Kurt Helin

Coach Rick Carlisle says Mavericks to sign David Lee Monday

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What David Lee wants is the chance to get on the court again and just play.

The former All-Star has been slowed by injuries and spent most of the last season glued to the bench in Golden State (at least until he was needed in the Finals), and then in Boston this season. After they could not move him at the trade deadline, the Celtics bought out Lee so he could find a better fit somewhere. That fit turns out to be in Dallas, as was expected.

Lee should get some run with the Mavericks’ second unit, playing behind Zaza Pachulia (and in the mix with Salah Mejri, who has been the backup center of late). It’s not a ton of minutes, and Lee is not going to change the Mavs’ season, but he will get on the court. That will start Wednesday against Oklahoma City.

Five Takeaways from NBA Sunday: Anthony Davis sets personal record

Associated Press
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If you missed the full slate of NBA Games Sunday because you and other mascots were dancing to set a record, I completely understand. And we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know from a Sunday around the Association, starting with Dan Feldman’s dispatch from outside Detroit:

1) Anthony Davis goes off for 59 on Pistons.

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan – Anthony Davis said he knew the referees would never call a foul on Andre Drummond, who made plenty of contact as Davis held the ball with the clock expiring in the Pelicans’ 111-106 win over the Pistons on Sunday.

Maybe Drummond was trying for a final steal despite his team trailing by multiple possessions. Maybe he was trying to help Davis get to the foul line and bump his scoring total just one more point.

If it were the latter, no matter.

Davis was perfectly pleased with his 59 points, the most in an NBA game this season or last. The New Orleans forward, whose previous career high was 43, said 50 had long been his goal.

“If people get 40, that’s tough to get. Thirty is kind of tough in the NBA. But 50,” Davis said, his eyes widening, “it’s 50. Everybody can’t get 50.”

Especially not with the 20 rebounds Davis grabbed Sunday.

Just two other players had a 50-20 game since at least 1983-84, as far back as Basketball-Reference.com records date: Chris Webber (51-26 in 2001) and Shaquille O’Neal (61-23 in 2000). Add Davis’ four assists, and his point-rebound-assist marks are unprecedented in the Basketball-Reference database.

Davis made 14-of-19 shots in the paint, 8-of-13 mid-range shots, 2-of-2 3-pointers and 9-of-10 free throws

At one point, he hit a shot fall-away shot over Drummond.

“I was like, ‘Damn,'” Davis said. “I was like, ‘It might be one of those nights.'”

“After a while, you feel like any shot you put up is going to go in.”

—Dan Feldman

2) Cleveland’s other “big three” lead Cavaliers to statement win over Thunder. Kyrie Irving was out with the stomach flu (he didn’t play in the second half Sunday), but it didn’t matter because the Cavaliers had their other “big three” — their front line of LeBron James, Kevin Love, and Tristan Thompson. That trio combined for 68 points, 32 rebounds, 16 assists, and they were a +20 when on the court together against the Thunder. That fits with their season numbers, where the trio is +20.4 points per 100 possessions (in more than 700 minutes together), according to NBA.com.

This game was close early, but the Cavaliers bench started to stretch the lead out, and the Cavaliers were up nine at the half. Then the Cavs cranked up the defense — OKC scored just 39 points in the second half — and starting with an 11-0 run four minutes into the second half pulled away or a comfortable win. The Cavs led by as many as 26 in the second half. For the Cavaliers it’s a sign of them taking another step, showing that they can be a threat to San Antonio and, more importantly, Golden State. On the other side, the Thunder have struggled against the NBA’s best teams this season and that’s a concerning trend. Especially with a game against the Warriors looming on Saturday.

3) Kobe Bryant played his last game in Chicago. There was added emotion on the Kobe farewell tour Sunday because Chicago is the home of Michael Jordan — the guy Kobe has so often been compared to. It was also emotional because Pau Gasol was there to do the pre-game introduction for his friend, and then embrace him afterward.

As for the game itself, the Bulls defense was again miserable, but not as miserable as the Lakers’ — the Bulls knocked down their threes, got 24 out of Derrick Rose, and scored the 126-115 win. The game was entertaining in an “only slightly more defense than the All-Star Game” way, and Kobe hit some tough shots that the fans ate up, but this wasn’t pretty basketball. Still, the Bulls will take it.

4) Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum combine for 61 and spark Trail Blazers win. Every team that had beaten Golden State this season turned around and lost their next game — Portland’s backcourt was determined to break that streak. Utah had pushed its way back into the playoff discussion in the West and led by double digits most of the second quarter and into the start of the third. That’s when McCollum (31 points) and Lillard (30) led the comeback by hitting their threes (especially from the left side of the court) and finishing when they got to the rim, despite the skilled shot blockers the Jazz have clogging the paint. McCollum hit a couple of late free throws to ice the 115-111 win for Portland. This gave Portland the tie breaker over Utah, which matters as these teams are the current seven (Portland) and nine (Utah) seeds in the West and are separated by just 1.5 games.

5) Anderson Varejao, David Lee find new homes in the Western Conference. Veteran big men Anderson Varejao and David Lee, both recently bought out and waived (Varejao was traded, to boot) cleared waivers on Sunday afternoon and both quickly signed with their new teams.

