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Today is Tuesday, March 20, 2018.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018
National Basketball Assoc.
Clippers vs. Timberwolves 8:00 (EDT) Preview

Clippers seek end of skid against Timberwolves


Tuesday, March 20 at 12:14 AM (EDT)

MINNEAPOLIS -- With every contending team in the Western Conference winning, seemingly, every night, any loss can seem demoralizing.

The fourth through 10th teams in the West separated by a total of three games in the loss column, no one can afford a loss, let alone a poor stretch of games.

Take the Minnesota Timberwolves, for example.

Once sitting in third place in the West, Minnesota has tumbled without star Jimmy Butler. The Wolves started Sunday's game against Houston -- a possible first-round matchup -- in a tie for fifth place. New Orleans' win earlier in the day led to a true, four-way tie for fifth with the Pelicans, Utah, San Antonio and Minnesota all at 40-30.

When the Wolves' comeback bid against the Rockets fell short in a 129-120 loss, they tumbled to eighth in the conference.

"We put ourselves into too big of a hole," Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau said. "You can't do that. Where we are right now, the fight has to be greater."

The Wolves host the Los Angeles Clippers (37-32) on Tuesday with Los Angeles clawing for any foothold in the climb to the playoffs. Just two games back in the loss column to Minnesota, the eight-place team, Los Angeles is lamenting its own slip.

Sunday's 122-109 loss to streaking Portland was the Clippers' third in a row.

"We realize we don't have a lot of room for error," Los Angeles guard Lou Williams told the Los Angeles Daily News. "There's a lot of teams that don't have a lot of room for error. Dire is one word, but at the end of the day, we can only go out and play as hard as we can."

After trading star Blake Griffin, the Clippers didn't seem like a playoff team. But Williams has continued his big scoring and Tobias Harris, who came over for Griffin, has averaged 20.1 points per game. Patrick Beverly, Avery Bradley and Danilo Gallinari are still out with injuries, but guards Austin Rivers and Milos Teodosic have gotten healthy.

Williams scored 30 points Sunday against the Trail Blazers. DeAndre Jordan had seven points and 16 rebounds.

Instead of health, travel might be the issue for the Clippers. Sunday's game in Los Angeles was their third in three cities in four nights. It was a one-game stop at home before beginning a four-game road trip at Minnesota. The Clippers are in a stretch of nine out of 11 games on the road.

"At this point, we've just got to win games," Austin Rivers told the Daily News. "I don't care if we have to play five games in five nights, we've just got to win games. Everybody's tired right now. Everybody's bruised. Everybody's trying to play catch-up.

"We've dropped a couple of games in a row. We've got to get it back going."

Minnesota is hoping to draw on their comeback attempt against Houston and bring the same energy all game against Los Angeles. The Wolves trailed by as many as 25 to the Rockets before closing to within five points.

Jeff Teague had 23 points and 11 assists. Andrew Wiggins scored 21 and Karl-Anthony Towns had 20 points and 18 rebounds.

Newcomer Derrick Rose supplied a spark during the rally and finished with 14 points.

"He's just got to keep doing what he's doing," Thibodeau said of Rose. "He's playing great defense. I don't think people see it. He did it in the Washington game. We need everyone playing well."

The loss was Minnesota's fifth in seven games.

"We wanted to win," forward Gorgui Dieng said. "Everybody likes to think about playoffs and every game matters. It was very disappointing."


Mavericks vs. Pelicans 8:00 (EDT) Preview

Pelicans start endurance test against Mavericks


Monday, March 19 at 10:54 PM (EDT)

NEW ORLEANS -- So now the fun begins and the oxygen masks rev up for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Because their Feb. 7 game against the Indiana Pacers was postponed due to a leaky roof at the Smoothie Kings Center and rescheduled for Wednesday night, the Pelicans (40-30) face the rare challenge of playing three games in three nights, opening Tuesday night against the Dallas Mavericks (22-48).

After hosting the Pacers on Wednesday, the Pelicans will conclude their three-day fitness test with a home game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday.

With 12 games left and the Western Conference playoffs on the line, the Pelicans, coming off a 108-89 victory on Sunday over the short-handed Boston Celtics, realize that every game down the stretch becomes more critical. That victory snapped a string of four losses in five games for New Orleans.

