's unfortunate," he said. "I think (reporters) all know how much the team cares about (Rose). It's one of the great characteristics of this team, is they care about each other. They've been down this road before in dealing with the serious injuries. We know when you're short-handed what you have to do, so we have to stick together. We've got to fight. The games will continue to come. That's our reality and we've got to find a way to win."

      In their first game without Rose, Thibodeau started 6-foot point guard Aaron Brooks, who scored 12 points and had four assists in 28:20.

      Brooks' minutes increase along with Snell, veteran Kirk Hinrich and possibly E'Twaun Moore.

      "You don't replace a guy like Derrick with one person," Thibodeau said. "It has to be a collective effort with everybody starring in whatever roles they have."

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Pondexter hits dagger as Pelicans topple Nets
    By The Sports Xchange

    NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans Pelicans forward Quincy Pondexter wore a wire inside his jersey Wednesday night against the Brooklyn Nets, and then he went out before 16,097 fans at the Smoothie King Center and pulled off a major league sting.

    • Wearing a wireless microphone for the first time in his NBA career, Pondexter poured in a career-high 25 points, including a 3-pointer from the left wing with 49.9 seconds left, to carry the short-handed Pelicans to their third consecutive victory, a 102-96 defeat of the Nets.

      After making his critical jumper to put the Pelicans up 101-93, the normally soft-spoken Pondexter pumped his chest three times and let out a loud roar.

      "That was a dagger," Pondexter said, smiling. "I definitely damaged the mic on that one. It was my first time ever doing it. It was pretty cool to get to do it like your idols usually do. And then to play like that on top of it."

      Pondexter scored 11 of his game-high 25 points in the first quarter, but his critical jumper came at the end of a nifty feed from guard Tyreke Evans, who drove down the lane and then found Pondexter alone in the left corner. Evans scored 15 points and dished out 11 assists, and he had eight points in the final 4:49 as the Pelicans broke open a one-point game with a 10-0 run, capped by his reverse layup.

      Playing without injured All-Star forward Anthony Davis, forward Ryan Anderson and point guard Jrue Holiday, the Pelicans put six players in double figures to overcome their short rotation. Forward Dante Cunningham had 13 points, center Omer Asik scored 12 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, newly acquired point guard Norris Cole had 11 points and three assists, and backup center Alexis Ajinca added 10 points.

      The game went through eight lead changes and eight ties in the first three quarters, but the Pelicans moved the ball well enough on offense to collect 26 assists on 38 made field goals and shot 51.4 percent for the game, including 11 of 25 from 3-point range.

      After going 3 of 12 from the floor and scoring just 12 points in the previous two games, Pondexter went 9 of 13 against the Nets, making 4 of 8 shots from long range.

      "I didn't play good the last two games, and I had to play better," Pondexter said. "I didn't want to be the reason our team lost. I had a little extra motivation tonight. I just took my shots confidently."

      "I think he just took his last two games personally," New Orleans coach Monty Williams said. "He's been at the gym working on his shot. I wasn't worried about his shot. I was more concerned about his defense on the ball. That's what he does and that's what gets him going."

      The Nets (23-32) were led by forward Joe Johnson with 21 points and forward Thaddeus Young with 19, but their three bench contributors -- Young, guard Jarrett Jack (15) and center Brook Lopez (15) -- outscored their five starters 49-47. The Nets shot just 42 percent from the floor.

      "We just weren't able to make shots, we turned the ball over a couple of times and we couldn't get stops," said Nets coach Lionel Hollins. "Pondexter hit a big three."

      When Babbitt hit a 3-pointer from the right baseline and Ajinca made an 18-footer, New Orleans extended its lead to 88-82 with 6:25 left. Babbitt then hit another 3-pointer from the left corner, and Evans made a reverse layup off a feed from Eric Gordon to cap a 10-0 run and give New Orleans a 93-82 lead with 4:49 remaining.

