Anthony Davis scores 35, Pelicans beat Timberwolves 114-99

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 35 points and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame an early 17-point hole to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-99 on Tuesday night.

Jrue Holiday scored 19 points and Tyreke Evans added 13 for the Pelicans, who’ve won three of four and are four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with their next six games at home.

Eric Gordon scored 11 points but left the game late in the third quarter after apparently jamming a finger on his right hand.

Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which has lost 10 of 11. Ricky Rubio added 15 points, but the Timberwolves were outscored 63-39 in the second half.

Minnesota led 62-51 after Wiggins’ layup early in the third quarter, but New Orleans then surged to its first lead of the game with a 14-2 run that began with a 3 by former Minnesota player Dante Cunningham and ended with Gordon’s 100th 3-pointer of the season, making it 65-64.

Cunningham hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points in his 12th start this season.

The Pelicans wound up outscoring the Wolves 31-15 in the third quarter, which ended with the Pelicans scoring four points inside the last 3 seconds – first with Holiday hitting a 15-foot pull-up, then with Cunningham stealing Nemanja Bjelica‘s inbound pass and sprinting in for a layup just before the horn sounded.

Minnesota’s Gorgui Deng, standing under the hoop, caught the ball as it came through the net and disgustedly slammed it off the court. Whatever anger he and his teammates felt didn’t translate to production early in the fourth quarter. They needed more than 3 minutes to score their next points. By then, the Pelicans had taken their first double-digit lead on Davis’ 14-foot jumper.

Soon after, Anderson and Holiday both hit 3s, giving New Orleans a 92-79 lead, and Minnesota could not mount another serious threat.

The Timberwolves looked their best in the opening quarter, racing to their largest lead when Bjelica’s tip-in of Zach LaVine‘s miss made it 38-21.

At that point, Minnesota had hit 13 of its first 17 shots.

Towns had nine points and seven rebounds before the period ended.

Davis scored 22 of his points during the first half to help New Orleans trim its deficit back into single digits. New Orleans also appeared to get an emotional charge when Anderson was called for a foul despite appearing to take the worst of a collision with Kevin Garnett, with the Minnesota veteran’s forearm hitting the Pelicans forward flush in the face. Officials reviewed video of the incident, upholding their initial call as boos rained down from fans who could also see the replay on the scoreboard.

The Timberwolves still were able to carry a 60-51 lead into halftime after Wiggins scored his 14th point on an 11-foot jumper with 4 seconds left in the second quarter, but not much went right after for Minnesota after that.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Reserve center Nikola Pekovic, who did not make his season debut until Jan. 6 because of right Achilles tendon surgery last April 8, was given the night off to rest. … Minnesota was shooting 72.2 percent after the first quarter (13 of 18), but went 23 of 58 (39.7 percent) the rest of the way to finish at 47.4 percent.

Pelicans: Davis has eclipsed 30 points seven times this season, with a season-high of 43 (which tied his career high). … New Orleans improved to 9-9 at home this season. … The Pelicans have won six straight against Minnesota.

 

Frank Vogel earns spot as coach of Team LeBron in All-Star Game

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LeBron James will have a familiar coach on the sideline with him in Chicago for the All-Star Game.

With the Lakers’ win in Brooklyn Thursday night — thanks to LeBron’s triple-double — the Lakers clinched the best record in the West by the Feb. 2 cutoff date, making Frank Vogel the coach for Team LeBron.

Vogel has done this before. Back in 2014, he was the coach of the Indiana Pacers, a team had the best record at the All-Star break. Vogel’s squad won 163-155 behind 31 points from Kyrie Irving (he was named All-Star MVP).

This will LeBron’s 16th All-Star Game as a starter (an NBA record) be and it is his third year as a team captain (he is 2-0 so far). LeBron and Giannis Antetokounmpo are team captains for the second consecutive year, and in two weeks they will choose their teams playground-style from a list of starters (named Wednesday) and reserves (named next week).

