Kurt Helin

Dirk Nowitzki’s game-winning jumper propels Mavericks past Lakers, 92-90

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki hit the tiebreaking jumper with 2.1 seconds to play, and the Dallas Mavericks hung on for a 92-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night.

Nowitzki scored eight of his 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Mavericks snapped a two-game skid with their 10th consecutive victory over the Lakers.

Julius Randle missed a long jumper at the buzzer for the Lakers, who have lost seven straight.

Nowitzki nailed his go-ahead shot while falling toward the Lakers’ bench, where he got a pat on the back from Kobe Bryant, who sat out to rest his sore right shoulder.

J.J. Barea led the Mavericks with 18 points, and Chandler Parsons had 17.

Jordan Clarkson scored 18 points for the Lakers, and Randle had 16.

The injury prevented Bryant from facing Nowitzki for the 50th and final time in the careers of the NBA’s top two active scorers. Nowitzki is two months older than the 37-year-old Bryant, and the German 7-footer entered the NBA in 1998, two years after Bryant’s debut.

Nowitzki struggled with foul trouble while Bryant watched from the Lakers’ bench – after removing Larry Nance Jr. from his seat and telling the rookie to grab some floor.

The teams traded the lead throughout an exciting fourth quarter, with veteran Dallas struggling to put away the Lakers’ young lineup.

Nowitzki put the Mavericks ahead on a jumper with 2:31 to play, but Clarkson tied it moments later. Both teams missed open shots before Lou Williams was called for an offensive foul with 13.5 seconds left, setting the stage for Nowitzki’s latest big shot against the Lakers.


Bryant had harsh words of motivation for his young teammates after their most recent loss in Portland, but decided he shouldn’t play through the re-occurring pain in his shoulder. “When he complains about something and says something is sore, you know it’s sore and he’s not joking around,” Lakers coach Byron Scott said. “We’ll just rest it and see how he feels.” Bryant’s strained Achilles tendon felt fine, the guard said.



Mavericks: Zaza Pachulia sat out to rest his injured Achilles tendon. Salah Mejri started in his place and scored nine points. … Devin Harris also sat out to rest his injured left foot. The guard got an injection in the foot earlier in the day. … Nowitzki got a technical foul in the final seconds of the first half for protesting a call.

Lakers: Nance returned from a four-game absence with a sore knee, but went scoreless in 23 minutes. … Brandon Bass played despite a foot injury, scoring five points.


Kevin Durant dodges free agency questions before facing Knicks

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Brooklyn Nets, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in New York. Durant had 32 points but the Nets upset the Thunder 116-106. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Associated Press

This summer, the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets will both try to make a pitch to free agent Kevin Durant. While there’s a long line of teams that want to make that pitch, people in Durant’s camp have promoted the idea of coming to New York to him, sources have told NBC Sports.

That shouldn’t be a shock. Neither should the fact that while in New York Durant has dodged the question of his free agency this summer as expertly as he knocks down an elbow jumper over a shorter defender.

At shootaround Tuesday, as the Thunder prepared to face the Knicks, Durant said this about his free agency, as reported by Royce Young of ESPN.

“I’m just really, to be honest with you, I haven’t sat down and thought about it. The season moves along so quickly. And every time I get alone, it’s either on the plane or in the city thinking about the game the next day. So, of course I can’t totally just say I haven’t thought about it at all. But I haven’t sat down and really put a lot of time into what I’m looking for. Just focusing on my teammates, focusing on the season and how I can be better as a player, as a leader. Everything else comes after that and it comes after the season.”

On playing in a small market like Oklahoma City as opposed to the big platform of New York:

“It’s not different. There’s so many games on TV nowadays. Like you said, social media gives the game and different players exposure no matter where you are. It really doesn’t matter. To be honest, it’s never been about that for me. It’s been about the game and being a basketball player first.”

So why is he often linked to New York?

“They link everybody with New York City. One of the greatest cities in the world. They link everybody with this city. So, it’s not a bad thing. It’s a great city. It’s a great place to visit, great place to live, I’m sure. But they link everybody, it’s not just me.”

True that.

Durant said nothing. As you had to expect for someone as polished dealing with the media like him.

A number of teams will try to pitch Durant this summer — the Knicks, Nets, Lakers, Heat, Wizards and on down the line — but the smart money is still on the Thunder. Durant is in his prime; he needs to be in the best position to win a title, and even though the Thunder are in the deep West where is he going to find better running mates than Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka? He is closer to a title in OKC than even if he went to the softer East.

But predicting what a free agent may do six months out can be a fool’s errand. There are a lot of variables, a lot of things that will happen between now and July 1 which will influence Durant’s decision.


PBT Extra: Blake Griffin’s ill-advised punch bad for Clippers, himself


There can be a steep price for losing your head, even for a few minutes.

Blake Griffin is finding that out the hard way.

Griffin will be out 4-6 weeks following surgery, then could face a suspension from the league. This is not good for the Clippers as they move into a more challenging part of their schedule — they are not going to go 11-3 through a part of the schedule with the Hawks, Bulls, Spurs and Warriors (all up in the next several weeks).

For Griffin, who has never been loved by other players but is near the heart of the NBA marketing machine, this is a black eye. It is bad for his image. We’ll see if it hits him in the wallet or not, but this is not positive for him in the least.

Reports: Clippers’ Blake Griffin out 4-6 weeks, NBA investigating incident


Blake Griffin lost his head, getting into a fight with one of his boys — a Clippers equipment manager — outside a restaurant in Toronto. And it’s going to cost both the Clippers and him.

It’s going to cost the Clippers who go into a tougher part of their schedule and will have to do it without Griffin, who fractured his hand in the fight and apparently has suffered a “boxer’s fracture” that will keep him out at least a month. From Dan Woike of the Orange County Register.

A boxer’s fracture is a break of one of the metacarpal bones in the hand, the bones that run from near the wrist up to the fingers. This happened on Griffin’s right hand, his shooting hand.

As a reminder, this is the injury Kevin Love suffered doing knuckle pushups (allegedly) before the start of the 2012-13 season. Love missed the first nine games of the season, came back for about a month, but then re-broke the hand and had to have surgery that sidelined him for much longer. The Clippers are not going to want to rush Griffin back.

When he does return, Griffin could face discipline from the league, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

The Toronto police were not called, there is no incident report, PBT has learned.

This incident and break is bad for the Clippers because, while the team has gone 11-3 with Griffin out with a partially torn quad, the schedule is going to get a lot tougher for the Clips now (their next 11 games include the Pacers, Hawks, Bulls, Spurs, and Warriors).

This is also a blow to Griffin’s image. He never been loved by other players around the league, but he has been one of the most popular players in the NBA with fans. He’s making a PB&J in the zone for Kia every time I turn on my TV. Now there are reports he punched the Clipper staffer in the restaurant, the man left, Griffin followed him outside to hit him again. Not good.

This is a black eye for a popular spokesman that he could feel in the wallet.

Russell Westbrook helps Stephen Colbert try out new eyewear look

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While the rest of the NBA world was watching the Warriors dismantle the Spurs, Russell Westbrook was in New York City (where the Thunder face the Knicks Tuesday) giving fashion advice to Stephen Colbert on the Late Show.

This just goes to prove not everybody can pull off what Russell Westbrook wears. Occasionally including Westbrook himself.