      "They have a lot of shooters that can complement the pressure they put on the middle," Jack said of the Pelicans. "I've got to give them credit. They knocked down the shots. We rotated, I thought, but they did a good job hitting shots."

      Pondexter said the only thing he felt embarrassed about was picking up a technical foul in the third quarter, complaining about a charging call made against Evans. Since he was wearing the mic, the evidence of what he said is there.

      "That was bad," Pondexter said. "My pastor's going to kill me."

      NOTES: Pelicans coach Monty Williams hopes his bench can sustain its offensive efficiency while playing without the team's three top guns -- PF Anthony Davis, PF Ryan Anderson and PG Jrue Holiday. "They played big the other night (in a 100-97 victory over Toronto)," Williams said. "They not only made shots, but they got stops and stayed with it, and our bench energy was great." ... Reserve SF Luke Babbitt was coming off a season-high 18-point game with four 3-pointers against the Raptors. "He knows where he's going to get his shots from, so he works on that every day," Williams said. "But he's also been really good at pump-faking and getting to the basket, knocking down a few mid-range shots. His defense has improved in the post." ... Brooklyn G Jarrett Jack returned after missing two games with a left hamstring strain. "You can play one minute and your hamstring can be reinjured," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. "We just have to see what happens and try not to overtax him."

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Newcomers lead Celtics past hapless Knicks
    By The Sports Xchange

    BOSTON -- Brad Stevens was asked before Wednesday night's game what it's like to be coaching "the third or fourth version" of this season's Boston Celtics.

    • "Like the seventh version in two years," the second-year coach said with a bit of a laugh.

      The latest version in this revolving door, with newcomers Isaiah Thomas and Jonas Jerebko making their wildly successful home debuts with their new team, blew open a close game in the second half and cruised to a 115-94 victory over the hapless New York Knicks.

      Admitting he and his staff are "throwing darts" to come up with the right combinations, Stevens, whose team is 9-7 over the last 16 games and has a shot at a playoff spot, said, "We haven't had a practice. We don't practice tomorrow. We don't know when we're going to practice again.

      "We've had some great shoot-arounds. We ate dinner next to each other one night and text occasionally. But walk-throughs, shoot-arounds and games, that's when we get together."

      Thomas and Jerebko, making their home debuts with their new team, both came off the bench to lead the scoring parade and guard Evan Turner recorded his first career triple-double to lead the way.

      Jerebko, the forward acquired from the Detroit Pistons and getting his first real Celtics time, had 20 points and five rebounds, going 7 of 10 from the floor, 4-of-6 from 3-point range. Thomas, who had a pair of 21-point games out west, was just 3-of-10 shooting but did go 11-of-11 from the foul line and finished with 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds.

      "It was alright," Thomas said. "I couldn't buy a basket other than a free throw. We won the game, so I was happy with that. It was fun to get the first game out of the way."

      Said Jerebko: "I just see a young team that plays hard, plays great defense and that shares the ball and doesn't really care who scores the ball. I think we showed that today and we really shared the ball and played together."

      The Celtics, only a game out of the playoffs despite sitting 12th in the East, used to 34-6 run during the second half of the third quarter and the first 4:15 of the fourth to walk away with the game while sending the Knicks to their eighth straight loss.

      Turner had 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Forward Jae Crowder, also coming off the bench, had 18 points, six rebounds and four assists. Rookie guard Marcus Smart, also off the bench, had 16 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter.

      "It was definitely fun," said Turner. "It was definitely great to do it. We won. We were able to win and we all played great, so that was huge. I came close (to the triple-double) a lot throughout my career. I'm fortunate enough to execute it the whole way this time."

      The Celtics, up by eight at the end of three quarters, went 6 of 8 from 3-point range in the first 7:05 of the finale. Smart opened the quarter with two and Crowder and Jerebko also nailed two. Boston finished the quarter with eight triples.

