Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Jamal Crawford’s hot stretch helps Clippers beat Celtics 116-102

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — For a few minutes, Jamal Crawford made the NBA look like nothing more than schoolyard basketball.

Crawford hit three 3-pointers in 70 seconds late in the third quarter, scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half, and lifted the Los Angeles Clippers to a 116-102 victory over the Boston Celtics on Monday night.

“I think I’m at my best whenever I’m just not thinking,” Crawford said. “I’m just relaxed. I’m just playing, just hooping. It’s just basketball. I’ve done it my whole life. I’ve always said when you’re at your best in the NBA it feels like you’re like high school because your true game comes out.”

Blake Griffin scored 26 points and Chris Paul added 23, but it was Crawford’s electric display that shook up the Celtics.

“It’s hard to stop a guy, especially a guy like him,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart said. “He’s known for that. He can get hot real quick. When he gets hot, gets going, it’s going to be a long night for you.”

Down by as many as 13 points and still trailing 71-64, the Clippers ran off the 11 unanswered points in the final 1:41 of the third quarter. Crawford’s three 3-pointers sparked the run, the last of which put Los Angeles up 75-71 with 31 seconds left.

“Obviously he made some tremendous shots, that’s what he does,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “And then we weren’t scoring on the other end. So obviously they kind of flipped the script there at the end of the third. You know from watching the NBA, 13 is nothing when you’ve got a team like that.”

Behind Crawford, the Clippers made 23 of 37 shots in the second half (62 percent).

Up 75-74 early in the fourth, the Clippers ran off a 24-8 spurt, taking a 99-82 lead on Austin Rivers‘ 3-pointer.

DeAndre Jordan added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who won their second in a row and remained 1 1/2 games behind Utah in the race for fourth place in the Western Conference.

“I thought they outplayed us in the first half,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “They were more physical. And then I thought we turned that, and we became the more physical team in the second half.”

Isaiah Thomas scored 31 points and Smart added 21 for the Celtics, who had one of their worst shooting performances of the season, shooting just 41 percent from the field after being in the high 30s most of the game.

“I don’t think our shot selection has been great for a couple of games now, but I also think they really defended us well and took some things away,” said Stevens.

Boston has lost two in a row and five of its last eight games. The Celtics remained in the second place in the Eastern Conference, three games behind Cleveland.


Celtics: With his 3-pointer with 4:24 left in the fourth quarter, Thomas eclipsed 8,000 points for his NBA career. … F Jonas Jerebko sat out the game with the flu.

Clippers: Jordan made his first free throw with 3:03 left in the second quarter, on his eighth attempt. … For 19-year vet Paul Pierce, who played his first 15 seasons in Boston and was the MVP of the 2008 NBA Finals, this was the final game against his former team. The Clippers ran a tribute video highlighting Pierce’s career midway through the first quarter, and the crowd responded with a standing ovation. Pierce plans to retire at the end of the season. He did not play in the game.


Al Horford, who sat out Boston’s loss in Phoenix on Sunday, tested his sprained right elbow, sustained blocking a shot against the Lakers on Friday night, with a pregame shooting session.

“First time since (the injury),” Stevens said. “Feel like sooner rather than later he’ll be back, but I don’t want to put a specific timetable on him.”


For the Clippers, Monday night’s game sat sandwiched between a pair of back-to-backs in the Central time zone. Fresh off games in Milwaukee and Chicago on Friday and Saturday night, the Clippers play road games against Minnesota and Memphis on Wednesday and Thursday nights.

“I would have loved to have just gone straight to Minnesota from Chicago,” Doc Rivers said. “That would have made a lot of sense.”


Kawhi Leonard’s 39 points, defense, lead Spurs by Harden, Rockets


SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard scored 39 points, including 17 in the fourth quarter, and made big plays on both ends in the final 30 seconds as the San Antonio Spurs rallied for a 112-110 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night.

Leonard outscored James Harden 17-4 in the final quarter of a matchup between two leading MVP candidates as the Spurs won their eighth straight.

Harden finished with 39 points and 12 assists in the final matchup of the season between the intrastate rivals.

Harden hit one of two free throws to give Houston a 108-107 lead, but Leonard followed with a 3-pointer over Nene for a 110-108 advantage. Leonard than blocked Harden’s layup attempt from behind, pinning the attempt on the glass before being fouled. Leonard then made a pair of free throws with “MVP!” chants raining down from sell-out crowd at the AT&T Center.

Andre Iguodala scores 24 to lead Warriors past Hawks, 119-111

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ATLANTA (AP) — Andre Iguodala scored a season-high 24 points on a subpar shooting night for the Splash Brothers, carrying the Golden State Warriors to a 119-111 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Monday.

Bouncing back from their first regular-season losing streak in nearly two years, the Warriors won for the second day in a row without Kevin Durant, who is out indefinitely with a left knee injury.

Stephen Curry had 24 points on 8-of-20 shooting, while Klay Thompson was held to 13 after a scoreless first half. But Iguodala and the Warriors bench picked up the slack, outscoring the Atlanta reserves 55-37.

Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 23 points – 19 coming in the first quarter, the highest-scoring period of his career. But Schroder went to the bench with 8:41 left in the third quarter and, mysteriously, never returned. There was no indication he was hurt.

Led by Schroder, the Hawks raced to a 42-35 lead in a run-and-gun first quarter – matching their highest-scoring period of the season.

