Kurt Helin

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) and teammates Matthew Dellavedova (8) and Kevin Love (0) react to a 3-pointer that was scored during overtime in an NBA basketball game against the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in Dallas. The Cleveland Cavaliers won 110-107. (AP Photo/LM Otero)
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Five Takeaways from NBA Tuesday: LeBron dunk forces OT in Cavs/Mavs thriller

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If you’re like me, you stopped your binge watching of Making a Murderer to flip on NBA games Tuesday. If you’re not like me and just kept right on watching the Avery family, then here is what you need to know from a Tuesday around the Association.

1) LeBron James’ dunk sends Cavaliers and Mavericks to overtime, where Kyrie Irving sank the dagger. What.A. Game. Dallas and Cleveland played one of the most entertaining games of the year a back-and-forth contest that even saw Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron matched up head-to-head in key moments. Dallas’ starters played fantastically — Chandler Parsons had 25 points — while Cleveland’s struggled for much of the game (Kevin Love was 5-of-19 shooting, but, at least, he got 19 shots). LeBron continued his hot shooting from the outside ever since John Schuhmann’s tweet; he looked like his vintage self for stretches. Then when the Cavaliers needed a bucket to send the game to overtime LeBron attacked the rim and Devin Harris was not about to stop that finish.

That led to an overtime where eventually the Cavaliers went on a 10-2 run, but it was LeBron’s hesitation after a Deron Williams flop, and then a kick-out to a very deep Kyrie Irving, that put the dagger in Dallas.

2) Carmelo Anthony sprains ankle, could miss time. It was a fluke play not long before halftime. Anthony was running back upcourt, watching the play behind him, and crashed into a referee, stepping on the ref’s foot. ‘Melo rolled his ankle.

Anthony had his ankle retaped and tried to start the second half, but played 19 seconds and came out. The good news is the X-rays were negative, and he’s not going to miss much time. However, don’t be surprised if Anthony sits out Wednesday against the Nets.

‘Melo’s ankle almost stole the headline from the real story: The Knicks are a .500 team at 20-20 after beating Boston (which has struggled since the first of the year). Before the season it would have seemed impossible that the Knicks would be playing this well, or that .500 would still be on the outside looking in at the playoffs in the East, but here we are. Knicks fans can thank the youngsters for this win: Jerian Grant had nine points and six assists in the fourth quarter; Kristaps Porzingis had 16 points and took one three from a step off the Knicks logo at center court.

3) Derrick Rose leaves the game due to tendonitis, says he’s not going to miss time (but we’ll see). The Chicago Bulls have lost three straight games now (falling to the Bucks Tuesday 106-101), their defense has gone on hiatus, and those are not their biggest worries anymore — Derrick Rose had to come out of the game in the second half with what he called “jumpers’ knee.” Rose wasn’t worried that this is serious, but he just came back after three missed games (hamstring) and now this. Don’t be shocked if he sits out a game or three.

The Bulls actually have been better this season with Rose off the court, mostly because their defense improves. Plus they are used to playing without him (the offense is very close to the same scoring rate with him on or off the court). Still, Chicago is going to struggle to find its identity if it can’t just get a stretch of games with settled rotations with everyone healthy.



4) Kobe Bryant leaves Lakers’ game with a sore Achilles.
Speaking of superstars whose bodies will not let them stay on the court, Kobe had to leave the Lakers’ eventual win over the Anthony Davis-less Pelicans because of a sore Achilles. Considering his previous injury there, the Lakers rightfully are going to be cautious. Kobe is listed as questionable for Thursday’s game at Golden State.

I watched the second half of this game and here are my two quick takeaways:

1) Byron Scott, for the love of the game, keep D'Angelo Russell in at the end of the fourth quarter. He played well, you can start to see his development of late, he is mentally starting to figure out how to play at the NBA level and work off pick-and-rolls — why are you sitting him? You reward his good play with getting to watch the end of the game from the bench? Interesting player development choice.

2) The final two minutes of this game were just sloppy and ugly. These are two bad teams playing matador defense basketball.