      A key for the Celtics, playing without injured big men Jared Sullinger (gone for the year) and Kelly Olynyk, went small, with the 6-10 Jerebko at center. The smaller Celtics finished 14 of 31 from 3-point range, while the Knicks were 2-of-21 from behind the arc.

      "We couldn't adjust to what was going on with them going smaller so we were just trying to keep playing the way we were and they just kept hitting some big shots and it didn't go our way," said Knicks guard Langston Galloway.

      Said Stevens: "We found a lineup that nobody would ever thought would play together right in an NBA game and because of the lack of a four or five and they played great together. It was fun to watch."

      Forward Andrea Bargnani came off the bench to lead five Knicks in double figures with 17 points. Center Jason Smith had 14 points and 10 rebounds.

      Forward Gigi Datome, also acquired from Detroit in the Tayshaun Prince deal, made his Celtics debut in the fourth quarter. He didn't score in 3:46 of playing time.

      NOTES: Knicks PG Jose Calderon missed the end of the game with a sore left Achilles. ... Boston coach Brad Stevens, asked about former Celtics G Rajon Rondo and his incident with Dallas coach Rick Carlisle that led to a one-game suspension, didn't comment on specifics but did agree with the theory that "things like that occasionally happen and you move on -- and they'll move on. He's (Rondo) a bright guy, but he's also accomplished a lot. He's a proud guy. He's smart. I anticipate he'll play really well the next game. He just has a way of responding positively to things and I hope that for him." ... Stevens said F Kelly Olynyk, who missed his 15th straight game (ankle), should be back within the next week. ... The Knicks are at Detroit and the Celtics host Charlotte on Friday.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Bucks easily handle 76ers
    By The Sports Xchange

    MILWAUKEE -- The victory mattered much more than the numbers, as Michael Carter-Williams got his Milwaukee Bucks career off to a successful beginning.

    • Playing against his struggling former teammates, the point guard needed only 17 minutes to post seven points and eight assists as the Bucks dismantled the Philadelphia 76ers 104-88 Wednesday night.

      Center John Henson scored 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting to lead five Milwaukee players in double figures. The Bucks (32-25) took a big lead early and were never threatened as they snapped a two-game skid.

      "It was great to be out there," Carter-Williams said. "I had fun while I was out there. These guys made it easy for me and it was great. We found a rhythm and built off of it."

      Milwaukee led by 29 at the half as Philadelphia (12-45) was sloppy from the start in committing 19 turnovers by halftime and 28 for the game. The Bucks were far from sharp, giving the ball away 24 times.

      Veteran guard Jason Richardson led Philadelphia with 16 points.

      Two of Carter-Williams' assists stood out above the rest: a lob dunk to Jerryd Bayless in the first half and a drive down the lane in which Carter-Williams went into the air, leaned back and found Khris Middleton in the right corner for a wide-open 3-pointer.

      "We talked about it in the huddle," Bayless said of the lob play in which he flew in from the right corner for a two-handed dunk.

      "I didn't know he could get up like that," Carter-Williams said of Bayless, a 6-3 guard.

      The assist to Middleton was the last of the night for Carter-Williams as he soon went to the bench for the night.

      "I knew I juked and I drove into the lane and saw the help side come in," Carter-Williams said. "I kind of jumped into the air and tried to find him. He was spaced out into the corner where he was supposed to be and made it easy for me."

      Carter-Williams played 11 first-half minutes and the first six minutes of the second half before resting the sore big toe that caused him to miss the previous three games after the trade that sent him from Philadelphia to Milwaukee last Thursday.

      "I thought he got off to a good start getting the guys into the offense and getting easy baskets for his teammates and also for himself," Bucks coach Jason Kidd said of Carter-Williams. "We all felt that he's a guy who can find open guys, and he did that tonight."

      Carter-Williams scored six points in the first 4:15, two of the buckets coming on fast-break dunks off 76ers turnovers, as the Bucks raced to a 12-3 lead.

