Stephen Curry scores 27 points playing on 28th birthday, Warriors win 60th

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry had 27 points, five rebounds and five assists on his 28th birthday, and the Golden State Warriors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-107 on Monday night for their record 49th straight regular-season home victory.

Draymond Green added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors (60-6), who are 31-0 at Oracle Arena this season. With 16 games to go, they remain one game ahead of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ pace in their record 72-win season.

Birthday songs, MVP chants, and a serenade and piece of cake from his toddler daughter, Riley, made it a great day for Curry – all after his fifth Western Conference Player of the Week award this season and second in two weeks.

He shot 4 for 9 from 3-point range and 10 of 16 overall.

Anthony Davis had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, while Toney Douglas drew the tough task of defending Curry.

Klay Thompson added 18 points for Golden State, which swept the teams’ first-round playoff series last year 4-0.

The Warriors clinched the Pacific Division during their off day Sunday, giving the franchise back-to-back Pacific titles for the first time since the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons.

“It’s going to go unnoticed for the most part because of our record and because of our goals,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s a major accomplishment.”

The Pelicans opened the season at Oracle Arena on Oct. 27 and New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry received his championship ring after serving as Warriors associate head coach last season as the franchise captured its first title in 40 years.

The teams played twice in five days to start the season.

“I told the guys: `This is a game you should embrace. They’re doing something special,”‘ Gentry said of Golden State.

The Warriors trailed 40-38 with 7:18 before halftime, then went on a 19-6 run late in the second quarter for a 59-50 lead at the break. Marreese Speights had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Anderson Varejao scored seven during the second quarter in another productive night by the reserves.

MOST 3-POINTERS BY TEAMMATES

Curry (322) and Thompson (209) have the most combined 3s by teammates during a single season in NBA history with 531, topping their previous-best mark of 525 from last season.

Curry played on his birthday for the third straight year and fourth time overall.

KERR CREDITS GENTRY

Kerr was on a leave of absence for the season opener last fall while recovering from complications after two back surgeries, so he didn’t get to coach opposite good friend Gentry that night – or in the second game four days later.

Gentry meant so much to the then-first-year coach last season as his right-hand man on the bench.

“Alvin was just huge given that it was my first year coaching,” Kerr said. “His impact no doubt helped us win the championship and helped me kind of settle in to my new job.”

Gentry isn’t surprised by Golden State’s success under Kerr.

“Steve is a terrific leader,” Gentry said. “This isn’t anything that’s new. He’s been preparing for this for a long time. He put in so much work. When we worked together in Phoenix, he would ask questions. He wanted to know about specific plays. I didn’t have any doubt he was going to be a great coach. He worked at it so hard. I learned so much from him just being here the one year that I was.”

TIP-INS

Pelicans: New Orleans hasn’t won on the Warriors’ home floor since April 24, 2012. … The reeling Pelicans used their 33rd different starting lineup. … New Orleans is 6-17 on the road against the Western Conference.

Warriors: C Andrew Bogut had a 3-pointer on one end and a block on the other in one third-quarter sequence. It was his third career 3. … The Warriors moved to 2-2 in four games with Curry playing on his birthday. … Golden State has a seven-game home winning streak against New Orleans and three in a row overall.

 

Pacers All-Star Domantas Sabonis has 20 and 11, leads Pacers past Blazers

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INDIANAPOLIS — Domantas Sabonis had 20 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Indiana Pacers to a 106-100 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night.

Malcolm Brogdon had 17 points, eight assists, and six rebounds while T.J. Warren and Victor Oladipo scored 15 points each for the Pacers, who have four of their last five.

CJ McCollum had 28 points and eight assists, Gary Trent Jr. had 20 points, and five rebounds, and Hassan Whiteside had 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who have lost five of six.

The Pacers were able to hold off the Blazers’ late push.

After Brogdon made a jumper to give Indiana a 103-93 lead with 1:54 remaining, Portland went on a 7-0 run. McCollum’s floater made it 103-100 with 30 seconds to go.

Myles Turner drilled a 3-pointer with 9 seconds remaining to seal it.

