Associated Press

Leonard scores 26, helps Spurs beat Thunder to go 40-1 at home this season

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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Kawhi Leonard had 26 points and the San Antonio Spurs had to rally to beat the short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder 102-98 in overtime Tuesday night to finish 40-1 at home this season, matching an NBA record.

The Boston Celtics had the same record in 1985-86.

San Antonio was lethargic coming off its first home loss of the season to the Golden State Warriors on Sunday. The Spurs never led in the final quarter in that loss and trailed throughout much of their home finale.

Thunder coach Billy Donovan rested stars Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka in their regular-season finale while San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich started his regular lineup.

The Thunder were still able to force the first overtime in San Antonio this season.

Dion Waiters completed a three-point play to tie the game at 93 with 16.2 seconds remaining. Waiters was fouled by David West driving into the lane for a layup after Payne ran down a long rebound following his own miss. Leonard missed a jumper at the close of regulation.

Leonard had six points in overtime and Parker added three as the Spurs avoided their fourth straight loss overall and second straight at home.

Data curated by PointAfter

LaMarcus Aldridge exited 3 minutes into the third quarter with soreness in the right pinkie finger he dislocated April 7 at Golden State. The move was precautionary given Aldridge had already played 20 minutes and San Antonio clinched the No. 2 seed.

The Thunder got 17 points each from Waiter, Enes Kanter, Steven Adams and Cameron Payne.

Oklahoma City had a 23-4 run bridging the first and second quarters in taking an 18-point lead. Kanter opened the run with his 10th 3-pointer of the season.

San Antonio aided the run by committing five turnovers and missing 11 shots, including four layup attempts.

Led by Patty Mills and Boban Marjanovic, the bench gave San Antonio its first lead since it was 19-18 with 4 minutes remaining in the first quarter. The Spurs took a 74-72 lead when Marjanovic tapped in Mills’ short lob pass to the rim and made the free throw to complete a three-point play.

TIP-INS

Thunder: Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka were not in attendance, remaining in Oklahoma City following Monday’s home victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. … The Thunder split their four-game season series with the Spurs, opened and closed their season against San Antonio. Oklahoma City rallied to win its season opener 112-106 on Oct. 28 at home.

Spurs: Veteran Boris Diaw missed his fifth straight game with a sore right abductor muscle. The Spurs were 1-3 without their versatile forward. … G Manu Ginobili sat out the game for rest. The 38-year-old veteran missed 22 games this season, including 12 straight following testicle surgery in early February. … San Antonio is 26-7 in back-to-back games, including an 8-1 record in a home-road split. … West missed an open dunk after receiving a no-look, bounce pass from Marjanovic in the lane with about 3 minutes left in the third quarter.

 

Watch Lance Stephenson get into flopping battle in China

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You can take the flopper out of the NBA but you can’t take the flopping out of his game.

Unable to land an NBA contract this season, Lance Stephenson signed with the Liaoning Flying Leopards of the Chinese Basketball Association. He has taken his flopping skills to China.

However, he may have met his match with one Chinese player, who tried to sell a non-contact, off-the-ball, sniper-in-the-grassy-knoll level flop that even legendary flopper Vlade Divac would have called extreme. The Chinese referees saw through that and awarded a technical to Stephenson’s team.

Then Stephenson drew another foul later in the game with a flop as he tried to grab the ball away from a player after the play. That drew a foul on the opposing player, who complained and then got his own technical.

It’s all just Lance being Lance.

Kyrie Irving out Saturday vs. Bulls due to shoulder injury

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Already without Caris LeVert for a couple of weeks due to thumb surgery, the Nets just lost their primary playmaker for at least one game.

Kyrie Irving is out Saturday night for Brooklyn’s game in Chicago.

Irving has been battling this pain for some time. This is the kind of injury often seen in swimmers where, due to usage, the bones in the shoulder impinge on the tendons or bursa (the sac of fluid in the joint that makes movement smooth and painless).

The treatment for this is generally rest and time off, it would not be surprising if Irving missed more time to get his shoulder healthy and right (a specialist told the New York Post exactly this). Call it load management or whatever you want, better to get Irving healthy now rather than have this be a chronic thing all season long.

Irving is leading the Nets averaging 28.5 points and 7.2 assists a game, hitting 34.1 percent of his threes, and he’s the guy with the ball in his hands being asked to make plays. The Nets offense is 10.4 points per 100 possessions better when Irving is on the court this season.

Spencer Dinwiddie, who has struggled some with his shooting and efficiency to start the season, now will be asked to step up and carry the load. With the Nets off to a 4-7 start, they don’t want to give up a lot more ground in the East playoff chase (the Nets are currently in a four-way tie for the nine-seed, just half a game out of the playoffs).

Kings’ Dwayne Dedmon snags french fry from Lakers’ fan during game (VIDEO)

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The french fries at Staples Center are pretty good. Better than the popcorn.

Kings’ center Dwayne Dedmon was on the bench at one point Saturday night during the Kings’ loss to the Lakers, looked at the dude sitting next to him in fan seats (and look at that guy, he’s a “dude”), and asks if he can have a french fry.

No ketchup or sauce, but the fries seem to get Dedmon’s seal of approval.

A player like Dedmon burns a lot of calories during a game, you got to keep that energy level up with a few carbs. Plus, french fries are awesome. Can’t blame the guy.

Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo on Malcolm Brogdon: ‘Definitely wish he was still here’

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Malcolm Brogdon is thriving with the Pacers.

The Bucks are doing just fine without him.

But with Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s super-max decision rapidly approaching, Milwaukee’s controversial decision to sign-and-trade Brogdon during restricted free agency last summer looms over the entire NBA.

The Bucks visit Indiana tomorrow. So, it’s an opportunity to take Antetokounmpo’s temperature on the move.

Jack Maloney of CBS Sports:

“Wish he was still here” because that’s a nice thing to say about a friend? Or “wish he was still here” because Antetokounmpo wanted the Bucks to handle last offseason differently?

The difference means everything to Milwaukee.

Antetokounmpo has consistently said he wants to stay with the Bucks as long as they prioritize winning. Though there were also basketball reasons to move Brogdon, losing him also kept Milwaukee out of the luxury tax. That financial motivation is impossible to overlook.

If the Bucks wanted to keep Brogdon, they could have. They wouldn’t have a first-rounder and two second-rounders incoming from Indiana. They might not have lured Wesley Matthews and Kyle Korver in free agency. They’d likely be in the luxury tax. But they would have had Brogdon.

As Antetokounmpo pointed out, Brogdon was complicit in his own exit. Brogdon wanted to play point guard, wanted to have a bigger role. That wasn’t happening in Milwaukee with Eric Bledsoe at point guard and Antetokounmpo as focal point. So, one some level, Antetokounmpo might appreciate the Bucks helping Brogdon get to a more desirable situation rather than leveraging restricted rights over him.

But, at the end of the playoffs, how will Antetokounmpo feel about Brogdon not being at his side for the postseason run? That’s the big question that will determine everything. For now, we’re getting only clues.