Watch Brandon Ingram hit three late 3s, including deep game-winner, for Pelicans

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NEW ORLEANS — Brandon Ingram threw both arms above his head, extending three fingers on each hand and smiling triumphantly as his Pelicans teammates and fans celebrated wildly.

New Orleans’ leading scorer could have extended all 10 fingers had he wanted to display his point total during a sublime 1:13 span at the end of regulation.

Ingram capped a 33-point, nine-assist performance by hitting three late 3-pointers – the first while being fouled for a four-point play and the last with less than a second left – as New Orleans edged the Minnesota Timberwolves 128-125 on Tuesday night.

“I wasn’t necessarily looking to shoot the basketball every single time down the floor,” Ingram said. “But I felt good. I felt in rhythm and my teammates found me.”

Ingram went 6 for 7 from 3-point territory and his most pivotal shots came in a long-range exchange with Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards, whose fifth 3 of the game cut New Orleans’ lead to 117-115 before Ingram hit from the right wing while being fouled. After Edwards came right back with a left-wing 3, Ingram hit another from deep to make it 124-118 with 50.5 seconds left.

Malik Beasley‘s sixth 3 of the game cut it to 124-123 with 12.9 seconds left, and the Wolves fouled Devonte' Graham, who made one of two free throws with 9.2 seconds to go. Minnesota tied it at 125 on D'Angelo Russell‘s driving scoop with 3.6 seconds left, only to see Ingram’s rainbow 3 from more than 26 feet swish through for the win.

“When he released it, I just knew it was going in,” Graham said. “I just held my hands up because I already knew it was cash.”

Josh Hart had 21 points and nine rebounds, and Jonas Valanciunas added 13 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, which shot 55.3% (42 of 76), including 16 of 33 (48.5%) from deep. The Pelicans made the last nine 3-pointers they attempted, starting with two by Ingram late in the third quarter, then one from Garrett Temple, two by Nickeil Alexander-Walker and one by Graham.

Hart said Ingram set the stage for his crunch-time flourish by playing unselfishly.

“During the whole game, he’s trusting us to make the right play,” Hart said. “So, it keeps the defense honest, especially at the end of games, and he’s someone who can get to his shot.”

Edwards scored 28 points and Karl-Anthony Towns had 26 for Minnesota, which saw its four-game winning streak snapped in an emotional, highlight-filled, up-tempo affair that included 19 lead changes and 14 ties.

“We acted like we were just going to walk in, get a win, and it’s going to be sweet,” Towns said. “I don’t know if we thought, like, we’re the Warriors all of a sudden.

“We tried to flip a switch, the switch wasn’t flipping, and then finally we got some shots to go in. It’s not the way to win a basketball game,” Towns added. “I felt like we played hoping they would give us the game.”

Russell finished with 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolves, hitting four of his first five 3s before missing his last five. Beasley added 18 points, hitting six of eight 3s.

New Orleans opened the third quarter with a 10-3 run, during which Valanciunas scored five points for the Pelicans’ largest lead at 75-62.

Minnesota chipped away and pulled back in front when Edwards’ short floater capped a 7-0 run that began with Towns’ straight-on 3, giving the T-Wolves a 112-111 lead with 3:32 left and setting up the riveting finish.

Watch Celtics shooters look sharp in easy preseason win over Hornets

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics
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It’s just one meanless preseason game, but for a franchise that could use some good news the Boston Celtics will take it.

The Celtics’ shooting looked in mid-season form in their preseason opener against the Hornets on Sunday — 57.1% overall and 22-of-47 from 3 (46.8%). Boston just couldn’t seem to miss, especially early.

Jayson Tatum had 16 points in 22 minutes, while Jaylen Brown was the leading scorer with 24 points in 24 minutes.

The one unexpected bright spot was a strong game from Mfiondu Kabengele, who is currently on a two-way contract with the team. He ended up with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and showed some hustle.

Kelly Oubre led the Hornets with 17 points, while LaMelo Ball had 14 points, seven rebounds and four dimes.

It’s just one preseason game, don’t read much of anything into it. But the Celtics will take the good news where they can find it.

T.J. Warren still out for Nets; team to reassess status in November

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The Brooklyn Nets bet that the T.J. Warren from the bubble in Orlando — the one who averaged 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers — would re-emerge and give them a quality forward they could mix into a deep rotation.

Instead, so far it has looked more like the Warren who has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

Warren is improving and the Nets are bringing him along slowly, keeping him off the court until November at least, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Small forward T.J. Warren, who has missed nearly two full seasons following multiple foot surgeries, is “doing some shooting” and “a little bit more movement the last two weeks than he was prior,” Nash said. He added that Warren will be reassessed in about a month.