"I think it is good for us because it was a good bounce-back game," said forward Anthony Davis, who had 34 points and 11 rebounds in the win over Boston. "You know, it was a tough one last night (a 107-101 loss to Houston) and then we come in (against) the No. 1 defensive team and score on them and then hold them to what they had, under 100. So it was good for us to kind of bounce back."

The Pelicans held the Celtics to their lowest point total of the season and also limited Boston to a season-low 13 points in the fourth quarter. One of the highlights was the play of second-year forward Cheick Diallo, who continues to merit extra playing time by running the court and also blocking shots effectively.

The second-round pick out of Kansas in 2016 was a raw, athletic talent when the Pelicans drafted him, and his season-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting against Boston indicated he could have a promising future. Diallo even sparked the crowd with some fiery hand gestures after several layups. He added six rebounds.

Diallo is averaging 6.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game since Jan. 30 while shooting 58 percent from the floor.

"It's a lot different now, because at the beginning of the season, I was not playing, so it's kind of frustrating," Diallo said. "To me, I feel like I'm growing as a player right now, defensively and offensively."

"He did a great job," Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. "When we were struggling a little bit, he gave us a big boost energy-wise. Just his running in our offense opened up everything. He did a great job of rim-running."

Davis has taken notice of the young forward who is trying to pattern his game after his All-Star "big brother."

"He's playing well," Davis said of Diallo. "He's coming in with a lot of energy. He plays hard. He plays well for us, so he just wants to come in and help the team any way possible, whether defensively or offensively."

The Pelicans have won two of three meetings with Dallas this season, both on the road, but losing 128-120 at home on Dec. 29 when the Mavericks were blistering from long range, making 22 of 39 3-point attempts (.564).

In three games this season against Dallas, Davis has averaged 28.7 points on .517 shooting, 10.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.0 blocks. Guard Jrue Holiday has averaged 19.7 points on .500 shooting and 6.0 assists.

The Mavericks lost 114-106 on Saturday at Brooklyn, their third loss in four games.

While 11 of the last 15 games against New Orleans have been decided by fewer than 10 points, Dallas will miss guard Dennis Smith Jr., who sprained his left ankle after scoring 21 points in 23 minutes. X-rays were negative, but he will not play against the Pelicans.

"We probably dodged a bullet," Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.

"I'm trusting their decision," Smith said. "I don't want to make anything worse. That's how I messed my knee up (in high school). So I'm trusting them."


Thunder vs. Celtics 8:00 (EDT) Preview

Thunder come to Boston with six-game win streak


Monday, March 19 at 10:57 PM (EDT)

BOSTON -- Fresh off ending the Toronto Raptors' 11-game winning streak on Sunday in Toronto, the Oklahoma City Thunder bring their own six-game streak into TD Garden to face the short-handed Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.

Russell Westbrook, who recently became the fourth player in NBA history with 100 triple-doubles, posted his 23rd of the season Sunday, amassing 37 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists in the victory.

Westbrook has averaged 25 points, 11.2 rebounds and 10.8 assists during the winning streak, capped by the show he put on north of the border Sunday.

He also passed the 6,000-assist mark.

"I've been in that moment. You just feel everything is slowed down," said teammate Paul George, who had 22 points in the win. "He dictated the tempo. He dictated the game. And that's what it is, that's what it's like when you're a star player, a superstar player. You get in that moment."

The Celtics have won their last two games against the Thunder, including a 101-84 victory on Nov. 3 at Oklahoma City. But OKC has won its last two visits to TD Garden -- and this time faces a depleted Celtics team coming off a loss at New Orleans on Sunday night.

"I am a man on a mission," Westbrook said. "We've got to take care of business. This time of year, you've got to turn it up a notch."

Boston will not be getting healthier for this game as Kyrie Irving misses his fourth straight resting his sore left knee and Jaylen Brown is improving but still in the league's concussion protocol.

"I think he feels better and better," Celtics coach Brad Stevens, talking about Irving, said before Sunday's game. "He just doesn't quite feel 100 percent. So until that point then he'll be out.

"There was a chance that he would play (against the Pelicans). He just didn't quite feel that. And, again, we're going to make sure that he feels that way."

Stevens reported that Brown was "getting closer."

The Celtics have also lost Gordon Hayward (for almost the entire season), Marcus Smart (6-8 weeks with thumb surgery) and Daniel Theis (knee surgery, out for the year).

Irving scored 22 of his 25 points in the second half to lead the Celtics to their seventh straight of what would be a 16-game winning streak at OKC in November.

