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Hornets end losing skid, top Brooklyn 111-107

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Someone’s streak was going to continue Tuesday. The Charlotte Hornets were simply happy it wasn’t them as they snapped a seven-game losing streak and held onto a 111-107 victory over the Brooklyn Nets.

Charlotte (24-28) had not won since a Jan. 21 triumph over Brooklyn. The Nets (9-43) dropped their 10th straight, and still have not won since a Jan. 20 victory at New Orleans.

“We needed that game,” Charlotte forward Nicolas Batum said. “We’re back home. We need to protect our home court and we needed to win that game.”

Batum, Kemba Walker and Marco Belinelli each had 17 points to lead the Hornets as seven players scored in double-digits in a game where Charlotte’s lead ballooned to as many as 17 points in the second quarter thanks to a quick start.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 22 points and Brook Lopez added 20 for the Nets.

Jeremy Lamb tallied 16 points for the Hornets, while center Frank Kaminsky recorded 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.

“We dug ourselves a big hole in the first half,” Brooklyn coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Again, it was kind of a similar story – turnovers hurt us.”

The Nets tallied 18 turnovers, which resulted in 18 Hornets points.

“Turnovers are killing us because it allows them to have too many easy layups,” said Nets forward Bojan Bogdanovic. “Everybody talks about defense, but I think also we have to start with the offense to limit turnovers.”

In Brooklyn’s last four games, the Nets are averaging 19.5 turnovers per game.

In this game, the Hornets pulled away early, using a 10-0 run in the first quarter to take a 14-4 advantage with 5:28 left in that period. In all, Brooklyn scored just 16 first-quarter points compared to Charlotte’s 24. Only the Nets’ 14-point first quarter on Jan. 21 was a smaller opponent output for the Hornets this season.

But the Nets continued to attack, scoring nearly as many points in each the third and fourth quarters (35 each) as they scored in the entire first half (37). The Nets sliced Charlotte’s lead to 91-87 with 6:11 remaining when Joe Harris knocked in a 23-foot jumper.

Charlotte, however, countered with quick baskets from Marvin Williams and Belinelli to give the needed cushion.

“Winning in this league is hard,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said. “We struggled to guard them, but we needed a win and that’s the most important thing.”

Charlotte’s All-Star guard Walker caused a small scare when he doubled-over from an elbow to the face by Harris as he drove to the basket with 1:45 left in the first quarter. Walker immediately came out of game and was tended to on the bench by medical staff.

He returned to the contest with 7:29 left in the second quarter.

TIP-INS

Nets: Spencer Dinwiddie started at point guard, as rookie Isaiah Whitehead was moved to the bench. It was Dinwiddie’s 12th game started in 29 contests with the Nets, and came about because Brooklyn still is searching for cohesive units. “It’s about getting guys in their comfort zone and figuring out which point guard fits with each group,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said. “Unfortunately, this late in the season, we’re still searching.” … Former Hornets guard Jeremy Lin missed a chance to play in front of the crowd he played for last season, sitting out because of a strained left hamstring. Lin has played in just 12 games for the Nets this season.

Hornets: Center Cody Zeller missed his eighth straight game with a quad contusion. The 7-foot Frank Kaminsky started at center for Charlotte, shifting from his typical power forward position. … Center Miles Plumlee, acquired via trade Feb. 2, played his first game in Charlotte. He scored four points on 2-for-3 shooting in 15 minutes.

3-POINT INACCURACY

Hornets coach Steve Clifford has identified one of the biggest problems plaguing his 23-28 squad: 3-point shooting. Namely, not making them.

“Our team was built around 3-point shooting,” Clifford said.

That is a problem this season, when the Hornets rank ninth in the NBA in 3-pointers attempted (27.6) per game, but are 20th in the league in accuracy at 35.4 percent.

Last season, Charlotte ranked fourth in the league in 3-point attempts (29.4) and was eighth in the NBA in accuracy at 36.2 percent.

UP NEXT

Nets: Brooklyn returns home Wednesday to host Washington.

Hornets: Charlotte hosts the Houston Rockets on Thursday in the second game of a four-game homestand.

Wizards rookie changes name from Sheldon McClellan to Sheldon Mac

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 30: Sheldon McClellan #9 of the Washington Wizards dribbles in front of Sean Kilpatrick #6 of the Brooklyn Nets during the first half at Verizon Center on December 30, 2016 in Washington, DC. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
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The Wizards trading for Bojan Bogdanovic pushes Sheldon McClellan even deeper on the bench.

Actually, “McClellan” is now off the team entirely.

