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Updated: 6 min 52 sec ago
The high-octane Clippers kept on rolling without newly acquired Danny Granger, who will have to wait a little longer to play his first game with them. Chris Paul had 21 points and eight assists, Blake Griffin added 20 points before both All-Stars sat out the fourth quarter, and Los Angeles breezed to a 108-76 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday night. Granger could not play because of a technicality on the team's active list, which is signed by coach Doc Rivers before every game and relayed to the officials. Granger's name was printed by hand by a member of the public relations staff under the heading: ''Updated Roster Additions,'' but the number on the sheet was not circled along with the other active players by the required deadline of 6:30 p.m. local time.
LaMarcus Aldridge returned to the Trail Blazers lineup, happy to know that things didn't go awry without him. Portland's All-Star forward had 16 points and the Blazers won their fifth straight game with a 102-96 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. Everybody just played better.'' The win moved the Blazers (41-18) a season-high 23-games over .500. After failing to make the playoffs last season, Portland sits in third place in the Western Conference.
After sleep-walking through the first half, the Grizzlies managed to wake up in time to claim their fifth straight victory at home. Zach Randolph had 23 points and 14 rebounds, and Memphis used a big second half to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 110-96 Saturday night. ''Coach just stated the obvious - that we can't let a team come in here and dominate us on both ends of the court,'' Memphis guard Mike Conley said of Dave Joerger's halftime speech. ''We just went out there and tried to be aggressive defensively.'' Randolph had 17 points in the second half to help Memphis outscore Cleveland 56-31 and rally from an early 15-point deficit.
LeBron James caught an alley-oop flip from Dwyane Wade on a fast break, threw down a dunk and then headed up court with his arms spread like some superhero. James can look the part, whether he's wearing a clear mask or a black one. Switching to a clear protective cover at the NBA's request, James had 20 points, nine rebounds and seven assists Saturday to help the Miami Heat earn their seventh consecutive victory by beating the Orlando Magic 112-98. ''He was a clear-mask guy tonight,'' teammate Chris Bosh said.
Marcus Thornton knew he was getting a second chance with the Nets and he made the most of it in just his third game with his new team. Thornton scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to lead Brooklyn to a 107-98 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. Brooklyn's Kevin Garnett missed the game with back spasms but wasn't needed as the Nets never trailed in the second half against the NBA's worst team. Thornton, playing in his third game for Brooklyn since being obtained in a Feb. 19 trade with Sacramento, came off the bench to make 8 of 13 from the field to help the Nets finish their seven-game road trip 4-3.
Rajon Rondo banked in a 3-pointer that broke a fourth-quarter tie. Two minutes after the point guard apparently gave the Celtics a 93-90 lead with 4:37 remaining, officials reviewed the shot at the next stoppage in play. Boston never led again and the Indiana Pacers won 102-97 on Saturday night, their fourth straight victory. ''I love instant replay!'' Indiana coach Frank Vogel said with a smile.
Houston is starting to make a habit of 40-point first quarters. After not scoring 40 points in the opening quarter in the last five seasons, the Rockets have done it five times this season and twice in the last three games. Terrence Jones had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the Rockets opened a big early lead and beat the Detroit Pistons 118-110 on Saturday night for their third win in four games. Jones finished 10 of 15 from the floor as Houston shot 50 percent for the game, including 61 percent in the first half.
The 76ers' fans came to celebrate Allen Iverson's No. 3. Trevor Ariza left them talkin' about 40. Ariza made eight 3-pointers and scored a career-high 40 points to help the Washington Wizards win their sixth straight game, 122-103 over Philadelphia on Saturday night. Iverson had his number sent to the rafters, fit between Maurice Cheeks' No. 10 and Charles Barkley's No. 34.
Allen Iverson cupped his hand to his left ear and asked to hear his favorite tune one more time. With that command, 20,000 roaring Philadelphia 76ers fans gave AI the standing ovation he earned by stamping himself as one of the franchise's all-time greats. High above the Wells Fargo Center court, Iverson's banner slipped between Maurice Cheeks' No. 10 and Charles Barkley's No. 34. He won four scoring titles for the Sixers and was the 2001 MVP when he led them to the NBA Finals.
