Kurt Helin

Makeshift Bulls lineup outlasts Wizards 109-104

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CHICAGO (AP) —  Taj Gibson and E'Twaun Moore each scored 17 points, Tony Snell added 16 and a thrown-together roster of Chicago Bulls backups beat the Washington Wizards 109-104 on Wednesday night.

Three of the Bulls’ top four scorers missed the game and the fourth was sick.

Pau Gasol, who missed practice on Tuesday and was playing with the flu, narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 15 rebounds, 10 points and nine assists in the Bulls’ third straight victory.

Bradley Beal led the Wizards with 19 points. Garrett Temple scored 18 and Ramon Sessions and John Wall added 16. Markieff Morris had 10 rebounds for the Wizards.

Chicago’s Derrick Rose was a last-minute scratch with right hamstring tendinitis, while the Bulls’ leading scorer, Jimmy Butler, missed a seventh game with a left knee strain. Nikola Mirotic is out because of appendicitis.

Mike Dunleavy and Doug McDermott each had 14 points for Chicago. Aaron Brooks finished 11.

The Bulls also have been without Joakim Noah because of a shoulder injury since Jan. 15.

The teams played fairly evenly in the first half with Chicago taking a 57-55 halftime lead. The Bulls then went on a third-quarter run that had them up by as much as 15 in the period.

TIP-INS:

Wizards: Alan Anderson returned to the lineup for the Wizards, playing for the first time this season after surgery on his left ankle. He finished with nine points in 16 minutes. … Gary Neal missed his seventh straight game with right leg soreness.

Bulls: Despite the makeshift starting lineup, all five Bulls starters scored in double figures. … Since Jan. 9, the Bulls have had eight players miss games for a total of 60 lost games, tied for second-most games lost to injury over that span. …The Bulls are 6-1 without Rose in the lineup.

 

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri sends Kevin Durant’s layup into stands (VIDEO)

Dallas Mavericks center Salah Mejri (50) grabs a rebound during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Oklahoma City, Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2016. Oklahoma City won 108-89. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)
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If you haven’t been watching Dallas games, you haven’t been seeing the emergence of reserve big man Salah Mejri.

Kevin Durant found out about it the hard way Wednesday night.

It wasn’t enough, the Thunder won on the road 116-103, and Durant had 24 points, tied with Russell Westbrook to lead the team.

Before game in Miami, Stephen Curry meets a cancer-stricken fan

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MIAMI (AP) Stephen Curry‘s pregame routine had a special addition Wednesday, one that gave a 4-year-old boy an unforgettable thrill.

The Golden State star and reigning NBA MVP spent some time with Shawn Kennedy from Niagara Falls, New York and his family, doing so about an hour before the Warriors would play the Miami Heat.

Curry gave the boy the sneakers he wore to warm up – “Keep being brave,” Curry wrote – and even took Shawn and his brother into the Warriors’ locker room so they could meet some other players.

Shawn has a rare brain cancer called Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. A longtime friend of Warriors coach Steve Kerr heard about the family’s situation, and plans were quickly made for Curry to meet the young fan.

So when Curry left the floor after his shooting session about an hour before the game, he and Shawn got to meet and talk some ball.

“I didn’t expect anything like this,” said Nicole Vathy, Shawn’s mother. “He’s going to go home and talk about this all day. He really is. He’s not going to stop talking about it.”

Curry spent about 15 minutes with Shawn and his family, and Kerr came out to meet them as well.

“I just read a couple months ago that Shawn’s idol was Steph Curry,” said Mike Esposito, a Niagara Falls resident who has a long relationship with Kerr through basketball and helped pull the trip to Miami together. “I emailed Steve and within an hour, half-an-hour, he emailed back and said `We’ve got you.”‘

Shawn’s condition is getting somewhat better over time, his mother said, and the boy is scheduled for more tests at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in April to further evaluate his progress.

“For him to do this for us,” Vathy said, “is unbelievable.”

Stephen Curry ties Kyle Korver for most consecutive games with made three (127)

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It was a big deal a couple of years back when Kyle Korver passed Dana Barros and eventually stretched the streak for most consecutive NBA games with a made three-pointer out to 127.

Less than two minutes into the Warriors game against the Heat Wednesday, Stephen Curry tied that record.

He’ll pass that with his next game and it’s hard to imagine a game for a while where he doesn’t knock down a three. And whenever he hangs them up, Curry is going to have a plethora of other shooting records as well. He is the greatest shooter the game has ever seen.

Report: Owner James Dolan is upset with Knicks slide out of playoff contention

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 15:  JD & The Straight Shots perform during the 16th Annual Americana Music Festival & Conference - Day 1 at City Winery on September 15, 2015 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Americana Music)
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Why is Phil Jackson making $12 million a year from the Knicks? To keep James Dolan out of basketball decisions.

Whatever Jackson has done right (drafting Kristaps Porzingis and other members of the Knicks young core) and wrong over his time in charge of the Knicks basketball operations, every day he keeps the Knicks’ owner from meddling on the basketball side is a good day. Jackson’s $12 million salary is leverage in that battle.

But as the Knicks have gone 2-12 in their last 14, and got thumped by the Raptors at home on Monday, Dolan’s anger is boiling up, reports Frank Isola at the New York Daily News.

The MSG chairman, according to a source, was visibly agitated following the Knicks’ lackluster performance in a loss to the Toronto Raptors on Monday.

It is unclear if Dolan addressed team president Phil Jackson, just as he did one week before Derek Fisher was fired. But Dolan is said to be just as angry as Anthony with the direction of the Knicks, who are 24-34 entering Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers.

Carmelo Anthony expressed his frustration after the Raptors loss, and interim coach Kurt Rambis knows that when the boss is mad you should be mad.

“We’re all frustrated. We can’t accept this,” said interim head coach Kurt Rambis. “For the organization, for our team, ourselves as individuals, the coaching staff. We can’t accept losing. I want players to be angry. I want players to be frustrated. That’s the right attitude to have.”

The losing streak isn’t fun, but the Knicks are performing above expectations this season. This has been a step forward. If the playoffs were expected, well, James Dolan was being unrealistic.

Which gets us back to why Phil Jackson is valuable to the Knicks.