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Isaiah Thomas scores 37 points, Celtics beat Bucks in OT

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Isaiah Thomas had 37 points, and Jae Crowder scored four of his 20 points on free throws in the final 28 seconds of overtime to help the Boston Celtics beat the Milwaukee Bucks 112-108 on Saturday night.

Boston won its third straight after squandering a 16-point second half lead and a 42-point first quarter, its best of the season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led Milwaukee with 21 points, and Greg Monroe had 14 points and 13 rebounds. The Bucks have lost three in a row and eight of nine.

Boston built a six-point lead in overtime, but Tony Snell hit consecutive 3s to tie it at 108l. Crowder made two free throws on the ensuing possession with 28 seconds to go and two more to seal it with 10 seconds left after Antetokounmpo missed a contested shot in the lane.

The Bucks trailed 69-53 early in the third quarter, taking the lead briefly with just under 5 minutes to play on a three-point play by Monroe, who scored 10 of his 14 in the final quarter. It wouldn’t last.

Thomas hit a 3 and the Bucks couldn’t tie it again until Monroe hit the first of two free throws with 37 seconds to play that tied it at 102.

It led to a sloppy finish to regulation.

Thomas turned the ball over, Milwaukee’s Jabari Parker returned the favor before Thomas missed an off-balance 3-point attempt, and Jaylen Brown‘s follow wouldn’t go at the buzzer.

No matter, Crowder and the Celtics found a way in overtime.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Thomas has scored 20 or more in 31 straight games and 30 or more 16 times this season. … C Al Horford (sore groin) did not travel with the team. … G Avery Bradley (sore right Achilles’ tendon) missed his sixth straight game. … Gerald Green‘s 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter gave Boston a 42-27 lead. It was the most points for Boston in any quarter this season.

Bucks: Parker had a tough night, going 2 for 13 from the field and finishing with four points. … First-round draft pick Thon Maker received his second career start in place of center Miles Plumlee. … It was the first game between these two teams. They’ll play twice more this season in Boston on March 29 and April 12.

 

DeMarcus Cousins scores 35, Kings top Hornets 109-106

Associated Press
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP)  — While DeMarcus Cousins had another huge night, the All-Star was more excited about getting some big-time help from his teammates.

Cousins had 35 points and 18 rebounds, and four others Kings had at least 13 points as the Sacramento Kings beat the Charlotte Hornets 109-106 on Saturday night for their third win in the last four games.

Darren Collison had 17 points, Anthony Tolliver added 14 and Aaron Afflalo and Willie Cauley-Stein chipped in with 13 apiece for the Kings (19-28).

“It makes my job a whole lot easier,” said Cousins, who has 27 double-doubles this season. “Guys have been great lately. They are believing. Their confidence is high, which we need, and we’re just on the right path and we feel it.”

Cousins scored the go-ahead basket with 14.3 seconds left on a driving layup from the right side of the lane, saying the only thing he saw was “the basket.”

“We are realizing what is going to win us games and it’s not iso(lation) basketball,” Cousins said. “When we are making the defense work and getting the best shot for the team and just finding the open man, we are realizing that is working for us.”

But Cousins proved again why he is a dominant force inside with seven offensive rebounds.

“Even when they did miss he got the rebound and put it in,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.

The Hornets had a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds as Kemba Walker dished out to an open Frank Kaminsky at the top of the key, but the 7-footer shot an airball with 1 second remaining. Cousins grabbed the rebound and was fouled, making one free throw for the final margin.

“DeMarcus understands that the defense is giving him all sorts of looks,” Collison said. “The good thing about DeMarcus that I’ve seen if he’s not scoring ball, he’s telling guys to continue to hit their shots. He understands the game.”

TIP-INS

Kings: Outscored the Hornets 48-38 in the paint. … Tolliver provided a big lift off the bench in the first half with 11 points on three 3-pointers.

Hornets: Walker has 34 20-point games this season. … Clifford picked up his eighth technical foul of the season in the second quarter after arguing for a charge on Cousins against Walker. … Walker moved into third place in franchise history in field goals made (2,586), passing Gerald Wallace. He is behind only Dell Curry and Larry Johnson.

STOPPING KEMBA

Walker had 20 points in the third quarter and appeared to be heating up for a big fourth. But the Kings held him to one shot attempt and no points in the final quarter.

When asked what his team did to stop Walker, Kings coach Dave Joerger joked, “Put some stuff in his water down at their bench down there.”

“He carries a big load for this team,” Joerger said. “He’s well-deserving of the honor of being an All-Star. I’ve seen it only twice a year, but it always seems like especially in the last three minutes, you don’t want the ball in his hands in a close game. Maybe we got into his legs. We tried to be up in pick-and-rolls and give him looks where you know, smaller guys don’t like playing in small spaces. We just tried to take it out of his hands.”