      Philadelphia committed nine first-quarter turnovers and made just five of 20 shots in a dismal quarter as the Bucks built a 29-12 lead after one.

      Robinson entered in the second quarter but had just two missed free throws and two fouls in his first four minutes.

      It only got worse, as the Sixers committed six more turnovers in the first 4:09 of the second quarter. Three of them came in a 12-0 run that gave Milwaukee a 43-17 lead.

      Forward Ersan Ilyasova's layup with 0.9 seconds left gave Milwaukee a 61-32 lead at the half, and the second half was never a contest.

      "It's extraordinary the amount of turnovers we had in the first half," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "Nineteen is a big number. To end up with 28 in a weird way is acceptable given where we were at."

      NOTES: Milwaukee G Michael Carter-Williams, on sitting out three games before appearing for his new team: "I've been trying to learn a lot in a short amount of time and just get acclimated to this program. Now I think I'm ready to go out on the court and have some fun." ... Former Bucks C Larry Sanders, released last week after the sides reached a buyout agreement, put out a video statement Wednesday explaining his problems with anxiety and depression. Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said he hadn't seen the video and couldn't comment on it. ... F Thomas Robinson made his 76ers debut two days after he was acquired off waivers, even though he was still en route to the arena from the airport about 90 minutes before tipoff. He finished with seven points and six rebounds in 17 minutes. The Denver Nuggets waived Robinson after receiving his rights in a deal that sent G Arron Afflalo to the Portland Trail Blazers. "My defense sucked tonight, but that was due to the fact that I haven't done anything since before the All-Star break," Robinson said. ... Milwaukee is now 19-1 when holding opponents under 90. The one loss was Monday night at Chicago. ... Milwaukee G Khris Middleton had 19 points and has now scored 15 or more in six straight games. ... Philadelphia's 19 first-half turnovers were the most the Bucks have forced in a half since the 2002-'03 season. Milwaukee's 30 points off turnovers in the first half were the most by any NBA team in a half since the 1995-'96 season.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    D-Leaguer Walker hits key 3s in Heat win
    By The Sports Xchange

    ORLANDO, Fla. -- Unheralded Henry Walker taught everyone a little something about persistence Wednesday night.

    • Walker, who was playing in the NBA Development League last week with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, rescued the Miami Heat with two 3-point baskets in the final 22 seconds of regulation, pushing them to a 93-90 overtime victory over the Orlando Magic.

      Before his heroics, Walker had missed his first nine 3-point shots, but he never hesitated when the ball came his way again.

      "He was fearless when it counted," relieved Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "He's been fighting to get back into the league, and he proved he belonged."

      Walker was signed to a 10-day contract earlier this week, helping to fill the void left by All-Star Chris Bosh, who is out for the season with blood clots on his lung.

      "This was like a dream come true for me," Walker said. "Unbelievable, just unbelievable. But I know I can shoot, so I just kept shooting."

      Walker was playing with a swollen right eye, stemming from a cut that required nine stitches after being hit in the face by a teammate in his first game Monday night.

      "I didn't have real good vision. It was like a headache in my eyeball," said Walker, who finished with 10 points. "I was shooting tonight from muscle memory."

      The Heat (25-31) were led forward Luol Deng with 21 points and guard Dwyane Wade with 18. Center Hassan Whiteside had 15 points and 13 rebounds. Wade scored four points in overtime when the Heat smothered the Magic 8-5.

      Magic center Nikola Vucevic had 26 points and eight rebounds, and guard Victor Oladipo contributed 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. Forward Tobias Harris had 12 points and eight rebounds.

      Orlando rookie point guard Elfrid Payton had nine assists but only three points. Reserves Willie Green and Evan Fournier had 12 and 10 points, respectively.

      With Walker leading the charge, the Heat erased an eight-point deficit in the final 42 seconds of regulation. Walker hit the tying 3-pointer with two seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.

      He had hit another 3-pointer with 22 remaining to cut the deficit to two. Between those two, Vuvecic made and missed a free throw.