5) A power outage leads to 20-minute delay during Suns at Pacers. This was the best defense Phoenix played all night. A power outage throughout downtown Indianapolis turned off the lights at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, and the game had to be delayed with 4:32 left in the second quarter and the Pacers up by two. The stoppage was about 20-25 minutes.

Indiana went on a 14-3 run not long after the lights came back up. The Pacers went on to win 116-97.

Kevin Durant helps Thunder hold off Timberwolves, 101-96

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant shoots the ball against the Portland Trail Blazers during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)
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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Oklahoma City Thunder were letting another big fourth-quarter lead start to slip away, and precocious Minnesota Timberwolves point guard Zach LaVine was starting to look a little too much like Damian Lillard for Kevin Durant‘s liking.

So the Thunder star took matters into his own hands to help the Thunder avoid what would have been a second straight ugly collapse.

Durant shrugged off a slow start to score 12 straight points in the final three minutes and finished with 30 points in a 101-96 victory over the Timberwolves on Tuesday night.

“It felt like I need to get it going in the first three quarters,” said Durant, who was 7 for 21 through three periods. “I can’t just come out and try to save the game and make shots in the fourth. I’ve got to get it going earlier. I’ve got to make shots, man. That’s what it’s about.”

Russell Westbrook added 22 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds to help the Thunder hold off a late charge from the struggling Wolves, one game after giving up a big lead to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Thunder made 9 of 22 3-pointers to cruise to their seventh win in nine games.

LaVine broke out of a miserable slump with 21 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Shabazz Muhammad scored 20 points for the Timberwolves, who have lost seven straight games and 11 of their last 12.

Andrew Wiggins scored 20 points for Minnesota, which is 5-17 at home.

“OKC’s a really good team and got off to a really quick start on us, but everyone played well tonight,” Muhammad said.

The Thunder came into the game ornery after giving up five 3-pointers to Portland’s Lillard in the final three minutes of a 115-110 loss on Sunday night.

Westbrook made 8 of 15 shots and forced Wiggins to expend much of his energy guarding the robo-guard. Enes Kanter scored 18 points off the bench and only missed two of his 10 shots.

The Thunder led 15-2 before the first quarter was half over and were up 78-60 in the third quarter before they started carelessly jacking up 3s to give the Wolves an opening.

LaVine converted a three-point play and hit a 3 from the wing before Nemanja Bjelica hit another 3 to help the Wolves cut the deficit to three points with 3:15 to play.

But Durant hit four straight jumpers and four free throws for Oklahoma City to avoid another collapse.

“I think the one thing about him is he always stays engaged,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “He’s got a lot of confidence, he’s put a lot of time in and he’s worked really hard so in those moments he’s prepared to step up regardless of what’s happened with the shot before.”

 

TIP-INS

Thunder: Donovan picked up his first career technical foul while arguing for a goaltending call in the first quarter.

Timberwolves: C Nikola Pekovic sat out to rest after playing his first three games of the season in his return from Achilles surgery. He is expected to play on Wednesday in Houston while starter Kevin Garnett rests on the second night of a back-to-back. … LaVine made a crazy layup after getting hammered by Durant with 3:25 to play, but a review showed the ball hit the top of the backboard first so it was waved off.

 

Harden scores 25 to lead Rockets past Grizzlies, 107-91

Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives between Memphis Grizzlies guard Tony Allen, left, and forward Jeff Green (32) in the first half of an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2016, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — James Harden scored 25 points, Dwight Howard added 17 points and 14 rebounds and the Houston Rockets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 107-91 on Tuesday night.

Terrence Jones finished with 20 points for Houston, 10 in the fourth quarter when the Rockets pulled away to win their fourth straight.

The Rockets broke open an 83-all game to eventually lead by 18 down the stretch as Memphis managed only eight points after the teams were deadlocked.

Marcus Thornton had 16 points, and Trevor Ariza finished with 10.