TURNOVER ISSUES

The Hornets paid Nic Batum $120 million to make plays, and he’s certainly doing that with 19 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

But Batum’s turnovers are beginning to become a concern. He has 31 in the last eight games, including four games with at least five.

 

Watch the best play from each of Andre Iguodala’s 13 NBA seasons (VIDEO)

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Andre Iguodala may have more notoriety with casual fans as a role player off the bench for the Golden State Warriors than he had as the Sixers biggest star for years (or his one season in Denver), mostly because of the stage the Warriors are always on.

For a little fun on a Saturday night, check out the best play from each of Iguodala’s 13 NBA seasons, as decided by the folks at NBA.com. Enjoy.

Blazers’ C.J. McCollum says he will take part in All-Star three-point contest

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Last season, C.J. McCollum was a last-minute addition to the three-point contest after Chris Bosh had to pull out. McCollum didn’t get to practice in the run-up. And a little practice is required — not with the shot so much, more getting the balls out of the racks, what side you want the rack on, and the like. Just a comfort thing, this isn’t like taking a three during a game.

McCollum was bounced in the first round last year.

This season he’s giving it another shot, he told Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com.

“I will [compete],” McCollum said at practice on Saturday. “At first, I was against it, I didn’t really want to go but seeing as how I performed last year, and my girl can’t go on vacation because she has a test on Monday, it kind of changed my view on it….

“I’ll take it seriously this year,” McCollum said. “Last year, I was a throw in. They called me the night before, so I tried to get to a gym and did a round [using] the [ball] racks. This year I will prepare more and give it a shot.”

There has been a buzz that the Warriors’ Klay Thompson will defend his title in the shootout, and the Mavericks’ Wesley Matthews Jr. may participate as well. However, nobody else has confirmed they are taking part.

McCollum was honest — he preferred the idea of going on vacation for a few days, but since he can’t  he might as well go to New Orleans, shoot some threes, eat some gumbo and chill for a couple of days.

He could win the thing, he is shooting 41.5 percent on the six threes he’s taking a game this season. He just needs to do better than last season.

Steve Kerr will find time for all four Warriors All-Stars on floor

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr will find a stretch while coaching next month’s All-Star Game to get all four of his Golden State Warriors on the floor together.

“I am absolutely going to play them all four together,” Kerr said Friday. “Those four will be together for sure. I can guarantee you that’ll happen at some point because that will be a pretty cool thing. It’s very rare. … It’ll be fun at least for a couple minutes I’ll get them all out there at once.”

And center Zaza Pachulia will be with them in spirit for the Feb. 19 game in New Orleans.

The Warriors tied an NBA record with four players on the All-Star team – two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant as starters for the Western Conference coached by Kerr, and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson as reserves.

“That’ll be really cool,” Thompson said of playing with his three Warriors teammates in the NBA’s midseason showcase. “I wonder who the fifth player will be. That will be really awesome. It will feel like a real game and we can even run some sets. It’s crazy. It’s really a unique situation and it doesn’t happen a lot for a lot of teams, so we’re going to enjoy the heck out of it.”

Only seven other teams, in fact.

Golden State, with the NBA’s best record at 39-7, is just the eighth franchise to land four players in the All-Star game and just the second in the West. The Los Angeles Lakers did so in 1998.

“That’s special,” Green said. “It says a lot about this team. First off the success that we’ve had here.”

In honoring the lone Golden State starter not there – Pachulia – Thompson has a plan in mind.

“I might set a hard screen or something,” he said.

Oh, and Green has his own idea: “We’ll all take Fatheads for Zaza, extra-large size.”

Green found out about making the team while taking care of his 1-month-old son, Draymond Jr., on Thursday – he was on feeding and diaper duty and the baby was “crying a lot.”

“My first 35 minutes was hell finding out I was an All-Star,” he said. “After that … he ate, I started burping him and he fell asleep, so I started responding to texts and he woke up like 10 minutes later and went crazy again. It was a cool couple hours for me, dealing with crying and diapers, milk. It was fun.”

Kerr and the Golden State staff will coach their second All-Star game in three seasons, and with so many familiar faces.

“It’s a great honor for those guys individually and for us as an organization,” Kerr said. “It’s pretty remarkable to have this group together right now and to see them all playing so well together, along with the rest of our guys. It doesn’t always work that way, where you put a group together, a group of stars, it doesn’t always click. But it’s clicked because our guys are unselfish and they enjoy playing with one another.”

Notes: Reserve F David West, who suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left thumb Jan. 18 against Oklahoma City, is doing some running and shooting. He will be re-evaluated at the two-week mark early next week with a follow-up X-ray. “The main thing is he can’t have contact,” Kerr said. “So he’s able to actually get some work done on the floor but the fracture has to heal, so any non-contact stuff he’s able to do, which is good.”