Lamarcus Aldridge, Kawhi Leonard lead Spurs to franchise record 64th win


SAN ANTONIO (AP) Kawhi Leonard had a career-high 33 points, LaMarcus Aldrige had 31 points and 15 rebounds and the San Antonio Spurs beat the Toronto Raptors 102-95 Saturday night for their franchise-record 64th victory.

San Antonio never trailed and topped its 63-win season in 2005-06. The Spurs also extended their NBA-record home winning streak to start the season to 39 games.

Toronto sat Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan for rest.

The Spurs closed it out at the free-throw line, capturing their 48th straight home victory dating to March 2015.

Patrick Patterson‘s intense effort helped the Raptors outscore the Spurs 52-36 in the paint.

Norman Powell had 17 points, Jonas Valanciunas and Cory Joseph added 16 points and Patterson had 12 points for the Raptors.

Aldridge and Leonard were able to push back Toronto’s efforts, combining to shoot 22 for 35 and grab 21 rebounds.

Data curated by PointAfter

Leonard had seven assists. He zipped a touch pass in the lane to Aldridge for a layup in the first half, and in the second half, he tipped away an alley-oop intended for Valanciunas and sprinted downcourt to set up a hook shot by Aldridge with a bounce pass.

Emotions ran high 3 minutes into the fourth quarter when Patterson set a high and hard screen that sent Patty Mills reeling backward in front of the Spurs’ bench. Gregg Popovich screamed for a foul, which led Patterson to scream and flail an arm at the San Antonio coach. Mills got revenge on the other end, draining a 3-pointer for an 80-70 lead after initially missing a 3-pointer that David West tipped back to him.


Grizzlies: DeRozan has missed only two games this season, also sitting out for rest March 15 at Milwaukee. … Lowry was out for just the third time this season. He also sat out for rest Feb. 28 at Detroit and did not play March 23 at Boston due to a sore right elbow. … Former Spurs guard Joseph received a warm ovation during pregame introductions in his first game in San Antonio since signing with Toronto in the offseason. Joseph played four seasons with the Spurs, averaging 5.2 points and 1.8 rebounds in 204 games while primarily serving as the team’s third point guard.

Spurs: San Antonio had to return to the court briefly at halftime as officials reviewed a full-court pass to Manu Ginobili that was knocked out of bounds. The Spurs were upset no foul was called, but officials were reviewing if there was still time remaining when the ball went out of bounds. … The only teams to hold a lead in the fourth quarter in San Antonio are the Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Golden State Warriors. The Spurs have trailed for only 11 minutes, 13 seconds of the 456 minutes played in the fourth quarter at home this season. … There was a rare in-game jump ball midway through the third quarter when Tony Parker‘s jumper became lodged in the left side of the rim and glass. Valanciunas won the tip over Tim Duncan, but Leonard grabbed it to keep possession for the Spurs.


Grizzlies: Host Charlotte on Tuesday night.

Spurs: At Utah on Tuesday night.

Report: Draymond Green facing potential discipline after fight with Jordan Poole


Warriors practice got heated on Wednesday and Draymond Green reportedly escalated some chest bumping with Jordan Poole and punches were thrown. The team is now considering internal disciple, according to The Athletic.

When a heated interaction with guard Jordan Poole escalated, Green forcefully struck Poole and needed to be separated swiftly, sources said. Green and Poole came chest-to-chest, with both players pushing and shoving each other prior to Green’s escalation of the physical altercation, those sources said.

The two players had been jawing at each other when it escalated and Green punched Poole, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. There aren’t details of the incident beyond that description (at least so far), although several reporters have confirmed the was a fight and the two had to be broken up. Poole was seen getting up shots after practice when the media was allowed in and reportedly was joking with teammates.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports Tweeted out what feels like the Draymond Green camp spin on the incident.

Warriors elder statesman Andre Iguodala Tweeted out this on the situation, wanting to keep it all in the family, and adding that “it broke my heart… but it fixed my vision.”

There is a history of tension between Green and Poole, including a public flare-up between the duo early last season, but the two talked after and smoothed things over. At least for a while.

What punishment Green will face from the team remains to be seen.