      The Magic led 83-75 after Vucevic made two free throws with 42 seconds remaining, but they wilted badly with a turnover and missed free throws by both Vucevic and Oladipo.

      "Those end of game moments are new to us and it's something we'll have to address," Magic coach James Borrego said. "I'm still proud of our group. We're fighting, still fighting out there."

      The Magic (19-40) made just 18 of 31 free throws. They outrebounded the Heat 50-42 but committed 22 turnovers.

      Heat rookie Shabazz Napier hit a 3-pointer for his first points and a 64-62 lead early in the fourth quarter. It was the only time the Heat led in the quarter. Napier scored again to pull the Heat within two points midway in the fourth quarter.

      Deng scored 13 points in the third quarter, tying the score at 61. Harris hit a 3-pointer for the 58-50 lead, but the Magic closed the quarter with two turnovers and two missed shots.

      The Magic led 40-36 at intermission when both teams struggled to shoot straight. Miami made just 12 of 39 from the field (30.8 percent) in the first half when Deng had eight points and Whiteside grabbed eight rebounds. They made 1 of 10 shots from 3-point range in the first two quarters.

      The Magic got eight points apiece from Oladipo and Fournier, but Orlando made just 16 of 38 shots from the floor (42.1 percent) by halftime.

      The Magic opened the second quarter by scoring 10 consecutive points -- including 3-pointers by Fournier and Willie Green -- and grabbed a 27-17 lead. The Heat responded, though, with an 11-0 run.

      Miami led 32-31 before Orlando regained control just before halftime.

      NOTES: NBA commissioner Adam Silver attended the Heat/Magic game on Wednesday night. Although the Magic had been lobbying to play host to the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, Silver told reporters before the game that it was "unlikely" to happen. ... Heat G Dwayne Wade was asked Wednesday about the latest knee injury to often-injured Bulls G and good friend Derrick Rose. Both were raised in Chicago and Wade has served as an unofficial mentor. "I was sick for him," Wade said. "I think for the basketball world, everyone is rooting for Derrick to get back on the court." ... With F Chris Bosh lost for the season (blood clots on his lung), Udonis Haslem has moved back into an old role as the starting power forward. Haslem was the Heat's starting power forward from 2004 to 2009 but played mostly as a center and a backup at both spots when Bosh arrived in 2010 from Toronto. ... In the six previous games, all since James Borrego replaced Jacque Vaughn as coach, the Magic have outscored their opponents 290-186 from inside the lane. Borrego has been a fanatic about interior defense, and it has showed.

  • Thursday, February 26, 2015
    Millsap, Hawks power past Mavericks
    By The Sports Xchange

    ATLANTA -- On a day when they weren't even sure they would be playing because of bad weather, the Atlanta Hawks received a strong effort from All-Star forward Paul Millsap that got them focused and turned in the right direction.

    • Millsap scored seven of his 15 points during a 13-0 stretch in the third quarter, and the Hawks surged past the Dallas Mavericks for a 104-87 win.

      Atlanta (45-12) rallied from four points behind to nine points ahead in the third period. Millsap tied the game with a 3-pointer and capped the streak with a steal and dunk and another driving basket that put Atlanta ahead 66-57. Succeeding back-to-back baskets by guard Kyle Korver switched the momentum totally in Atlanta's favor.

      "It was definitely an interesting day," said Korver, who didn't learn the game would be officially played until about 3 p.m. as a winter storm hit the area. "We didn't come out well. We finally got in rhythm and made some plays."

      The win was the NBA-leading 26th home victory for the Hawks, who won their second straight and swept the season series with the Mavericks. Atlanta swept a fifth series from a Western Conference foe.

      Dallas (39-21) had its two-game winning streak snapped.

      "I'm disappointed with the outcome, but not with the effort," Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said.

