Kurt Helin

LeBron James passes Oscar Robertson on career scoring list

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ATLANTA (AP) — LeBron James has moved past Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson into 11th place on the NBA’s scoring list.

James scored on a layup when Atlanta’s Al Horford was called for goaltending with 2:14 remaining in the third quarter of the Cleveland Cavaliers game at the Hawks on Friday night, giving him 26,711 points. James began the night 21 points behind Robertson’s 26,710 points.

James moved past Robertson only one night after passing former Hawks Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins for 12th place.

James has also surpassed Jerry West, Reggie Miller, Alex English, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, John Havlicek and Tim Duncan on the scoring list this season.

Watch two key turnovers that helped seal Warriors fate in loss to Celtics

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On 21.4 percent of their possessions Friday — more than one in every five times down the court — the Golden State Warriors turned the ball over.

That was the story of the Warriors first home loss in 54 games 109-106 to Boston — they didn’t take care of the ball turning it over 22 times, and, this time, Stephen Curry‘s shooting couldn’t bail them out of it.

“Our execution was really bad, a lot of that had to do with their defense,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said postgame, admitting the Celtics impressive defense had his team out of sync.

There were a couple of turnovers that hurt worse than the others, and you can see them in the video above. The first was Brandon Rush fumbling the ball away while wide open in transition. The other came late in a close game when Boston aggressively trapped Curry on the high pick and roll, and he made the Warriors’ bread-and-butter play, hitting Draymond Green who was wide open flaring out — Green tried to drive and fumbled away the pass for the turnover.

This time it was too much for the Warriors to overcome.

Gritty Celtics effort hands Warriors first home loss in 54 games, 109-106

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With 5.7 seconds left and Golden State down three to Boston, Stephen Curry got a clean look at a three to tie it up — and it rimmed out. Everyone inside Oracle was in disbelief — the Warriors’ magic had run out.

It was that kind of night. A couple of possessions before Curry’s miss, Boston aggressively trapped Curry on the high pick and roll, and he made the Warriors’ bread-and-butter play, hitting Draymond Green who was wide open on a slow roll — and Green fumbled away the pass for the turnover. A few plays before that, Brandon Rush fumbled the ball while wide open in transition going toward the rim. It was that kind of night for the Warriors — they had 22 turnovers, or to put it another way 21.4 percent of their possessions ended in a turnover.

Meanwhile, Boston just kept making plays — Isaiah Thomas driving the lane late (after a dangerous pass Curry almost stole), or Evan Turner hitting tough jumpers all night long (as a team Boston shot 49.1 percent on contested looks for the night, via NBA.com). Brad Stevens did a fantastic job with his rotation matching up against the Warriors.

The result was a 109-106 Boston win — Golden State’s first home loss in 54 regular season games.

It also makes the Warriors pursuit of history more difficult, they need to go 5-1 the rest of the way to beat the 1996 Chicago Bulls 72-win mark, and remember the Warriors have a dangerous Trail Blazers team plus a couple of games against the Spurs (although Popovich will rest guys) still to come. If the Warriors win their next four, they would go for the beating the record April 10 in San Antonio.

Credit the Celtics for good defense and executing their game plan (that they did it without Jae Crowder is even more impressive). Defensively, the Celtics are one of only a couple teams that can go small with the Warriors and still defend them well. Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Sullinger, Turner, all the Celtics scrapped on that end and forced turnovers. Boston did not let the Warriors run. On offense, Boston took the ball inside whenever they could, outscoring Golden State 48-30 in the paint — Jared Sullinger was a big part of that, he had 20 points on the night and battled Green inside physically. Thomas had 22 and Turner had 21 for Boston.

But Boston got help — the Warriors were sloppy and just missing plays they often make. Like the potential game-tying shot, or the turnovers, or the entire first half when the Warriors seemed to be sleepwalking. Curry and Klay Thompson had combined for 11 points on 13 shots in the first half.

“Our execution was really bad, a lot of that had to do with their defense,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said postgame, admitting the Celtics through them out of sync.

“Our execution hasn’t been good for a while,” Kerr said later. “Twenty-two turnovers tonight, 18 or 19 in Utah (the Warriors last game, which went to overtime), 20-something the game before that. We’ve been slipping the last couple weeks. I think people have seen that.”

The Warriors really miss Andre Iguodala in games like this — he settles their second unit and is key defensively when they go small. He’ll be back for the playoffs and the Warriors will have their “death lineup” fully operational.

Until then they are going to have to scrap for wins, taking the best shot of everyone they play, as they try to get to 73.

 

LeBron James’ 29 points lead Cavs past Hawks, 110-108 in OT

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ATLANTA (AP) — LeBron James had 29 points to pass another Hall of Famer on the NBA’s all-time scoring list and the Cleveland Cavaliers recovered after blowing a big first-half lead to beat the Atlanta Hawks 110-108 in overtime on Friday night.

