Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Pacers send Clippers to first two-game skid, win 91-70 without Paul George

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Glenn Robinson III and Myles Turner provided the offense and the Indiana Pacers overwhelmed the Los Angeles Clippers with their defense.

Robinson and Turner each scored 17 points and the Pacers forced 20 turnovers in a 91-70 victory Sunday night over the Clippers, who have lost two in a row for the first time this season.

“We just tried to have active hands and be aggressive defensively,” said Jeff Teague, who had 13 points and two steals. “That’s a great team over there, great players that they have. We just did a good job of being active and causing a little havoc on defense.”

The Pacers have forced at least 20 turnovers seven times this season and this time it came while the Clippers tried to bounce back from a 108-97 loss in Detroit on Friday.

Blake Griffin had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Chris Paul added 13 points. The Clippers shot just 31.4 percent from the field, were 4 of 24 from 3-point range, and couldn’t get going offensively for the second straight game.

“It was all bad,” Paul said. “We shot bad, we defended bad. We have to sweep it under the rug. We have to fix it and stop the bleeding at some point.”

Al Jefferson and Rodney Stuckey created a spark off the bench for the Pacers. Jefferson finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Stuckey had 12 points to help Indiana win two straight for just the second time this season.

Indiana went on a 12-2 run at the start of the second half and took a 62-44 lead after Robinson’s 3-pointer with 6:48 left in the third quarter.

Monta Ellis made a 3-pointer at the start of the fourth quarter and Jefferson scored to put the Pacers ahead 79-58 with 10:49 to play.

With All-Star forward Paul George on the bench nursing a sore left ankle for the second straight game, Indiana got off to a slow start, but settled in on defense and forced the Clippers to turn it over 11 times in the first quarter.

After scoring a career-high 20 points against Brooklyn on Friday while replacing George, Robinson scored six points in the first quarter and had 10 by halftime in his fourth start this season.

TIP-INS

Clippers: Los Angeles scored less than 80 points for the first time with Doc River as coach. … The Clippers had six turnovers by the 5:04 mark in the first quarter and finished the game with 20.

Pacers: Turner had 12 rebounds and Robinson had six. … Thaddeus Young had 11 points and six rebounds. … Along with George, the Pacers were without guard C.J. Miles and forward Kevin Seraphin, who are out with left knee injuries.

3-POINTERS NOT FALLING

Paul entered Sunday’s game shooting a career-high 43.0 percent from 3-point range while averaging a career-best 2.2 3-pointers a game. Against the Pacers, he missed all six 3-point attempts and finished 2 of 11 from the field, though he was 7 of 7 from the free throw line.

ROUGH ROAD

While the Pacers have won eight games at home, the team has just a single win on the road this season. Now Indiana prepares to hit the road for five games out west. The only road win for the Pacers was a 115-111 overtime victory at Oklahoma City a week ago.

 

C.J. McCollum gets technical for throwing ball at referee

Associated Press
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Portland’s C.J. McCollum is lucky he didn’t get thrown out for this. He should have been.

In the second quarter, McCollum had the ball on the wing as the shot clock wound down so he was forced to jack up a shot, one Patrick Beverley closed out on and blocked. McCollum was frustrated, he thought he got fouled. In frustration, he fired the ball at the referee.

Most officials would have tossed McCollum for that. Instead, he just got a technical. But you can bet a fine is coming from the league.

Houston went on to win the game 130-114, which probably compounded McCollum’s frustration.

Kyrie Irving, LeBron James lead Cavaliers past 76ers

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Kyrie Irving had 19 of his season-high 39 points in the fourth quarter and LeBron James added a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists, leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 112-108 comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

Kevin Love chipped in 25 points and 11 rebounds to help the defending champions (13-2) improve to their fourth straight win.

Joel Embiid led seven players in double figures with 22 points for the 76ers, who have lost three straight. Embiid also had nine rebounds, four assists and three blocks.

The Cavaliers never led through the first three quarters, but Irving got hot early in the fourth to put Cleveland in front. He gave Cleveland its first lead on a layup 2:38 into the period and had 10 of the first 13 Cavaliers fourth-quarter points on a variety of jumpers and drives. His layup with 7:51 left gave Cleveland its biggest lead to that point, 90-86.

Love was limited to 28 minutes after receiving stitches for a cut over his right eye sustained early in the first quarter.

