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Hawks win 7th straight, defeat skidding Nets, 117-97

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NEW YORK (AP) Dennis Schroder had 19 points and 10 assists, Dwight Howard added 14 points and 16 rebounds, and the Atlanta Hawks won their season-high seventh straight game with a 117-97 victory Tuesday night over the skidding Brooklyn Nets.

Paul Millsap added 14 points for Atlanta, which led the entire way and has won eight of its last nine road games. Kris Humphries had 13, Malcolm Delaney scored 12 and Thabo Sefolosha finished with 10.

Brook Lopez scored 20 points for the Nets, who have lost seven straight and 12 of 13. Bojan Bogdanovic added 16 and Sean Kilpatrick 14.

Caris LeVert (11 points) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (10) also scored in double digits for Brooklyn.

Lopez’s 3-pointer brought the Nets to 89-78 with 9:44 left. But the Hawks responded with a 24-8 run and opened their largest lead of the night, 113-86, on Taurean Prince’s two free throws with 2:02 remaining.

The Nets began the third quarter on a 15-7 run and pulled to 68-58 on Kilpatrick’s bucket with 6:28 left.

Atlanta scored the next four points and had an 86-70 lead after three.

The Hawks went up 25-15 on Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s 3-pointer with 5:28 left in the opening quarter. Back-to-back 3s by Bogdanovic sparked an 8-0 run as the Nets pulled within two.

That was as close as they got the rest of the way as Atlanta went on to lead 35-29 after the first quarter.

The Hawks increased their lead to 61-41 on Kent Bazemore‘s two free throws with 1:39 left in the second before settling for a 61-43 halftime lead.

COACHING ROOTS

Nets coach Kenny Atkinson was a Hawks assistant for four years, the last three (2013-16) under current Atlanta coach Mike Budenholzer. “This is special. Relationships are what make the world go round. I learned a lot from Bud. He always challenged me. He pushed me to be a better coach,” Atkinson said.

TIP-INS

Hawks: Schroder is the only Atlanta player to start all 38 games this season.

Nets: Trevor Booker, the team’s leading rebounder (nine per game), did not play due to a bruised left hip. . Quincy Acy, who signed a 10-day contract, played the final 1:17 and scored four points. “I’ll come out here and prove myself and try to stick around,” he said before the game. Acy took the roster spot of Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft (by Cleveland) who was waived by the Nets on Monday.

OH, WHAT A NIGHT

Dec. 26, 2016, is a significant date for both teams. On that Monday night, the Hawks lost to the Timberwolves 104-90 and the Nets defeated the Hornets 120-118. Atlanta has not lost another game since then and the Nets have not won another one.

TWO YEARS EARLIER .

On the same date in 2014, the Hawks lost to Milwaukee 107-77. Atlanta immediately followed that defeat with a franchise-record 19-game winning streak.

UP NEXT

Hawks: Atlanta hosts Boston on Friday. The teams have not met yet this season. They will play again on Feb. 27 in Boston and April 6 in Atlanta. The Hawks won the season series 3-1 last year.

Nets: Brooklyn hosts New Orleans on Thursday. The teams have not met yet this season. They will play again on Jan. 20 in New Orleans. The Pelicans have won the last five games in the series.

Report: Mike Woodson close to joining Suns coaching staff

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The Phoenix Suns are bolstering their coaching staff. After spending most the 2017-18 season under interim head coach Jay Triano, Phoenix finally settled on Igor Kokoskov as their top man.

Now, it appears they’re adding some veteran talent to the front row.

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Suns are in talks to bring former New York Knicks coach Mike Woodson in as Kokoskov’s right hand man. Meanwhile, ArizonaSports.com is reporting that the decision has already been made to hire Woodson.

Via Twitter:

Woodson, 60, was last on the bench with the Los Angeles Clippers from 2014-2018. He was head coach of the Knicks from 2012-2014, and helmed the Atlanta Hawks from 2004-2010.

This is a smart hire for the Suns, who have needed some legitimacy after firing Earl Watson just three games into the season this year. Phoenix has been in a bit of a freefall since letting Jeff Hornacek go in 2015. Indeed, despite for one outlying 48-win season in 2013-14, Phoenix hasn’t been a very good team in this decade.

With a solidified coaching staff and the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, there’s hope yet for the Suns. Now, the question is who they take with that pick. Luka Doncic? Deandre Ayton? The draft continues to intrigue.

Andre Iguodala out for Game 4 Tuesday vs. Rockets

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“When we’re right, when we’re playing how we are supposed to play, Andre’s right in the middle of it. His defense and being smart, making good decisions. Andre is one of the guys who seems to set the tone for that for us.”

That’s Warriors coach Steve Kerr on Andre Iguodala

The Warriors are going to have to be without that tone Tuesday night, Iguodala will miss the game with a knee contusion.

This is a blow to the Warriors, who have started small with Iguodala through the first three games of this series. The Warriors have been 4.3 points per 100 possessions better with Iguodala on the court through the first three games of this series.

Expect Kevon Looney or Nick Young to start, with the rest of the minutes divided up between Shaun Livingston, Jordan Bell, and David West.

Whatever Kerr and the Warriors go with, expect James Harden and the Rockets to attack it.

 

WNBA team rehearses ring ceremony at practice of team it beat in Finals

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The NBA does petty very, very, very, very, very, very, very well.

The WNBA is trying to give the NBA a run for its money.

The Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have met in the last two WNBA Finals, the Lynx winning last year and the Sparks winning the year before. Minnesota hosted Los Angeles in the season opener Sunday, and the Lynx unveiled their banner and presented players with rings.

Before that, while the Sparks were practicing in Minnesota, the Lynx played their video for the event.

Holly Rowe of ESPN:

The Sparks beat the Lynx on Sunday, but I don’t think that’s enough to override Minnesota’s power move.

Kobe Bryant on Kanye West’s comments: “What the hell are you talking about?”

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Kanye West, the President Trump backing hip-hop star, drew a lot of backlash for his comments on TMZ:

“When you hear about slavery for 400 years — for 400 years? That sounds like a choice. You were there for 400 years and it’s all of y’all. It’s like we’re mentally imprisoned.” 

Mentally, maybe in some cases. But more so physically, with guns and whips and attack dogs and a whole lot more weapons that were all on one side. Nobody chooses slavery.

Tuesday, Kobe Bryant surprised a group of about 300 high school students at WE RISE — a 10-day pop-up festival dedicated to sparking a movement for change in the mental health system — in Downtown Los Angeles. One of the students asked him about Kanye’s comments. Kobe is not down.

“I’m sure (I feel) the same way everybody else here in this room feels. What the hell are you talking about? I think that was my reaction as is everybody else’s reaction….

“The thing about our country is that you have the right to say whatever it is that you want to say…that’s the beautiful thing about living in a democracy. I think, for him, he’s one of these entertainers that’s always in a constant state of growth, he’s always challenging … himself, doing a lot of questioning internally himself…so I just take it for what it is and completely disagree.”

If I need to explain to you why Kobe is in the right here, you need to take a basic American history course again.

Good on Kobe for his comments. More importantly, good on Kobe for taking the time to promote mental health awareness.

“It’s easy for us as people to kind of ignore the emotional side of it,  especially when it comes to things that deal with negativity, things that deal with insecurity, things that deal with fear,” Kobe said. “It’s very easy to take the fear and just push it down, try to act like it doesn’t exist. The reason why it starts with imagination is because you first must imagine the life that you want to have. You must first imagine what it is you dream of becoming.”

Kobe did that, and now he’s got an Oscar. Oh, and a few basketball awards, too.