NBA News

Nuggets ready to welcome road-weary Warriors

Nuggets ready to welcome road-weary Warriors

The Denver Nuggets hope to capitalize on an advantage given them by the NBA schedule-maker when they host the travel-weary Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.

While the Nuggets had a night off and perhaps were watching their next opponent on television from 1,000 miles away, the Warriors not only were enduring the opener of a back-to-back on Wednesday night in Minneapolis, but they had to work overtime in a 119-114 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Warriors coach Steve Kerr has rested as many as four veterans on the second night of back-to-backs this season, including sitting Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in the back half of their most recent two-games-in-two-days sequence on Jan. 20 in Cleveland.

Andrew Wiggins also missed that Jan. 20 game due to an illness, leaving Jordan Poole, Kevon Looney and a cast of role players to go up against the Cavaliers on the final night of a five-game trip.

Golden State stunned the Eastern Conference contender on that occasion, getting 32 points from Poole, 17 rebounds from Looney, and a combined 34 points from two-way players Anthony Lamb and Ty Jerome in a 120-114 victory.

Kerr had played his veterans on the second night of a back-to-back earlier on the trip, and the result was a 127-118 win at Washington with Curry scoring 41 and Poole 32.

Those road back-to-backs were the Warriors' sixth and seventh of the season. On the first five occasions, short-handed Golden State teams had gone 0-5, losing by a total of 104 points.

With a chance to go 2-0 to start their three-game trip and perhaps soften the blow of a rough night in Denver with some (or all) of their veterans sitting, the Warriors blew a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead on Wednesday and, according to Kerr, "got what we deserved."

"I thought we had control of the game," he said. "I thought we just kinda gift-wrapped it. They took advantage of our mistakes and our lack of execution. We missed box-outs, we threw the ball away, we took really difficult shots. Everything we had done up to that point to have control of the game, we stopped doing."

Kerr made no announcement after the game as to who would play and who wouldn't in Denver. It will be a game-day decision.

The Warriors had all hands on deck when they were beaten 128-123 by the Nuggets in San Francisco in the first week of the season. Nikola Jokic had 26 points for Denver, which elected to give Jamal Murray the night off in that one.

Jokic's team-high point total came as part of a triple-double with 12 rebounds and 10 assists. It was his first of NBA-leading 16 this season and his fifth all-time against Golden State.

The two-time Most Valuable Player's most recent triple-double was one of his most impressive of the season: 26 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists in a 122-113 home win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday.

He became just the fifth player in NBA history to have a 26/18/15 triple-double, joining Oscar Robertson (three times), Wilt Chamberlain (three times), Larry Bird and Russell Westbrook.

Jokic will take the floor Thursday averaging a triple-double -- 25.1 points, 11.1 rebounds and 10.0 assists. Only Robertson and Westbrook have ever finished an NBA season averaging a triple-double.

"It's nice, of course. It's not something I'm striving to do," Jokic said. "I'm happy as long as we are winning the game and the team and players are happy around me."

Cavaliers hope to get back on track at home when Grizzlies visit

Cavaliers hope to get back on track at home when Grizzlies visit

The Cleveland Cavaliers look to bounce back from a rare home loss when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday.

The loss was a frustrating one for the Cavaliers, whose inconsistent play remains a concern. The team finished January with an 8-8 record for the month.

"We have seen flashes of how good we can be," Cleveland coach J.B. Bickerstaff said. "We've seen flashes of how we can control moments and now it's just a matter of how long can you sustain it?

"Playoff basketball comes down to every single possession. Every possession matters. Have to prepare yourself for that. That's where our aim is and that's what we are working toward."

Mitchell is averaging 27.6 points while shooting 39.1 percent from 3-point range to lead the Cavaliers, who are allowing a league-low 106.8 points per game.

Cleveland is eager to avenge a 115-114 loss in Memphis on Jan. 18, when Grizzlies center Steven Adams tipped in the game-winner with 16 seconds left.

Memphis is playing the second game of a home-road back-to-back after losing to the Portland Trail Blazers 122-112 on Wednesday.

Ja Morant had 32 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds for Memphis, which has lost six of its last seven. The Grizzlies struggled to contain Portland star Damian Lillard (42 points) on Wednesday.

"(Portland) just found a way to get open shots," Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said. "I thought our guys competed. You've just got to tip your hat. Lillard's on a roll right now, and we were on the wrong end of that."

Lillard outdueled Morant, who came within one rebound of recording his third straight triple-double.

The game marked the season debut of Memphis wing Danny Green, who has been out while recovering from left knee surgery. The 14-year veteran had three points in 10 minutes against the Trail Blazers.

"It was good to get out there and be with the guys," Green said. "Trying to figure out some things offensively and defensively. Try to build the chemistry."

Memphis guard Desmond Bane returned after missing two games due to right knee soreness and scored 17 points.

With Adams (right knee) out for the next 3-5 weeks, the Grizzlies are giving third-year pro Xavier Tillman Sr. additional playing time. The 6-foot-8 forward is averaging 10.5 rebounds in his last two games.

Memphis could use another productive outing from Tillman against Cleveland's formidable frontline, which includes Mobley and Allen.

Mobley is averaging 19.6 points and 9.4 rebounds over his last eight games for the Cavaliers, who are 31-22 but have not won two straight games since early January.

"We are kind of inconsistent," Mitchell said. "I don't want that to be the headline. I want it to be known that the sky is not falling. We are in good shape. But we have to find that level of consistency to be a great team."