Westbrook scored 19 points and added 11 assists and six rebounds in that game but was just 7 of 20 from the floor.

Anthony Davis scored 34 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to help the Pelicans beat the Celtics on Sunday night, offsetting a big night by Boston rookie Jayson Tatum.

Tatum scored 23 points, but the Celtics dropped their third in the last four games.

"For whatever reason, I thought we looked a step slow, but obviously, we are going to have moments where we struggle to score with this group right now," Stevens said. "We also rushed some shots and then they got into that rhythm and got it going. (The Pelicans) have been a good offensive team all year and they were hard to stop."


Hawks vs. Jazz 9:00 (EDT) Preview

Jazz carry nine-game win streak into matchup with Hawks


Monday, March 19 at 11:10 PM (EDT)

SALT LAKE CITY - Stingy defense is taking Utah to places no one expected the Jazz to reach earlier in the season.

The Jazz enter Tuesday's clash with the Atlanta Hawks riding a nine-game winning streak. Utah has won 21 of 23 overall to move into fifth place in the Western Conference standings, and there's no sign of that momentum grinding to a halt any time soon.

One reason behind the surge is a defense that's absolutely crushing opponents. In the last nine games, the Jazz have allowed an average of 89.3 points and held opponents to 40.2 percent shooting. They are outrebounding teams 49.2 to 38.8 per game.

Rudy Gobert is a catalyst in the elite defensive numbers. He has posted three straight games with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds and is averaging 19.3 points on 68.5 percent shooting, 13.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks during the nine-game winning streak.

Jazz coach Quin Snyder said there's no question in his mind that Gobert is the best defensive player in the league right now.

"It's an empirical fact," Snyder said after Utah's 103-97 win over Sacramento on Saturday. "Empirical from the standpoint that, if you look at every number, he's dominant. Like, not just good. He has been dominant."

There's some question whether Gobert could earn NBA Defensive Player of the Year honors at season's end, simply because he has missed 26 games with knee injuries. But if his impact on the Jazz defense is looked at, Gobert feels like he has the best case to win the award.

His defensive real plus-minus rating is a league-best 5.52 through only 44 games.

"I don't like to make my own case, but there's nobody that impacts the game defensively like I do in the whole world," Gobert said. "I watch other games and I don't see anyone."

The Hawks (20-50) are the latest team tasked with figuring out how to survive and overcome Gobert and Utah's defense.

Salt Lake City is the second stop in a six-game road trip for the Hawks. Atlanta kicked it off in Milwaukee on Saturday, where the Hawks fell 122-117 to the Bucks.

Milwaukee lost despite getting 38 points from Taurean Prince for the second time in four games. Prince was 13 of 26 from the field, collected eight rebounds and also had two blocks.

The Hawks made a late rally against the Bucks but couldn't recover when Dennis Schroder picked up his sixth foul -- and a technical foul -- with 2:46 left.

"Just giving up points when it's that close -- when it's that tight -- it's hard," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters after the game. "It's a learning experience for all of us."

The Hawks have dropped six straight games and seven of eight since the beginning of March. Porous defense is the primary culprit.

In its last 12 games, Atlanta has allowed 115.7 points per game. The Hawks have struggled the most in the third quarter. In its last five games, Atlanta has surrendered an average of 36.2 points in the third quarter.

The Hawks enjoyed one of their few positive moments of a tough season in their last meeting with the Jazz. Atlanta beat Utah 104-90 on Jan. 22 behind 20 points from Schroder and 17 points from Prince.

This game will mark the 100th meeting between the Jazz and the Hawks.


Pistons vs. Suns 10:00 (EDT)
Rockets vs. Trail Blazers 10:30 (EDT) Preview

Rockets, Trail Blazers on rolls heading into matchup


Monday, March 19 at 11:28 PM (EDT)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The team with the NBA's best record -- the Houston Rockets -- comes calling to Moda Center Tuesday night, and the Portland Trail Blazers mean no disrespect. They're taking nothing for granted.

But the Trail Blazers are, in a phrase popularized in an earlier era of Blazer basketball, "Red Hot 'n Rollin'." Portland (43-26) is riding the wave of a 13-game win streak. The Blazers haven't been on such a tear since December 2007, when Nate McMillan was head coach and second-year pros Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge were the team leaders.

