Associated Press

Anthony Davis scores 32, Pelicans beat Bucks 112-106 for first win

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry wasn’t about to worry about his team’s flaws after its first victory of the season.

Anthony Davis hit a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left and scored 32 points, and the Pelicans ended their winless start after eight games by beating the Milwaukee Bucks 112-106 on Thursday night.

“Are you kidding me, we were 0-8 and fighting for our lives,” Gentry said. “Everything that we’ve done in some kind of way had gone bad.

“To be able to finish the game and come away with a win, it’s relief,” he said. “We’re not going to say it was just another game.”

The Philadelphia 76ers (0-7) are the remaining winless team in the NBA.

“We’ve been working hard and playing our butts off, and tonight we just got one,” Davis said. “We needed everyone tonight to get this win.”

Jabari Parker scored a season-high 33 points for Milwaukee, which lost its second straight game to a team that was winless. In their last game Sunday, the Bucks fell 86-75 in overtime to Dallas, which was 0-5 coming into that game.

“We were in this situation in Dallas,” Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd said. “They hadn’t won a game either and they were desperate. New Orleans was desperate, and they found a way to win a game.”

E'Twaun Moore added 20 points for New Orleans, playing its third game in four nights.

Milwaukee used a late 9-4 run to pull within 108-105 on Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s three-point play with 40 seconds to go.

Matthew Dellavedova made a free throw to cut the New Orleans lead to 108-106, but Davis converted both free throws to make it a two-possession game.

Mirza Teletovic missed a running 3-point attempt with 6 seconds left, and Tim Frazier hit a pair of free throws to close the scoring.

Frazier had 15 points, 10 assists and five rebounds for New Orleans. Four of the Pelicans starters scored in double figures.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: F Cheick Diallo was sent to the Austin Spurs of the NBA Developmental League. Diallo was the 33rd overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft. … New Orleans led the entire second half.

Bucks: The first steel column went up this week during construction of the team’s new arena. … Parker made 13 of 26 shots, including a thunderous dunk on a pass from Dellavedova in the third quarter. … Dellavedova had 12 assists, one shy of his career high. … Starting C Miles Plumlee played 11 minutes, all in the first half, and all three of his shots were blocked by Davis.

CHARITY STRIPE

The Pelicans have had trouble making free throws this year at 73 percent coming into the game, but made 25 of 27 against the Bucks. “We’ve had close losses and have missed 13 foul shots (in a game) and 12 foul shots,” Gentry said. “In those situations, you can’t afford to do that. Tonight, we stepped to the line and shot them great.”

ANOTHER DOUBLE-DOUBLE

Antetokounmpo had 17 points, 10 rebounds and one assist in 35 minutes, his second double-double of the season. He picked up two early fouls against Dallas on Sunday and never got into a rhythm, and was charged with his fifth foul with 5:53 left in the fourth quarter against the Pelicans. He didn’t return until there was 2:40 left in the game and was unable to rally his team to victory.

A TYPICAL ROOKIE

Through the Pelicans’ first nine games, Buddy Hield was averaging nine points, making only 33 of his first 96 shots (34 percent). Gentry calls Hield, the sixth overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, “a typical rookie. He’s trying to feel his way. He’s had some good games for us and he’s had some struggles.”

 

Bucks pull away in second half behind 31 from Giannis Antetokounmpo, rout Sixers

AP Photo/Morry Gash
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MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks turned a tight game with the Philadelphia 76ers into a mismatch immediately in the second half, led by the reigning league MVP.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points and 17 rebounds, Khris Middleton scored 25 points and the Bucks beat the 76ers 119-98 on Saturday night in a matchup of Eastern Conference rivals.

Antetokounmpo scored Milwaukee’s first 11 points in the third quarter as the Bucks took advantage of the absence of Philadelphia big man Joel Embiid, who went to the bench less a minute into the period after picking up his fourth foul, and quickly put the game out of reach.

“We came out the third quarter and played fast,” Antetokounmpo said. “We were able to rebound the ball and just attack them. Joel had four fouls. That worked in our favor. We tried to be aggressive in the third quarter and set the tone.”

Antetokounmpo added eight assists as Milwaukee won for the 16th time in its last 18 games to improve its NBA-best record to 48-8.

The Bucks led 56-50 at the half before Antetokounmpo’s scoring outburst put the Bucks in control. Milwaukee would go on to outscore the 76ers 37-23 in the period.

Embiid, coming off a 39-point performance on Thursday night, had 17 points and 11 rebounds but shot just 5 for 18. Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton also scored 17 points apiece for the 76ers, who fell to 9-20 on the road.

“I liked what I was seeing in the first half, and the death knock was Joel sitting,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “We just didn’t respond well to Milwaukee playing their tails off, and they shot the heck out of the ball.”