NBA roundup: 46-point first quarter sends Celtics past Nets

NBA roundup: 46-point first quarter sends Celtics past Nets

The Boston Celtics didn't do much wrong in the opening quarter and breezed to a 139-96 home victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

Boston was 18-for-29 from the field (62.1 percent) in the opening frame and led 46-16 after 12 minutes. It was the largest lead the Celtics have had after the first quarter in franchise history.

The Celtics made 8 of 11 3-pointers in the period -- including their first seven attempts -- and outrebounded Brooklyn 20-6. The 2018-19 Golden State Warriors hold the NBA record for most points in a first quarter (51).

Boston's Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 31 points, and Jaylen Brown added 26 points. Kyrie Irving had 20 points, four rebounds and four assists for the Nets, who have lost their past 10 games against Boston (including the postseason).

76ers 105, Magic 94

Joel Embiid had 28 points and 11 rebounds, James Harden added 26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and host Philadelphia defeated Orlando.

Harden went 6 of 10 from 3-point range, while Tobias Harris scored 16 points for the Sixers, who avenged a 119-109 loss to the Magic two nights earlier.

Markelle Fultz led the Magic with 18 points, Paolo Banchero added 13 points and nine rebounds, and Franz Wagner finished with 13 points. Orlando lost for the third time in four games.

Trail Blazers 122, Grizzlies 112

Damian Lillard recorded 42 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to lift visiting Portland to a victory over Memphis. The Trail Blazers outscored the Grizzlies 38-22 in the fourth quarter.

Hawks' biggest win of season is Suns' largest loss

Hawks' biggest win of season is Suns' largest loss

Dejounte Murray recorded 21 points, eight assists and six rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks never trailed while drubbing the host Phoenix Suns 132-100 on Wednesday night.

Trae Young added 20 points and 12 rebounds in his return from a one-game absence caused by an ankle injury. Bogdan Bogdanovic had 18 points, Onyeka Okongwu added 17 and De'Andre Hunter tallied 15 for Atlanta.

The Hawks led by as many as 43 while winning for just the second time in the past six games. Atlanta shot 57.6 percent from 3-point range while draining a season-high 19 3-pointers (in 33 attempts). The Hawks hit 57.1 percent from the floor overall while registering their largest winning margin of the season.

Mikal Bridges had 23 points and seven assists for the Suns, topping 20 points for the ninth time in the past 12 games. Deandre Ayton contributed 20 points and nine rebounds as Phoenix lost for just the second time in the past eight games.

The margin of defeat was Phoenix's worst of the season.

The Suns dropped to 9-15 without Devin Booker, who has missed 19 straight games and 22 of the past 23 due to a groin injury.

The Suns made just 4 of 28 (14.3 percent) from behind the arc while shooting 40.7 percent overall. Dario Saric scored 11 points and Damion Lee added 10 while Chris Paul scored just three on 1-of-6 shooting.

Atlanta led 18-8 before the midway point of the opening quarter, but the Suns battled back to trail 26-23 at the end of the period.

The Hawks seized control in the second quarter with a 22-3 burst, including 15 straight to end it, to build the lead to 22. Atlanta's lead was 66-47 at the break, with Murray's 15 points leading the way. Bridges had 17 and Ayton scored 15 in the half for the Suns.

The onslaught continued in the third quarter and the Hawks pushed the lead over 30 when John Collins scored on a layup to make it 87-56 with 6:05 left.

Atlanta held a 102-67 advantage entering the final stanza and pushed the lead past 40 when Okongwu drained a trey to make it 118-77 with 7:17 remaining. Aaron Holiday hit a jumper 28 seconds later to increase the margin to 43 for the first time.

Lauri Markkanen leads Jazz past Raptors

Lauri Markkanen leads Jazz past Raptors

Lauri Markkanen scored 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and rookie Walker Kessler flirted with a triple-double en route to leading the Utah Jazz to a 131-128 victory over the Toronto Raptors in Salt Lake City on Wednesday night.

Kessler, who was invited to the NBA Rising Stars Game this week, finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

Jordan Clarkson scored 23 points and Mike Conley contributed 19 points and eight assists as Utah improved to 27-26 with a second straight win to open a five-game homestand.

Fred VanVleet led all scorers and notched a triple-double with 34 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Pascal Siakam totaled 21 points, 10 boards and five assists, Gary Trent Jr. had 20 points and Scottie Barnes chipped in with 18 points and 14 rebounds in the loss.

Toronto, which rallied out of a 14-point first-half deficit and held a fourth-quarter lead, fell to 2-3 on its seven-game road trip.

The Raptors stayed competitive until the end, pulling within three when Trent made three free throws after being fouled by Kessler while shooting a 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds left.

Markkanen then sealed the victory with two free throws, and Barnes reduced the final margin of defeat with a last-second basket.

Toronto went ahead 98-96 by scoring the first six points of the fourth quarter and then held a 105-104 lead when Kessler took over.

Sparked by the 7-footer's presence around the basket, the Jazz responded with nine straight to catapult ahead 113-105. Kessler had four rebounds, two buckets, one block and an assist in that game-changing two-minute spurt.

The Jazz took a 13-point lead in the second quarter, 60-47, after a Clarkson 3-pointer. Toronto used a 10-point run and then a buzzer-beating 3 by Trent to pull within five, 65-60, at the half.

The Raptors kept the momentum in their favor early in the second half, scoring eight straight to take their first lead since the opening minutes at 68-67.

