Chandler Parsons, Mavs end Hornets’ 7-game win streak, 107-96

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Dallas Mavericks went small Monday night and came up big.

Using a smaller starting lineup that included Raymond Felton instead of Zaza Pachulia, the Mavericks were able to slow down the red-hot Charlotte Hornets and come away a 107-96 victory.

Chandler Parsons had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Mavericks, who snapped Charlotte’s season-high seven-game winning streak and ended their own five-game skid.

Dirk Nowitzki added 23 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, who moved back above .500. Deron Williams chipped in with 15 points.

Parsons called it a “huge win.”

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Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said he changed the lineup because he wanted to shake things up. Playing the smaller, but quicker 6-foot-1 Felton over the 6-11 Pachulia seemed to do the trick.

“The defense was great,” Carlisle said. “We just had really good energy, focus, togetherness. We were playing relatively small, so we needed everybody to be very vigilant about being on the boards. That’s our best chance to win and we did that tonight.”

The Hornets came in averaging more than 36 points in the first quarter of their last three games. They only scored 33 in the first half against the Mavs, falling behind by 19 at intermission.

Charlotte shot 27 percent from the field in the first half and 43 percent from the foul line.

Dallas wasn’t exactly lighting it up either.

The Mavericks were just 3 of 20 from 3-point range in the first three quarters, but hit 6 of 10 in the fourth quarter.

Charlotte didn’t go down without a fight.

The Hornets battled back to take the lead when Kemba Walker knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers on Charlotte’s first two possessions of the fourth quarter to tie it and added two free throws to put the Hornets up 73-71.

But Nowitzki turned the momentum, hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give the Mavericks the lead for good and ignite an 18-6 run. The Mavs shot 65 percent from the field in the fourth quarter.

The Hornets seemed to expend their energy battling back from the halftime deficit and never really challenged again after falling behind by double digits later in the fourth quarter.

The Hornets didn’t help themselves, making just 22 of 34 foul shots and committing 15 turnovers which led to 18 points.

“It comes down to basic things: too many turnovers, too many missed free throws,” Clifford said. “We did some good things to get back in the game after we put ourselves in the hole, but 16 turnovers which turned into 18 points and missing 12 free throws makes it tough to win.”

Walker finished had 25 points and nine assists, Nicolas Batum scored 20 points and Marvin Williams added 19 for the Hornets.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Dallas’ bench outscored Charlotte’s 31-19.

Hornets: Walker was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season Monday.

HIGH TECHS

It was a tough night all around for Charlotte.

Clifford, Batum and Walker were all assessed technical fouls in the first half for disputing calls. The crowd repeatedly expressed its displeasure with the officiating, booing loudly as the trio walked out off the court at halftime and again when they returned to the floor for the second half.

Clifford said after the game he could have handled things better.

Carlisle said: “It’s really the hardest game in all of sports to ref because of the flow and the pace and the size of the athletes and the speed. We said at halftime that there were going to be some calls that we were going to disagree with. But the important thing was to stay about the fray and concentrate on us and concentrate on the next play. Our guys did a good job of that in the second half.”

ABOVE .500

The Mavs improved to 34-33, but still have work to do to make the playoffs.

“We’re playing for our playoff life,” Parsons said. “We’ll keep working and try to build from this.”

UP NEXT

Mavericks: Visit Cleveland on Wednesday night.

Hornets: Host Orlando on Wednesday night

Markelle Fultz will miss start of training camp, at least, with broken toe

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The basketball gods continue to turn their backs on Markelle Fultz.

A torn ACL had limited him to 26 games over the past two seasons, but he was healthy and ramping up to a larger role this season with a young and interesting Magic team. Then came the news he fractured his left big toe during a training session. As a result, he will be out for at least the start of training camp, the team announced. From the official announcement:

“He has been placed in a walking boot and his return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment. Fultz suffered the injury during a preseason workout prior to returning to Orlando and imaging confirmed the fracture.