"Really, it's all about us," forward Ed Davis said. "If we play well, we're going to win. We're not really worried about the opponents right now."

The Blazers have won 18 of their last 19 games at Moda Center dating to before Christmas. They are in third place in the Western Conference, two games ahead of Oklahoma City (42-29).

"During this entire run, a lot of the things we've done have been about us," point guard Damian Lillard said. "We're communicating, being on a string defensively, locking into the scouting report, trusting each other on offense and making (opponents) have to work to stop us. Those are things we control. If we do those things well, we've been on the winning end a lot. If we do those things, which I think we will, no matter who we play, we should be able win."

Coach Terry Stotts was asked if the pressure has mounted on his players through an overall win streak that began with a victory over Golden State on Feb. 14. Portland's last loss was 101-82 against Utah at home on Feb. 11, five weeks ago.

"Not in our situation, because of the standings and how close the race is," Stotts said. "If this were in November or December, and (the Blazers were on) a streak? Maybe. But the emphasis on winning games and maintaining our position in the standings is paramount. So it's not that big of a deal right now."

The Rockets (56-14) are on some kind of run, too, having won 22 of their last 23 games. James Harden is the leading candidate for the NBA's Most Valuable Player Award and backcourt mate Chris Paul is playing some of his best ball in recent years.

But coach Mike D'Antoni knows another key has been the defensive play of small forward P.J. Tucker, who has started the last 18 games.

"He's one of the best defenders I've ever seen," D'Antoni told the Houston Chronicle.

Asked if Tucker should make the NBA All-Defensive team, D'Antoni replied, "I don't know why he wouldn't. It doesn't get much better than him."

Tucker would just as soon win an NBA championship as make the All-Defensive team.

"It would be cool, but for years, when I was mentioned as a Defensive Player of the Year (candidate), they said, 'Are you making the playoffs?' " the 32-year-old journeyman said. "We never did. I want to win."

Another key piece is power forward Ryan Anderson, who has played the past two games after missing the previous eight with hip and groin injuries. Anderson scored 14 points in 17 minutes off the bench in Sunday's 129-120 win at Minnesota, sinking 4 of 5 from 3-point range.

"I just need to get my rhythm back," Anderson said. "There is no pain now. I'll get it pretty quick here."


Raptors vs. Magic 7:00 (EDT) Preview

Raptors aim for 9th straight road win in Orlando


Monday, March 19 at 10:13 PM (EDT)

DeMar DeRozan and the Toronto Raptors are seething.

Not only is its 11-game winning streak gone, Toronto's frustration with how it ended was evident for anyone to see.

The Raptors hope to regain their composure and get their team-record ninth straight road win Tuesday night when they visit the Orlando Magic.

Toronto (52-18) saw its second 11-game winning streak in team history ended with a 132-125 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon. The Raptors lost for the first time since a four-point overtime loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 24 and the final 11 seconds saw the ejections of DeRozan, coach Dwane Casey and Serge Ibaka.

DeRozan was miffed there was no foul called on Corey Brewer on a drive to the rim that missed with 30 seconds left. Ibaka was annoyed that he was called for a foul with 69 seconds left after getting thrown to the floor by Steven Adams while the big men jostled for position and Casey was thrown out for expressing dismay at the officiating crew of Mark Davis, Haywoode Workman and Brent Barnaky.

After a game featuring 49 fouls and 57 trips to the line, DeRozan was not shy in voicing his displeasure.

"No, we're used to going against the odds every step of the way," DeRozan told reporters. "It's been like that. We fight through it, but as soon as we say something, we're the bad guys, we get fined, we get criticized. Every single night when we play we fight against all the odds. We still prevail, but we've all got a breaking point and it's frustrating.

As for Casey, he said the Raptors intend on filing a formal complaint.

"Officials are going to miss calls but, at the juncture of the game when some of the calls were made, we've got to get it right around the league," Casey said. "Not just this game, the entire league."

The Raptors now hope to avoid any controversies with officiating while also avoiding consecutive losses for the first time since a 127-125 defeat to Golden State on Jan. 13 and a 117-111 loss at Philadelphia two days later.

Since those defeats, Toronto is 23-5 in its last 28 games and on Tuesday, the Raptors will be coming off allowing a season-high in points and their third-highest shooting percentage (55.7 percent) of the season.

"It was a four-point game, we got frustrated, we can't allow that to do that to us," Casey told reporters.