Chase Hughes of CSN Mid-Atlantic:

Yes, the player formally known as Sheldon McClellan is now officialy Sheldon Mac. The 24-year-old returned to Houston, Texas over the past week and, with the blessing of his mother, changed his name.

Mac expects to have his jersey changed at some point and he will now be referred to in print as ‘Sheldon Mac.’ He said the reason was because ‘McClellan’ was a name he got from his father, whom he has no relationship with.

“I just added a little swag to it.”

If this makes him happier, I’m all for it.

76ers’ No. 1 pick Ben Simmons out for season

TARRYTOWN, NEW YORK - AUGUST 07:  Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers poses for a portrait during the 2016 NBA Rookie Photoshoot at Madison Square Garden Training Center on August 7, 2016 in Tarrytown, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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76ers CEO Scott O’Neil guaranteed No. 1 pick Ben Simmons would play this season. Just about a week ago, Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said he expected Simmons to play this season.

But with rumor after rumor — the latest report saying his injured right foot hadn’t fully healed, even though he had participated in drills — indicating Simmons could miss the entire year, the 76ers accepted this undesirable fate.

Corey Seidman of CSN Philly:

Ben Simmons is officially out for the season, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Friday.

Simmons had a CT scan on his injured right foot Thursday in New York which showed that the foot is not yet fully healed.

He’ll have another scan in about a month, Colangelo said.

“I have always known that there was a desire to get him back on the court when healthy,” Colangelo said. “We’ve always anticipated there would be an opportunity for him to play, hopefully this season.

“But there was always the outside chance that it didn’t happen because there wasn’t complete and full healing. And we weren’t going to put Ben Simmons in a place where he was (susceptible) to a re-fracture.

“There are genetic things that change the healing patterns of people. So if everybody had done their research and saw that most Jones fractures took 3 to 4 months, great. But it’s not 3 to 4 months in every case, it’s 3 to 4 months in most cases.”

“He’s heartbroken. He wants to play. He wants to be out there. It’s eating him alive, I’m sure.”

Simmons follows Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid as high first-round picks to miss their entire first professional season with the 76ers. If it weren’t for Embiid’s emergence this season, this would be an even more bitter pill to swallow for Philadelphia fans fixated on immediate on-court gains.

But Embiid has provided more than enough reason for optimism, though he’s also hurt now (just not nearly as severely).

Long-term, the 76ers must figure out how Embiid and Simmons mesh and try to develop them together. We know Embiid works well with a stretch four, but what about a dynamic passing power forward like Simmons — or a tall point guard, if that’s what Simmons become? This injury delays answering those questions.

It also raises questions about Simmons — his ability to avoid and recover from injuries. Colangelo’s comments about Simmons’ genetics are particularly eyebrow-raising.

Likewise, there should be questions about the 76ers’ handling of their players’ health. How could Simmons return to on-court work before fully healed?

Philadelphia, at various points, has tried to accelerate its rise. But properly rebuilding takes time and care. At times like this, the 76ers must remember to trust The Process.

Paul Pierce shoots back at Warriors: ‘3-1 lead oops’

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Draymond Green was harsh in trash-talking Paul Pierce last night.

Pierce and the Clippers couldn’t shut up Green on the court, as the Warriors won. But on Twitter?

Pierce responded there:

Pierce has repeatedly taken shots at the Warriors, particularly Kevin Durant. I’m not going to complain about trash-talking, but I can also see why Green would tire of this — and even try crushing Pierce last night.

But there’s apparently no way to silence Pierce.

Ty Lawson cleverly runs down clock in Kings’ win over Nuggets (video)

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The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins for two key reasons:

  • They wanted to change their culture, and they thought jettisoning the combustible Cousins would do that.
  • They wanted to avoid conveying a top-10-protected first-round pick to the Bulls this year, which required getting a little worse in the short term.

But what if they did the former so well, it disrupts the latter?

Sacramento played with enthusiasm and savvy in a 116-100 win over the Nuggets last night. The most clever play came from Ty Lawson.

With the Kings trying to preserve a 109-94 lead with 2:38 left, Lawson took an inbound pass following a Denver basket and let the ball roll/lie on the court for 22 seconds before picking it up.

The game clock didn’t stop because the game wasn’t in the final two minutes. Neither the shot clock nor the eight-second count started because no team possessed the ball.

Denver had an extremely slim chance at erasing a 15-point with 2:38 left, but Lawson reduced those odds considerably. Eventually, Jameer Nelson — who failed for far too long to press Lawson out of this tactic — committed a frustration foul after his own basket.