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LeBron James’ 29 points lead Cavs past Hawks, 110-108 in OT

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ATLANTA (AP) — LeBron James had 29 points to pass another Hall of Famer on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and the Cleveland Cavaliers recovered after blowing a big first-half lead to beat the Atlanta Hawks 110-108 in overtime on Friday night.

James had 16 rebounds and nine assists, just missing a triple-double.

The Cavaliers still lead Toronto, which won at Memphis, by 2 1/2 games in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

James moved past Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson into 11th place on the NBA’s scoring list when he scored on a layup late in the third quarter. Atlanta’s Al Horford was called for goaltending on the play.

The basket gave James 26,711 points. He began the night 21 points behind Robertson’s 26,710 points.

The Cavaliers led by 21 points in the second quarter. Atlanta charged back to briefly take the lead in the third quarter. Cleveland led by 11 early in the fourth quarter before Atlanta forced the extra period.

Horford missed a 3-pointer at the end of overtime.

James made one of two free throws to give Cleveland a 105-104 lead. Paul Millsap, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds, missed a short jumper with 25.8 seconds remaining. Kyrie Irving, who had 20 points, made five of six free throws in the final 20 seconds of overtime.

Cleveland snapped a streak of five straight losses in Atlanta over four seasons.

Jeff Teague had 28 points and nine assists for Atlanta, which has lost two straight after winning nine of 10.

James moved past Robertson only one night after passing former Hawks Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins for 12th place.

With the game tied at 96-all late in regulation, James missed an 18-foot jumper, and Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore grabbed the rebound with 4.9 seconds remaining.

The Hawks couldn’t get off a shot. Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert stole the ball from Teague as the fourth quarter ended.

Cleveland took its biggest first-half lead at 55-34 when Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha dribbled the ball off his foot for a turnover, setting up a fast break that ended with a power jam from James.

WELCOME BACK

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue played parts of four seasons with the Hawks from 2004-08. Lue said he received a warm greeting in making his first return to Atlanta since being hired as coach on Jan. 22.

“It feels good to come back and see people who treated you well over the course of your career,” Lue said.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Cleveland’s previous win at Atlanta on Nov. 30, 2012. … Kevin Love had 15 points. Thompson had nine points and 14 rebounds. J.R. Smith made four 3s for 12 points. … The teams met for the first time since Nov. 21, when the Cavaliers took a 109-87 home win over the Hawks. They play again at Cleveland on April 11.

Hawks: Atlanta is 0-5 in overtime games this season. … Atlanta-based hip-hop recording artist T.I. performed at halftime. … The Hawks’ 16 turnovers led to 16 points for Cleveland. … Horford had 14 points and nine rebounds. Korver also had 14 points.

 

Andrew Wiggins answers Carmelo with game-winning 3-pointer (VIDEO)

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Sunday’s matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Minnesota Timberwolves was perhaps a preview of a Western Conference playoff series. We should certainly hope so given the late-game heroics we saw this weekend courtesy of Karl-Anthony Towns, Carmelo Anthony, and Andrew Wiggins.

The two teams played a razor thin matchup in the fourth quarter, with Towns hitting a floating shot with just nine seconds left to take the lead. OKC took the torch just seconds later when Carmelo hit a 3-pointer with less than five seconds to play from the left wing.

That left the Timberwolves down by one point with no timeouts to spare.

After Minnesota inbounded to the ball, Wiggins drove down the left sideline and toward the middle of the floor. With the clock running out, Wiggins pulled up from nearly 30 feet out and drained 3-pointer off the backboard as time expired.

Here’s what the two threes looked like back to back.

Via Twitter:

Today was absolutely mental in the NBA. Between the drama that’s happening with the Phoenix Suns and this Western Conference shootout, the regular season just keeps amping it up each and every day.

Clippers say Milos Teodosic out indefinitely with plantar fascia injury

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The LA Clippers needed everything to go right for them injury-wise to be able to survive losing Chris Paul the same year many teams in the Western Conference got much stronger. Sunday’s news that rookie Milos Teodosic is out indefinitely with a left plantar fascia injury won’t help the confidence of fans in southern California.