James had 16 rebounds and nine assists, just missing a triple-double.

The Cavaliers still lead Toronto, which won at Memphis, by 2 1/2 games in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

James moved past Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson into 11th place on the NBA’s scoring list when he scored on a layup late in the third quarter. Atlanta’s Al Horford was called for goaltending on the play.

The basket gave James 26,711 points. He began the night 21 points behind Robertson’s 26,710 points.

The Cavaliers led by 21 points in the second quarter. Atlanta charged back to briefly take the lead in the third quarter. Cleveland led by 11 early in the fourth quarter before Atlanta forced the extra period.

Horford missed a 3-pointer at the end of overtime.

James made one of two free throws to give Cleveland a 105-104 lead. Paul Millsap, who had 29 points and 12 rebounds, missed a short jumper with 25.8 seconds remaining. Kyrie Irving, who had 20 points, made five of six free throws in the final 20 seconds of overtime.

Cleveland snapped a streak of five straight losses in Atlanta over four seasons.

Jeff Teague had 28 points and nine assists for Atlanta, which has lost two straight after winning nine of 10.

James moved past Robertson only one night after passing former Hawks Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins for 12th place.

With the game tied at 96-all late in regulation, James missed an 18-foot jumper, and Atlanta’s Kent Bazemore grabbed the rebound with 4.9 seconds remaining.

The Hawks couldn’t get off a shot. Cleveland’s Iman Shumpert stole the ball from Teague as the fourth quarter ended.

Cleveland took its biggest first-half lead at 55-34 when Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha dribbled the ball off his foot for a turnover, setting up a fast break that ended with a power jam from James.

WELCOME BACK

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue played parts of four seasons with the Hawks from 2004-08. Lue said he received a warm greeting in making his first return to Atlanta since being hired as coach on Jan. 22.

“It feels good to come back and see people who treated you well over the course of your career,” Lue said.

TIP-INS

Cavaliers: Cleveland’s previous win at Atlanta on Nov. 30, 2012. … Kevin Love had 15 points. Thompson had nine points and 14 rebounds. J.R. Smith made four 3s for 12 points. … The teams met for the first time since Nov. 21, when the Cavaliers took a 109-87 home win over the Hawks. They play again at Cleveland on April 11.

Hawks: Atlanta is 0-5 in overtime games this season. … Atlanta-based hip-hop recording artist T.I. performed at halftime. … The Hawks’ 16 turnovers led to 16 points for Cleveland. … Horford had 14 points and nine rebounds. Korver also had 14 points.

 

Jose Barea’s 29 points lead Dallas to 98-89 win over Pistons

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Jose Barea scored 29 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 19 as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Detroit Pistons 98-89 on Friday night.

The win moved Dallas a half-game ahead of Utah for seventh place in the Western Conference, with the Jazz playing later Friday.

Even with the loss, Detroit leads eighth-place Indiana by a half-game and ninth-place Chicago by 1 1/2 games in the East. The Pistons visit the Bulls on Saturday.

Marcus Morris led the Pistons with a season-high 29 points, while Andre Drummond had 12 points and 17 rebounds.

Morris scored 16 points in the first quarter, but Detroit’s reserves struggled at the start of the second. Dallas put up the first 15 points of the quarter to take a 40-25 lead, forcing Stan Van Gundy to rush his starters back onto the floor.

They stopped the surge, but Dallas still had a 51-36 lead at the half. Morris had 22 for Detroit, but Barea had 19 points for the Mavericks while his opposing point guard, Reggie Jackson, was 0 for 7 with four turnovers.

Van Gundy switched defensive stopper Kentavious Caldwell-Pope onto Barea, and Detroit got back into the game. Jackson scored seven points in the first six minutes of the third, and Morris’ sixth 3-pointer tied the score at 58.

Dallas, though, regained control as soon as Van Gundy put in his reserves. They led 71-61 at the end of the third, but couldn’t put the Pistons away.

Stanley Johnson and Caldwell-Pope hit back-to-back 3s to make it 77-73 with 8:19 left, but Van Gundy had to pull Drummond because of intentional fouls with 4:33 left.

With Caldwell-Pope giving up 7 inches to guard the 7-foot Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews got to the line for a three-point play and an eight-point lead. After Morris missed, two free throws by Devin Harris made it 95-85 with 2:05 to play.

TIP INS

Mavericks: With Deron Williams (abdominal strain) and Raymond Felton (groin strain) both sidelined, Harris was the only traditional guard on the Dallas bench. … Charlie Villanueva, who was on the floor for the Mavericks’ 15-0 run, was booed by Pistons fans every time he touched the ball. He played five seasons for Detroit.

Pistons: Drummond missed eight of his first 10 free throws, and was pulled in both the third and fourth quarters when the Mavericks began to intentionally foul.