      Atlanta had six players score in double figures: guard Dennis Schroder (17 points), Korver (16), Millsap, forward DeMarre Carroll (13), center Al Horford (11) and guard Jeff Teague (11).

      Guard Monta Ellis paced Dallas with 17 points, 15 in the first half. J.J. Barea, who started at point guard in place of the suspended Rajon Rondo, had 13 points and seven assists. Forward Richard Jefferson and guard Devin Harris each scored 10.

      After Atlanta opened the game with a 3-pointer, Dallas responded by scoring 11 straight points. The Mavs did it with some hot shooting, sinking seven of their first nine field-goal attempts.

      "They were making a lot of tough shots," Korver said.

      The Mavericks saw Atlanta pull to within four, then outscored the Hawks 16-6 to take a 31-17 lead.

      Atlanta got back in the game with a solid second quarter. Schroder provided a lift off the bench with eight points and helped trim Dallas' lead to 53-47 at halftime.

      "I thought early, middle and late, Dennis was really a big factor," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said. "I thought he guarded and I thought he did a lot of things well. We needed him tonight."

      Atlanta kept the momentum in the third period and kept chipping away until Millsap took a pass from Carroll and knocked down a 3-pointer to tie the game at 57-57.

      The Hawks kept the pressure up. They went ahead on the next possession when Korver connected on a 3-pointer and pushed the lead to five when Korver grabbed a missed shot and scored on a reverse layup.

      By the end of the quarter, Atlanta held a 77-68 lead, and the Mavericks never made another serious threat.

      "Our aggressiveness to start the third quarter got the players comfortable with what we were doing, and we just stuck to our basics," Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer said.

      After scoring 34 points in the first period, Dallas failed to score 20 in any of the next three quarters.

      "(The Hawks) had a lot of juice. I thought we played hard," Carlisle said. "We got some decent looks and weren't able to convert them, and they just kept converting. We weathered a couple of runs in the first half, but in the end, we ran out of gas."

      Dallas scored just 34 points in the second half, a season low for the Mavs and a season best for the Hawks.

      NOTES: Dallas G Rajon Rondo was given a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team after an incident with coach Rick Carlisle during Tuesday's game against Toronto. Rondo was benched for the final 20 minutes after a confrontation with Carlisle over play selection. The Dallas Morning News reported that a second incident occurred in the locker room after the game. Carlisle said Rondo would be back in the starting lineup Saturday when the Mavs host Brooklyn. Also out for Dallas on Wednesday were C Tyson Chandler (hip), C Amar'e Stoudemire (rest) and F Chandler Parsons (left ankle). ... Atlanta G Jeff Teague missed practice Tuesday because of an illness but was able to play Wednesday. The Hawks won in Dallas on Dec. 22 when Teague was out of the lineup with an injury. ... The game was almost postponed because of severe weather in Atlanta. The club told the players at 2 p.m. that the game was off, then notified them an hour later that the game would be played. The team offered refunds for fans who chose not to attend the game because of ice and snow in the area.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Nuggets' Arthur leaves game with knee injury
    By The Sports Xchange

    DENVER -- Forward Darrell Arthur suffered a right posterior knee strain in the first quarter of the Denver Nuggets game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday and will not return.

    • Arthur, starting in place of injured forward Kenneth Faried, missed his only shot of the game and came up hobbling soon after. He went straight to the locker room, where he stayed.

      Arthur, in his second year with the Nuggets, is averaging 7.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in 48 games this season.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    NBA notebook: Rose's knee injury 'just so unfair'
    By The Sports Xchange

    For the third time in three years, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose needs knee surgery.

    • "I don't know what to say other than it's just so unfair," coach Tom Thibodeau said Wednesday morning after practice ahead of the home game later against the Charlotte Hornets. "A guy's been through so much and you know what he's put into it. Any time you have surgery, it's tough, but hopefully this one will be much shorter than the other ones."