The Raptors will hope to avoid any frustrating moments against a team they own 16 wins in the last 19 meeting against. Toronto's second win of its streak was a 117-104 win at Orlando on Feb. 28 when they pulled away in the final minutes.

Orlando (21-49) is 3-6 since the last meeting with Toronto. After falling to Toronto, the Magic won home games over Detroit and Memphis before dropping six of the next seven.

In four of those losses, Orlando has been held under 90 points and is coming off a 92-83 home defeat to the Boston Celtics on Friday. Orlando shot 39.1 percent and set a season low by shooting 17.9 percent (5 of 28) from 3-point range.

Shelvin Mack led the Magic with 16 points but others struggled, including Nikola Vucevic. Vucevic scored 12 points but missed six of his first seven shots and was 6 of 14.

"We didn't get anything going tonight, one through 15, especially me in the first half," Vucevic told reporters after producing his lowest point total since returning from a fractured left hand on Feb. 22. "A lot of solid looks that I usually knock down, I just missed them.

Vucevic scored 14 points in the last meeting with Toronto when Aaron Gordon and Evan Fournier played. Fournier (sprained knee) is expected to miss their sixth straight game and Gordon is expected to return from possibly his second concussion of the season.

Gordon collided with Los Angeles Lakers forward Julius Randle in the third quarter on March 7. The Magic announced Monday Gordon cleared the league's concussion protocol.

"He's symptom-free," Magic coach Frank Vogel told reporters Friday. "He's frustrated, and he wants to play, and we're frustrated, and we want him to play."


Monday, March 19, 2018
National Basketball Assoc.
Warriors 75 vs. 89 Spurs Final Recap

Aldridge's double-double fuels Spurs by Warriors, 89-75

By RAUL DOMINGUEZ - Associated Press

Tuesday, March 20 at 1:33 AM (EDT)

SAN ANTONIO (AP) LaMarcus Aldridge continued to lead the way for the Spurs, who are trying to find a way to remain in the playoffs.

Aldridge had 33 points and 12 rebounds, and San Antonio blew a 16-point lead to the injury-ravaged Golden State Warriors before pulling away for an 89-75 victory on Monday night.

''I'm a leader, so I have to do what we need,'' Aldridge said. ''Playing defense, blocking shots, scoring. It all comes with it.''

San Antonio beat Golden State for the first time in four tries this season and won their fourth straight overall to move into fifth place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of idle Utah and New Orleans.

Aldridge scored five straight points early in the fourth quarter to help the Spurs recapture a 66-65 advantage. He finished with 19 points in the fourth, including 11 straight that erased a four-point deficit and gave San Antonio a 72-65 lead it would not relinquish.

''He was a horse in that fourth quarter,'' San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. ''Obviously, it wasn't a fair fight, but it just shows what kind of class they have and how well coached they are and how badly they want to be champions again. They played great and we picked the right five minutes to play really well at the end of the game.''

Already without injured All-Stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson, Golden State lost Draymond Green in the second quarter to a bruise in the pelvic area. Green took a knee to the upper groin while defending a drive to the basket by Danny Green.

Draymond Green said he was suffering a ''constant, annoying pain,'' but doesn't expect to miss any games.

''It'll be fine,'' Green said. ''I think it's just something that's kind of like at the peak right now, but it's calmed down a little bit since it happened. It ain't that serious.''

The Warriors weren't getting any sympathy from a Spurs team that has played without Kawhi Leonard for much of the season.

Golden State still managed to hold San Antonio to 12 points in the third quarter, matching the Spurs' season low for points in any period.

Two blocked shots propelled the Warriors to their first lead of the game.

JaVale McGee blocked Dejounte Murray's attempted floater and then scored on a dunk to pull Golden State within 59-57 with 2:21 remaining in the third. Quinn Cook tied the game on a jumper after Patrick McCaw came from the weak side defensively to stuff Pau Gasol near the rim. Kevon Looney gave the Warriors the lead at 63-61 on jumper with two seconds left in the frame.

The Spurs responded by holding the Warriors to 12 points in the fourth quarter to help their bid for a 21st consecutive postseason appearance.

''They were great defensively,'' Golden State coach Steve Kerr said. ''The Spurs turned it up a notch. They're fighting for their playoff lives and they played liked it.''

Cook led Golden State with 20 points, Looney added 12 and Andre Iguodala and Nick Young had 10 each.

Mills finished with 12 points and Danny Green added 11.


