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Bucks waive Terrence Jones, reportedly to sign Gary Payton II

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Well, that didn’t work out as hoped. Milwaukee signed Terrence Jones after New Orleans waived him in the wake of the DeMarcus Cousins trade (he was going to fall out of the rotation with the Pelicans). It made sense, Jones had played 25 minutes a night for New Orleans giving them 11.5 points and some boards, and Milwaukee was without Jabari Parker and Michael Beasley, so they were thin at the four.

Jones could not get on the court for the Bucks — 14 garbage time minutes in three games.

Saturday, the Bucks waived Jones.

Now the team is expected to use that roster space to sign Gary Payton II, who has been playing this season in the D-League after going undrafted out of Oregon State.

This seems a good move by the Bucks, to take a look at a guy they have some interest in and not to push promising rookie Malcolm Brogdon through back soreness. Payton has played for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers this season averaging 14.1 points on 49.8 percent shooting, plus adding 6.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and a couple of steals a night.

Look back at vintage Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady (VIDEO)

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“How do you want it, man? I can give it to you any way you want it?”

That’s how Tracy McGrady described his game in the video above, and he was right. McGrady led the NBA in scoring twice because he had a jump shot that teams had to respect, then when you came out on him, he’d blow by his defender and get to the rim for a dunk.

Saturday it became official, McGrady will be entering the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He’s a seven-time All-NBA player and a seven-time All-Star who for a few years was as good and as feared as anyone in the game.

Jimmy Butler scores 33, Bulls beat Hawks 106-104

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CHICAGO (AP) — Jimmy Butler saw confidence and swagger, a team embracing the moment. No one welcomed it more with open arms than he did.

Butler scored 33 points and hit two free throws with 2.1 seconds left to lift the Chicago Bulls to a 106-104 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

“I see guys doing what they’re supposed to be doing – playing hard, shooting the ball when they’re open, not trying to do too much,” Butler said. “That’s what we need.”

Butler scored the Bulls’ final nine points. His free throws gave them a two-point lead and capped a 15-4 run.

Tim Hardaway Jr. then missed a 3-pointer for Atlanta as time expired, giving the Bulls their third straight win.

Chicago also moved into seventh place in the Eastern Conference. The Bulls are tied with Miami and Indiana at 37-39 but own tiebreakers over the Heat and Pacers. Sixth-place Atlanta (39-37) – which had won two straight after dropping seven in a row – trails Milwaukee by a game.

Rajon Rondo had a season-high 25 points and added 11 rebounds. Denzel Valentine scored 13 points, hitting two 3-pointers down the stretch to help the Bulls stop a seven-game losing streak to Atlanta.

The win comes on the heels of a victory over LeBron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

“We had a great win a couple of days ago, but it means nothing if we came out and laid an egg tonight,” Rondo said. “Also, these guys have beaten us seven straight times.”

Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 29 points. Hardaway scored 20, and Dwight Howard finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds.

“They responded well and you have to give them credit,” Schroder said. “We’ve got to execute better in crunch time and just do a better job, screening, rolling to the basket and taking care of the ball.”

TIP-INS

Hawks: All-Star F Paul Millsap missed his eighth consecutive game because of a left knee ailment. Coach Mike Budenholzer said Millsap is “making positive progress,” though the Hawks are being “aggressively cautious” with him. If Millsap misses Sunday’s game at Brooklyn, he will have three more days before the Hawks host Boston on Thursday. … F Mike Dunleavy Jr. played 12 minutes but did not score after missing a game because of a sore right ankle, while F Thabo Sefolosha (strained right groin) sat out his fourth in a row. G Malcolm Delaney sat out with back spasms.

Bulls: Butler was 10 of 10 at the foul line. … The Bulls hit 12 3-pointers, their sixth straight game with at least 10.

FINAL PUSH

The Bulls trailed by 10 in the fourth quarter and were down 100-91 with less than five minutes to go.

Valentine hit a pair of 3-pointers to start the game-ending run, and Butler took over from there. He tied it at 102-all when he connected from long range with 1:59 left.

Schroder pulled up for the go-ahead jumper after Butler’s baseline shot hit the front of the rim to give the Hawks a 104-102 lead with 35 seconds left. Butler immediately answered with a driving layup to tie it again.

After a timeout, Schroder lost his dribble out of bounds with 25 seconds left. Butler then got fouled by Kent Bazemore as he attempted a jumper with 2.1 seconds remaining and hit both free throws as the crowd chanted “MVP! MVP!”

Hardaway’s 3 after a timeout then hit the back of the rim as time expired.

“I should have pump-faked,” Hardaway said. “Two seconds left, I think that’s an easy pump-fake, one-dribble shot. I think I had time. But it felt great coming off my hands. It felt great. It was in line. It just was a little bit long.”

