Knicks rally from 18 down, beat Bucks 116-111 to snap skid

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Two nights after losing to the Bucks on a last-second shot at home, the New York Knicks rallied late in the rematch and stunned Milwaukee.

Carmelo Anthony had 26 points and 10 assists, including a clutch 3-pointer in the fourth quarter, and the Knicks stormed back from 18 down Friday to beat the Bucks 116-111 and stop their six-game losing streak.

With less than a minute remaining, Anthony drained a 3-pointer that put New York in front by one.

“It felt good. I’m glad it went in,” he said. “You don’t make it if you don’t take it.”

On the ensuing possession, Lance Thomas stripped Giannis Antetokounmpo, leading to a fast-break dunk by Courtney Lee that helped the Knicks hold on.

New York rebounded from a tough loss Wednesday, when Antetokounmpo hit a step-back jumper at the horn that gave Milwaukee a 105-104 victory at Madison Square Garden.

“It is a great win for us tonight because the other night (we) thought we should have won,” Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek said.

This time, they did. New York erased a 13-point deficit to begin the fourth quarter and ended its longest skid of the season.

Kristaps Porzingis returned from a three-game absence due to a sore left Achilles tendon and added 24 points for the Knicks.

“We needed it. We needed it more than anything,” he said.

Antetokounmpo and Jabari Parker had 25 points apiece for Milwaukee. Greg Monroe chipped in with 19.

“After halftime, we relaxed and didn’t move the ball real well,” Antetokounmpo said. “We were taking tough shots and we weren’t playing our game. We had a chance to put them away, but we didn’t.”

The Knicks used a 12-0 run to cut the Bucks’ lead to one early in the fourth. Milwaukee’s Jason Terry was called for a flagrant foul during the stretch after he struck Ron Baker in the neck with his forearm.

After New York pulled within a point again later in the quarter, Tony Snell connected on back-to-back 3s for Milwaukee. Porzingis answered with a pair of 3-pointers.

After trailing by 12 at halftime, the Knicks opened the third quarter on a 15-4 run to cut the deficit to a single point. The Bucks immediately followed with a 9-0 spurt and led 96-83 heading to the fourth.

The Bucks used torrid long-range shooting to lead 65-53 at halftime. Milwaukee made its first eight shots from 3-point range before Michael Beasley misfired with about seven minutes left in the second quarter.

The Knicks jumped out to a 9-0 lead but the Bucks quickly erased the deficit and held a 33-32 advantage after one quarter.

AFTER FURTHER REVIEW

Hornacek brushed off a report from the NBA that stated there was a missed five-second call on Antetokounmpo’s game-winning shot Wednesday. “You’re not going to see it called,” Hornacek said. “They aren’t going to change the game, so you just move on.”

ROUGH GAME

New York center Joakim Noah picked up three personal fouls and was charged with a technical in the first half after he vehemently argued a call. Noah picked up two fouls in the third quarter and argued with referees as he left the court after being called for an offensive foul. He fouled out late in the game and egged on fans as they mocked him while he made his way to the bench.

TIP-INS

Knicks: Hornacek thought he’d be forced to limit Porzingis’ playing time as he returned from injury, but the forward/center logged 30 minutes before fouling out with 2:44 remaining. Porzingis said after the game that he had no soreness in the Achilles. “Maybe I should have worked harder,” he said.

Bucks: Matthew Dellavedova missed his fifth consecutive game with a strained right hamstring. “He’s doing better,” coach Jason Kidd said. “We’ll see at practice (on Saturday) how he does and hopefully he’s back soon.” … Antetokounmpo has at least 20 points in 14 consecutive games, matching the longest streak by a Bucks player since Michael Redd in 2006.

 

Report: Mikhail Prokhorov ‘warmed’ to selling controlling stake of Nets

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Mikhail Prokhorov bought 80% of the Nets in 2010. A couple years ago, he tried to sell his stake, but decided to keep it. Then, he bought 100% of the franchise and its arena. After last season, he said he was selling 49% of the team.

Now?

Josh Kosman and Brian Lewis of the New York Post:

Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov, while focused on selling a minority stake in the franchise, has warmed recently to the possibility of offering a controlling slice of the team, sources close to the situation said.

The change of heart comes after the initial reaction to the minority stake sale was weak — and with interest in the Houston Rockets sale heating up, one source said.

The Rockets’ sale could shake out potential Nets buyers, and Prokhorov selling a controlling stake could also help. It’d cost more money than the 49% he’s offering now, but people with the money to buy an NBA team tend to value control.

This might be a good time to sell for Prokhorov, who lost a ton of money as the team paid major luxury tax for an all-in championship pursuit that flopped spectacularly. The NBA’s popularity is rising, and the league is reaping huge revenue from its national-TV contracts.

However, he shouldn’t assume the Rockets’ sale price will predict the Nets’. Buyers might prefer a good team with James Harden and Chris Paul to a bad one short on young talent after years of mismanagement. At least Brooklyn’s payroll is now tolerably low.

The big loser here: Leslie Alexander, who’s trying to sell the Rockets. The supply of NBA teams now available might have just doubled, and unless there’s no overlap in demand for those franchises, that can only drive down Alexander’s eventual sale price.

Report: Clippers paid $3.2 million – second-most ever – for draft pick (Jawun Evans)

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The Warriors set a record by paying $3.5 million for a draft pick, buying the Bulls’ No. 38 pick and using it on Jordan Bell this year.

That eclipsed the $3 million spent by each the Thunder in 2010 (to the Hawks for the No. 31 pick, Tibor Pleiss) and Nets in 2016 (to move up 13 spots for Isaiah Whitehead).