Warriors: Curry (right ankle), Durant (fractured rib) and Thompson (fractured right thumb) did not travel with the team, remaining in Oakland to continue rehabilitating their injuries. ... Curry was scheduled to be reevaluated Tuesday. ... The Warriors' highest point total in a quarter was 22 in the third. Golden State scored 42 points in the third quarter against Phoenix on Saturday, the 11th time it has scored 40-plus in a quarter this season. ... Golden State has won six games when trailing by 15-plus points.

Spurs: Leonard was not on the bench, as he has been for much of the team's current six-game homestand. Leonard (right quadriceps tendinopathy) has played in only nine games this season. ... Danny Green became the third player in franchise history with a 3-pointer in 400 career games, joining Manu Ginobili (746) and Bruce Bowen (411).


Murray had eight rebounds to set the franchise record for rebounds in a single season by a point guard. The 6-foot-5 guard has 385 rebounds in 1,436 minutes, surpassing Johnny Moore's total of 378 collected in 2,689 minutes.

''He's pretty athletic,'' Aldridge said. ''He has a nose for the ball. He goes and gets them. That's big time for him. He's only going to get better from here.''


Warriors: Host Atlanta on Friday night.

Spurs: Host Washington on Wednesday night.


More AP basketball:


Pistons 106 vs. 90 Kings Final Recap

Griffin's big third quarter helps Pistons top Kings 106-90

By MICHAEL WAGAMAN - Associated Press

Tuesday, March 20 at 1:58 AM (EDT)

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) After nearly two months, Blake Griffin finally looks comfortable playing with Detroit, and it's showing up across the board.

He's even got the Pistons winning on the road again, something that hadn't happened since the five-time All-Star arrived in late January after being traded from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Griffin had 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Detroit pulled away in the third quarter to beat the Sacramento Kings 106-90 on Monday night.

''I'm much more settled in now,'' said Griffin, who has scored 20 or more points in 12 of his 21 games with the Pistons. ''The team and the organization has been phenomenal in making me feel as at home as possible. It's happening. It's just a slow process for me.''

Ish Smith had 18 points, Reggie Bullock added 17 and Anthony Tolliver scored 12 points behind three 3-pointers - one of three Pistons with a trio of 3s. Andre Drummond had just four points but pulled down 16 rebounds to help Detroit end its three-game losing streak.

The Pistons won on the road for only the 10th time this season and the first time since Jan. 10 - nearly three weeks before acquiring Griffin.

''He's just a really, really good player,'' Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said. ''Whatever problems we have have not been because of him at all. His attitude has been great, his play has been great. When we get healthy and get the right people around him, it's going to be a good team.''

On a night when the Kings' Vince Carter had seven points to move past Patrick Ewing into 22nd place on the NBA's career scoring list, Griffin led Detroit to the lopsided win with another in a string of big games this month.

Griffin scored on a spinning layup, a 3-pointer and a drive from the top of the key to spark a 13-4 run in the third quarter. He later drove around a pair of defenders for a two-handed dunk then added two free throws to put Detroit up 70-61.

It's the seventh time in the last 10 games that Griffin has scored 24 points or more.

''I just tried to attack them on certain spots,'' Griffin said. ''I forced certain shots. Our offense was just pretty good.''

Bullock made a pair of 3s in the fourth quarter to extend the Pistons lead to 98-76.

Willie Cauley-Stein scored 20 points for the Kings. De'Aaron Fox added 16 points and four assists while Justin Jackson had 15 points.

''We were a step slow tonight,'' Sacramento coach Dave Joerger said. ''We talked about it this morning that it had a high probability of being a letdown game but it was a tough game for us. It's that type of game we (have to) let roll off of us.''

Carter, the 41-year-old former dunk champion, had a thunderous one-handed jam to spark a 9-2 run early in the second quarter then added a 12-foot fadeaway later to put the Kings up 35-33. Carter later made a 3-pointer in the third quarter to pass Ewing.

''On one where we didn't rotate properly,'' Van Gundy said with a grin. ''Vince can give us credit for that and Pat's probably (ticked) at me right now.''


Pistons: Detroit won in Sacramento for the first time since Dec. 13, 2014. . Reggie Jackson continues to make steady progress and could resume playing this week after missing more than two months with a severely sprained right ankle.