Vogel’s counterpart is not yet known. The Bucks will have the best record in the East but Mike Budenholzer coached the All-Star Game last season and the rule is coaches can’t do it two years in a row (called the “Phil Jackson doesn’t want to be here rule,” unofficially). After him, Erik Spoelstra (Miami), Nick Nurse (Toronto), and Brad Stevens (Boston) are all within a game-and-a-half of each other, any of them could end up coaching Team Giannis.

 

 

Watch LeBron James rack up triple-double, help Lakers pull-away from Nets

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NEW YORK — LeBron James had 27 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists in his 10th triple-double of the season and the Los Angeles Lakers made a season-high 19 3-pointers to pull away and beat the Brooklyn Nets 128-113 on Thursday night.

James closed within 17 points of Kobe Bryant for third place on the NBA’s career scoring list with a flurry in the fourth quarter. He can pass Bryant on Saturday at Philadelphia, where the five-time champion with the Lakers was born.

James has 33,626 points. Bryant finished with 33,643.

A back-and-forth game for nearly three quarters turned into a rout after the Lakers broke the Nets’ spirits with four straight 3-pointers spanning the third and fourth quarters, extending a one-point lead to 107-94, and Los Angeles coasted from there.

Anthony Davis had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and Dwight Howard finished with 14 points and 12 boards in his first start of the season.

Kyrie Irving scored 20 points after missing a game with right hamstring tightness, but the Nets lost their fifth straight. Brooklyn has won just two of its last 14 games.

The Nets were without backup centers DeAndre Jordan and Nicolas Claxton, leaving them without many options behind starter Jarrett Allen. But they struggled just as badly guarding the perimeter. Los Angeles was 19 of 38 behind the arc.

The Lakers led 38-35 after one, before both teams made seven 3-pointers in the second. Howard went 4 for 4 for eight points in the period, helping the Lakers take a 75-70 lead to halftime.

Danny Green made three 3s in the first four minutes of the third, pushing the lead to 88-75, but the Nets had it down to 95-94 after a 3-pointer by Irving with 49 seconds remaining. But then Davis and Rajon Rondo hit 3s before Jared Dudley, who played in Brooklyn last season, hit one from near the Nets’ bench to beat the buzzer and make it 104-94.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope made it four straight 3s to open the fourth, extending the lead back to 13. James then scored eight in the period before taking a seat for good.

 

Check out Jordan Brand/Nike designed All-Star Game uniforms

Image courtesy Jordan Brand
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It’s only fitting that Jordan brand has a significant role with the All-Star Game coming to Chicago.

Jordan Brand designed this year’s ASG uniforms and took its inspiration from the Chicago transit line. Here’s the explanation, straight from the press release (because you don’t want me trying to describe fashion, trust me):

Jordan Brand and Nike designers incorporated the color of each track into the uniforms as a base: blue and red for the NBA All-Star Game; purple and orange for NBA Rising Stars; green and pink for the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles; and brown and yellow for the NBA Cares Special Olympics Unified Basketball Game. The Jordan Brand official NBA All-Star game uniforms add the six-pointed star from the Chicago flag as the symbolic refrain while inviting the attitude of the ‘90s-era alternate uniforms worn by the hometown Bulls.

Take a look at them yourself:

The red and blue will be worn by Team LeBron and Team Giannis during the All-Star Game, with other colors for the Rising Star and Celebrity games.

Of course, they are available for sale at NBAStore.com and Nike.com.

Watch Trae Young’s emotional reaction to being named an All-Star Game starter

Trae Young
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Trae Young is an All-Star Game starter at age 21 in just his second NBA season.

While that was not a total surprise — he had led the fan voting in the East among guards since the start — it still was an emotional moment for Young when it was announced (as filmed by his teammate Brandon Goodwin for IG).

Young and Kemba Walker were named the backcourt starters for the Eastern Conference (although both will go into a pool of players picked playground-style by the captains to form teams).

There are two 21-and-under starters in this All-Star Game, Young and Luka Doncic of Dallas. The last time there were two starters under age 21 was 1998 with Kobe Bryant and Kevin Garnett.