Philadelphia lost All-Star point guard Ben Simmons early in the first quarter. Simmons, who missed the 76ers’ previous game with lower back tightness, headed to the locker room after making consecutive driving layups, the second with a little more than 7 minutes left in the opening quarter. He didn’t return after the injured flared up.

“We never got in a rhythm. Losing Ben, then foul trouble, not making shots and some calls that could have gone a different way,” Embiid said. “But it’s on us.”

The 76ers shot just 35%, while the Bucks connected on 53% of their shots.

The Bucks got off to a scorching start, taking a 12-2 lead sparked by seven points from Antetokounmpo. Milwaukee led by as many as 11 in the quarter and held a 31-21 lead at the end.

Philadelphia pulled within 37-36 in the second before the Bucks used a 10-2 spurt to push the lead back to double digits.

Watch Dwyane Wade have his number retired by Heat

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Dwyane Wade is the greatest Miami Heat player ever.

He was at the heart of every championship the Heat won, he was active and beloved in the community, he was the face of the franchise.

Now his legacy is forever part of the American Airlines Arena — the Heat have retired his number.

Wade is a three-time champion, and 8-time All-NBA player, a 13-time All-Star, and a Finals MVP who averaged 22 points a game over his 16 year NBA career.

Next stop: Hall of Fame.

Stephen Curry cleared for contact, goes through full scrimmage with Warriors

Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images
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Stephen Curry is not sitting out the rest of the season. He wants back on the court — he’s targeting the first week of March — and the Warriors are not holding him out.

That got a step closer on Saturday when Curry went through a full scrimmage with the Warriors. Warriors coach Steve Kerr said this after practice, via NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Yeah he scrimmaged today, first day of scrimmaging,” Kerr told reporters at the Chase Center practice facility. “We only had seven other healthy players, so there were two coaches out there scrimmaging too, it was not pretty, but Steph looked great.”

The March return for Curry seems on track. Klay Thompson will not return to the court this season.

The Warriors are not playoff bound, but there is no reason to sit out Curry and tank, either.

First, that’s not the kind of culture the Warriors have built, coming off three titles in five years. Second, the fan base could use the boost of watching Curry drain deep threes after a disheartening season to this point. Third, and maybe most important, what exactly would they need to tank for, better draft position? This is a down draft to begin with, so anyone the Warriors select likely can’t help them much next season anyway (which is why there’s a lot of speculation the Warriors may try to trade the pick). Also, with the flattened out lottery odds, they don’t gain much anyway. The Warriors have the worst record in the NBA, but the three worst teams all have a 14 percent chance at the top pick, and the fourth worst is at 12.5 percent, fifth is 10.5 percent. Curry’s return for a month isn’t lifting the Warriors to the point teams will not want the pick.

We could all use to be reminded just how special Curry is as a player. Hopefully, we get to see that in a couple of weeks.

Kings return to Staples Center, beat Clippers for second time in a month

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kent Bazemore scored a season-high 23 points, Bogdan Bogdanovic added 20 and the Sacramento Kings beat the Los Angeles Clippers on the road for the second time in less than a month, winning 112-103 on Saturday.

De’Aaron Fox had 20 points and eight assists for the surging Kings. They have won two straight out of the All-Star break and eight of 12 overall.

Sacramento blew a 14-point lead in the second half to a Clippers lineup missing injured stars Paul George and Patrick Beverley. But the Kings then shut out Kawhi Leonard and the Clips for more than five straight minutes down the stretch, making a decisive 10-0 run capped by Harry Giles’ percussive dunk with 58 seconds left.

Leonard scored 31 points in his return from his MVP performance in Chicago, but the Clippers returned from the All-Star break with their first three-game losing streak of the season. Lou Williams added 24 points, and Montrezl Harrell had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Sacramento had a big lead late in the third quarter, but the Clippers took their first lead of the day on Harrell’s leap-and-lean bucket with 8:30 to play.

The Kings reclaimed the lead on Harry Giles’ putback score with 4:17 left, and Bogdanovic hit a clutch 3-pointer two minutes later.

With the Clippers comfortably in third place in the Western Conference, George and Beverley are both getting extra time off to rest persistent injuries.

Reggie Jackson scored eight points in his Clippers debut two days after the Pistons bought him out, while Marcus Morris had six points and five turnovers in 32 minutes in his home debut nearly two weeks after the Clippers acquired him in a three-way trade.

With George and Beverley sidelined, Clippers coach Doc Rivers used his 28th starting lineup in 56 games, putting newcomers Morris and Jackson in the mix. Perhaps unsurprisingly, these unfamiliar Clippers returned from eight days off and missed 13 of their first 14 shots on their way to a 4-for-24 first quarter with five turnovers.

Sacramento wasn’t much better, but Bazemore scored 15 points in the first half. Los Angeles had more turnovers than field goals until late in the half, but Jackson’s first basket for the Clippers was a 3-pointer in the final second before halftime.