      The Bulls announced Tuesday night that Rose had torn the medial meniscus in his knee for the second time in 15 months and would need surgery. It's his third knee surgery since 2012. The Bulls will announce a timetable for the 26-year-old's return following the procedure.

      Rose, who is averaging 18.4 points and 5.0 assists in 46 games this season, sat out Tuesday's practice with "lower-body soreness" but an exam and subsequent MRI confirmed the injury.

      ---The Dallas Mavericks handed guard Rajon Rondo a one-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team.

      Rondo was to sit out the Mavericks' game on Wednesday night in Atlanta against the Hawks, the Mavericks announced in a brief statement.

      Coach Rick Carlisle and Rondo engaged in a heated, profanity-filled argument over play calling with 8:10 left in the third quarter of Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Raptors.

      ---Los Angeles Lakers guard Ronnie Price underwent surgery to remove bone spurs and bone chips from his right elbow.

      Price is expected to be out six to eight weeks, the team announced. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.

      Price, who signed with the Lakers on Sept. 24, has appeared in 43 games (20 starts) this season, averaging 5.1 points, 1.6 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.6 steals in 22.8 minutes.

      ---The Detroit Pistons signed guard John Lucas III for the remainder of the season.

      Lucas had been playing on two consecutive 10-day contracts, and NBA rules dictate the Pistons must sign him for the rest of the season if they want to keep him on the roster.

      In eight games with the Pistons, he has averaged 5.0 points, 3.3 assists and 12.2 minutes.

      ---In anticipation of Kevin Garnett's homecoming game Wednesday night, the Minnesota Timberwolves released 500 standing-room-only tickets.

      The Timberwolves already had added 1,000 seats for the home game at Target Center against the Washington Wizards.

      Garnett was acquired from the Brooklyn Nets at last Thursday's NBA trade deadline. The fifth overall pick in the 1995 draft from Chicago's Farragut Academy last played for the Timberwolves in 2007.

      ---Longtime TNT reporter Craig Sager is returning to television next month almost a year after leaving the sideline to undergo treatment for acute leukemia.

      Sager, famous for his flamboyant suits and interviews with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, will work his first NBA game on March 5 when the Oklahoma Thunder play the Chicago Bulls.

      Sager's son, Craig Jr., who donated bone marrow for his father, announced the news Wednesday on Twitter.

      The 63-year-old Sager also is scheduled to work NCAA tournament games next month, according to his son.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Sager to return to work on TNT
    By The Sports Xchange

    Longtime TNT reporter Craig Sager is returning to television next month almost a year after leaving the sideline to undergo treatment for acute leukemia.

    • Sager, famous for his flamboyant suits and interviews with San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, will work his first NBA game on March 5 when the Oklahoma Thunder play the Chicago Bulls.

      Sager's son, Craig Jr., who donated bone marrow for his father, announced the news Wednesday on Twitter.

      "It's official!! Sr just got cleared to return to work & will be back in action Thursday, March 5 for Thunder-Bulls!!!" Sager Jr. tweeted.

      The 63-year-old Sager also is scheduled to work NCAA Tournament games next month, according to his son.

      "Cue the bracket ties. Sr will be back for March Madness as well." Craig Jr. tweeted.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Mavs suspend Rondo for one game
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Dallas Mavericks handed guard Rajon Rondo a one-game suspension on Wednesday for conduct detrimental to the team.

    • Rondo was to sit out the Mavericks' game on Wednesday night in Atlanta against the Hawks, the Mavericks announced in a brief statement.

      Dallas coach Rick Carlisle and Rondo engaged in a heated, profanity-filled argument over play calling with 8:10 left in the third quarter of Tuesday night's game against the Toronto Raptors.

      Carlisle charged onto the American Airlines Center court during a timeout and barked at Rondo after he apparently ignored Carlisle's play call. Rondo shouted back and the exchanged continued during the timeout, with asssitant coach Jamahl Mosley stepping between the two at one point.