Utah went up again a bit later after Clarkson and Markkanen made back-to-back treys and then took a 96-92 lead into the fourth quarter before Toronto temporarily took control.

Domantas Sabonis scores 34 as Kings extend Spurs' misery

Domantas Sabonis scores 34 as Kings extend Spurs' misery

Domantas Sabonis racked up a season-high 34 points and added 11 rebounds and De'Aaron Fox added 31 points and 10 assists as the visiting Sacramento Kings defeated the struggling San Antonio Spurs 119-109 on Wednesday.

The Kings led by one with less than 10 minutes to go but put away the game with a 15-5 run over a 2 1/2-minute run starting in the middle of the fourth quarter.

After struggling from beyond the arc through the first three quarters, Sacramento hit three 3-pointers over the final six minutes to win their second straight game.

The Spurs took their seventh loss in a row and fell for the 12th time in 13 games.

Sabonis logged his league-leading 39th double-double of the season. Malik Monk had 22 points for Sacramento, and Harrison Barnes scored 14.

Malaki Branham scored 22 points for San Antonio, the best total of his rookie season. Josh Richardson had 19 points, Jakob Poeltl added 18 points and 12 rebounds, Keldon Johnson also had 18 points and Zach Collins scored 14 for the Spurs.

The Kings led for the majority of the opening quarter and held a 31-30 advantage after 12 minutes of play.

The game was tied twice early in the second quarter before Sacramento produced a 12-0 run capped by Monk's alley-oop dunk near the halfway mark of the period. The Spurs never got closer than seven points over the rest of the half, which ended with Sacramento up 61-54.

Even worse for San Antonio were first-quarter injuries sustained by Tre Jones (left foot) and Jeremy Sochan (lower back) that kept them out for the rest of the game.

Sabonis racked up 21 points in the first half, 2.5 more than his season per-game average and his highest opening half output this season. Fox added 15 for the Kings prior to the break. Johnson and Branham had 12 points each to lead the Spurs before halftime.

The Kings have won all three of the games with San Antonio this season and five straight matchups vs. the Spurs overall.

Timberwolves push past Warriors in overtime

Timberwolves push past Warriors in overtime

Anthony Edwards saved four of his 27 points for the final 1:43 of overtime as the Minnesota Timberwolves outlasted the Golden State Warriors 119-114 on Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

After missing their first four shots of overtime and watching an Andrew Wiggins dunk put Golden State up 112-110, the Timberwolves got a second chance on their fifth possession. Kyle Anderson swatted a Taurean Prince miss to Austin Rivers, who in turn found Prince for the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:58 remaining.

Edwards scored on a drive and a 10-footer on Minnesota's next two possessions, and the Timberwolves took advantage of the Warriors' 2-for-8 shooting in overtime to avenge an earlier 137-114 home defeat to Golden State and win for the fourth time in their past five games.

Seeking a fourth straight win, the Warriors led by as many as 14 early in the fourth quarter before needing a Curry layup with 1:39 to go just to pull into a 110-110 tie.

Neither team scored again in regulation, with the Warriors getting the best opportunity when Curry misfired on an open jump shot with 6.1 seconds left.

After a timeout, the best the Timberwolves could get was a desperation 30-footer by D'Angelo Russell that missed the mark, sending Minnesota to overtime for the second straight game.

Despite fouling out in OT, Russell led the Timberwolves with 29 points, 21 of which coming on 7-for-17 accuracy from beyond the arc.

Edwards had 27 points and five assists, while Naz Reid contributed 24 points and 13 rebounds in place of Rudy Gobert, who sat out with a sore right groin.

Anderson added 12 rebounds and nine points for Minnesota, while Austin Rivers chipped in with 10 points.

Curry, who had made five of his seven 3-point attempts in the first half en route to 21 points at the break, finished 5-for-12 on threes while leading Golden State with 29 points. He also grabbed 10 rebounds.

Jordan Poole had 18 points, Wiggins 16 points and Klay Thompson 14 for the Warriors. Draymond Green finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Jonathan Kuminga and Kevon Looney scored 10 points apiece.

Rockets down Thunder to earn rare winning streak

Rockets down Thunder to earn rare winning streak

Eric Gordon scored a season-high 25 points, rookie Tari Eason recorded his third consecutive double-double and the Houston Rockets topped the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder 112-106 on Wednesday.

Houston's Kenyon Martin Jr. proved clutch in the fourth quarter, drilling a 3-pointer and converting a transition dunk to help Houston maintain control.

Martin had 18 points and seven rebounds while Eason paired a career-high 20 points with 13 rebounds, including 12 offensive boards, off the bench. Alperen Sengun (10 points, 12 rebounds) also notched a double-double for Houston, which recorded consecutive wins for the first time since mid-December.

The Rockets were without Jalen Green (calf) and Kevin Porter Jr. (foot).

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 24 points and eight rebounds for Oklahoma City, which lost for the third time in four games. Josh Giddey added 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Tre Mann scored 18 points and hit four 3-pointers off the Thunder bench.

Oklahoma City trailed by 12 points in the first quarter and by nine at halftime, but Giddey knotted the score at 93-93 with 8:04 left in the fourth quarter.

The Thunder erased their halftime deficit with a 14-4 spurt out of the break. Rookie Jaylin Williams tallied seven points during the run, capped by his 22-footer that gave Oklahoma City a 72-71 lead, its first edge since early in the first quarter.

