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Dirk Nowitzki tops 30,000 points, Mavericks roll past Lakers, 122-111

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DALLAS (AP) Dirk Nowitzki scored the 20 points he needed for 30,000 in his career in barely more than a quarter, and the Dallas Mavericks celebrated with their second straight easy home win over the Los Angeles Lakers, a 122-111 victory Tuesday night.

The 7-foot German became the sixth NBA player and the first international one to reach the milestone, joining four Hall of Famers and a future one in Kobe Bryant. Nowitzki is one of three to score all 30,000-plus with one team. The others are Karl Malone (Utah) and Bryant (Lakers).

The 38-year-old Nowitzki matched the best first quarter in his 19 seasons by scoring 18 points, and reached the hallowed mark on a 15-foot fadeaway jumper from the baseline over Larry Nance Jr. with 10:58 remaining in the second quarter.

Nowitzki scored all of his 25 points – one shy of his season high – in the first half to send the Mavericks to a 31-point lead in the third quarter. This was the Lakers’ first visit to Dallas since setting a franchise record with a 49-point loss, a 122-73 blowout on Jan. 22.

“It’s been a crazy ride with a lot of ups and a lot of downs but you guys stuck with me and we hung in there,” Nowitzki told the crowd shortly after the final buzzer. “Hopefully a lot more to come.”

Dallas extended a franchise record with its 14th straight win over the Lakers, who got a triple-double from Julius Randle with 13 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists in their eighth straight loss.

After the signature shot for 30,000, Nowitzki added a 3-pointer for 23 points in the first 14 minutes before the game was stopped as teammates mobbed the wide-smiling star near midcourt.

Nowitzki waded through the huddle to get to the bench for more hugs and hand slaps, including one from owner Mark Cuban, then returned to the court to acknowledge the standing ovation.

“Dirk has been a model player and terrific ambassador for our game. This latest accomplishment further establishes his legacy as one of the NBA’s greatest players,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.

Nowitzki finished the night at 30,005 and has said he plans to play a 20th season. If so, the 2007 MVP could have a shot at fifth-place Wilt Chamberlain, who has 31,419. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is the career leader at 38,387.

With his ABA career included, Julius Erving is the seventh player to reach the mark.

Fans arrived with T-shirts draped over their seats that read “30K” behind a silhouette of Nowitzki’s signature one-legged fadeaway jumper.

Nowitzki got them going right away, scoring the first eight Dallas points on a long 2-pointer and a pair of 3s in the first 2:15. He was 9 of 12 from the field, 3 of 3 from beyond the arc and 4 of 4 on free throws before halftime. He missed his only shot of the second half.

A short video tribute was played when the game was stopped, followed by testimonials from former teammates and fans, even some Germans, during subsequent breaks in the game.

Jason Kidd, the point guard with Nowitzki on Dallas’ only championship team in 2011 and second in the NBA in career assists, joked that he should have passed more. Steve Nash, his best friend from the early years of his career, wondered what “ball hog” was in German.

The only glitch was Nowitzki’s first attempt at 30,000, an airball on another fadeaway jumper 10 seconds into the second quarter.

TIP-INS

Lakers: D'Angelo Russell and Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points apiece. Brandon Ingram and Nick Young joined Randle with 13 apiece. … Outscored Mavericks 37-19 in the fourth quarter.

Mavericks: Nowitzki had his 20th career half with at least 25 points. It was his first 25-point half since Nov. 16, 2008. The 18-point quarter was his highest since scoring 20 in the third quarter against New Orleans on Jan. 11, 2014. … The Mavericks led 70-52 at the half. It was their first 70-point half since scoring 72 in the first half of a 130-128 loss to Houston in Game 3 of a first-round playoff series in 2015.

UP NEXT

Lakers: At Phoenix on Thursday.

Mavericks: Home against Brooklyn on Friday.

Heat’s Justise Winslow fined $15,000 for stepping on Embiid’s mask

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NEW YORK (AP) Miami’s Justise Winslow has been fined $15,000 by the NBA for attempting to damage Philadelphia center Joel Embiid‘s facemask during Game 3 of their playoff series.

Winslow intentionally stepped on Embiid’s mask after it had fallen onto the court with 7:51 remaining in the second quarter of the 76ers’ 128-108 victory on Thursday night.

The NBA cited Winslow for unsportsmanlike conduct in announcing the penalty Friday.

Embiid was wearing the mask for the first time after returning from a 10-game absence caused by a broken orbital bone around his left eye.

Philadelphia leads the series 2-1. Game 4 is Saturday.

Defense found: Bucks overwhelm Celtics for 116-92 win

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Khris Middleton scored 23 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo added 19 and the Milwaukee Bucks used a dominating first half to overwhelm the Boston Celtics 116-92 on Friday night, narrowing their deficit in the first-round playoff series to 2-1.

Eric Bledsoe and Jabari Parker each added 17 for the energized Bucks, who held the Celtics without a field goal for nearly an 11-minute stretch of the first half.

Milwaukee found its defense after a disheartening 14-point loss in Game 2, getting contributions from up and down the roster.

Backup center Thon Maker scored 14 points and had five of the Bucks’ 12 blocks. Pesky guard Matthew Dellavedova, a veteran of a championship run with the Cleveland Cavaliers, helped hold young Celtics point guard Terry Rozier to nine points on 2-of-7 shooting.

“The activity, if you take the stat sheet out of it, the activity and the energy that we brought … as you go through the game, that’s what you need, is the energy first,” coach Joe Prunty said.