The Nets can afford to be patient. They have plenty of other questions to answer as a team before worrying about what Warren can or cannot contribute. But in the dream scenario where everything comes together for the Nets this season, Warren gets healthy and becomes a valuable contributor off the bench giving the Nets more versatility, scoring, and shooting along the front line.

For now, the Nets and Warren wait.

NBA returning to Seattle for exhibition game; when will it be more?

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SEATTLE — An NBA preseason game may not seem like a benchmark moment, even in a basketball-hungry city like Seattle, but Jamal Crawford believes there’s value even in an exhibition.

“It reignites a whole new generation of kids who need to see this,” said Crawford, a Seattle native who has been a basketball ambassador for the city through a 20-year NBA career and now with a pro-am that brings in NBA players every summer. “They need to be able to dream and know that it’s real.”

The NBA is making its latest brief return to the Emerald City. The Los Angeles Clippers will play the Portland Trail Blazers there on Monday night, the first time two NBA teams will meet in Seattle since 2018, when the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings played a preseason game. That was the last sporting event inside KeyArena before it was gutted and rebuilt into the gleaming Climate Pledge Arena.

There was a warm-up act of sorts Friday when the Clippers played Israeli team Maccabi Ra’anana in an exhibition, one where the most of the Clippers’ big names – Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, John Wall and Reggie Jackson – weren’t participating.

A sell-out crowd turned out for that Warriors-Kings game four years ago, the first one in Seattle since the beloved SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 after 41 years in the Pacific Northwest. Another big crowd is expected Monday.

“The Sonics haven’t been a team since I’ve been in the NBA. So just to go play in Seattle is cool,” Blazers star Damian Lillard said. “We played in Vancouver a few years back. I think like two or three years ago, we had a preseason game at the (Memorial) Coliseum. So every time we get to do something like that, I always enjoy it because I wondered what was it like when it was a real thing, when the games were played in these different arenas. So I am excited to play in Seattle.”

Someday, possibly soon, the expectations are that Seattle will reclaim its place as an NBA town.

“It’s always been a great city to me,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said Friday. “It’s unfortunate that they lost their team and the team went to OKC. This city definitely deserves a team.”

Speculation is nonstop about when the NBA will choose to expand. Thanks to the resolution of its arena situation, Seattle seems likely to be at the forefront of those expansion talks, with Las Vegas likely right behind it.

But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been noncommittal about a possible expansion timeline, and it seems likely those talks won’t pick up steam until the league deals with the new collective bargaining agreement and television deals that are on the horizon.

The community’s commitment has never been in question. The appetite of Seattle fans hasn’t waned in the years since the Sonics left and as the region became a hotbed for NBA talent, whether it was Crawford continuing to carry the banner for the city, to Zach LaVine of Renton, Washington, to this year’s No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, another Seattle native.

As if any reinforcement was needed, the summer provided a perfect example as fans camped overnight outside Crawford’s summer league venue for the chance to get inside and watch LeBron James make his first basketball visit to the city in more than a decade.

“Anyone that knows Seattle knows what a great basketball city we are,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said this summer when the preseason game was announced.

The idea for having the Blazers and Clippers meet in Seattle was the result of a brainstorm between Lue and Blazers coach Chauncey Billups. The two close friends wanted their teams to meet in the preseason and Lue noted the owners for both teams are Seattle based: Steve Ballmer of the Clippers and Jody Allen for the Blazers.

“I haven’t been back since I played there in 2008, I think it was. So just to be able to go back there and you know, Mr. Ballmer and kind of see his offices and how he lives, and (Chauncey) to get a chance to see his owner, and then to be with my best friend, I thought it would be a great common ground,” Lue said.

Steven Adams inks two-year, $25.2 million extension with Grizzlies

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Steven Adams signed a two-year, $25.2 million contract extension with Memphis, which will keep him tied to the team through the 2024-25 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski broke the news on Saturday.

Adams has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ recent success. He’s coming off his first season with the team, where he averaged career-highs in rebounds (10.0) and assists (3.4). He also helped them lock up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual-champion Warriors 4-2. Despite the improved numbers, a lot of his value is from intangibles that don’t show up in the box score.

Adams spent the first seven years of his career with the Thunder before being traded to New Orleans in the four-team deal that sent Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. Adams was moved again to Memphis in a package for Jonas Valanciunas.

Adams has found a new home with a young Grizzlies team that is looking to win a championship. The team is built around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, but Jackson Jr. is expected to miss time after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Memphis will rely on Adams more than ever to begin the season.