Gilgeous-Alexander later scored seven consecutive points for the Thunder, and his three-point play with 53.1 seconds left gave the Thunder an 86-80 lead that the Rockets sliced to two points by the close of the quarter.

A 9-0 run by Houston early in the fourth quarter produced a 93-89 lead with 9:31 to go after Eason's 3-point play. Giddey knotted the score at 93-93 with 8:04 left with a layup.

Consecutive baskets by the Rockets' Josh Christopher -- one with 7:20 to go and one with 5:55 left -- gave the Rockets a 100-95 advantage.

The Thunder got within two on Gilgeous-Alexander's hoop with 4:17 left, but Houston scored the next five points, including a trey from Martin, to pull away.

Following stunning first quarter, Celtics crush Nets

Following stunning first quarter, Celtics crush Nets

The Boston Celtics didn't do much wrong in the opening quarter and breezed to a 139-96 home victory over the depleted Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday night.

Boston was 18-for-29 from the field (62.1 percent) in the opening frame and led 46-16 after 12 minutes. It was the largest lead the Celtics have had after the first quarter in franchise history.

The Celtics made 8 of 11 3-pointers in the period -- including their first seven attempts -- and outrebounded Brooklyn 20-6. The 2018-19 Golden State Warriors hold the NBA record for most points in a first quarter (51).

Brooklyn trailed 79-45 at halftime and 110-72 after three quarters. Boston's lead peaked at 49 in the fourth quarter.

Boston's Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 31 points. He also had nine rebounds, four assists, two steals and a blocked shot before the Celtics put their starters on the bench after three quarters. Jaylen Brown added 26 points.

The Celtics made 26 3-pointers -- one shy of matching a franchise record. Both Tatum and Brown were 7 of 12 from behind the 3-point arc.

Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 20 points, four rebounds and four assists in 31 minutes. Joe Harris tossed in four 3-pointers and finished with 12 points for Brooklyn, which has lost its last 10 games against Boston (including playoffs).

Boston had a 57-32 rebounding edge.

In addition to Kevin Durant, who hasn't played since Jan. 8 because of an MCL sprain, the Nets were without Ben Simmons (knee) and T.J. Warren (shin contusion). Simmons and Warren have each missed the last three games.

It was the third of four meetings between the teams during the regular season. The Celtics prevailed 103-92 in Brooklyn on Dec. 4, and 109-98 in Brooklyn on Jan. 12.

The Celtics didn't have Marcus Smart, who missed his fifth consecutive game with a sprained ankle. Boston is 2-3 during that five-game stretch.

Damian Lillard puts up 42 as Blazers topple Grizzlies

Damian Lillard puts up 42 as Blazers topple Grizzlies

Damian Lillard recorded 42 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds to lift the visiting Portland Trail Blazers to a 122-112 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday.

Lillard reached the 40-point plateau for the second straight game and the ninth time this season. He made five 3-pointers and hit 15 of 16 shots from the free-throw line for the Trail Blazers, who outscored the Grizzlies 38-22 in the fourth quarter.

Portland's Anfernee Simons scored 26 points and Jerami Grant added 18 before exiting in the third quarter due to concussion-like symptoms. Jusuf Nurkic departed early in the first quarter after aggravating a lingering calf issue.

The Trail Blazers, who were opening a three-game road trip earned their fourth win in five games.

Ja Morant collected 32 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have lost six of their past seven games overall. They also saw their eight-game home winning streak come to a halt.

Jaren Jackson Jr. recorded 18 points, seven rebounds and six blocks and Desmond Bane added 17 points for Memphis.

Memphis' Danny Green scored three points while playing 10 minutes in his season debut. The three-time NBA champion had been sidelined since tearing the anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament in his left knee while playing for the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference semifinals last year.

Simons made a step-back jumper and a pair of free throws and Drew Eubanks added a dunk to give the Trail Blazers a 106-105 lead with 3:19 remaining in the fourth quarter. Lillard added a pair of 3-pointers to help Portland pull away.

Lillard sank a 3-pointer to forge a 67-67 tie before Morant scored seven straight points to highlight a 10-0 run by Memphis. Portland, however, trimmed the deficit to six at the end of the third quarter.

The Trail Blazers escaped a 12-point, first-quarter hole and seized a two-point advantage in the second before Memphis countered with a late surge. Ziaire Williams capped that stretch by draining a 3-pointer and a mid-range jumper in the final minute to give the Grizzlies a 57-52 lead at halftime.

Joel Embiid, James Harden power 76ers over Magic

Joel Embiid, James Harden power 76ers over Magic

Joel Embiid had 28 points and 11 rebounds, James Harden added 26 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds and the host Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Orlando Magic 105-94 on Wednesday.

Harden went 6 of 10 from 3-point range, while Tobias Harris scored 16 points for the Sixers, who avenged a 119-109 loss to the Magic two nights earlier. Tyrese Maxey added 10 points off the bench.

Markelle Fultz led the Magic with 18 points, Paolo Banchero added 13 points and nine rebounds and Franz Wagner finished with 13 points.

Gary Harris, Cole Anthony and Jalen Suggs each scored 11 points. Wendell Carter Jr, grabbed 13 rebounds to go along with nine points.

The Magic trailed 101-92 when Franz Wagner scored with 4:31 left, but Orlando managed just two points the rest of the game.

Harden's fifth 3-pointer, this time with 9:11 left in the fourth quarter, put the Sixers ahead 88-83. After a missed shot by Moe Wagner, Harris scored in the paint for a seven-point lead.

Banchero misfired on a jumper and Maxey dropped in a 3-pointer from the corner for a 93-83 advantage.