He will not need surgery, according to the team.

Fultz was set to split point guard duties with Cole Anthony, this injury means RJ Hampton could see more run at the point for now. Fultz should be able to return either during the end of the preseason or early in the season.

Fultz was the No.1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but never found his footing with the 76ers (in part due to injury). However, since getting out of that spotlight and allowed to develop in Orlando he’s been a solid rotation point guard when healthy. Last season in 18 games he averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 assists a game, and while he’s still not an efficient shooter he can run a team.

How Anthony and, eventually, Fultz will work off the ball as rookie Paolo Banchero gets the opportunity to create more offense will be just one of the interesting things to watch with this Magic team this year. We’ll have to wait a little while to see Fultz.

 

Vintage Kobe: Redeem Team recalls him running over Pau Gasol

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If the goal of a trailer is to get you to want to see the movie, then well done Netflix. I’m in.

Netflix released a trailer for its upcoming Redeem Team documentary on the 2008 Olympics, featuring some vintage Kobe Bryant. Just as a quick refresher, in 2008 the USA’s toughest opponent would be a deep Spanish team led by peak Pau Gasol but also with Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, José Calderón, Rudy Fernández, Juan Carlos Navarro and more. This was a legitimately dangerous team and one the USA would face first in group play.

Kobe wanted to set a tone — and did by running through his friend Gasol. (Warning: There is NSFW language in the video clip below.)

“‘First play of the game I’m running through Pau Gasol.’ And we was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘First play of the game, I know what they’re gonna run.’ And he knew Pau was gonna be the last screen and he said ‘I’m running through him,'” Dwayne Wade said

Spoiler alert: The USA thrashed Spain in group stage play. However, come the Gold Medal game it was a lot tougher for the Americans to beat the Spaniards, with Kobe having to have a big fourth quarter and — what often goes unremembered — a master class from Chris Paul in game management to control the tempo and flow.

I’m all in for the documentary, which drops on Oct. 7 on Netflix.

Spurs’ Keldon Johnson to miss start of training camp with shoulder injury

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Keldon Johnson is poised to have a monster season on a rebuilding Spurs team.

Except he’s going to miss the start of training camp and the team’s preseason games. And could be out longer.

Johnson suffered a “right shoulder posterior dislocation during Spurs open gym” the team announced Saturday. Posterior dislocations are rare (less than 5% of all dislocations) and are usually from a fall on an extended arm. Recovering from the injury depends on many factors but can extend out for months. However, the Spurs said Johnson is expected to be available for the start of the regular season less than a month from now.

Johnson averaged 17 points and 6.1 rebounds a game last season, and is an elite perimeter shooter off the catch-and-shoot (39.8% from 3 overall), who also can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He was the team’s second-leading scorer last season (to Dejounte Murray, who is now in Atlanta).

The Spurs will be cautious with bringing Johnson back. Even in what could be Gregg Popovich’s last season as coach the Spurs are looking more to be part of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes than push for a playoff spot. Johnson is a quality player who helps San Antonio win games, which both is why they want him back healthy and why they are not going to rush him.

Cavaliers reportedly extend Dean Wade for three years, $18.5 million

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This could be a steal for the Cavaliers — Dean Wade could be the starting three for the Cavaliers by the end of this season and he’s got a genuine upside.

The Cavaliers have extended Wade for three years, $18.5 million, a story where multiple sources were on top of it, including Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Wade’s counting stats aren’t eye-popping — 5.3 points a game and shooting 35.7% from 3 — but he is a quality wing defender who has improved as a floor spacer (sometimes setting picks and popping out). He’s a two-way player who has put in the work and could pass Isaac Okoro on the depth chart this season.

The Cavaliers have four All-Stars who will undoubtedly be starting for them — Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley up front — and the looming question is at the three. Wade has a chance this season to step into that role.

Which makes extending him at a little over $6 million a season a potential steal for the Cavaliers.