So did the Clippers’ purchase of the No. 39 pick (Jawun Evans) from the 76ers this year.

Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders:

The Clippers also paid the Bucks $2 million for the No. 48 pick (Sindarius Thornwell).

I rated Evans a low first-rounder due to his speed and drive-and-kick game, so getting him in the second round is good value. I’m not as keen on Thornwell, who’s already 22 and built so much of his success at South Carolina on being more physical than younger opponents.

But the more swings the Clippers take on young players, the more likely they are to find long-term contributors. More power to owner Steve Ballmer for greenlighting this expenditure.

Importantly, as players acquired through the draft, Evans and Thornwell will count for the luxury tax at their actual salaries. Players signed otherwise, even if their actual salaries are lower, count at at least the two-years-experience minimum.

Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams can spend $5.1 million in cash this season. That amount will increase (or decrease) in proportion with the salary cap in coming years. So, expect the previous record for draft-pick purchase price – $3 million – to fall again and again.

There’s just more leeway now for the NBA’s haves to separate themselves from the have-nots.

Jeannie Buss says she didn’t understand why Lakers signed Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov

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Last summer, the Lakers signed Luol Deng (four years, $72 million) and Timofey Mozgov (four years, $64 million) to contracts that immediately looked like liabilities.

At worst, Deng and Mozgov would help the Lakers win just enough to lose their top-three protected 2017 first-round pick – which would have triggered also sending out an unprotected 2019 first-rounder – then settle in as huge overpays. At best, Deng and Mozgov would provide a little veteran leadership while the team still loses enough to keep its pick… then settle in as huge overpays.

The Lakers got the best-case scenario, which was still pretty awful.

They had to attach D'Angelo Russell just to dump Mozgov’s deal on the Nets. Even if he no longer fit long-term with Lonzo Ball, Russell could’ve fit another asset if he weren’t necessary as a sweetener in a Mozgov trade. Deng remains on the books as impediment to adding free agents (like Paul George and LeBron James) next summer.

Who’s to blame?

Jeanie Buss was the Lakers’ president and owner. Jim Buss, another owner, ran the front office with Mitch Kupchak.

Bill Oram of The Orange County Register:

Within the walls of the Lakers headquarters, Jeanie’s grand corner office had begun to feel like a cell. She could not make sense of the strategy employed by her brother and Kupchak. They had cycled through four coaches in five seasons and under their watch the Lakers won a combined 63 games in three full seasons. Last summer, they spent $136 million of precious cap space on veterans Luol Deng and Timofey Mozgov, who made little sense for the direction of the team.

“I just didn’t understand what the thought process was,” she said, “whether our philosophies were so far apart that I couldn’t recognize what they were doing, or they couldn’t explain it well.”

No. Nope, nope, nope. I don’t want to hear it.

Jeanie empowered Jim and his silly timeline, which made it inevitable he place self-preservation over the Lakers’ best long-term interests. That’s why he looked for a quick fix with Mozgov and Deng, who’s still hanging over the Lakers’ plans.

She deserves scrutiny for allowing such a toxic environment that yielded predictably bad results (even if family ties clouded her judgment).

That said, she also deserves credit for learning from her mistake. She fired Jim and Kupchak – admittedly too late, but she still did it – and hired Magic Johnson. There’s no guarantee Johnson will direct the Lakers back to prominence, but he clearly has a better working relationship with Jeanie than Jim did and, so far (in a small sample), looks more competent in the job.

Reports: Heat pessimistic about/uninterested in trading for Kyrie Irving

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Kyrie Irving, in requesting a trade from the Cavaliers, reportedly listed the Heat among his preferred destinations. Though Irving – without a no-trade clause and locked up for two more years – holds only minimal sway, teams would logically offer more for him if they believe he’d re-sign.

Will Miami trade for Irving?

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:

And while the possibility certainly cannot be ruled out, the Heat does not have considerable optimism about being able to strike a deal, multiple league sources said.

One Eastern Conference official who spoke to the Heat said Miami considers itself something of a long shot.

Tim Reynolds, the reputable Associated Press Heat and NBA writer, said on Steve Shapiro’s Sports Xtra on WSVN-7 that he does not believe Miami is interested in acquiring Irving.

Like the Kings, though to a far lesser extent, the Heat might not be interested because they know they stand no little of landing Irving.

Goran Dragic would almost certainly have to go to Cleveland in a deal, supplanted by Irving in Miami. Dragic would upgrade the Cavs at point guard over Derrick Rose and Jose Calderon, but at 31, Dragic would also significantly shorten Cleveland’s window.

The Heat would have to send much more. It’s just not clear what.

The Cavaliers, with Tristan Thompson, might not have much interest in centers Hassan Whiteside and Bam Adebayo. Justise Winslow‘s weak 3-point shooting makes him a tough fit with LeBron James, and Winslow’s shoulder injury last season damages his stock anywhere. Tyler Johnson and Josh Richardson are helpful contributors, but Johnson’s salary skyrockets north of $19 million each of the following two seasons, and Richardson will hit free agency (and get a raise) after this season. James Johnson, Dion Waiters and Kelly Olynyk – who all signed this summer – can’t be traded until Dec. 15. (I’m not sure which prospect is funnier, Waiters returning to Cleveland or playing with Irving in Miami.) The Heat also owe the Suns two future first-round picks – one top-seven protected in 2018 and unprotected in 2019, the other unprotected in 2021.

It’s difficult, maybe impossible, for Miami to assemble a suitable trade package given those constraints.

At least the Heat would keep open the possibility of LeBron returning if they don’t trade for Irving.