The Magic fell behind by 13 and closed within eight, 98-90, when Fultz made two free throws with 5:06 remaining.

The Sixers regained an 11-point lead, 103-92, when Maxey hit a driving layup with 3:42 to go.

Harden knocked down a step back 3-pointer, Harris added a driving layup and the Sixers pulled ahead 73-66 with 5:37 left in the third quarter.

Fultz came back with a difficult jumper in the lane and Carter made a 15-foot shot to close to within three.

The Sixers led 82-78 entering the fourth quarter.

After the Magic closed with four, Harden responded with a 3-pointer for a 50-43 advantage with 3:53 remaining in the second quarter.

Embiid's 20 first-half points helped the Sixers take a 56-53 lead at halftime.

Fultz hit a spinning layup at the buzzer to slice the deficit to three.

The Magic stayed close despite making just 4 of 20 shots from 3-point territory in the first half.

The Sixers closed the first quarter on a 17-0 run to take a 37-23 lead.

Mavericks look to extend Pelicans' 9-game losing streak

Mavericks look to extend Pelicans' 9-game losing streak

The New Orleans Pelicans might be getting tired of playing against elite players on their three-game road trip.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 50 points and 15 rebounds Sunday as the Pelicans began their trip with a 135-110 loss at Milwaukee. Then Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 122-113 victory Tuesday for New Orleans' ninth consecutive defeat.

Now the Pelicans will take a crack at slowing down Luka Doncic, who scored 53 points against the Detroit Pistons on Monday in his most recent game, when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday.

Doncic scored 14 points in the first quarter Jan. 7 as the Mavericks raced to a 19-point lead against the Pelicans. Doncic finished with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists as Dallas won 127-117.

That was New Orleans' fourth loss in five games, but that stretch is nothing compared to what the team is going through now.

"We've got to keep our heads down and keep working," Pelicans coach Willie Green said. "It's hard to win in the NBA and we're seeing that. But we're starting to regain our identity on both ends of the floor. We're getting there. We just have to sustain it for 48 minutes."

New Orleans hoped the return of forward Brandon Ingram from a 29-game absence due to a bruised toe would be a boost. But he didn't shoot as well as 40 percent from the floor in the three games he has played.

"Brandon is coming off not playing in two months," Green said. "We expected it would take some time. He's working his way through it."

Ingram had 16 points against the Nuggets, making just five of 17 shots, but he did contribute nine assists.

"I like the fact that Brandon set the table early with his ability to see the floor and make open passes, and the guys were knocking down shots," Green said.

The Mavericks haven't struggled as much as the Pelicans have, but they're just 4-8 since the last meeting between the two teams.

Dallas finally shook off the lowly Pistons on Monday for a 111-105 victory as Doncic had his fourth 50-point game of the season.

He made 17 of 24 field-goal attempts, 5 of 11 3-pointers and 14 of 18 free throws in his return from a one-game absence due to an ankle injury.

"Still obviously not 100 percent," Doncic said of the ankle. "But it's good."

Doncic had 45 points through three quarters, but the Mavericks trailed much of the game and faced a one-point deficit entering the fourth quarter. Doncic got some help as Spencer Dinwiddie scored 10 points during the first seven minutes of the fourth quarter and Dallas surged in front.

"Sometimes, when a star comes back from an injury, players wait to see if that guy gets going," said Mavericks coach Jason Kidd. "Spencer played at a high level the previous two games. But he was letting Luka dictate everything (Monday) instead of playing like he had been playing. Luka's going to join the party. He's too talented not to. The ball's going to find him.

"We talked at halftime about Spencer looking to be aggressive, act as if Luka was not out there, and he eventually did that."

Bucks put 5-game win streak on the line against Clippers

Bucks put 5-game win streak on the line against Clippers

Coming in on a five-game win streak with their big three finally healthy, the Milwaukee Bucks continue their four-game homestand on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Bucks were able to hang on for a 124-115 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night thanks to a 34-point, 18-rebound effort from Giannis Antetokounmpo. As for Milwaukee's two other stars, Khris Middleton added 18 points and Jrue Holiday scored 15 while grabbing a career-high 13 boards.

"Jrue's capable of doing so much, it was an emphasis that our guards needed to help getting rebounds," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said after the win. "He's good playing around the basket. He does a ton for us."

The Bucks were able to withstand a triple-double from Charlotte's LaMelo Ball, who finished with 27 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Milwaukee bounced back against the Hornets after Charlotte had pulled off a surprising 138-109 blowout of the Bucks back on Jan. 6.

The Clippers are continuing their six-game Eastern Conference road trip after taking down the Bulls in Chicago on Tuesday night, 108-103. Kawhi Leonard led the way with 33 points, Norman Powell dropped 27 on 7-for-11 shooting and Paul George chipped in 16 while grabbing 10 rebounds.

"We went small and I thought our small unit did a really good job of getting us back in the game," Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue said. "Norman Powell did a great job off the bench. He's instant offense and has been for a while. It really got us going."

The Clippers were once down 19 points in the second quarter of Tuesday's game. The Bulls, who commit the seventh-fewest turnovers in the league, turned it over 20 times.

Antetokounmpo sits third in the NBA in scoring behind Joel Embiid and Luka Doncic with 31.8 points per game while also ranking second in rebounds per game (12.2). Holiday leads the Bucks with 7.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game, while Brook Lopez paces the team with an average of 2.5 blocks following his five-block night against Charlotte.