Mark Cuban thinks the next Kevin Durant would be better off in the NBA Development League rather than the college of his choice. The outspoken Dallas Mavericks owner said he can envision scenarios where the country's top basketball prospects would get drafted and play in the D-League rather than spend one season at an NCAA school. We can do all kinds of things that the NCAA doesn't allow schools to do that would really put the individual first.'' Durant, far from the only ''one and done'' player in the NBA, was a star for one season at Texas before Seattle drafted him No. 2 overall in 2007. The minimum age for D-League players is 18, a year younger than the NBA rule that was implemented in 2005, two years after LeBron James made the jump straight from high school to the NBA.
MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Garnett was held out of the team's game against the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night because of back spasms.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed Caron Butler.
LeBron James dispensed with his menacing black mask at the NBA's request and switched to a clear protective cover for the Miami Heat's game Saturday against the Orlando Magic. The black mask made its debut Thursday in James' first game since he broke his nose. He said he received word from league officials Friday that they wanted him to instead wear something that would allow opponents to see his face. I will abide by the request.'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver spoke Friday with Nick Arison, son of the team owner, about the matter.
- The Chicago Bulls and former BYU sensation Jimmer Fredette have tentatively agreed to a contract after he parted with the Sacramento Kings earlier in the week, a person familiar with the situation said Saturday. The sharp-shooting guard was bought out by the Kings on Thursday and cleared waivers on Saturday. Now, he's getting a second chance with the Bulls. Fredette is averaging just 5.9 points and 11.3 minutes in his third season.
HOUSTON (AP) -- Houston Rockets forward Chandler Parsons will miss Saturday's game against Detroit with an illness.
The only drama left in this miserable season for the Los Angeles Lakers involves whether Kobe Bryant will return from injury, and if they can avoid finishing last in the Western Conference. Jordan Farmar scored a career-high 30 points off the bench, making eight of 10 shots from 3-point range, and the Lakers capitalized on the absence of suspended Sacramento star DeMarcus Cousins to beat the Kings 126-122 Friday night. ''It was just the flow of the game,'' Farmar said. ''I was aggressive, took shots when they were available, and I was fortunate to knock them down.'' The Lakers (20-39) must go 11-12 the rest of the way to avoid tying the 1974-75 squad for the worst record in a regulation season since the franchise relocated from Minneapolis to Los Angeles in 1960-61.
On a bad ankle, with his Phoenix team needing to end a three-game skid, he decided to give it a try. The result was a career-high 40-point performance in 42 minutes, leading the Suns past the New Orleans Pelicans 116-104. ''I think everybody knows about Goran Dragic now,'' Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said, ''or they should.'' A game-time decision because of a sore right ankle that had kept him out of Wednesday's loss at Utah, Dragic played all but the last 10 seconds of the second half in the first 40-point game for a Phoenix player since Amare Stoudemire's 44 on March 19, 2010. It is something special in my career that I will remember my whole life.'' Anthony Davis, also a game-time decision because of a sprained left shoulder, matched his career high with 32 points for the Pelicans, who lost their sixth in a row.
Kyrie Irving didn't need any reminders he was closing in on his first career triple double Friday night. ''I was trying to not think about it too much, but my teammates were hollering at me to get one more rebound, Coach (Mike) Brown was telling to get one more rebound, a couple of fans were yelling at me that I need one more,'' Irving said. ''I said, 'I got you guys, don't worry.' '' The All-Star Game MVP had 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 99-79 win over the Utah Jazz. Two rebounds shy of the mark going into the fourth quarter, Irving grabbed his ninth rebound early in the period and pulled down his 10th with 4:12 to go to become the first Cleveland player with a triple double since LeBron James on March 16, 2010, at Detroit.
Stephen Curry's last Madison Square Garden performance was breathtaking, the most dazzling display of outside shooting ever at the famed arena. It resulted in a loss, so Curry tried a different tactic Friday night - and ended up making more MSG history. Curry had 27 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in three quarters, Klay Thompson added 25 points, and the Golden State Warriors sent the frustrated New York Knicks to a fifth straight loss with a 126-103 victory. Knicks Patrick Ewing, Bernard King and Carmelo Anthony also did it.