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Kyle Lowry scores 33, rallies Raptors to 101-93 win over Jazz

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TORONTO (AP) Kyle Lowry scored 16 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Toronto Raptors to a come-from-behind 101-93 victory over the Utah Jazz on Thursday night.

Lowry, who had 19 points in the final quarter of a comeback win at Utah two weeks ago, added six rebounds and five assists for the Raptors (24-11).

DeMar DeRozan had 23 points and seven rebounds, while Jonas Valanciunas added 18 points and 13 rebounds as Toronto rallied from a deficit of 11 points in the second period.

The Jazz (22-15), who led for the first 44-plus minutes, were paced by Rudy Gobert‘s 15 points and 16 rebounds. Shelvin Mack added 17 points and four rebounds.

It was the second straight loss for Utah, which committed 19 turnovers that led to 27 Toronto points.

DeRozan’s 18-foot jumper with 3:44 left gave the Raptors their first lead, 89-88. It was an advantage they never relinquished.

DeRozan took Lowry’s feed down the lane for a dunk to extend the lead to three. After a Jazz turnover, Lowry drilled a 3-pointer to put the Raptors ahead by six with 2:43 to go.

Gordon Hayward‘s 3 and a pair of foul shots by Gobert cut the lead to one before Lowry’s driving layup widened the margin back to three points.

Lowry hit a 3 with five minutes remaining to cut Utah’s lead to 85-84. But on the next trip up the court, Rodney Hood answered with a 3 as the shot clock expired.

Utah led 73-71 going into the fourth quarter as defenses tightened at both ends in the third.

Each team barely cracked 30 percent from the field in the third quarter. Utah was 7 for 19, the Raptors 6 for 17 as Toronto tied the game for the first time since the opening period. But on several trips down court, the Raptors couldn’t get the basket to take their first lead of the night.

The Jazz took a 52-48 lead into halftime as Mack set the pace with 13 points on 6-for-7 shooting. Gobert added eight points and 10 rebounds in the half.

Utah led by as many as 11 early in the second quarter but the Raptors took advantage of some sloppy Jazz play to score 13 points off seven turnovers in the period to cut the margin to 47-46. DeRozan scored Toronto’s final six points of the half.

Utah led 27-18 after the first quarter on the strength of 63 percent shooting from the field, including 3 for 5 from 3-point range. Mack led the way by hitting all four attempts, one a 3.

Toronto shot just 35 percent from the field in the opening quarter, including DeRozan’s 2 for 9.

TIP-INS

Jazz: G George Hill missed his third straight game due to a lip laceration and concussion-like symptoms. . Mack scored 10-plus points for the seventh time in his past 12 games. . Gobert extended his franchise-record streak of games with at least 10 rebounds to 22.

Raptors: F Lucas Nogueira had four points, six rebounds and three assists in 26 minutes. He made his second career start in place of rookie Pascal Siakam, who had started all 34 games this season. . F Patrick Patterson missed his third straight game with a strained left knee. . Valanciunas had his team-leading 13th double-double of the season and the 90th of his career.

UP NEXT

Jazz: Utah continues a five-game road trip Saturday night by visiting Minnesota. The Jazz beat the Timberwolves 112-103 in November during their only meeting so far this season.

Raptors: Toronto travels to Chicago for a Saturday night game against the Bulls, who have defeated the Raptors nine straight times dating to Dec. 31, 2013.

Russell Westbrook dogs Warriors, Damian Lillard after Paul George misses All-Star roster

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Ah yes, let the mud-slinging begin.

Russell Westbrook is on a team with three huge stars in the Oklahoma City Thunder. It was always going to be difficult for all of them to make the 2018 NBA All-Star team out west.

But that doesn’t matter to Russ.

After Tuesday night’s win over the Brooklyn Nets (where Westbrook hit the game-winning shot, no less) the reigning NBA MVP had some thoughts about teammate Paul George missing out on the All-Star Game, calling it “outrageous”.

Westbrook wasn’t too happy with teams getting “four people” onto the team (a dig at the Golden State Warriors) and that players are, “Talking about getting snubbed until they get in.”

That last part seems to have taken aim at Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, one of the most talked about snubs in recent years who finally got another All-Star bid.

Via Twitter:

Westbrook also said that George was “Top 2 at his position” which really colors the underlying issue at hand: Russ likes PG and wants him to stay in OKC.

Nobody reasonable would say that George is a Top 2 player on the wing. Not while LeBron James and Kevin Durant are alive, at least. And Westbrook’s comments about folks being stars vs. not stars, even if the voting goes one way says a lot.

The Warriors are the best team of all time. A bunch of guys getting on All-Star teams in their heyday makes sense, even if one of those guys is Klay Thompson (sometimes). We all have Warriors fatigue, I guess.

Meanwhile, Lillard is one of adidas’ biggest athletes when it comes to basketball, the face of a franchise, and has put up numbers deserving of making the team in years past. He’s also a big personality and a rapper. Lillard’s name is in lights each and every night. The issue with him sees to be that nobody watches him consistently east of the Cascades.