For Los Angeles, Paul George leads the team with 23.3 points, 5.4 assists and 1.5 steals per game in his 37 starts this season. Ivica Zubac leads the team with 10.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

The Bucks continue to miss Bobby Portis after he sustained a knee injury last week, and former Clipper Serge Ibaka remains out for personal reasons as the team searches for a trade partner.

The Clippers were without John Wall and Marcus Morris Sr. on Tuesday, and Wall currently has no timetable for return with an abdomen injury while Morris is dealing with a rib injury.

The two-game season series between these teams has been split in each of the past two seasons, with Thursday marking the first of two games this year. The Bucks lead a close all-time series 69-54 with the second matchup between these teams scheduled for Feb. 10 in Los Angeles.

Hornets, Bulls each pursuing a rare victory

Hornets, Bulls each pursuing a rare victory

It's a good time for the Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls to meet because one of them will come away with a victory when they clash Thursday in Chicago.

Both teams had solid stretches in January, but they're still struggling.

Charlotte had two sets of two-game winning streaks in the latter half of January. The last of those ended with Tuesday's 124-115 road loss against the Milwaukee Bucks.

Hornets point guard LaMelo Ball set the franchise record for career triple-doubles by posting his eighth on the strength of 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

"LaMelo is young and he has the right attitude and approach to get better and better," Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. "He's just beginning."

The Hornets topped the Bulls 111-96 on Jan. 26 at home behind Terry Rozier's 28 points. Chicago was 4 of 25 on triples in that game.

After matching their best three-game stretch of the season with three wins in a row in mid-January, the Bulls have dropped three of their last four games. That includes Tuesday's 108-103 setback to the Los Angeles Clippers that opened a four-game homestand.

The Bulls committed untimely turnovers and totaled 20 in the game.

"The turnovers were uncharacteristic," said Chicago coach Bill Donovan. "But we also didn't take great shots We needed to generate better looks."

The Bulls won seven times in January, nearly a third of their 23 total wins. With seven of 12 February games at home, Chicago has reached a critical part of its schedule.

Chicago beat Charlotte at home 106-88 on Nov. 2.

There could be a good battle on the boards between the teams. Charlotte's Mason Plumlee averaged 11.3 rebounds per game in January. Chicago's Nikola Vucevic has double-digit rebounding totals in 13 of the Bulls' last 15 games, and he averaged 13.1 rebounds per game last month. He had only nine boards against the Hornets last week.

Vucevic led the Bulls in scoring for just the fourth time with 23 points against the Clippers.

Clifford said the Hornets didn't make good decisions in the lane in the loss to Milwaukee. That accounted for the Bucks blocking eight shots and Charlotte going 20 of 38 inside.

"It was a big emphasis going in and we didn't do a good job with that," Clifford said.

The Hornets are just 8-21 in road games, although those eight wins account for more than half of their 15 total victories. The Bulls are 13-11 in home games.

Heat, Knicks headed in opposite directions

Heat, Knicks headed in opposite directions

The Miami Heat look to continue their recent good fortune and add to the Knicks' woes Thursday when the Eastern Conference foes meet in New York, their first meeting of the season.

The Heat have won four of their last five games to move into sixth place in the conference, the final guaranteed playoff spot.

In turn, the seventh-place Knicks have lost two in a row and six of their last eight to give the New York tabloids plenty of negative headlines.

Jimmy Butler scored 23 points to fuel Miami in a 100-97 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday.

"We still had lapses, but I'm glad those lapses didn't cost us the game," Butler said. "We got stops down the stretch when we needed to."

Butler did most of his damage at the foul line, sinking 10 of 15 free-throw attempts to offset a 6-for-16 performance from the floor. His off-night from the field came on the heels of a three-game stretch in which he made 26 of 38 attempts.

Bam Adebayo collected 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat on Tuesday and Caleb Martin added 18 points and 10 rebounds.

The Heat turned up the temperature on defense against the Cavs. They limited Cleveland to just 27.5 percent shooting from 3-point range (11 of 40), with star Donovan Mitchell making just 3 of his 13 attempts.

"We switched coverages from zone to man to blitzing, throwing different looks at their guards and making them make plays on the fly, which is never easy," Tyler Herro told the Miami Herald.

Herro scored 25 points and Butler added 23 to pace the Heat to a 115-110 victory over the Knicks in their lone meeting in New York last season. RJ Barrett drained six 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 46 points in that game for the Knicks.

Barrett failed to convert from beyond the arc in New York's last contest, however. He went 0-for-3 from 3-point range and 5-for-13 overall from the floor in a 129-123 overtime loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday.

The Knicks shot 7-for-34 from beyond the arc as a team against the Lakers. They didn't make a 3-pointer in either the fourth quarter or overtime and saw their season-long percentage from beyond the arc drop to 34.2, which was 25th in the NBA entering Wednesday's play.

"We had good looks, especially in final quarter," Jalen Brunson told the New York Post. "The ball just didn't go in."

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau saw a bigger problem plaguing his club.

"We're scoring plenty, that's not our issue," he said. "We've got to shore up our defense."

That's true. New York has allowed an average of 121.8 points over its last eight games.

By comparison, it yielded 103.6 points per game over its previous eight contests. The Knicks posted a 7-1 record in that stretch.

Pacers hope to end skid vs. road-tripping Lakers

Pacers hope to end skid vs. road-tripping Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers continue a five-game Eastern Conference road trip Thursday when they visit Indianapolis and the sputtering Indiana Pacers.