Teodosic suffered the injury during a game against the Phoenix Suns earlier in the week. Teodosic could be seen pulling up lame toward the near corner on a seemingly innocuous play, which you can watch above.

Here is the release from the team on Teodosic’s injury..

Via Twitter:

Teodosic was expected to be a boost for the Clippers’ offense, who lost Paul over the offseason to the Houston Rockets. Teodosic is a 30-year-old rookie whose passing acumen was sure to be a highlight reel staple over the course of the season.

Plantar fascia injuries can be tough for players to come back from, although the severity of the injury can vary greatly. In the past, players like Damian Lillard and Al Jefferson have made relatively speedy recoveries or have been able to play through the injury itself.

However, a plantar fascia issue can be a tough one and is often difficult to get to recover given the inherent stress level of the area and because soft tissue injuries can be pesky. Obviously, a word like “indefinitely” is pretty dang scary.

Meanwhile, the Suns had a few issues of their own on Sunday. They fired head coach Earl Watson and point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted out that he no longer wanted to be “here”. The former Clippers point guard has already had lobbyists from LA come calling. Big man DeAndre Jordan already tweeted that he wanted Bledsoe to “come back home”.

Someone has to trade for Bledsoe. Might as well be the Clippers.

Report: Suns fire Earl Watson within an hour of Eric Bledsoe’s tweet

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Things are just getting weirder in Arizona.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Phoenix Suns have fired head coach Earl Watson. This comes in less than an hour after Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted out that he no longer wanted to be “here”. The assumption is that the “here” meant with the Suns organization, although Bledsoe nor the team have clarified.

Phoenix was always slated to be a bad team but they have been an absolute mess to start the season. Just three games in and they have yet to win a contest. They have lost by a combined 92 points in those games during some hilariously bad efforts. While Watson’s firing is sudden, it’s not entirely surprising.

Via ESPN:

Meanwhile, it’s not clear what the Suns will do from here both with Bledsoe and in filling the head coach spot on the bench.

Teams like the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers have struggled when players have requested a trade publicly. Much of their leverage is lost and it could be harder to find a usable return for Bledsoe. A friend of LeBron James, Bledsoe has been rumored in trades from Phoenix to places like Cleveland for years. Now, it will be curious to see if the Suns will need to move him and what they can get for Bledsoe once a deal is done. Any assets will be a vital to their rebuilding process.

In terms of coaching, Phoenix has both Ty Corbin and Jay Triano on the bench, both of which who have been head coaches in the NBA before. It appears Triano will be stepping into the interim role, but that still leaves the question of what Phoenix should do from here on out. A directionless team in the middle of a rebuild with less-than-stellar ownership is a recipe for continued failure.

Phoenix has been a poorly-run organization for some time, particularly when it comes to expenses. Phoenix owner Robert Sarver is notoriously cheap, even going so far as selling draft picks outright. Phoenix exchanged players like Marcin Gortat, Rudy Fernandez, and Rajon Rondo for pennies on the dollar.

They are already the worst team in the NBA, one of their star players wants out, and now they no longer have a head coach. If you are a basketball fan in Phoenix, things have to be tough for you right now.

Suns PG Eric Bledsoe tweets “I don’t want to be here”

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The Phoenix Suns were always going to be a bad team, but I think we were all surprised when they started off the season with a historical loss to the Portland Trail Blazers. Now, it seems things are getting worse.

On Sunday, Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe sent out a message on Twitter that seemed to insinuate that he no longer wanted to be a part of the organization in Phoenix.

That tweet set the NBA sphere on fire during a relatively sleepy afternoon. Ramifications of players being open with their requests to move teams has not always played out well for the organizations. Think about the decreased leverage for the Knicks and Pacers when it came to Paul George and Carmelo Anthony.

Via Twitter:

It would be a major bummer for fans in Arizona if Bledsoe does indeed want out of Phoenix. The team has played all of three games, and after years of trade speculation around Bledsoe so it would be a huge blow to give him up to suitors for pennies on the dollar.

As of publication on Sunday afternoon we have yet to confirm that this is the intent of Bledsoe’s tweet, but no doubt we will hear more about it as the day goes on.