But all this arguing gives legitimacy to Westbrook’s point, which is mostly personal. George’s numbers have taken a dip in some areas, particularly when it comes to things like VORP, assist percentage, and true shooting. They’ve gone up in others, like 3-point shooting. He’s still a very good player and very valuable to the Thunder.

Each year, guys get left off the All-Star team for various reasons. Sometimes it’s just their turn to be on it or be off it. Nice of Westbrook to stop by with some takes.

Here’s hoping for him that George stays in OKC.

Russell Westbrook hits game-winning shot to beat Nets (VIDEO)

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Spencer Dinwiddie hit the game-winning shot for the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. At least, many thought he did.

But that honor actually went to Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook, who had hit the real game winner with a little more than three seconds to go.

Westbrook’s bucket came on after a sideline inbounds play led to a hard drive to the right side of the bucket for the reigning MVP.

Then, Dinwiddie got the ball and had appeared to make a 3-pointer to win the game for the Nets. However, it clanged off the side of the rim, moving the net in a way that many watching on TV and in the arena thought had gone in.

Via Twitter:

OKC beat Brooklyn, 109-108.

Here’s LeBron James scoring the 30,000th point of his career (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is officially the youngest player to ever reach 30,000 points in an NBA career.

The Cleveland Cavaliers great, who preemptively congratulated himself in a weird Instagram post earlier in the day, got points 30,000 and 30,001 at the age of 33 years and 24 days, edging Kobe Bryant by a year and 80 days.

The play came with just a second to go in the first quarter while the Cavaliers played on the road against the San Antonio Spurs.

Dribbling on the left arc against Danny Green — a formidable defender — LeBron gave a hesitation dribble before stepping just inside the 3-point line for a pull-up jumper.

Via Twitter:

LeBron still has Dirk Nowitzki, Wilt Chamberlain, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ahead of him on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.

Where he ends up might just depend on how long Nowitzki plays.

Top five 2018 All-Star Game snubs

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We fans love to talk about who gets snubbed. There are 68 teams in the NCAA tournament and we argue about who was 69th and deserved to be there.

With the NBA All-Star game, there are always legitimate snubs — and with the Western Conference so ridiculously deep this season good players were going to get left out. Just picking my reserve choices for a podcast felt brutal.

We now know the All-Star Game starters and reserves, so who got snubbed. Here are the top five.

1) Lou Williams, Los Angeles Clippers. Los Angeles has been devastated by injuries this season (not to mention losing Chris Paul in the off-season) yet they are still in the playoff hunt in the West and the main reason is Lou Williams. The leading Sixth Man of the Year candidate is averaging 23.3 points per game, 5,3 assists a night, and is shooting better than 40 percent from three. He had a red-hot January so far, averaging 29.2 points per game. This may be a case where Damian Lillard got the nod from the coaches for his multi-year body of work (he’s been good a long time), but Williams is having his best season ever and has a great case.

2) Chris Paul, Houston Rockets. He likely didn’t get selected because he has missed 17 games this season — but Stephen Curry missed 15 and is a captain. When CP3 has played he’s been brilliant, averaging 19.1 points and 8.9 assists per game, he’s been crucial to improving the Rockets defense this season, and when he is on the court the Rockets outscore opponents by 10.9 points per 100 possessions. The Rockets are 23-5 when he plays. Houston is the second best team in the NBA, they should have more than one representative tonight.

3) Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons. The coaches went with four guards for the East reserves, and that left just three frontcourt spots and four deserving players. Drummond is the odd-man out. Which sucks — he is averaging 14.3 points per game on 54 percent shooting, and he remains the best rebounder in the game today pulling down 15 a night. He has improved his defensive play as well, but what everyone notices is he hitting his free throws (62.9 percent) and that means Stan Van Gundy can play him at the end of games and not sub him out.

Drummond was more than a little frustrated he didn’t make the cut.

4) Paul George, Oklahoma City Thunder. George has played well on both ends this season next to Russell Westbrook. He is averaging 20.8 points per game and shooting 42.9 percent from three on one end of the floor, and defensively he is averaging 4.4 deflections per game and has 93 steals — both tops in the league. George is a four-time All-Star and it feels weird to see him left out, but he came to the ridiculously deep Western Conference and good players were not going to make it. He’s the odd man out in the frontcourt.

5) Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets. Could have got a lot of directions here – Ben Simmons and Goran Dragic can make their cases on appeal — but people have been sleeping on just how well Walker has been playing this season. Walker is averaging an efficient 21.8 points per game, dishing out 5.9 assists per night, and when he is on the court the Hornets outscore teams by 5.1 points per 100 possessions (that’s better than the Celtics or Timberwolves net ratings for the season). The problem is when he sits they fall apart, and Walker pays the price for his team struggling this season. His name has popped up in trade rumors, and he is the best guy available right now (not that he gets moved in a tight market). Walker was an All-Star last season and had a very strong case to be one again.