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Bradley Beal outduels Carmelo Anthony as Wizards roll over Knicks 117-101

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WASHINGTON (AP) Bradley Beal went shot for shot with Carmelo Anthony and then some as the Washington Wizards blew out the New York Knicks 117-101 Tuesday night to move into a tie for first place in the Southeast Division.

Beal scored 28 points, Markieff Morris had 24 and John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists as the Wizards rolled to their fifth victory in a row and won for the 11th time in 13 games. Beal was 12 of 18 from the floor, while Anthony was 10 of 17 for 26 points.

Washington improved to 28-20 and tied the Atlanta Hawks for first place. The Wizards are the second-hottest team in the NBA behind only the Golden State Warriors, who also won 12 games in January.

With New York big man Kristaps Porzingis out with illness, Washington’s Marcin Gortat was unchallenged inside and scored 15 points on 7-of-7 shooting.

After a back-and-forth first half, the Wizards led by five at halftime but took control early in the third quarter with a 16-2 run. The Knicks missed six consecutive shots after Anthony opened the quarter with a jumper and committed two turnovers to fall behind by 19.

PORZINGIS OUT

Porzingis’ absence wasn’t announced until about 20 minutes before tipoff. Coach Jeff Hornacek didn’t mention the possibility of the Latvian being out during his pregame meeting with reporters.

LOWE-DOWN

With the teams meeting for the first time since Sidney Lowe’s on-court distraction Jan. 19, coach Scott Brooks defended his assistant coach’s actions on the Knicks’ final possession. Lowe was fined $5,000 and the Wizards $15,000 for being on the court when New York’s Courtney Lee said he didn’t attempt a shot because he heard Lowe nearby yelling and believed it was a player who might block his shot.

Wall stole the ball, and the Wizards held on to win 113-110.

“He was on the court,” Brooks said. “I respect the NBA’s decision, but anybody who knows me and knows Sidney that he was not doing it to distract their player. He was instructing (Markieff Morris) to stay up on Carmelo and take him off the 3-point line because we were up 3. Once we did that, he backed off before the Knick player got the ball.”

TIP-INS

Knicks: G Derrick Rose missed his second consecutive game with a sprained left ankle. … Lee has shot 6 of 25 in three games against the Wizards, all losses. … G Brandon Jennings scored 21 points but shot 5 of 16.

Wizards: Extended their home win streak to 15, tying the second-longest in franchise history. The Bullets won 22 consecutive games at home in 1974-75. … Wall’s double-double was his 28th of the season and Gortat’s his 27th. … After being held without a point in the first half, F Otto Porter scored 10 in the third quarter and spent the fourth riding a stationary bike to keep his sore hip loose.

UP NEXT

Knicks: Visit the Brooklyn Nets in the second half of their back-to-back series Wednesday.

Wizards: Host the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

Heat: Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic doubtful for Game 2 of NBA Finals

Heat players Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic
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Bam Adebayo‘s and Goran Dragic‘s injuries… not looking great for the Heat approaching Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Heat:

This is a disaster for Miami. The Lakers dominated Game 1, and now the Heat have two starters hobbled at best. At worst and more likely, Adebayo and Dragic are out.

Adebayo would be the bigger loss. Miami was completely overmatched when facing Anthony Davis without a center. Kelly Olynyk and Meyers Leonard can try to keep up, but they’re far from great solutions.

At least the Heat have more options at point guard. Kendrick Nunn can get an elevated role (especially after excelling in garbage time of Game 1). Jimmy Butler can become the de facto point guard. Tyler Herro can also play the position. But Dragic was playing so well during Miami’s run through the Eastern Conference. This is also a major setback.

 

Report: Tyronn Lue ‘early favorite’ to become Clippers head coach

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Doc Rivers is gaining momentum in the 76ers’ coaching search.

As for the job Rivers left behind with the Clippers… Clippers assistant and former Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue, unsurprisingly, has the inside track.

Marc Stein of The New York Times:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Clippers are planning to interview other candidates, starting soon, sources said.

The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to interview Lue in the near future too, sources said.

Lue would be a sensible hire. He has championship experience, which would help the Clippers hit the ground running in a make-or-break season before Kawhi Leonard and Paul George can become unrestricted free agents. Lue managed stars in LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Clippers must improve their chemistry around their stars. And the last time Lue got promoted from assistant to head coach, his team won a title.

New Orleans also has an appealing job. But the Clippers are far closer to championship contention. And if both teams want Lue, I bet Clippers owner Steve Ballmer would outspend Pelicans owner Gayle Benson.

Still, the Clippers are conducting a coaching search. Other candidates could emerge. This isn’t necessarily Lue’s job for the taking.

How long would he wait on L.A. if the Pelicans make an offer? Lue has shown he values being entrusted.

Report: 76ers focused on Doc Rivers and Mike D’Antoni in coaching search

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The 76ers appeared focused on Mike D’Antoni in their coaching search.

Then, Doc Rivers surprisingly became available.

The former Clippers coach met with the 76ers and is now in the center of the conversation.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

For the Sixers now, the focus is on Rivers and D’Antoni, a source told ESPN. A decision is expected this week.

Rivers would be an easier fit with this roster than D’Antoni, whose style doesn’t appear to work as well with both Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Rivers also looks like he’d help Philadelphia take the next step.

But that seemed like it’d be true with the Clippers and wasn’t.

Tyronn Lue’s candidacy with the 76ers has clearly faded. Could he join the Clippers, Rockets or Pelicans? If Philadelphia hires Rivers, maybe D’Antoni still lands with the Pacers?

Rivers’ availability has definitely thrown a wrench in the coaching carousel.

Victor Oladipo denies trade rumor he wants out of Indiana

Victor Oladipo
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It was a trade rumor that kind of came out of nowhere — maybe more as a thought exercise for Celtics fans hoping to move on from Gordon Hayward — but it got traction: Victor Oladipo reportedly wanted out of Indiana.

Not true, Oladipo said.

Oladipo jumped on Instagram Live with rapper Fat Joe and shot down the rumors (hat tip Clutch Points):

“I’m a Pacer. I’m a Pacer…

“Those rumors on the internet, I don’t know where they’re coming from, I’m just focused on getting my knee right for next year.”

He said later in the interview he wants a ring, he wants “hardware” because that is needed to show you are one of the greats, and he would consider leaving the Pacers to get it. But that wasn’t a short-term thing. (Also, Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Elgin Baylor and a lot of other guys would like to talk with you about that attitude.)

Oladipo returned mid-season from his knee injury to a Pacers’ team that finished as the four seed in the East but got bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.

Oladipo never quite returned to his All-NBA form after coming back from injury and averaged just 14.5 points a game in the 19 regular season games he did play. Oladipo is owed $21 million next season, the last year of his current deal.

Whether he wants out of Indiana or not, at $21 million and with questions about just what level of player he is post-injury, there is not much of a trade market for Victor Oladipo. Indiana more than likely runs it back under a new coach — who has yet to be chosen — and banks on a healthy Oladipo helping the team make the next step.