Kurt Helin

Houston Rockets forward Trevor Ariza (1) scores past New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis (23) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 26, 2015, in New Orleans. The Pelicans won 110-108. (AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman)
Associated Press

Trevor Ariza scores 24, Rockets rally to beat Pacers 107-103 in OT

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HOUSTON (AP) — Trevor Ariza scored a season-high 24 points and Corey Brewer hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in overtime to give the Houston Rockets a 107-103 win over the Indiana Pacers on Sunday night.

The Pacers scored the first six points of overtime before Houston scored the next six to tie it at 99 with about 2 minutes left.

Monta Ellis made two baskets after that to put the Pacers up twice, but each time Houston responded with a 3-pointer. Ariza hit the first one and Brewer made the second to make it 105-103 with 40.9 seconds left.

Ariza added a dunk with 2 seconds left to secure Houston’s third straight victory.

The Rockets trailed by 12 midway through the fourth quarter before rallying to tie it with 17.1 seconds left on a 3 by Ariza. The Pacers had a chance to win in regulation, but Ellis missed a jump shot at the buzzer.

Paul George had just four points in the first half before scoring 14 of his 20 in a 27-point third quarter to help Indiana build a big lead before Houston came back in the fourth.

James Harden had 21 points and Dwight Howard added 21 points and 17 rebounds for his fifth straight double-double in his return after missing Thursday’s game with soreness in his lower back.

The Pacers’ lead was 12 before the Rockets used a 12-1 run to get to 89-88 with about 3 minutes left.

The Pacers had a 13-point lead entering the fourth and were up by 12 after a one-handed dunk by Jordan Hill with about 6 1/2 minutes left.

Indiana led by three at halftime and scored the first five points of the second half to make it 55-48. Houston got a 3-pointer from Patrick Beverley followed by a hook shot from Howard to get within two, but Indiana padded the lead with a 14-6 spurt to make it 69-59.

George made two 3-pointers in that span, and Lavoy Allen and Ian Mahinmi added four points each for the Pacers. The Rockets scored all their points in that stretch on free throws as they went almost 6 minutes without a field goal.

Harden finally ended the drought with a layup with less than 3 minutes left in the third. He made a 3-pointer after a dunk by George to cut the lead to 71-64.

George wasn’t done with his work in the quarter as that dunk was the first of eight straight points he scored to end the period and make it 77-64. The stretch was highlighted by his last points in the third when he made an off-balance jumper as he was fouled by Harden and hit the free throw.

The Pacers trailed by four in the second quarter before using an 11-2 run to take a 50-45 lead just before halftime. Harden hit a 3-pointer just before the quarter ended to cut it to 50-48 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Pacers: Indiana had 18 turnovers after committing a season-high 25 in its previous game. … Ellis had a season-high 13 assists.

Rockets: G Ty Lawson served the second of a three-game suspension for driving under the influence last July. … F/C Donatas Motiejunas missed his fourth straight game with back soreness. … C Clint Capela had three steals to give him at least three in two straight games after doing so only twice in his first 35 games this season.

 

Emmanuel Mudiay returns after missing 14 games with ankle injury

Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay, center, drives the lane for a shot as Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin, left, and forward Spencer Hawes defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, in Denver. The Nuggets won 95-92. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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DENVER (AP) — Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay returns to the court Sunday night against Charlotte after missing 14 games with a sprained right ankle.

Just in time, too, as the Nuggets will be without Jameer Nelson after he strained his left hip flexor in a loss at Memphis on Friday. Denver also will be without forward Kenneth Faried, who’s helping out after the birth of his daughter.

Drafted with the seventh overall pick last summer, Mudiay is averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 assists this season. He hasn’t played since Dec. 11 against Minnesota.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone says Mudiay won’t have his playing time closely monitored, even more so with Nelson sidelined. Mudiay’s backup will be Randy Foye, with Will Barton and Danilo Gallinari possibly handling the ball as well.

Kristaps Porzingis uses length for ridiculous putback jam (VIDEO)

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Early in the season, Kristaps Porzingis‘ putback dunks were a thing, but the pace of those slowed down over the course of the season.

He was back at it Sunday. Prozingis timed a Robin Lopez miss and used his ridiculous length to grab it and threw it down.

The Knicks have evolved into one of the most entertaining teams to walk in the league. That was very true of their win over the Bucks Sunday, where Carmelo Anthony had 24, Porzingis 15, and the Knicks got the 100-88 win.

Report: Billy King’s new job with Nets? Help them find new GM.

