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.

 

Wizards’ players-only meeting doesn’t go well

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The concept of a “team meeting” is sort of silly. At what does players discussing the team – something that happens nearly every day – rise to “meeting” status?

But these team meetings happen ever year, usually when a team is struggling. The Cavaliers, Thunder and Lakers have already had confabs labeled a “team meeting” this season. Teams usually emerge saying they’ve found solutions to their problems. Sometimes, it translates onto the court. Usually, there’s not a significant turnaround.

I’ve never seen a public response to the meeting itself like with the Wizards, though.

John Wall, via Cam Ellis of NBC Sports Washington:

“At our team meeting, I think a couple guys took it in a negative way,” Wall said after the team’s win in Detroit. “It hurt our team. Instead of using it in a positive way like we did in the past and using it to build our team up, it kind of set us back a bit.”

Bradley Beal, via Candace Buckner of The Washington Post:

“It was tough. I try to keep all our stuff as personal as possible but I think in a way not everybody got a chance to speak whenever they wanted to,” Bradley Beal said. “They didn’t want to bring up an issue or something they had a problem with on the team. Regardless of what may be going on, as men we’ve got to be able to accept what the next man says, be respectful about it and move on from it. I think it was one of those situations where we didn’t necessarily get everything that we wanted to get accomplished.

“Honestly, it was probably — I won’t say pointless,” Beal continued, “but we didn’t accomplish what we needed to accomplish in that meeting.”

Yeesh.

Nobody seemed to remember exactly when the meeting occurred, which says something. It sounds as if airing grievances actually hurt team chemistry.

The Wizards (26-20) are good, but not as good as hoped/expected. They too often coast against bad teams, and coach Scott Brooks has openly questioned their effort. So, what’s the solution?

Wall, via Buckner:

“Front office got to figure it out.”

If you’re one of Wall’s teammates who clashed at the meeting, and now you’re hearing him bring it up publicly and imply roster moves might be the solution, how would you feel about your future in Washington?

Rajon Rondo invites Ray Allen to 2008 Celtics reunion

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The 2008 Celtics are finally doing something that isn’t petty.

Rajon Rondo was planning a reunion vacation for that championship team while specifically not inviting Ray Allen. Allen ruffled feathers by leaving Boston for the Heat, and many Celtics held a grudge.

But Paul Pierce eventually said it’s time to move on, and now Rondo is also ready.

Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:

Rondo said Allen has an open invitation to join his former teammates this summer.

“Everybody [on the team] is invited,” he said.

This is how it should be. Allen was a free agent, free to sign with Miami or wherever he wanted. Not that it should matter here, but the Celtics tried to trade him before he left. And Pierce and Kevin Garnett also left Boston, Pierce talking Garnett into waiving his no-trade clause to facilitate a move to the Nets.

It’s not clear how Garnett, another leader in the charge against Allen, feels about welcoming him. But, presumably, he’ll take a cue from Rondo. Garnett probably won’t be the one calling Allen with the trip details, though.

The big question now: Who gives Scot Pollard the itinerary?

Status woe: Cavaliers not planning lineup changes amid slump

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue isn’t changing his starting lineup or rotations despite Cleveland’s current troubling state.

A day after the Cavs gave up 148 points – tying a franchise record that stood since 1972 – in an embarrassing loss to Oklahoma City, Lue said he’s not making any major moves to snap his team from its mid-season doldrums (and as they head into a tough stretch of the schedule).

The Cavs have lost 10 of 14 and have been blown out three times in the past week.

Lue decided not to show his players video on Sunday as the team practiced in advance of Tuesday’s game in San Antonio. Lue explained his reasoning for not making any changes as the Cavs are the same team that won 13 straight and 18 of 19 earlier this season.

Cavs forward Kyle Korver said the only way to fix things is “to look yourself in the mirror and say how can I help the team? It’s really simple but it really is true.”

 

Three Things to Know: Tony Parker out as starter, Dejounte Murray in for Spurs

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Tony Parker loses starting job to Dejounte Murray, Spurs lose anyway to Pacers. Since getting back into the lineup after off-season quad surgery, future Hall of Famer Tony Parker has started all 21 games he has played in. He has started all but 13 games in a 17-year NBA career and hasn’t come off the bench for a game since 2010.

Until Sunday. Dejounte Murray got the call and that is how it’s going to be for a while in San Antonio. Parker told Tom Osborn of the Express-News he’s good with it because Popovich wants it.

“Pop told me,” Parker said. “He told me he thought it was time, and I was like, ‘No problem.’ Just like Manu (Ginobili), just like Pau (Gasol), you know that day is going to come. If Pop sees something that is good for the team, I will try to do my best…I will support Pop’s decision, and I will try to help DJ as best as I can and try to be the best I can in that second unit with Manu and Patty (Mills).”

Especially with Manu Ginobili and Rudy Gay both out injured, the second unit could use some more shot creation, which Parker can provide. More importantly, Parker has said he isn’t right yet this season after surgery, and he had lost a step the last couple of seasons when he was healthy. Still, we will see how long this change sticks, every time the Spurs go away from Parker, they return. Before this game, the four regular Spurs starters this season — Kyle Anderson, Danny Green, Paul Gasol, and LaMarcus Aldridge — plus Parker were outscoring teams by 29 points per 100 possessions. With Murray those four are -3.1 per 100 (Stats via Cleaning the Glass, which removes garbage time). (I need to add here that due to injuries, none of these lineups has played even 200 minutes together yet this season).

There is a statistical reason for the move, however — the Spurs have won this season despite having no Kawhi Leonard to speak of because of their second best defense in the NBA, and with Murray on the court this season San Antonio has been 11 points per 100 possessions better than when he sits.

Sunday, Popovich and the Spurs got the up-and-down, roller coaster game we have come to expect from Murray — he does a lot of good things, and he makes some plays like a young player. The defense was stingy, as expected, but the offense generated just 88.4 points per 100 possessions, and the Spurs lost to the Pacers 94-86. The starting five were -4 in their 15+ minutes.

Victor Oladipo had 19 points and led a balanced Pacers attack in the win.

2) Kyrie Irving returns, drops 40, but Celtics lose to lowly Magic anyway, their third straight defeat. If the Celtics were going to have a stinker of a game, Sunday was the time to do it because everyone in New England was focused on the Patriots and nobody was going to notice what they did.

After missing one game, Kyrie Irving returned with a vengeance Sunday scoring 40 points on 23 shots and hitting 5-of-7 from three. None of that mattered after the game, where the Celtics struggled at home and lost to the Orlando Magic, the formerly last-place team in the East, 103-95 (Orlando moved ahead of Atlanta with the win).

The struggle in those three games has been on the offensive end (the defense, best in the NBA for the season, has still been good). The Celtics are approaching the trade deadline looking for more shooting if they can find the right deal (what team isn’t?), and for a few games it has looked like they needed it because Jaylen Brown can’t make this between-the-legs move on every possession.

@fchwpo goes through his legs to get to the bucket!

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Boston is still two-games up in the East on Toronto, but they head now out of a four-game road trip in the West. We’ll see if the offense finds itself against the Lakers (who have played better the past couple of weeks and are no easy win).

3) Lakers’ fan drains $100K halfcourt shot. This was the shot of the day — and was worth $100,000 to a bounty hunter and Lakers’ fan.

Mayhem in LA as he uses the window for $100K!

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