The Trail Blazers went on a 10-1 run late in the first half to push ahead.

McCollum made a 3-pointer to give Portland a 42-40 lead with 3:13 to go in the second quarter. After a free throw by Oladipo, McCollum made another three and then a fadeaway to put the Trail Blazers in front 47-41.

Portland led 49-43 at halftime.

Report: Magic and Pistons talked trading for Nets Spencer Dinwiddie

(Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
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Leading up to the NBA trade deadline, at least two NBA teams talked about making a trade for Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie. SNY’s Ian Begley reports that the Detroit Pistons and Orlando Magic had internal discussions about trading for Dinwiddie.

Dinwiddie started his NBA career with Detroit before being traded to the Chicago Bulls. After being waived following his only training camp with the Bulls, Dinwiddie signed later that season with the Nets.

That signing has proven to be one of the best finds of Sean Marks’ diamond mining process in Brooklyn. With the Nets, Dinwiddie has become a key rotation player. Last December, Brooklyn inked Dinwiddie to a three-year contract extension that started with this season.

This past summer, Dinwiddie was a key part of the recruiting process to bring free agent Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to Brooklyn. Dinwiddie did that recruiting even though the addition of Irving cost him a spot in starting lineup.

Oddly enough, it’s the presence of Irving on the roster that could lead Marks to consider trading Dinwiddie. With Irving, Durant and Caris LeVert, that’s three players who need the ball a lot. And there is a lot of overlap in position there as well. With a hole at power forward, Begley posited that a Dinwiddie for Aaron Gordon swap might make sense for both Brooklyn and Orlando.

While no trade agreement was reached prior to the deadline, it’s possible that either Detroit (who projects to have $34 million in cap space this summer and needs to add talent) or Orlando (who needs offensive creators) could engage Brooklyn in trade talks this summer. It’s much easier to make a deal that involves big salaries in the summer when teams have more roster flexibility.

Report: Joel Embiid out at least one week with shoulder sprain

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NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Serena Winters reports that Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid will be out at least one week due to a sprained left shoulder.

Embiid underwent further evaluations Thursday after being injured the previous night in a game at the Cleveland Cavaliers. Those evaluations showed no structural damage. Embiid will be re-evaluated in one week.

That timeline makes it likely that Embiid will miss the entirety of the Sixers upcoming west coast trip, including games against both Los Angeles teams. Embiid’s absence, combined with that of Ben Simmons, will make it hard for Philadelphia to improve upon their woeful 9-21 road record.

With Simmons out due to an impingement in his back, and Embiid joining him on the sidelines, the 76ers have returned Al Horford to the starting lineup. Horford started with regulars Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson, and fill-ins Glenn Robinson III and Shake Milton in Philadelphia’s home victory over New York on Thursday. That group is likely to continue to open games for Brett Brown until he gets his All-Star duo back in the lineup.

Report: Clippers would like to re-sign Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris as free agents

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The Los Angeles Clippers will have to focus on building their roster around Kawhi Leonard and Paul George moving forward. They locked up several role players to long-term contracts over the summer, but face two critical free agent situations this offseason with Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris. Jovan Buha of The Athletic reports that the Clippers would like to re-sign both players.

Harrell has blossomed into a Sixth Man of the Year candidate while with the Clippers, and will be one of the better big men on the market this summer. Only six to seven teams project to have cap space this summer, but all of them have a need for a player like Harrell. That means LA will likely need to pony up this summer to keep their reserve big man.

The Clippers likely face the same sort of situation with Morris. They acquired him at the trade deadline and gave up a first-round pick to do so. With several picks and swap rights pending to the Oklahoma City Thunder from the Paul George trade last summer, that was a heavy price for Los Angeles to pay.

With the team capped out and lacking draft picks moving forward, LA has little ability to replace either Harrell or Morris if they leave. On the other hand, it could push the Clippers deep into the luxury tax if they retain both Harrell and Morris. Steve Ballmer has the deepest pockets in the NBA, but every owner has their limits. In the end, everything might come down to just how the Clippers season ends. Winning a title, or at least making the NBA Finals, would make it a lot easier to pay to keep the team together.