Kurt Helin

LeBron James, Cavaliers hold off Suns 120-116

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PHOENIX (AP) — LeBron James scored 12 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and the Cleveland Cavaliers fought off Phoenix down the stretch to beat the Suns 120-116 on Sunday night.

Kyrie Irving added 27 points and Kevin Love 25 for the Cavaliers. They led by as many as 22 in the first half and 20 early in the third quarter.

The Suns tied it late in the third and got within one in the fourth but never took the lead.

Eric Bledsoe scored 31 points and Devin Booker had 28 for the Suns.

James sank consecutive 3-pointers, his only 3s of the game, to give Cleveland a 115-109 lead with 2:46 to play and scored on a driving layup with 44 seconds left to make it 120-114.

The young Suns got their running game going to outscore Cleveland 25-7 and Tyson Chandler‘s inside basket cut the Cav’ lead to 84-82 with 3:31 left in the third quarter.

Phoenix tied it twice before the quarter ended, the last at 90 when Booker banked in an 8-footer with 11.2 seconds left, but Irving sank a 3 at the buzzer and Cleveland led entering the fourth 93-90.

The Sun got within one three times early in the final quarter, the last at 98-97 on Booker’s left-handed drive with 9:37 left. After Phoenix rookie Dragan Bender missed a 3, Irving sank one, then added an acrobatic driving layup to put the Cavaliers up 104-98 with 7:38 left.

The Suns still were down only 109-107 after Marquese Chriss made one of two free throws with 4:28 to play but James sank his first three to boost it to 112-107. Bledsoe’s layup cut it to 112-109, and James sank his second 3 to make it a six-point game. Phoenix never got closer than four after that.

NOT YET

Kyle Korver, acquired in a trade with the Atlanta Hawks, joined his new Cleveland teammates Sunday afternoon but couldn’t play because physicals and paperwork still had to be completed to finalize the deal that sent Mike Dunleavy, Mo Williams a protected first-round pick and cash considerations to the Hawks.

Korver could make his Cleveland debut Tuesday night at Utah.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: James became the 14th player in NBA history to reach 10,000 career field goals. … Cleveland scored 21 points off 11 Phoenix turnovers in the first half.

Suns: The 69 points matched the most allowed by Phoenix in the first half this season. … Phoenix had won two in a row. The Suns have not won three in a row all season. … Phoenix is 8-5 against the Eastern Conference. … Olympic swim champion Michael Phelps sat next to Suns owner Robert Sarver at courtside.

 

Pistons’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope drains game-winning three, knocks off Blazers in 2OT

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This was a big win for a Detroit team trying to climb back into the playoffs in the East. It was a painful loss for a Portland team trying not to fall out of the playoffs in the West.

And it all came down to a Kentavious Caldwell-Pope three.

There were 11.6 seconds left in the second overtime and the Pistons trailed 124-122. On the inbounds play Caldwell-Pope came off a little screen to go down by the baseline, waited for a second, and while Allen Crabbe ball watched KCP made a sharp cut to the arc, Andre Drummond set enough of a pick to slow Crabbe a little more, and Caldwell-Pope got off a clean three. Ballgame. Well, it was after C.J. McCollum couldn’t convert a Portland game winner, but he had forced OT and double OT with his shots.

Drummond had 26 points and 13 rebounds for the Pistons. Crabbe had 30 points for the Blazers.

The Pistons are now 1.5 games out of the playoffs in the East. This is the kind of win that can help reignite a struggling team.

Portland remains tied with the Kings for the eight seed in the West, with New Orleans, Denver, and now even the Los Angeles Lakers within two games. We’ll see if anybody actually wants that playoff spot.

James Harden with 40 points, triple-double to lead Rockets past Raptors (VIDEO)

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James Harden had a Daryl Morey kind of night — he was 7-of-9 at the rim, 4-of-9 from three, and let’s not talk about the midrange — and that was enough to get the Rockets a big win in Toronto.

More than just scoring 40 points (on 26 shots), Harden had 11 assists and 10 rebounds for another triple-double this season. The Rockets have now won eight in a row, are solidly in third place in the West (key to avoiding Golden State in the second round), and Harden is at the heart of it all.

The Rockets are on pace for more than 60 wins (63 right now). If the Rockets win around 60 and Harden keeps up this pace, does he beat out Russell Westbrook for the MVP?

DeMarcus Cousins picks up technical for punching chair (VIDEO)

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DeMarcus Cousins was getting in a little speed bag work.

Sacramento was leading Golden State in the second quarter when Cousins picked up a foul for contact with Draymond Green, which led to coach Dave Joerger taking him out of the game. A frustrated Cousins went to the bench and took out his frustrations on a defenseless chair (video above).

Cousins was given a technical for that.

If — as a lot of people around the league expect — Cousins is offered and accepts a designated-player, $200+million contract this summer, we should have years of these kinds of moments in our future. This dysfunctional marriage could last a while.

Bradley Beal, Markieff Morris lead Wizards over Bucks 107-101

Associated Press
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Bradley Beal scored 26 points and Markieff Morris added 20 points with 10 rebounds, leading the Washington Wizards over the Milwaukee Bucks 107-101 on Sunday.

Jabari Parker‘s basket brought the Bucks within 104-101 with 1:05 to play, but Washington grabbed an offensive rebound off a missed jumper by John Wall. Otto Porter then found Morris wide open under the hoop off an inbounds play for a basket with 37.9 seconds left.

The Wizards began the second half on a 15-6 run to take a 64-63 lead on Kelly Oubre‘s dunk. Oubre had 10 of his 17 points in the third, helping Washington outscore the Bucks 33-21 in the quarter.

Parker led Milwaukee with 28 points. Malcolm Brogdon finished with a career-high 22 points and Michael Beasley scored 18 points in 16 minutes off the bench.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was ill and didn’t play.

Milwaukee hit 7 of 12 attempts from 3-point range in the first half and led 57-49 at the break.

TIP-INS

Wizards: Beal briefly went down after colliding with Porter in the second quarter. He limped off the court but stayed in the game following a timeout.

Bucks: G Matthew Dellevadova returned after missing five games with a strained right hamstring. … Milwaukee’s eight steals in the first quarter were its most in any quarter since April 9, 2006 . Beasley left the game with a left shin contusion with 1:24 left in the third quarter and did not return.

GIANNIS SITS

Antetokounmpo reported to the BMO Harris Bradley Center on Sunday morning, was evaluated by a team doctor and ruled out.

“He’s just sick,” coach Jason Kidd said. “Next guy up. We have plenty of guys, so it is the next one up.”

Antetokounmpo, who practiced Saturday, had played in all 35 games for the Bucks this season and has missed just three over the last two seasons.

The 22-year-old Antetokounmpo is averaging 24.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 5.7 assists, 2.1 blocks and 1.9 steals per game.