Billy King
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What could go wrong here? Take the guy who made a number of outright terrible trades as GM and have him advise the company on picking his replacement.

But that’s what is happening in Brooklyn (the new leaders in dysfunction around the NBA). Sunday the organization decided to fire coach Lionel Hollins and re-assign GM Billy King, because the organization needs a new direction according to owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

What is King’s new job? Advise on picking his successor, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

After his dismissal as Brooklyn Nets general manager, Billy King’s reassignment is expected to include advising ownership on its search for King’s successor, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The arrangement is unorthodox, especially considering King was pushed out of the job by owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

Unorthodox is one word for it.

It’s going to be hard for anyone who steps into the GM job to turn the Nets around. They have a dearth of talent on the roster (10-27 record this season), and as part of the owner-ordered win-now build up when the Nets opened Barclays Center, they don’t have or control their own first-round pick until 2019. The Nets have the cap space to pay free agents, but what elite player is going to want to go there right now?

Wojnarowski mentions one name that has been cropping up all over the league — John Calipari.

One of the major influences in the search process promises to be Nets CEO Brett Yormark, who has remained an immense ally of Kentucky coach John Calipari since Calipari’s late 1990s tenure as Nets president and coach. Yormark has remained a proponent of making a lucrative offer to bring Calipari back to the Nets in a dual president and coaching role, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Calipari reportedly has some interest in returning to the NBA, and it would take the kind of money and power he would get in Brooklyn to lure him. But again, this franchise is far from being competitive again, it is a complete rebuild, and it’s going to take years even if done right (and Prokhorov has not shown to be the most patient of owners). This is not a job that guys with options are likely to take — and Calipari has options, including staying at Kentucky where he is a legend who built a powerhouse.

However, Billy King can talk to him about it.

Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford help Clippers beat Pelicans 114-111 in OT

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan pulls his hair during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 114-111 in overtime. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists, Jamal Crawford added 21 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers extended the NBA’s longest active winning streak to nine games with a 114-111 overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.

Two-time All-Star Anthony Davis, the Pelicans’ leading scorer and rebounder, did not play because of a back contusion. He was hurt when he dove over the first row of seats chasing a loose ball early in the Pelicans’ 91-86 home loss to Indiana on Friday night.

The Pelicans forced overtime when Jrue Holiday made three free throws after he was fouled by Austin Rivers on a 3-point attempt from the top of the key with 1.6 seconds left.

Los Angeles native Holiday scored 12 of his season-high 29 points off the bench in the fourth quarter to help New Orleans erase a 12-point deficit. Tyreke Evans added 26.

Ryan Anderson, making his fourth start of the season in Davis’ power forward spot, had 16 points and 10 rebounds in 42 minutes.

The Pelicans have lost five of their last six, including a 95-89 defeat at home against the Clippers on New Year’s Eve.

Trailing 88-76 early in the fourth, the Pelicans narrowed the gap to 93-89 with a 13-5 run capped by Evans’ fast-break layup with 6:54 to play. Holiday cut it to 98-96 on a 3-pointer with 3:32 remaining, but Dante Cunningham missed a potential go-ahead 3-point shot with 8 seconds on the clock.

Wesley Johnson and Paul hit 3-pointers 1:07 apart in the final 2:22 of overtime to help the Clippers close it out.

The winning streak is the Clippers’ fourth of nine or more games during the past four seasons. They also had a nine-game run last season, an 11-game stretch in 2013-14, and won a franchise-record 17 straight in 2012-13 – going 16-0 in December.

Los Angeles is 8-0 since leading scorer Blake Griffin went down with a partially torn tendon in his left quad. Overall, they are 20-8 when the five-time All-Star has sat out due to injury or suspension – including a 9-6 mark last season.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: The Pelicans are 0-4 with Davis out of the lineup. … Last season, New Orleans was 6-8 when Davis didn’t play – including a 108-103 home win against the Clippers in which Anderson and former Clipper Eric Gordon combined for 52 points. … The Pelicans are 2-6 since trading point guard Ish Smith to Philadelphia for a pair of second-round draft picks on Dec. 24. … The Pelicans finished with eight steals, after setting a franchise record against Indiana with 21.

Clippers: The Clippers missed 16 of 34 free throws. … The Clippers have won 14 of the last 19 meetings with New Orleans after losing each of the previous 14. They have beaten the Pelicans at home seven straight times. … Ten of the Clippers’ 25 victories have been decided by margins of five points or fewer. .. The Clippers are 9-4 at home when leading at halftime. They were 25-0 last season.