Indiana dropped its third straight and 10th in the last 11 games when it lost 112-100 in Memphis on Sunday. On the bright side for the Pacers, Bennedict Mathurin scored 27 points for his fifth consecutive game with at least 21 points, and he has posted at least 19 points in all six games since resuming coming off the bench.

Mathurin started four games through mid-January, during which he averaged 14.3 points per game -- 3.6 points fewer than his overall season average.

While the 6-foot-5 first-round draft pick from Arizona has regained his scoring spark, the Pacers continue to seek answers for the absence of Tyrese Haliburton from the lineup.

Haliburton -- Indiana's leading scorer at 20.2 points per game and the NBA leader in assists at 10.2 per game -- has been sidelined with elbow and knee injuries for 10 games. T.J. McConnell moved into Haliburton's vacated starting point guard position Jan. 21 against Phoenix and has averaged more than nine assists per game in his five starts, including an 18-point, 12-assist, 10-rebound triple-double against the Suns.

However, McConnell went scoreless on 0-of-5 shooting in Sunday's loss to Memphis.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Tuesday that Haliburton was a full participant in practice.

"It's possible," Carlisle said of Haliburton returning to the lineup this week. "We have (Wednesday) and we'll see where we are. Both (Haliburton and Daniel Theis) practiced (Tuesday) without issue. Ty's got an elbow brace, but that's about it."

Theis, acquired from Boston in the offseason, has yet to play for the Pacers because of a knee injury.

Los Angeles comes into Thursday's contest, the fourth in its five-game swing through the East, off a 129-123 overtime win at New York on Tuesday. It was the Lakers' first victory on the trip. LeBron James posted a 28-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double in the win and Anthony Davis scored 27 points.

Tuesday also marked a big night for newly acquired Rui Hachimura, playing his fourth game as a Laker since being traded from Washington last week. Hachimura scored 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the floor, grabbed nine rebounds and blocked a shot that proved pivotal in overtime.

"His ability and what he can bring to our team, we need him to showcase that every night for us," James said following the win. "Me and (Davis) told him (before the game), ‘Be aggressive from the very beginning,' and he was that all the way to the very end, finishing off his performance with that block. We're lucky to have him."

Hachimura has scored in double figures in three of his four games with Los Angeles, with Tuesday marking both his scoring and rebounding highs since the move. He posted 30 points in his final game with the Wizards on Jan. 21.

Los Angeles can use the addition of another forward alongside Davis to improve its interior defense and rebounding. The Lakers are -0.7 in rebounding margin for the season despite boasting one of the highest rebounds-per-game averages in the league at 45.

Opponents are shooting 44.3% from the field against the Lakers per game, second-most in the NBA.

Wizards-Pistons game postponed

Wizards-Pistons game postponed

Wednesday's game between the Washington Wizards and host Detroit has been postponed after the Pistons experienced travel issues following their game in Dallas.

The Pistons were scheduled to fly back to Detroit on Tuesday, one day after their 111-105 setback to the Mavericks. A severe winter storm and logistical issues involving the plane forced the team to sit idle for several hours, per the Detroit News.

The newspaper also reported the Pistons still were in Dallas as of Wednesday morning. Wednesday night's game was scheduled for a 7 p.m. ET tipoff.

In a news release, the NBA said a date for the rescheduled game will be announced at a later time.

The Pistons are off Thursday before hosting a back-to-back set against the Charlotte Hornets (Friday) and Phoenix Suns (Saturday).

NBA roundup: LeBron James' triple-double sinks Knicks in OT

NBA roundup: LeBron James' triple-double sinks Knicks in OT

LeBron James moved closer to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's NBA scoring record and gained two spots on the all-time assists list Tuesday night, when the Los Angeles Lakers superstar posted his first triple-double of the season to spark a 129-123 overtime win over the host New York Knicks.

Dennis Schroder hit the tiebreaking 3-pointer with 3:14 left in overtime to start a decisive 7-0 run by the Lakers, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Jalen Brunson scored a game-high 37 points for the Knicks, who have lost two straight and six of eight.

James, who missed Los Angeles' Monday defeat to the Brooklyn Nets with a sore left ankle and left foot, finished with 28 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. He now has 38,299 points in his career, 89 points shy of breaking Abdul-Jabbar's record.

James' eighth and ninth assists of the game -- leading to Troy Brown Jr.'s 3-pointer and a dunk by Thomas Bryant on consecutive possessions early in the fourth quarter -- vaulted James past Mark Jackson (10,334 assists) and Steve Nash (10,335 assists) and into fourth place on the all-time list. James ended the night at 10,338.

Nuggets 122, Pelicans 113

Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists for his NBA-leading 16th triple-double while Jamal Murray poured in 32 points as host Denver beat New Orleans.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Gordon scored 15 points apiece and Michael Porter Jr. added 13 for the Nuggets, who won for just the second time in five games.

CJ McCollum and Herbert Jones scored 21 each and Brandon Ingram finished with 16 points for the Pelicans, who took their ninth straight loss.

Heat 100, Cavaliers 97

Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 23 points to pace four scorers in double figures as visiting Miami beat Cleveland.

Caleb Martin, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro each added 18 points for Miami, which is now 1-1 on a four-game road trip. Adebayo grabbed 11 rebounds and Martin hauled in 10 for the Heat, who won for the fourth time in five games.