Atlanta was still ahead 66-61 at the half, but it was clear the home team had missed a chance to push the margin even higher.

Thompson was scoreless over the first two quarters, missing his only two shots while picking up three fouls. Draymond Green also spent extended time on the bench with three fouls. Curry had just seven points on 2-of-6 shooting.

But the Warriors got it going in the second half, and the Hawks went most of the way without their point guard.


Warriors coach Steve Kerr sympathizes with point guard Jose Calderon, who had planned to join the Golden State until Durant’s injury forced the team to sign Matt Barnes instead.

The Warriors waived Calderon just a few hours after he signed with them, so he would remain playoff eligible, and he was claimed by the Hawks. In an interesting twist, his second game with Atlanta was against the team he was supposed to be with to finish out the season.

“I’m happy for him that Atlanta picked him up. He’ll get a chance to play in the playoffs, which I know is important to him,” Kerr said. “I feel bad the way things turned out with us, but I know he understands that’s the way the NBA works. It’s kind of a strange place.”


Patrick McCaw took over Durant’s spot for the night, giving the rookie his sixth start of the season. He had nine points and seven rebounds.

Kerr has been impressed with the second-round pick out of UNLV.

“He knows exactly what he’s doing out there,” Kerr said. “I mean, he’s still learning the NBA game. But he’s just got a natural feel for the game – cutting at the appropriate time, hitting the right man, taking the shot when it’s there, defending and understanding angles defensively. He’s a really good player. We’re lucky.”


Rookie Taurean Prince has become a bigger part of Atlanta’s playing rotation in recent games, even drawing some tough assignments such as guarding LeBron James and Paul George.

Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said the team wants to speed up Prince’s development after playing him sparingly much of the season. He was the 12th overall pick in the 2016 draft.

“To some degree, he’s earned it,” Budenholzer said. “But he needs to follow up a game good with another one. His attention to detail, his alertness. As a rookie, he’s been learning the last couple of nights. But he’s good the size, he’s got the athleticism, and we want to push his growth, push his development.”

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/paul-newberry.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tony Snell lead Bucks past 76ers, 112-98

Associated Press
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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 24 points, Tony Snell had 18 of his season-high 21 in the first half and the Milwaukee Bucks never trailed in a 112-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

Malcolm Brogdon and Khris Middleton added 13 apiece for the Bucks, who won their third straight game to stay close in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Milwaukee began the day 1 1/2 games behind Detroit for the final playoff spot in the East. The Pistons hosted Chicago on Monday night.

Justin Anderson tied his career high with 19 points for Philadelphia, which has lost five of six. The 76ers were without big man Jahlil Okafor (knee) for the second straight game. They are so short of bodies that they received a hardship exception to sign Shawn Long to a 10-day contract on Monday. Long, in his NBA debut, had 13 points and seven rebounds.

Hall of Famers Allen Iverson and Julius Erving were present. The retired 76ers franchise greats probably could’ve helped, too.

It was the second straight lopsided loss for the 76ers, who had just nine players when they allowed a season-high 136 points in a 30-point loss to the Pistons on Saturday night.

The Bucks had lost both previous meetings to Philadelphia, including a 114-109 loss in Milwaukee on Jan. 25 in which the 76ers scored 72 first-half points.

Philadelphia didn’t reach 72 points until the fourth quarter in this one.

Snell shot 7 of 10 from the field, including 4 of 6 on 3-pointers, to help the Bucks to a 60-43 halftime lead. The 76ers shot just 23.5 percent from the arc before halftime, making 4 of 17 long-range shots.

And the Bucks just kept pouring it on after the break, extending their lead to as many as 26 points midway through the third quarter.


Bucks: Michael Beasley (hyperextended left knee) missed his third straight game. . After scoring 16 points in 17 minutes in Saturday’s 101-94 win over Toronto, Spencer Hawes had two points in six minutes. . Snell topped his previous season best of 20 points on Dec. 26 at Washington. His career high is 24 on Feb. 10, 2015, at Sacramento while a member of the Bulls. . The Bucks shot 49.4 percent (41 for 83) from the field.

76ers: Long was averaging 20.2 points and 11.1 rebounds for Delaware 87ers in the D-League. . Gerald Henderson returned after missing two straight games with a hip injury and scored five points in 17 minutes.


In first game with Cavaliers, Andrew Bogut fractured left tibia


UPDATE: The Cavaliers announced that X-rays have shown a fractured left tibia on Andrew Bogut.

The team has not announced a timetable for a recovery, but traditionally this takes at least three months. That timeline would have him back by the start of the Finals, at the earliest, although more likely he is done until next season. This is a setback for the Cavaliers, who were counting on him to provide quality front line depth off the bench.


This is a very unfortunate turn of events.

In his first time on the court with his new team in Cleveland, Andrew Bogut closed out on Miami’s Okaro White, who did the right thing and put the ball on the floor and tried to drive past him. However, White’s knee hit Bogut clean in the shin.

Bogut went to the ground grabbing his leg, clearly in a lot of pain. He had to be helped back to the locker room and could not put any weight on it.

He’s not returning to this game, with the team starting the X-ray and MRI process.

Hopefully, this is not as bad as it appeared, but it certainly seems possible Bogut has a fractured leg. If so, that is a setback for a team that was counting on him to fill a role for them off the bench both down the stretch of the regular season and into the playoffs. Bogut was going to step into the Timofey Mozgov role for the Cavs, but do it with better passing and decision making.