Kings: Sacramento missed eight of its first nine shots but still shot 40 percent in the first quarter. ... Bogdan Bogdanovic (sore left hamstring) did not play for the first time since missing the first three games of the season because of a sore ankle.


The Kings made only four free throws, tying their franchise record for fewest in one game.


''Vince's career has been amazing. He's slowed down a little bit but he's still playing at a pretty damn high level for a guy that's been in the league this long. He's not jumping over buildings now. He's just playing the game on intelligence, toughness and everything else. One of my favorites.'' - Van Gundy, who coached Carter for two seasons in Orlando.


Pistons: Play at Phoenix on Tuesday.

Kings: Host Atlanta on Thursday.


More AP basketball:


Bucks 117 vs. 124 Cavaliers Final Recap

LeBron gets triple-double, Cavs beat Bucks without Lue

By STEVE HERRICK - Associated Press

Monday, March 19 at 11:53 PM (EDT)

CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James made certain another news-filled day ended with his own headline.

James scored 40 points as part of his third triple-double in four games and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-117 on Monday night as coach Tyronn Lue began his leave of absence to address health issues.

Lue said Monday in a statement he been dealing with chest pains and loss of sleep, and that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is. Associate head coach Larry Drew will run the team in Lue's absence.

Lue's departure came several hours before Kevin Love returned after missing six weeks because of a broken left hand. The All-Star forward scored 18 points in 25 minutes.

Losing their coach while getting back a star player seems to fit the narrative of this turbulent season. The Cavaliers (41-29) are third in the Eastern Conference and have endured roster shake-ups, injuries and other distractions as they try to reach the NBA Finals for the fourth straight time.

''If it's not one thing, it's another,'' James said.

James scored 17 points in the third quarter and finished with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his 16th triple-double this season and 71st of his career.

The four-time MVP took over in the third beginning with back-to-back 3-pointers. After not getting a foul called on a third attempt, he finished Cleveland's next possession with a massive dunk. He was fouled attempting another dunk and made both free throws the following time down.

James expressed his displeasure, as did the crowd at Quicken Loans Arena, after the officials didn't call a foul when he attempted his third 3-pointer. He quickly took out his frustration on the next two possessions.

James is trying to use humor in dealing with the lack of calls.

''I got hit in the head three times today, got elbowed in the nose,'' he said. ''It is what it is at this point. I went to keep pushing and try not to get caught up in the battle with the calls that should be called.''

Milwaukee cut a 17-point lead to 117-109, but James drove the length of the floor for a dunk with just over a minute left.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points and went 11 for 11 at the foul line for Milwaukee, which fell to eighth in the Eastern Conference after Miami defeated Denver.

James' performance led to Antetokounmpo having an unusual postgame conversation.

''I was talking to myself taking a shower, asking what I did wrong because he was the first player to score 40 on me,'' he said. ''He's the best player in the world.''

Khris Middleton had 30 points, making 11 of 16 from the field.

Lue, 40, led Cleveland to the 2016 NBA championship after taking over for David Blatt midway through that season.

No timetable has been given for when Lue will return. He missed the second half Saturday, the second time this season he left a game because he wasn't feeling well. Lue also sat out a game against Chicago at home in December.


Love was pleased with the results in his first game since Jan. 30.

''I felt pretty good,'' he said. ''Initially, that first wind is always tough, but even after that I felt like my legs were underneath me and that I could've played a little bit more.''


The Cavaliers honored former Browns tackle Joe Thomas, who attended the game after holding a retirement press conference Monday. James embraced Thomas, who received a standing ovation in an on-court tribute during a timeout.

James wanted to acknowledge Thomas, who is certain to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.

''He's a legend around here, that's for sure,'' James said. ''He'll be in the Hall very soon. The good thing for him is he won't have to travel very far. It's right down the street.''


Bucks: Antetokounmpo picked up his second foul at the 5:58 mark of the first quarter and went to the bench. He scored 10 points in the second, including a one-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass from Eric Bledsoe. ... C Tyler Zeller (sore ribs) missed his second straight game.

Cavaliers: G Kyle Korver scored 12 points after missing Saturday's game because of a family matter. He's also been dealing with a sore right foot. ... Drew hopes F Tristan Thompson, who hasn't played since March 3 because of a sprained right ankle will return this week. ... Larry Nance Jr. (sore right hamstring), Rodney Hood (strained lower back) and Cedi Osman (strained left hip flexor) are also out.