Al Horford scored 16 for the Celtics, who fell behind by 23 at halftime and got no closer than 76-62 with 3:06 left in the third quarter on Jayson Tatum‘s 3-pointer.

The game was so well in hand that the Bucks closed out the victory even with Antetokounmpo on the bench for much of the fourth quarter with five fouls. Middleton had eight points in the fourth.

Game 4 is Sunday in Milwaukee. The Celtics will need to get off to a much better start if they want to avoid going home for Game 5 with a 2-2 series tie.

“We got into a hole. This is new for our group,” Horford said. “They had it going … and we really didn’t have an answer for them tonight.”

Milwaukee hustled for loose balls and stayed active around the paint, used its length to get deflections and disrupt Boston in the lane.

The 7-foot-1 Maker, in particular, provided a huge boost to help Milwaukee counter what had been a decisive edge off the bench for the Celtics. Maker got extended minutes only because starting center John Henson missed the game with a sore back.

Nearly everything else went Milwaukee’s way, too.

Parker, who voiced displeasure this week after playing just 24 minutes over the first two games, was 7 of 12 from the field and played 30 minutes. Bledsoe, outplayed by Rozier in the first two games, shot 8 of 13.

“Good win, lots of positives tonight. Quick turnaround … so we’ll have to do it again on Sunday,” Prunty said.

 

Wizards show some fight, top Raps 122-103, get series to 2-1

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WASHINGTON (AP) — All of about 2 1/2 minutes into the game, Washington forward Markieff Morris and Toronto’s OG Anunoby needed to be separated after a near-fight that drew in other players.

Early in the third quarter Friday night, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry was called for a flagrant foul when he swiped a hand across Bradley Beal‘s forehead as the Wizards guard went in for a breakaway layup. Later in that period, things really came close to spiraling out of control, but John Wall‘s bodyguard interceded when Washington’s All-Star jawed with Toronto’s Serge Ibaka.

As that scene unfolded on the court, spectators directed “U-S-A! U-S-A!” chants at the opponents from Canada, and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the U.S.A.” blared over the arena’s speakers. Amid all the ruckus, Beal and Wall kept their heads and helped the Wizards pull further and further away for a 122-103 victory.

What was once a dull, lopsided series is suddenly quite interesting.

Beal heeded his coach’s plea to “do his job” by scoring 21 of his 28 points in the first half, Wall delivered 28 points and 14 assists, and the eighth-seeded Wizards cut their Eastern Conference first-round playoff deficit to 2-1.

“We’re not going out to try to box every game,” Beal said, before describing Morris as “a bully with a smile.”

Added Beal: “We came out tonight with an edge about ourselves.”

After letting the Raptors grab the first 2-0 series lead in franchise history, the Wizards came home and checked off every box coach Scott Brooks presented. They got Beal more involved after he made only three shots in Game 2; they actually led after the first quarter, 30-29; they produced 19 turnovers that led to 28 points.

“They came out and punched us,” Toronto coach Dwane Casey said. “And we allowed them to.”

He meant that figuratively, of course, but the choice of words sure seemed apt.

The Raptors did appear to take the worse of the physical nature of the game.

DeMar DeRozan, who led Toronto with 23 points, wore a Band-Aid under his right eye afterward. Reserve Pascal Siakam held a bag of ice over a cut on his lip that required three stitches.

“Ain’t nobody fighting out here,” said Lowry, who had 19 points and eight assists. “I mean, it got physical, but ain’t nobody fighting. It’s a heated moment, but that’s the game of basketball.”

Each team boasts a pair of elite, All-Star guards. This time, Washington’s pair came out on top.

The start initially had the look of “Here we go again,” as Toronto moved ahead 27-18. The Raptors, after all, outscored Washington by an average of 11 points in the first period over Games 1 and 2. But this time, Washington responded with a 12-point run capped by Beal’s 3 with under a minute left.

Beal scored 12 in the quarter a day after he, Wall and Brooks met to discuss ways to get Beal more involved in the offense. Entering Friday, Beal was averaging only 14 points in the playoffs, well below his 22.6 average during the regular season.

“We need both our guys to step up,” Brooks said about Beal and Wall. “It was good tonight.”

 

Pacers erase 17-point deficit to take 2-1 lead over Cavs

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic scored 30 points, leading the Indiana Pacers back from a 17-point halftime deficit for a 92-90 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night for a 2-1 lead in their first-round series.

Cleveland was 39-0 during the regular season when leading after three quarters and kept that perfect mark intact with a Game 2 win.

The incredible second-half charge came exactly one year after Indiana blew a 26-point halftime lead in a historic playoff collapse against the Cavs.

This time, the Pacers delivered a devastating blow to the three-time defending Eastern Conference champs – on a night LeBron Jones joined Michael Jordan as the only players in playoff history to record 100 double-doubles. James finished with 28 points and 12 rebounds, but it wasn’t enough to prevent Cleveland from losing its first game this season after leading following the third quarter.

The biggest reason for the collapse: Bogdanovic.

After charging back with striking distance, he completed a four-point play to finally give the Pacers an 81-77 lead with 6:10 left. Bogdanovic followed that with another to make it as seven-point game.

Then James answered with the next seven to tie it.

Bogdanovic came right back with a layup and another 3 before Thaddeus Young scored to give the Pacers a 91-84 cushion with 53 seconds left.

James knocked down a 3 to cut the deficit to four, and the Cavs got another 3 from Kevin Love with 7 seconds left to make it 91-90.

Darren Collison made 1 of 2 free throws with 5 seconds left, giving Cleveland one more chance. But J.R. Smith‘s long desperation heave came up short..