Marc Gasol led Memphis with 20 points, while Tony Allen added 17. Courtney Lee finished with 16 and Mario Chalmers, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter all scored 10.

The Rockets connected on 18 of 35 from outside the arc compared to only 7 of 18 for Memphis. Houston dominated the boards 42-31, including 18 from the offensive glass. That led to a 28-12 advantage in second-chance points.

Memphis, which trailed by as many as 13 in the first half, opened the second half with a 13-2 rally to erase a 9-point halftime deficit.

The Grizzlies couldn’t maintain the advantage as the Rockets controlled the boards, especially the offensive glass. By the end of the third, Houston was outrebounding Memphis 32-21, including 15 offensive rebounds leading to 23 second-chance points through three quarters.

Carter tied the game at 83 on a 3-point play with 7:35 remaining. But the Memphis offense stalled as Jones and Howard carried the Rockets offense.

Houston used 3-point shooting in the first half to take a 51-44 lead into intermission. Thornton gave the Rockets a boost off the bench, hitting three of four shots, including a pair from outside the arc. Thornton had 11 in the half, while Harden and Ariza scored 10 each.

Howard was already on the verge of his double-double with eight points and eight rebounds.

Gasol and Lee scored 10 each in the half for Memphis. Lee’s included a 3-pointer as the horn sounded to cut the Rockets lead to single digits at the break.

TIP-INS:

Rockets: Howard recorded his 17th double-double of the season. .Houston had lost the first two games in the season series. .Rockets G Ty Lawson did not play, serving the last game of a three-game suspension by the league. .Howard took only 13 shots in the first two games between the two teams this season. He took 10 Tuesday night and converted all five of his free throws, including four as the Rockets pulled away.

Grizzlies: Memphis played without starting G Mike Conley, who missed his fourth straight game with sore left Achilles, and F Matt Barnes, who sat out his first with a right thumb injury. .Randolph moved past Larry Bird (8,974) into 50th place on the all-time rebounding list in the third quarter.

 

Carmelo Anthony steps on referee’s foot, rolls ankle, leaves game

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) smiles during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Miami Heat, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016, in Miami. The Knicks defeated the Heat 98-90. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
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It was a fluke play.

Carmelo Anthony was running back upcourt, watching the play behind him, and crashed into a referee, stepping on his foot. ‘Melo rolled his ankle.

Anthony laid on the court for a couple of minutes when it happened, but it was right before half so he went to the locker room. The Knicks said that he was getting his ankle retaped and would be out to start the second half.

That lasted all of 19 seconds.

He asked out of the game at that point and soon went back to the locker room again. This time he was not returning to play against Boston.

His status for the Knicks’ Wednesday game against the Nets is unclear at present.

Reports: John Wall leaving agent to join Rich Paul (LeBron’s agent)

Washington Wizards' John Wall leaves the court at after his team's 91-94 loss to Toronto Raptors in an NBA basketball game in Toronto on Wednesday, Dec. 30, 2015. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
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John Wall is a free agent. Not on the court — he’s locked in for three more seasons after this one with the Wizards.

Not on the court — he’s locked in for three more seasons after this one with the Wizards.

But he is a shoe contract free agent. His deal with Adidas expired before the start of this season, and his agent had been negotiating a new one. It’s taken a while with no results.

Now Rich Paul — the agent and friend of LeBron James who also represents Tristan Thompson, Eric Bledsoe and others — apparently is going to take over those talks. Multiple reports have Wall dropping his current agent, Dan Fegan, for Paul. Here is the Washington Post’s report.

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall has fired agent Dan Fegan and his team of representatives at Relativity Sports and plans to hire Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, according to two people with knowledge of the situation. Wall has to wait 15 days after notifying Fegan before officially signing with Paul.

Wall denied that any new agent has been chosen, but confirmed Fegan is out.

This is all about the shoes. Wall had an Adidas deal but for much of this season has worn LeBron Nikes. That and the jump to Paul would suggest the change in shoe brands will be permanent.

This isn’t going to be immediate, but expect Wall to have a new shoe deal not long after he formally changes agents.