      Carlisle kept Rondo on the the bench for the final 20 minutes and the Mavericks rallied from a seven-point deficit for a 99-92 victory over the Raptors.

      "It's an emotional game and we had a difference of opinion," Carlisle said Tuesday night. "There was an exchange, and then, in my mind, it was over."

      Rondo refused to answer questions about the incident after the game, telling reporters to discuss the situation with Carlisle.

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Bulls in shock as woes follow Rose
    By The Sports Xchange

    For the third time in three years, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose needs knee surgery.

    • The big question -- where does Rose go from here? -- is still on the minds of players and fans everywhere.

      That includes, of course, the Bulls, who remained shocked and sympathetic less than a day after they announced that Rose again would need surgery on his right knee.

      "I don't know what to say other than it's just so unfair," coach Tom Thibodeau said Wednesday morning after practice ahead of the home game later against the Charlotte Hornets. "A guy's been through so much and you know what he's put into it. Any time you have surgery, it's tough, but hopefully this one will be much shorter than the other ones."

      The Bulls announced Tuesday night that Rose had torn the medial meniscus in his knee for the second time in 15 months and would need surgery. It's his third knee surgery since 2012. The Bulls will announce a timetable for the 26-year-old's return following the procedure.

      Rose, who is averaging 18.4 points and 5.0 assists in 46 games this season, sat out Tuesday's practice with "lower-body soreness" but an exam and subsequent MRI confirmed the injury.

      "I'm still shocked," guard Kirk Hinrich said Wednesday. "I didn't have any idea he had an injury like that yesterday in practice. I just feel for him. I can't imagine what he's gone through these last three years. Just when it seems like he was hitting his stride, playing great, it kind of felt like he put it behind him. For this to happen is just devastating."

      Rose, after missing eight of 15 games in November, hadn't missed a game since Jan. 10.

      "Heartbreaking, in a way, because of how much he's been through for the last couple of years," power forward Pau Gasol said. "Difficult to deal with. We feel for him."

      Team doctor Brian Cole will perform the procedure, as he did the previous two, according to Thibodeau.

      "For us, first and foremost, our concern is for Derrick, not only as a basketball player but as a person," Thibodeau said. "He's been through a lot. He's had to endure a lot. And he's gotten past a lot. It's disappointing news, and we're hopeful that everything will work out fine.

      "Initially, the last procedure he had on the meniscus, we knew this was a possibility. So unfortunately it didn't take. Now they have to go back in and take care of it. We knew that it could happen, and it did. But our concern is with Derrick. I think you guys know how we all feel about him, the organization, the players, everybody. So it's tough news."

      The Bulls (36-21) are third in the Eastern Conference and will seek their seventh win in eight games Wednesday night.

      Rose could miss his fourth straight postseason, but Thibodeau isn't counting out Rose just yet.

      "That's what makes him who he is; he's got mental toughness," Thibodeau said. "He's gotten past a lot of hurdles. This is another one. He'll get past this one too."

      Reaction poured in on Twitter, including from LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Kentucky coach John Calipari, Rose's former coach at Memphis.

      "Man feel bad for D.Rose! Keep your head up homie and stay strong G!" James tweeted.

      Calipari wrote, "I'm sick over the @drose injury. He has been through so much and deserves better. Fate has intervened again for this good man. ... @drose will use this as fuel. I pray for him daily."

  • Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Pistons keep Lucas for rest of season
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Detroit Pistons signed guard John Lucas III for the remainder of the season on Wednesday.

    • Lucas had been playing on two consecutive 10-day contracts, and NBA rules dictate the Pistons must sign him for the rest of the season if they want to keep him on the roster.

      In eight games with the Pistons, he has averaged 5.0 points, 3.3 assists and 12.2 minutes.

      Lucas has spent parts of six seasons in the NBA, with the Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz, while also playing in the NBA's Developmental League and in Italy, Spain and China.

      He originally joined the Pistons on Feb. 2, after a stint in the Chinese Basketball Association.