Kurt Helin

Watch Klay Thompson drop 32 on Clippers in Warriors win

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Stephen Curry looked human (relatively), shooting just 5-of-15 on his way to 23 points. That was a good sign for the Clippers, trying to hand the Warriors their first back-to-back losses of the season.

But then there was Klay Thompson to keep the offense going.

Thompson did a little bit of everything — hustled down the court for transition buckets, dunked, hit some key three-pointers, and when the Clipper defense forced him into the midrange he hit those, too. Thompson finished with 32 points on 23 shots, and combined with Draymond Green‘s triple-double the Warriors did not suffer another loss, winning 115-112.

Kobe Bryant dislocates finger, has trainer pop it back in, comes right back in game

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LOS ANGELES — It happened with just more than two minutes left in the fourth quarter of a game where Kobe Bryant was leading a surprising late Lakers’ charge against the shorthanded San Antonio Spurs.

Kobe Bryant dislocated his finger.

“I was trying to go after the ball, and I just slipped on the wet floor,” Kobe said. “As I slipped, I put my hand on the floor to try balance myself, but I couldn’t spread my palm fast enough, so my finger just jammed right through the floor. It just popped right out. I tried to go after the ball, but my finger was just dangling there, kind of out to the side and the other part was going the other way.

“I thought about trying to put it back in myself, but it wasn’t going straight down, so Gary (Vitti, Lakers’ trainer) worked his magic and popped it back in.”

Kobe looked over at his family in the crowd and gave a nod. It’s something he says he’s always done to let them know he’s okay.

“They get concerned,” Bryant said. “So I look over at them and say it’s all right, then they are okay.”

Then Kobe went back in the game like nothing happened. Vintage Kobe.

Coach Byron Scott had seen the finger and called for Nick Young to go in, and young officially checked into the game, but Vitti popped the finger in and Kobe was ready to return. Bryant had to sit out until the next break (because Young had checked in) then Kobe returned to the game. He scored one more bucket, but Scott subbed Bryant out again with :36 left so the crowd could salute him.

Kobe said there is no fracture, and he will be ready to play Sunday against the Bulls.

This was just another in the long line of times Kobe suffered an injury and just played through it or had a little treatment then went right back in when most players would sit. It was just vintage Kobe.

This is also Vitti’s final season with the Lakers — he has been with the team since the Showtime era — and he and Kobe have built a relationship around Vitti doing everything he can to help keep Kobe on the court.

“We find these things extremely funny,” Bryant said of the dislocation Friday night. “It may be weird, but we find these things extremely funny. I go to the bench, he looks at my finger and says ‘Oh yea, that’s a good one’ and I say ‘no s—-. Do something about it.’ Then he pops it back in place and we just kind of laugh about it. He knows me from over the years; he knows I’m going right back in the game. So we laugh and we joke about it. We’ve seen it all. We’ve absolutely seen it all.

“It was fun to have that moment — hopefully it’s the last one we have. But it was fun to have it.”

We all hope it’s the last one, and Kobe leaves this season standing and on his own terms.

DeMarcus Cousins dropped 37 points on Denver Friday (VIDEO)

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There wasn’t anything fancy about what DeMarcus Cousins did to the Denver Nuggets Friday night — the team put him in the post, got him the rock and let him got to work near the rim.

It worked. Cousins put up 37 points and grabbed 20 boards in the Kings’ 116-110 win over the Nuggets.

Cousins’ shot chart tells the story.

Cousins shotchart

I don’t want to tell George Karl how to do his job, but more of this would be a good thing. Nobody is stopping Cousins around the rim.

Popovich on All-Star practice one-on-one with Kobe: “He elbowed me”

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LOS ANGELES — All-Star Game practices are basically public shootarounds, with a minimal amount of strategy and a lot of players getting interviewed. They are just the guys having fun.

As part of this year’s 2016 , Gregg Popovich played a little one-on-one with Kobe Bryant, Pop tried to play a little defense. Kobe got by the Spurs coach and scored. Popovich joked around Friday night — before his Spurs faced Kobe for the final time — about why he got beat on the play.

“He elbowed me,” Popovich said. “I don’t know if you looked at that. The guy, he got competitive, and he elbowed me, so he could get by me because I’m so quick I could stay in front of him. He’s a slow old dog and I’m quick, the only way he could get around me was to cheat, so he raised that elbow and cracked it.”

“I can handle his quickness just fine, I just felt like throwing an elbow at him,” Kobe responded with a laugh.

Kobe and Popovich have a strong relationship, two students of the game who are more alike than different (despite wildly different upbringings). They both talked about how they were going to miss each other and their times together facing off against each other.

“They’ve pushed me to really fine tune and sharpen my game,” Kobe said of the Spurs. “I’m sad those matchups aren’t going to happen (anymore).”

Monta Ellis scores 27 as Pacers beat Thunder 101-98

Indiana Pacers guard Monta Ellis (11) drives between Oklahoma City Thunder players for two points during the second half of an NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Friday, Feb. 19, 2016. The Pacers defeated the Thunder 101-98. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
Associated Press
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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Monta Ellis scored 27 points to help the Indiana Pacers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 101-98 on Friday night.

Paul George had 22 points and 10 assists, Ian Mahinmi matched a career high with 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Myles Turner had 16 points and a career-high six blocks for the Pacers.

George Hill had nine points and nine assists and matched a career high with 11 rebounds for Indiana, which has won six of nine.

Kevin Durant had 31 points and eight rebounds and Russell Westbrook had 23 points and a career-high 18 assists for the Thunder.

Serge Ibaka had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Enes Kanter added 13 points and 10 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which had won 14 of 16 heading into the All-Star break.

Turner hit a 3-pointer from the right corner to tie the score at 95 with 55.4 seconds to play. Durant missed a 3, then Ellis responded with a 3 with 18.8 seconds remaining.

Westbrook missed a layup, the Pacers rebounded and George was fouled with 10.9 seconds remaining. He missed the first free throw and made the second to make it 99-95.

Durant hit a 3 with 5.9 seconds remaining to pull the Thunder to 99-98. George was fouled with 5.1 seconds to play. He made both free throws to make it a three-point game, and Westbrook missed a deep, off-balance 3 at the buzzer.

Westbrook had 11 points and 12 assists in the first half. He matched the most assists he’s has had in a half in his career. He had 12 assists before he registered his first turnover. Durant scored 17 points and Ibaka added 10 before the break to help the Thunder take a 51-44 lead.

Oklahoma City led 76-67 at the end of the third before Indiana rallied.

QUOTABLE

Thunder general manager Sam Presti earlier in the day on rumors about Durant’s eventual landing spot in free agency: “I think we would have to cut him up into 29 pieces to get him to play every place he is supposed to be going, but I think you have to sit back and understand that is part of the business.”

TIP-INS

Pacers: G Rodney Stuckey sat out with a right foot sprain/bone bruise. … Pacers G/F C.J. Miles did not play because of a stomach virus. … The Pacers shot 50 percent in the fourth quarter.

Thunder: Assistant coach Mark Daigneault, who had moved from up head coach of the D-League affiliate Oklahoma City Blue to assist Thunder coach Billy Donovan for the rest of the season stayed with the Blue on Friday because interim Blue coach Jarrell Christian’s wife was having a baby. Daigneault had moved up because assistant Monty Williams is mourning his wife’s death and assistant Maurice Cheeks was out following hip surgery.