Kurt Helin

San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge (12) drives around Phoenix Suns center Alex Len (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015, in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Associated Press

Aldridge has 24 points, Spurs beat Rockets 121-103

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points, Kawhi Leonard added 22 and the San Antonio Spurs made a season-high 13 3-pointers, avenging an earlier loss to the Houston Rockets with a 121-103 victory on Saturday night.

San Antonio extended its franchise record home start with its 20th straight victory, but this was among its toughest despite the lopsided score.

Dwight Howard had 22 points, including 10 for 17 on free throws, and 11 rebounds. James Harden had 17 points on 6-for-10 shooting for Houston (16-19).

The Rockets’ 88-84 victory on Christmas Day is the Spurs’ only loss in their past 12 games. San Antonio has won four straight since that game while Houston is winless.

The Rockets bullied the Spurs early by pushing them out of their sets and keeping them from cutting to the basket.

Patrick Beverly dug an elbow and shoulder into Tony Parker in the first half while awaiting an inbounds pass, prompting Parker to give him a two-handed shove that did not yield a call.

San Antonio was able to counter that aggression at different points with long-range shooting, quick passing and Aldridge’s own hard-nosed play.

Spurs guard Danny Green said his New Year’s resolution was “to make more shots,” and he fulfilled that promise early. Green opened the game 4 for 5 on 3-pointers, including his first 3, and finished with 18 points on a season-high six 3-pointers.

Aldridge assisted with his most forceful game since signing with the Spurs in the offseason. He was 10 for 16 from the field, including spinning away from Terrence Jones and hitting a fadeaway jumper after absorbing a couple of hard bumps.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Rockets guard Marcus Thornton missed the game following the birth of his daughter, Maleia, with fiancee Lyndsey Duplessis on Friday. Houston coach J.B. Bickerstaff was unsure if Thornton would be available for Monday’s game in Utah. … As a 13-year-old, Bickerstaff attended a Spurs camp conducted by San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich and general manager R.C. Buford in Aspen, Colo. David Robinson and Sean Elliott were among those assisting at the camp.

Spurs: Tim Duncan had no points, four rebounds, and two assists in 13 minutes in his return from a three-game absence. Duncan had not played since San Antonio last faced Houston. He missed the ensuing game for rest, but missed the following two due to right knee soreness. … San Antonio tied Houston for the second-best home start to the season in the Western Conference. The 1978 Portland Trail Blazers hold the conference record with 26 straight home victories to open the season. … San Antonio’s previous high for 3-pointers was 10, which they had in four previous games, most recently against Minnesota on Dec. 23.

 

Kenneth Faried suffers neck injury, taken to hospital

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This was scary.

Denver’s Kenneth Faried suffered a neck injury in the scramble under the net during overtime of the Warriors eventual win over the Nuggets. You can see the play in the video above, Will Barton comes down on his with his arm, it was a fluke. After the game, Faried had to be taken out of the arena on a stretcher while wearing a neck brace.

Marc Spears of Yahoo Sports was in the arena and had more details.

Hopefully, it turns out to be nothing serious, the fact he had feeling in his legs is a good sign. Keep checking back to PBT for updates as we get them.

Kings beat Suns; coach George Karl ties for 5th most wins

Sacramento Kings coach George Karl, center, huddles with his team during the closing moments of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Sacramento, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 27, 2015. The Trail Blazers won 98-94. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Associated Press
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Coach George Karl moved into a tie for fifth on the NBA wins list with 1,155 when DeMarcus Cousins had 32 points and nine rebounds Saturday to lead the Sacramento Kings to a 142-119 victory over the Phoenix Suns, who lost their eighth in a row.

Karl matched Phil Jackson with the milestone win. The 63-year-old Karl is 1,155-795 in 27 seasons.

Brandon Knight had 23 points, and Devin Booker had 21 for the Suns, who have lost 10 of 11. TJ Warren scored 19 points and Mirza Teletovic had 13.

Darren Collison had 21 points and six assists, and Marco Belinelli had 19 points for the Kings. Rudy Gay added 16 points, and Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists. The Kings had a season high for points and shot 61.6 percent in snapping a three-game skid.

Phoenix played without Leading scorer Eric Bledsoe, who missed his fourth straight game and is out for the season.

The Kings erased a four-point deficit with 12 straight points in the third quarter. Cousins and Rondo both had nine points and Sacramento produced a season-high 44-point quarter in taking a 103-87 lead into the fourth.

TIP INS

Sun: Starting center Tyson Chandler was ejected after arguing a foul in the third quarter. … The two teams have a combined seven players from the University of Kentucky. … Suns coach Jeff Hornacek remains one win away from 100 coaching victories. He has been stuck on 99 since Dec. 18. … Disgruntled forward Markieff Morris didn’t play for a second straight game.

Kings: San Francisco Giants reliever Sergio Romo sat in a courtside seat for a second straight game. … The Kings had a 23-2 first-quarter run and led by 17 points. … Willie Cauley-Stein, a rookie, returned for the first time since Dec. 3 when he went out with a dislocated right finger. He played the game’s final five minutes. … Cousins gave Karl a high five after the coach was called for a second quarter technical. … Rondo, the NBA assist leader, has recorded 10 or more assists 20 times. …

O.J. Mayo ejected, then has to be held back from going at referee

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That’s going to earn a suspension.

Bucks’ guard O.J. Mayo picked up two quick technical fouls and was tossed from the game after arguing with referee Eli Roe about a non-call on a drive in the first quarter of the Bucks/Timberwolves game Saturday. That’s when Mayo loses it.

To put it kindly, Mayo did not leave the court in a timely manner — he went back and wanted to go after Roe. It took a number of people — including Bucks’ assistant coach Eric Hughes, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a Bucks’ security officers — to hold Mayo back and walk him off the court.

Mayo is considered one of the Bucks veteran voices and leaders, but he also had some kind of run-in with DeMarcus Cousins in the hallway after another game this season.

Guessing the outcome of the NBA’s roulette wheel of justice is not easy — roulette feels less random — but this likely leads to a game suspension for Mayo. He lost it on the court.

Marcus Morris pushes Paul George at end of Pacers win over Pistons

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This was all rather silly and avoidable.

The game was decided — Paul George had scored the Pacers’ final 21 points and Indiana was about to win 94-82. This is normally where players dribble things out, shake hands and start talking about what club to hit up in an hour. But Paul George — possibly still miffed about Andre Drummond not letting up on defense a possession before against George Hill — smacked the ball out of Marcus Morris‘ hands going for the stat-padding steal.

Morris didn’t like it, he and George exchanged some words, and then Morris shoves George.

The benches cleared — usually that would mean a lot of suspensions, but the game had ended, and players often come on the floor at that point. Hopefully the league doesn’t overdo it there.

After the game, Morris and George played the incident down, with George saying it was just in the heat of the moment competition.

Don’t expect the league to view it that way, it will hand down some fines for this nonsense.