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Report: Clippers find sponsor, to start own D-League… er, G-League team

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The Los Angeles Clippers are about to become the 26th team in the NBA to have their own D-League team… er, I mean G-League team as Gatorade has become the title sponsor of the league.

The Clippers have found their own title sponsor — Agua Caliente Casino Resort — and an arena about an hour drive from Staples Center that will host the team. Marc Stein of ESPN broke the story and has the details.

The LA Clippers are working toward introducing their new NBA Development League franchise as the Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario, according to league sources.

Sources told that the Clippers are closing in on an announcement that would establish Agua Caliente Casino Resort — one of the club’s most prominent sponsors at the NBA level — as the title sponsor of the club’s looming D-League affiliate in a unique naming arrangement.

Ontario, California, is roughly 50 miles away from Los Angeles, which would enable the Clippers to assign and recall players whose D-League rights they hold on an expedited basis.

This is a good thing for a few reasons. One, the new NBA Collective Bargaining Agreement calls for two-way contracts so having an affiliate nearby where a couple of players can develop then be called up if needed/ready is a smart thing.

However, this is more key for the Clippers in a bigger picture — they have been poor at developing talent to go around their stars. While the franchise developed Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, look at the other top teams in the West — San Antonio, Golden State, Utah — and you see franchises that round out their rosters with quality young players they draft then groom. The most obvious example, the Clippers had Joe Ingles in training camp but cut him loose three years back, the Jazz picked him up and took the time to develop him. In the first round, Ingles was key for Utah in the matchups that beat the Clippers.

Doc Rivers has the Clippers in a “win now” place, but with that he has been like the guy who goes to the grocery store and buys the pre-prepared meals rather than the ingredients to make his own dinner. After a while, the cost of that catches up with people — the Clippers have disregarded their draft picks for years, and it shows. Look at the Clippers roster, there aren’t the kinds of guys developed in house that populate the Spurs bench, or Utah, or many top NBA teams. Los Angeles needs those kinds of players, that is part of the reason they lack depth.

Maybe adding a nearby D-League team will start to change that. Although not in the short term as the Clippers have traded away all their picks in this draft.

DeRozan has 29, Raptors win 11th straight, beat Mavs 122-115

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TORONTO (AP) — DeMar DeRozan made the game-winning basket in overtime and the Toronto Raptors rallied to match the longest winning streak in franchise history, extending their season-best run to 11 by beating the Dallas Mavericks 122-115 on Friday night.

DeRozan scored 29 points and Jonas Valanciunas had 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Eastern Conference-leading Raptors won for the 18th time in 19 games. Kyle Lowry got the night off to rest as the Raptors played the second game of the back-to-back.

Delon Wright had 15 points and Fred VanVleet scored 14, helping Toronto improved to an NBA-best 29-5 at home.

Dallas had won three of four. Harrison Barnes scored 27 points for the Mavericks, Dennis Smith Jr. had 19 and J.J. Barea 18.

Up 84-78 to begin the fourth, Dallas stretched its lead to 101-93 on a jump shot by Barnes with 5:43 remaining, but four points from DeRozan cut it to 101-97 with 4:32 left.

Toronto kept coming, pulling within two on a pair of free throws by DeRozan and, after a Dallas turnover, tying it at 106 on DeRozan’s jumper with 1:15 to go in regulation.

Each team turned the ball over before Barnes missed a jumper with 24 seconds left and VanVleet grabbed the rebound. After a timeout, DeRozan let the clock wind down before driving and kicking to Serge Ibaka, who missed a potential game-winning shot. DeRozan also missed before the buzzer, sending it to overtime.

VanVleet and Dallas’ Dwight Powell each made a 3 in overtime before DeRozan drove for the tiebreaking basket with 53 seconds left.

Valanciunas sealed it by making five of six at the free-throw line in the final 10 seconds.

Toronto also extended its franchise-record streak of games with 100 or more points to 22.


Kevin Durant has fractured ribs, out a couple of weeks

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The injury bug is hitting the Warriors hard — not with anything that seems like it will last into the playoffs, but it’s still a concern.

Stephen Curry (ankle) and Klay Thompson (fractured thumb), Draymond Green is just returning to the rotation (along with David West and Jordan Bell), and now this — Kevin Durant is going to be out a couple of weeks.

What incomplete means is it is nondisplaced, or to use the slang it is a cracked rib. The bone was not moved out of place and does not need to be reset.

The good news for Warriors fans about all these injuries are they should heal up in a couple of weeks and the Warriors should be fully loaded for bear come the playoffs. And no doubt this team knows what it needs to do to win, it can get back into its groove quickly.

So long as we’re not talking about all these injuries in the second week of April, Warriors fans do not need to worry.

Baseline jumper gives Dirk Nowitzki 11,000 made baskets in NBA

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We need to savor these final years — potentially final games — of Dirk Nowitzki‘s career. The future Hall of Famers is one of the great pure shooters, and probably the greatest shooting big man, in NBA history.

The Maverick’s star hit another milestone Friday night, 11,000 made NBA baskets. Only eight others have reached that mark, and Nowitzki did it with a high arc baseline jumper.

The man is a marvel.

Dallas was up 60-54 on Toronto at the half.

Report: Jazz to sign David Stockton, son of Utah legend John Stockton, to 10-day contract

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The Utah Jazz have been on a roll — they have gone 20-2 of late — but the point guard ranks are getting thin. Ricky Rubio has a knee contusion that may keep him out for a game or two, and his backup Raul Neto is out with a fractured wrist. This is where the Jazz are making a smart move, bringing in a 10-day contract guy for depth and getting a look at him.

That guy? David Stockton. Son of Hall-of-Famer and Jazz legend John Stockton. Via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

G League guard David Stockton, son of Utah Jazz legend John Stockton, is signing a 10-day contract with the team, league sources told ESPN. Stockton, 25, is expected to join the Jazz today, sources said.

Stockton, who played his college ball at Gonzaga like his father, has spent most of this season with the Reno Big Horns and averaged 16.3 points and 5.2 assists a night. Watching him in Summer League, Stockton is a smart, floor general kind of point guard who knows how to run a team. He is not as athletic as most of the guys he has gone up against, but he knows how to compensate.

However long this lasts, it’s good to see a Stockton in a Jazz uniform again.