Varejao, the long-time Cavalier, signed with the Golden State Warriors, something he confirmed. This is a spot where he can get a little run in the short term — Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezili are out injured — and he can chase a ring. It also could set up an awkward reunion if/when the Cavs and Warriors meet in the Finals. (Also, I’ve seen the tweet getting forwarded around of a few frustrated Cavs fans calling Varejao a traitor for signing with Golden State. Give me a break. Loyalty is a two-way street. Varejao showed nothing but loyalty to the Cavaliers for 11.5 seasons, and he was rewarded with being shipped out to Portland to make way for Channing Frye — the team showed no loyalty to him. It’s a cold business. Varejao looked out for himself and owes nothing to Cleveland now.)

Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle confirmed that David Lee has signed with Dallas. Lee was looking for a place he could get some run after being glued to the bench in Golden State last season (at least until he was needed in the Finals) then in Boston this season. In Dallas Lee should get some run with the second unit, playing behind Zaza Pachulia (and in the mix with Salah Mejri, who has been the backup center of late).

McCollum scores 31 as Trail Blazers edge Jazz 115-111

Associated Press
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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — C.J. McCollum scored 31 points, including two clinching free throws with 2.7 seconds left, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Utah Jazz 115-111 on Sunday night.

Damian Lillard had 30 points and five assists for Portland, which has won 14 of 17 overall. Reserve Maurice Harkless scored 17 points, and Ed Davis had 11 on 4-for-4 shooting.

Lillard made a tiebreaking layup with 23.4 seconds left and McCollum hit two foul shots to give Portland a 113-109 lead. After Derrick Favors scored for Utah, McCollum made two more free throws to clinch the win for the Trail Blazers.

Favors paced the Jazz with 22 points and eight rebounds. Gordon Hayward scored 21 points, and Rodney Hood had 18.

Utah lost for the third time in four games and is in ninth place in the West. Portland remained in seventh, a half-game behind Dallas for sixth.

The Jazz had a 62-49 lead in the third quarter before Lillard drained four consecutive 3-pointers in a 90-second span. McCollum tacked on a 3 of his own, capping a 15-1 run that made it 64-63 with 6:56 left.

Shelvin Mack scored a season-high 16 points and had six assists for the Jazz, who acquired the backup point guard at Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

After falling behind 8-0 and missing its first six shots, Utah scored its first points nearly four minutes into the game. The Jazz eventually got going and reeled off a 21-2 run behind a suffocating defense that forced eight turnovers and limited Portland to 35 percent shooting.

The Blazers took better care of the ball in the second quarter, committing just one turnover, but their deficit ballooned to 13 before they closed with a 7-0 spurt to trim Utah’s lead to 52-47 at halftime.

 

TIP-INS

Jazz: Mack and Hayward were collegiate teammates for two seasons at Butler (2008-10), losing to Duke in the 2010 national championship game. . C Rudy Gobert brought a five-game double-double streak into Sunday’s game. He finished with seven points and eight boards.

Trail Blazers: Lillard became the first player in NBA history to make 150-plus 3-pointers in his first four seasons in the league.

 

Bulls beat Lakers 126-115 to spoil Kobe Bryant’s Chicago farewell

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CHICAGO (AP) — Derrick Rose and E'Twaun Moore had 24 points apiece Sunday night to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 126-115 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Kobe Bryant‘s final game at the United Center.

Moore, who was 10 for 14 from the field, tied his career high. Pau Gasol had 21 points, Mike Dunleavy and Bobby Portis each scored 17 and Doug McDermott added 16 as the Bulls won their second straight.

Bryant finished with 22 points on 8-for-20 shooting in 27 minutes. Julius Randle also had 22 points and Jordan Clarkson added 20 as Los Angeles dropped its fifth in a row.

The Bulls played a video tribute to Bryant during the introductions of the Lakers’ starters. Rose referred to Bryant as his generation’s Michael Jordan, and the salute ended with Gasol introducing his former teammate.

Bryant received a standing ovation and the crowd broke into a “Kobe! Kobe!” chant.

Early in the third quarter, Bryant hit back-to-back jumpers to tie the score at 66. Gasol then answered with a 3-pointer to spark a string of eight straight points for a 74-66 Chicago lead.

The Bulls had a 98-81 lead at the end of the third quarter and stretched it to 100-81 in the opening minute of the fourth.

Bryant started the quarter on the bench and the United Center fans – sensing he might not return – chanted his name on a few occasions.

Before Bryant returned, Los Angeles made a run, cutting the lead to 108-105 on Nick Young‘s 3-pointer midway through the fourth. The Lakers, though, couldn’t get any closer as the Bulls hung on.

Bryant returned with 3:08 remaining and the score 117-110. He left with 45.3 seconds left with the Bulls up 124-113.

TIP-INS

Lakers: F Anthony Brown (sprained right ankle) missed his third straight game. . Bryant was playing with a dislocated middle finger on his right hand. “It’s a little numb but I still feel the ball pretty well,” he said.

Bulls: Jimmy Butler (sprained left knee) and Nikola Mirotic (appendicitis) are still at least two weeks from returning to action, according to coach Fred Hoiberg. “He’s still not able to do much running; he still has pain in that abdomen,” Hoiberg said of Mirotic.

 

Dirk Nowitzki clears 29,000-point mark with bucket Sunday

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Only five other players have done it in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Karl Malone. Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan. Wilt Chamberlain.

Dirk Nowitzki now joins that historic group — NBA players who have scored more than 29,000 points in the league.

He did it with the three you see above, which included a pump fake and almost no leap. But somehow it felt like vintage Nowitzki — he will go down as the greatest shooting big man and one of the great scorers the game has ever seen. And the Mavericks beat the 76ers handily in this one.

It was perfect that it happened while Nowitzki was wearing the throwback green Mavs jerseys.