 

Buddy Hield’s 22 points lead Kings to 123-117 win against Wolves

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Buddy Hield tied a career high with 22 points, going 4 of 6 from 3-point range, and the Sacramento Kings got 66 points from their bench in a 123-117 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

Reserve point guard Ty Lawson had 21 points and 11 assists. Langston Galloway added 17 points and Aaron Afflalo scored 16 off the bench as the Kings recovered after losing by 28 points a night earlier at New Orleans against former Sacramento star DeMarcus Cousins.

Playing its fifth game in seven nights, Sacramento shot a season-high 56.4 percent to win for the sixth time in 15 games since trading Cousins on Feb. 21.

Andrew Wiggins scored 32 points for Minnesota, which had won five of its previous six homes games. A game after scoring a career-high 33 points, Ricky Rubio had 11 points on just 1-of-10 shooting, and added 13 assists.

Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Timberwolves.

The Kings looked like weary road travelers early, as Minnesota had another quick start with 31 points in the first quarter. Sacramento had nine turnovers in the first and shot 43.8 percent.

The bench got the Kings back in the game and then Sacramento took control with a 26-9 run at the end of the third and start of the fourth. Lawson scored 12 points in the second half and was 11 of 14 from the free-throw line in the game.

Given a chance for more minutes since being traded for Cousins, Hield has responded in his rookie season. Hield entered the game averaging 13.9 points and shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 41.0 percent from 3 in his 19 games with Sacramento.

TIP-INS

Kings: Tyreke Evans, Kosta Koufos and Garrett Temple were ruled out for planned rest. . C Willie Cauley-Stein had 15 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season – all since the All-Star break. . Sacramento is 15-25 on the road this season, including two wins in Minnesota.

Timberwolves: G Zach LaVine was chosen the Flip Saunders Legacy Award recipient. The award, named after Minnesota’s former coach, recognizes excellence in community service and is voted on by the team’s players. . Rubio had his third straight double-double and 22nd of the season. . The Wolves are 19-20 at home this season.

 

Clippers beat Lakers 115-104 for Doc Rivers’ 800th victory

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Blake Griffin scored 36 points, Chris Paul added 29 and the Los Angeles Clippers beat the Lakers 115-104 on Saturday, giving coach Doc Rivers his 800th career victory.

J.J. Redick added 19 points for the Clippers, who moved within a game of the idle Jazz for the No. 4 playoff seed in the West. The Clippers have won three in a row and seven of nine.

The series between the Staples Center co-tenants has been dominated by the Clippers of late. They’ve won 18 of 20 since the start of the 2012-13 season.

Rookie David Nwaba scored 19 points and Brandon Ingram had 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Lakers. They have lost 18 of 20 since the All-Star break. D'Angelo Russell, the team’s leading scorer at 15.7 points, had two points on 1-of-9 shooting while missing six 3-point attempts.

The Clippers allowed the Lakers to hang around in the fourth, forcing all their starters back in after they led by 21 points at the start. Tarik Black‘s dunk cut the Lakers’ deficit to eight with 2:52 to play.

But Griffin and Paul combined to score the Clippers’ final seven points.

The Lakers scored the first nine points of the fourth to trail 93-81. Nwaba scored four in a row and Ingram had the next five points. The action bogged down while three plays were reviewed.

The Clippers dominated the third, turning a five-point lead into a 21-point advantage. They opened on a 24-9 run, including 10 by Paul that extended their lead to 79-59. Griffin and Redick added back-to-back 3-pointers and Paul scored four in a row to send the Clippers into the fourth leading 93-72.

Paul had 12 assists and made all 10 of his free throws, and DeAndre Jordan grabbed 12 rebounds.

The Lakers took their only lead of the game early in the second before the Clippers outscored them 24-19 to go into halftime leading 55-50.

The Clippers opened the game by scoring 17 straight points, making 7 of 9 field goals. The Lakers missed their first nine shots before going on an 18-2 run to close within one.

TIP-INS

Lakers: They have used 23 different starting lineups this season with no player starting every game. … G Jordan Clarkson is the only player to appear in every game. … Ingram returned after missing three games with right patellar tendinitis. … C Ivica Zubac is out for the rest of the season with a high right ankle sprain.

Clippers: Backup G Austin Rivers is likely out for the rest of the regular season with a strained left hamstring.

GRIFFIN’S 10K

Griffin scored the game’s first basket on a jumper, giving him 10,000 points in his career. He is the second player in franchise history to reach that mark. Randy Smith scored 10,467 of his club-record 12,735 points when the team was known as the Buffalo Braves.

DOC’S MILESTONE

Rivers became the 15th coach in NBA history with 800 victories. Only Gregg Popovich of San Antonio (1,146) has more among active coaches.

“What I’ve learned most as a coach is persistence and patience,” Rivers said before the game. “Patience with the players and myself. As a young coach you have a tendency to overreact to everything and change everything. I’ve learned not to sweat everything.”

 

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