Cleveland trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half. The Cavaliers got as close as 72-70 on James Jones‘ 3-pointer with 3:53 left in the third quarter. But the 76ers scored nine of the next 10 points, capped by Dario Saric‘s 3-pointer that made it 81-71. James had four and Love two as the Cavaliers ran off the final six points of the quarter to enter the final period down 81-77.

The Cavs missed their first 14 shots, but Philadelphia couldn’t take full advantage and led just 10-2 before James’ driving layup with 6:50 left in the first quarter resulted in Cleveland’s first field goal.

James and Embiid got into a verbal altercation late in the first quarter. Richard Jefferson was whistled for a foul on Embiid’s drive, and James questioned the call. Embiid went toward James’ direction, but officials stepped between the players. The incident drew a rise in the crowd.

James provided a couple of first-half highlights, dunking with 6:03 left in the first quarter and then following a missed free throw with a dunk with 1:17 to go in the first half. He has three triple-doubles this season.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Smith went 0 for 11 from the field, including 0 for 7 from 3-point range. . Channing Frye (personal) was not with the team. Frye’s father died Thursday. . Cleveland beat Philadelphia 102-101 on Nov. 5. . The Cavaliers arrived in Philadelphia on Saturday night following their attendance at the Ohio State-Michigan football game. . James’ 3-pointer with 5:01 left in the second period was his 1,000th as a member of the Cavaliers. . Cleveland has made at least 10 3-pointers in every game this season.

76ers: Jerryd Bayless (left wrist) didn’t play. Bayless missed the first 13 games of the season with a left wrist injury. . Embiid didn’t play in Friday’s 105-89 loss to the Bulls and won’t play Monday night at Toronto, marking the sixth game he will miss this season as part of his rehab plan after sitting out the last two seasons with a foot injury.

 

Wizards’ Bradley Beal fined $15,000 for grabbing Evan Fournier by throat

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It all started Friday night because Washington’s Kelly Oubre went up for the dunk and Orlando’s Bismack Biyombo blocked it (and got called for the blocking foul). As they separated Oubre gave Biyombo a push, Biyombo pushed back, and then a lot of guys came together to defend their teammates.

In that scrum, Washington’s Bradley Beal grabbed Orlando’s Evan Fournier by the throat. It was more of a push-off/Heisman move, no punches were thrown. Doesn’t matter, that’s going to cost Beal $15,000, the league announced on Sunday.

Beal and Fournier each picked up technicals, which is an automatic $2,000 fine also.

Nikola Mirotic says he wants to stay in NBA beyond this season

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Heading into this season, Nikola Mirotic seemed primed to take a leap forward – the Bulls needed to space the floor better on offense, he could be the sharpshooting four the team was looking for.

Instead, while he’s getting 23 minutes a night, he is averaging fewer points (9.6 per game) than a season ago and is shooting just 32.1 percent from three. He’s had a couple of better games lately (15 points against the Lakers) but his season has been inconsistent. Certainly not the leap some envisioned.

Mirotic is a restricted free agent after this season, and it will be interesting to see what the market would offer him — and will the Bulls match. They have said he is part of the Chicago core going forward, but there will be a limit to how much they pay.

For his part, Mirotic said he wants to stay in the NBA — he could return to Real Madrid next season, make good (but slightly less) money and be a star — and he would prefer to stay in Chicago.

“I think (the NBA) is the best place I can grow as a player. I was very comfortable in Madrid. … That was a perfect place to stay and be in a comfort zone, to sign another five years. But that’s not who I am. I like the challenges. … And I came here to prove that I’m ready….

“I love the Bulls,” he said. “I love my teammates. I love the city. It’s the perfect place for me. The first idea is to re-sign.”

The Bulls have a lot of questions heading into next summer: Will Dwyane Wade stay or opt out? Only $3 million of Rajon Rondo‘s $13.4 million is guaranteed, but the Bulls have to decide by June 30, do they keep him? Do they re-sign Taj Gibson, or maybe trade him before the deadline? Both Mirotic and Michael Carter-Williams are restricted free agents, do they get retained?

The answers to those questions will have a lot to do with how the Bulls’ season ends — right now they are tied for the two seed in the East and if they can sustain that and make a deep playoff run there may be fewer changes. For Mirotic, he will have a place in the NBA next season if he wants it, where and for how much remains to be seen. And if he wants it, there is always a soft landing spot in Europe.