Poole is on the verge of an extension to his rookie contract, one where Tylyer Herro just set the market.

Green had hoped for an extension from the Warriors this offseason but there were limited discussions between the parties. Green can opt out of the final year of his contract at the end of this season and become a free agent.

Wizards’ Kispert likely to miss start of season due to sprained ankle


The Washington Wizards made fewer 3-pointers than any other team in the league last season. They didn’t take a lot (second fewest) and didn’t make the ones they took (fifth lowest percentage). One goal for Wes Unlseld Jr. this season was to change that dynamic, and second-year player Corey Kispert was a big part of that plan.

Now Kispert is out through at least the start of the season, sidelined 4-6 weeks by a sprained ankle, the team announced Wednesday.

The injury happened on a fluke play in Japan against the Warriors, but Kispert shouldn’t miss much time once the real games start. The Wizards are a little short on the wing right now with Kispert joining Deni Avdija (groin injury) in the training room.

Kispert took 62% of his shots from beyond the arc last season and hit 35% of them, both solid numbers but ones Wizards hoped would improve for the 6’6″ wing this season.

Scoot Henderson says he has skills to be No.1 pick but not hung up on it

Metropolitans 92 v G League Ignite
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Scoot Henderson came out like a man on a mission Tuesday night against the Metropolitans 92 and Victor Wembanyama — he was in attack mode. He used his explosive athleticism to get to the rim, his impressive body control to get off good shots, and his strength to finish with authority. And if the defender played back, he would drain the jumper over him.

A year ago, Jaylen Brown called him the best 17-year-old he’d ever seen. Scoot is better than that now.

Many years, Henderson would be a clear No.1 overall pick. But, not this year, Wembanyama has that crown because he breaks the mold with his size and skill set (in the NBA, height still wins out).

Kevin O’Conner of The Ringer asked Henderson why he should be the top prospect and got a confident answer.

There will be a lot of people making the Henderson case this season — and with good reason. He could be a franchise cornerstone player for the next decade.

Henderson, however, is trying not to get hung up on No.1 vs. No.2.

There’s a long list of legendary players selected No.2: Bill Russell, Kevin Durant, Jerry West, Jason Kidd, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Henderson can be one of them.

Unless Wembanyama’s medicals come back with red flags, he is destined to be the No.1 pick next June. That, however, will not be the end of Henderson’s story. Instead, it will be just the beginning.

Doc Rivers says he wants Harden to be ‘a scoring Magic Johnson’

Philadelphia 76ers Media Day
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We’re not in Houston anymore.

James Harden in Philadelphia will not be chasing scoring titles and dominating the game in quite the same way. Instead, he’s been asked to be more of a facilitator — but not too much of one. Doc Rivers told the team at ESPN’s NBA Today he wants scoring to go with the facilitating. Just like one of the all-time greats.

“I think we’ve talked so much about him being a facilitator… I need him to be James Harden too. If I had to combine, I would say a scoring Magic Johnson, I don’t know, but that’s what I want him to be. I want him to be a James Harden, but in that, I want him to also be the facilitator of this basketball team too. So in a lot of ways, his role is growing bigger for our team, and I just want him to keep thinking, ‘Do both.'”

Just play like Magic, no pressure there. For his career, Magic averaged 19.5 points a game (with four over 20 PPG) with 11.2 assists.

Harden can get close enough to Rivers’ lofty goals to make Philly a real threat, so long as defenders still fear his first step and step back. Harden can get his shot and get to the line, and he’s long been a great passer who has averaged 10.5 assists a game over the past two seasons. Now it’s just a matter of finding the balance of when to set up Joel Embiid, when to turn the offense over to Tyrese Maxey, and when to get his own shot.

Philadelphia is a deep team poised to win a lot of regular season games — the Sixers being the top seed in the East is absolutely in play. The questions Harden — and, to a degree, Embiid — have to answer come in May, when the second round of the playoffs start and Harden has faded while Embiid has had poor injury luck. In a deep East with Milwaukee, Boston, and maybe Miami and Brooklyn in the contender mix, there is no margin for error.

A Magic-like Harden would be a big boost for the Sixers in that setting.