Evan Mobley led Cleveland with 19 points while Jarrett Allen had 14 points and 11 rebounds. Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland each scored 16 points for the Cavaliers, who haven't won back-to-back games since Jan. 2-4, when they defeated the Chicago Bulls and Phoenix Suns.

Clippers 108, Bulls 103

Kawhi Leonard scored a game-high 33 points, Norman Powell added 27 and Paul George notched a 16-point, 10-rebound double-double as Los Angeles edged Chicago.

Los Angeles capitalized on 20 Chicago turnovers to improve to 2-1 on a six-game road trip and win for the sixth time in seven games. Ivica Zubac also had a double-double, contributing 14 points and 12 rebounds.

DeMar DeRozan, who scored 20 points as one of six Bulls in double figures, had a career-high eight turnovers.

Bucks 124, Hornets 115

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, and Milwaukee survived a turbulent fourth quarter to record its fifth consecutive victory, beating visiting Charlotte.

Milwaukee went nearly seven minutes between made field goals in the fourth period, and Charlotte steadily whittled down what had been a 17-point Bucks lead with less than seven minutes remaining to five points with just over a minute to go. Foul shooting proved to be enough for Milwaukee to keep the Hornets at bay, as the Bucks went 5 of 6 at the line in the final 1:14.

Charlotte went cold after cutting the deficit to five points. Jalen McDaniels missed a 3-point attempt with one minute remaining that would have made it a one-possession game, and P.J. Washington committed a foul that effectively ended the rally. LaMelo Ball kept the Hornets in it with his second triple-double of the season. He scored a team-high 27 points, dished a game-high 11 assists and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Another Nikola Jokic triple-double leads Nuggets over Pelicans

Another Nikola Jokic triple-double leads Nuggets over Pelicans

Nikola Jokic had 26 points, 18 rebounds and 15 assists for his NBA-leading 16th triple-double, while Jamal Murray poured in 32 points, and the host Denver Nuggets beat the New Orleans Pelicans 122-113 on Tuesday night.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Aaron Gordon scored 15 points apiece and Michael Porter Jr. added 13 for the Nuggets.

CJ McCollum and Herbert Jones scored 21 each, Brandon Ingram finished with 16 points, Trey Murphy added 14, Larry Nance Jr. had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Jonas Valanciunas scored 10 for New Orleans, which has lost nine straight.

The Pelicans led by as much as 12 in the second quarter but Denver rallied to close the gap. Caldwell-Pope, Murray and Porter hit 3-pointers and Jokic had a three-point play that cut the deficit to one, before New Orleans ended the half up 60-57.

The Nuggets came out strong in the second half. Murray opened with a 3-pointer to tie it, Porter hit a pair of corner 3-pointers and Jokic fed Gordon for a dunk in an 11-2 run to give Denver the lead at 68-62 less than three minutes into the period.

The Nuggets stretched the advantage to 78-69 on Murray's sixth 3-pointer of the game midway through the third quarter. The Pelicans cut it to five but Denver bounced back to take a 93-84 lead into the fourth.

New Orleans opened the final quarter with two straight turnovers that led to dunks for the Nuggets and a 97-84 lead. The Pelicans scored the next five points but Jeff Green's three-point play gave Denver a 103-90 lead with 9:27 left.

Naji Marshall had a field goal and two free throws, and Nance's steal and layup got New Orleans within seven and forced a Denver timeout with 8:20 left.

After a Murray miss, Ingram hit a 17-footer to make it 103-98. But Jokic scored the next five points for the Nuggets and then fed Gordon on an alley-oop to give Denver a 110-102 lead with 4:24 left.

It was a five-point lead when Jokic hit a short hook, Ingram split a pair of free throws and Murray drained another 3-pointer to make it 116-107 with 2:24 left, and Denver closed it out from there.

Bucks build big edge, hold off Hornets for fifth straight win

Bucks build big edge, hold off Hornets for fifth straight win

Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 34 points and grabbed 18 rebounds and the Milwaukee Bucks survived a turbulent fourth quarter to record their fifth consecutive victory, 124-115 over the visiting Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday.

Milwaukee went five minutes between made field goals in the fourth period, and Charlotte steadily whittled down what had been a 17-point Bucks lead with less than seven minutes remaining in the period down to five points with just over a minute to go.

Foul shooting proved to be enough for Milwaukee to keep the Hornets at bay, as the Bucks went 5 of 6 at the line in the final minute.

Charlotte went cold after cutting the deficit to five points. Mason Plumlee, whose final two points on a 14-point, 14-rebound night pulled the Hornets within 118-113 with 1:06 left, missed a would-be and-one free-throw attempt but gathered his final rebound on the carom.

Jalen McDaniels missed a 3-point attempt on the ensuing possession that would have made it a one-possession, and P.J. Washington committed a foul that effectively ended the rally.

LaMelo Ball kept Charlotte in it with his second triple-double of the season. He scored a team-high 27 points, dished a game-high 11 assists, and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Ball also blocked a team-high three shots.

Terry Rozier scored 20 points as Charlotte saw its two-game winning streak end. Gordon Hayward added 16, McDaniels finished with 15 off the bench and Washington had 14 points.

Milwaukee's Jrue Holiday had 15 points and 13 rebounds. Khris Middleton came off the bench to score 18 points, Wesley Matthews added 11 in reserve, and Grayson Allen scored all 12 of his points on 4-of-9 3-point shooting.

Milwaukee finished 15 of 44 (34.1 percent) from deep and 41 percent from the field. Charlotte shot 11 of 39 (28.2 percent) from beyond the arc and 37.8 percent from the floor.

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