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Detroit deactivates Rip Hamilton

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Just when you think there isn’t any love to be lost at all between the Detroit Pistons and Rip Hamilton, news arrives in the latest tear in the once-strong relationship between franchise and player. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports, Detroit has formally deactivated Hamilton, removing even the slightest possibility that he’ll touch the court as a member of Pistons anytime soon. Then again, maybe this is a mere formality; Hamilton hasn’t played in any of the Pistons’ last 12 games, so in this case the line between DNP-CD and DNP-Inactive is rather slim.

If there was somehow any doubt of the tenuousness of these relations, it should now be promptly removed. Hamilton looks to be quite available for any team that wants him, though at this point in his career Rip is neither the scorer nor the defender he once was. It’s hard to say exactly what Hamilton is worth in his present state — even the minutes he’s received this season have come inconsistently, and his role has hardly provided him firm footing on the year — but he seems like little more than an average player with a bloated contract. Hamilton is due $12.7 million next season, and at least nine $9.0 million in the following year (that year is only partially guaranteed, meaning his team could choose to cut him and pay $9.0 million salary, or keep him and pay the full $12.7 million for that season as well). That’s a lot of shekels for mediocrity, so any borderline team looking to add talent at the trade deadline should think long and hard before taking on that kind of salary commitment.

Hamilton could become Detroit’s own Eddy Curry. If there aren’t any takers at this season’s trade deadline (which seems likely given his contract and concerns over a new collective bargaining agreement), Hamilton could become contractual dead weight. Detroit could be left with no other choice than to let Hamilton keep clogging up their cap room until his deal expires, which is a bit of a problem considering their currently underwhelming core and lack of avenues to improve.

Dwyane Wade with dagger dunk to seal Bulls win vs. Suns (VIDEO)

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The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.

The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.

The Bulls won 128-121. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27.

DeMarre Carroll shoves Isaiah Thomas to ground on break, tempers flare

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Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll picked up a deserved flagrant for this foul.

With a couple of minutes left to go in the second quarter, Isaiah Thomas made the steal when DeMar DeRozan lost the ball on a drive, and Thomas was off to the races. Trying to prevent a lay-up, Carroll decided to foul Thomas far from the basket, but did so with a forearm shove that sent Thomas sprawling on the ground.

Thomas got up and had words, as did Jae Crowder.

Carroll got a flagrant and a technical, Thomas and Crowder each picked up technicals for jumping in.

Seth Curry puts up career high 31 against Timberwolves (VIDEO)

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When Stephen Curry wore a headband through the All-Star Game last weekend, West coach Steve Kerr jokingly called him “Seth” all night.

Dallas’ Seth Curry came out of the week-long break playing like an All-Star. He dropped 31 on the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night, a career high for him. He hit 13-of-17 from the field, including three from beyond the arc, but did a lot of his damage in the midrange.

It wasn’t enough, the Timberwolves got a comfortable 97-84 win behind 27 points from Andrew Wiggins and 26 from Karl-Anthony Towns. Nerlens Noel was not yet with his new team in time to play for the Mavs in this game.

Spurs kick off rust from layoff to beat Clippers 105-97 in Chris Paul’s return

San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard dunks during the first half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Friday, Feb. 24, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points despite foul trouble and the San Antonio Spurs shook off the rust from a nine-day layoff to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 105-97 on Friday night for their third straight win.

Pau Gasol added 17 points and 11 rebounds off the bench in his return from a 15-game absence because of a fractured finger. LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Dewayne Dedmon grabbed 12 rebounds.

Blake Griffin scored 29 points for the Clippers, who have dropped consecutive games to the league’s two winningest teams since the All-Star break ended. They lost by 10 points at Golden State a night earlier. The Spurs have the league’s second-best record at 44-13.

Chris Paul added 17 points in his return after missing five weeks with a torn ligament in his left thumb.