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


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.


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.


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.”


Mavericks: Visit Cleveland on Wednesday night.

Hornets: Host Orlando on Wednesday night

Paul George has to be helped off court after fourth quarter leg injury


Hopefully this is not serious, not something that changes the playoff picture in the West.

The Clippers’ Paul George went down with 4:38 left in the game Tuesday night after a collision with Lu Dort going for a rebound.

George had to be helped back to the locker room and struggled to put any weight on his leg.

After the game, Tyronn Lue said George was still being evaluated and had no update on his status. George was seen exiting the arena on the back of a cart with his right leg extended, according to the AP.

George had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists before exiting the game. On the season he is playing at an All-NBA level averaging 23.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists a game, and the Clippers are 6.8 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.

The Thunder went on to win 101-100 in a game filled with drama, including a technical foul for Kawhi Leonard, an ejection of Terrence Mann, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scoring 31 points, and Lou Dort locking up Leonard in the final seconds.


Grizzlies Ja Morant: ‘My job now is… to be more responsible’


While his coach said he anticipates Ja Morant will return to the court Wednesday for the Grizzlies, Morant downplayed expectations and said things are “still in the air.”

Whether the official return is Wednesday or a few days later, Morant is back practicing with teammates and spoke to the media for the first time since his suspension. He once again was apologetic.

“I’m completely sorry for that,” Morant said, via the Associated Press. “So, you know, my job now is, like I said, to be more responsible, more smarter, and don’t cause any of that no more.”

Morant was suspended eight games by the NBA after flashing a gun in a club and broadcasting it on social media, something NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called “irresponsible” and “reckless.” Morant used that time to go into counseling at a facility in Florida but added he “never had an alcohol problem.”.

“I went there to counseling to learn how to manage stress,” Morant said. “Cope with stress in a positive way, instead of ways I’ve tried to deal with it before that caused me to make mistakes.”

Morant said that his treatment is an “ongoing process,” adding that he was getting off social media and letting his actions speak for him.

Morant and his associates had incidents before that caught the attention of people around the league — including a run-in with Indiana Pacers security — however, this incident in a Colorado club was the first one that hit him in the wallet. The suspension cost him $668,659 in game pay, plus one of his major sponsors — Powerade — pulled an ad campaign featuring him that would have run heavily during March Madness.

The biggest hit is Morant possibly missing out on an All-NBA guard spot. Morant could make $39 million more over the five-year extension that kicks in next season if he makes one of the three All-NBA teams. However, the guard spot is especially crowded with deserving players this season and this incident and the missed games do not help his cause.

Hart will be free agent this summer seeking new contract, ‘would love for it to be New York’


Josh Hart‘s play since coming to the Knicks has made him a lot of money.

Already a darling of many front offices, Hart has been a seamless fit in New York, averaging 11.1 points and seven rebounds off the bench for Tom Thibodeau, playing quality defense, and being the kind of plug-and-play wing every team can use. He’s quickly become a fan favorite in New York, but the Knicks will have to pay up to keep him. Hart has a player option for $12.9 million next season that he is widely expected to decline — there’s a lot more money and years available to him on the open market.

Hart told Marc Spears of ESPN’s Andscape he wants to find a home, and he hopes that it is in New York.

“I want bigger things for my wife and myself,” Hart said. “Just find a home somewhere where we are valued and really like living there. And I think that can be New York. I would love for it to be New York and hopefully the organization feels the same way. Coming up, this contract is hopefully my biggest one, one where I’m making sure my family’s fully taken care of. So, I’ve also got to take that into account, too.”

That is the polite way of saying, “I like it here but you’re not getting a discount.”

While Hart will have made a tidy $33 million in his career when this season ends, his next four-year contract will be worth more than double that amount — this is the deal that sets up generational wealth for Hart’s family. This is a business and he has to make the decision best for him, as much as he may love the Knicks.

Expect the Knicks to pay up, especially as long as Thibodeau is around. This is a deal that should come together.

But first, Hart and the Knicks are headed to the playoffs, and Madison Square Garden will be rocking. It’s going to be the kind of experience that makes a guy want to stay with a team.

Hall of Famer, Knicks legend Willis Reed dies at 80


Willis Reed, the legendary Knicks’ center whose dramatic entrance onto the Madison Square Garden floor minutes before Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals sparked the team to its first title, has died at the age of 80.

The National Basketball Retired Players Association announced Reed’s passing. While no cause of death was announced, it was known Reed had been in poor health for some time.

“Willis Reed was the ultimate team player and consummate leader,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “My earliest and fondest memories of NBA basketball are of watching Willis, who embodied the winning spirit that defined the New York Knicks’ championship teams in the early 1970s. He played the game with remarkable passion and determination, and his inspiring comeback in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals remains one of the most iconic moments in all of sports.

“As a league MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP and member of the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams, Willis was a decorated player who took great pride in his consistency. Following his playing career, Willis mentored the next generation as a coach, team executive and proud HBCU alumnus. We send our deepest condolences to Willis’ wife, Gale, his family, and many friends and fans.”

Reed had an amazing career — highlighted by the two NBA titles and two NBA Finals MVP awards, plus being a seven-time All-Star — but he is best remembered for a legendary 1969-70 season. That year he became the first player to sweep the regular season, All-Star Game and NBA Finals MVP awards.

However, it was him walking out on the court for Game 7 of the Finals in 1970 — after he suffered a thigh injury in Game 5 and had to miss Game 6 of the series, and the Knicks had no answer for the Lakers’ Wilt Chamberlain without him — that became the moment of legend. Reed scored four early points that game, and while he was limited the rest of the way he sparked the team to its first title (Walt Frazier’s 36 points and 19 assists had something to do with the win, too).

Reed was born in 1942 in Hico, Louisiana, and stayed in the state through college, leading Grambling State to the 1961 NAIA title. Considered an undersized center at 6’9 “, teams quickly learned he played much bigger than that as he went on to win the 1965 Rookie of the Year award.

Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds a season over the course of his career, and he had his No.19 retired by the Knicks. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.