Bucks: Host Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Cavaliers: Host Toronto on Wednesday.


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Hornets 94 vs. 108 76ers Final Recap

Embiid, Simmons lead 76ers past Hornets 108-94

By DAN GELSTON - AP Sports Writer

Monday, March 19 at 11:02 PM (EDT)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) With Allen Iverson watching from a suite, Joel Embiid produced yet another dominant game in a season where the 76ers' All-Star has barely practiced.

Yes, Embiid is another Philly star who sits out practice.

Unlike Iverson, whose complaints about practice are part of his legend, the suddenly sturdy 76ers big man takes extra rest with the full support of coach Brett Brown.

Embiid had 25 points and 19 rebounds and Ben Simmons had a triple-double to lead Philadelphia to a 108-94 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night.

Simmons had 11 points, 12 rebounds, 15 assists and no turnovers for the Sixers, who still have a chance to finish fourth in the Eastern Conference and earn home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.

The 76ers have one of the easiest schedules of any team the rest of the season. The Sixers would have to pass Washington and Indiana to grab the No. 4 seed and stave off a potential Toronto or Boston matchup for at least a round.

''Our goal is to make the playoffs,'' Brown said. ''Now, seemingly, we are pretty close to doing that. Now we all get greedy and say, `Let's get a home court.' And I'm the captain of that new club. And it can only happen if we guard. And that's the message to our team.''

How's this for D?

The Hornets missed 17 of 21 shots in the third (going 1-for-5 on 3s) to crush their chances of stretching a seven-point halftime lead.

''Nothing matters unless we play defense,'' Brown said. ''It's how we set the tone in this program since the day I arrived.''

The 76ers have had countless dark days since Brown arrived in 2013.

The 19-, 18- and 10-win seasons that give birth to The Process have paid off this year, and the Sixers are set to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

They are the favorites in the majority of their games and have become the team that now has to worry about playing down to the level of their competition.

Embiid has led the charge, playing 58 of 69 games a year after playing 31 in his rookie season. He missed his first two seasons with injuries and the Sixers have been judicious with his practice time. Embiid said he works with the medical staff to decide his schedule.

''It's the most unusual thing that I've ever experienced, that he's that capable and that talented to impact a game and be selected as a starter on the All-Star team with effectively not practicing with his team,'' Brown said. ''We're really trying to preserve his health.''

Philadelphia could never really shake Charlotte until late.

Embiid, who had nine turnovers, hit two straight 3s and JJ Redick hit one to give the Sixers a 58-56 lead in the third. Marco Belinelli hit consecutive 3s late in the third to make it 72-64. He hit one more 3 for a 10-point lead to help the Sixers beat their third straight sub.-500 team (New York, Brooklyn).

Embiid connected on one more 3 at the top of the arc to close the quarter.

Embiid made 4 of 6 3s - not bad for a 31 percent shooter from beyond the arc this season.

''It's not like he's knocking them down, but he had it tonight,'' Hornets coach Steve Clifford said.

Dario Saric hit a 3 in the fourth for an 88-83 lead and Robert Covington, who scored 18 points, sealed it with Philadelphia's 16th 3 of the game for a 12-point edge late in the fourth.

''Ben was moving the ball, everybody was moving,'' Embiid said. ''That was a great effort in the second half defensively and everybody did their job.''

Kemba Walker led the Hornets, coming off a 124-101 loss to the Knicks, with 24 points. Wily Hernangomez scored 17 points off the bench in just 12 minutes in the first half to help the Hornets lead 56-49 at the break.


Hornets: The Hornets made all 14 free throws in the first half. ... Hernangomez scored 15 points in the second quarter. ... Jeremy Lamb started in place of injured guard Nicolas Batum (Achilles).

76ers: The 76ers went just 3 for 4 from the free-throw line in the first half. ... The loudest ovation of the night came when Hernangomez missed two straight free throws in the third to win every fan a free fast-food treat.


The Hornets made 24 of 30 free throws and the Sixers went just 6 of 8. Hornets center Dwight Howard, who scored 10 points and had five fouls, ripped the officiating nonetheless.

''I just thought it was crap the whole night,'' he said. ''I thought the referees did a good job of trying to keep players out of the game. ... It's not cool. I think that really got the momentum for the other team. Officiating hasn't been that bad all year. I was pretty upset about that.

''I tried to fight through it. It just kept getting worse. I never complain, I never really say nothing about refs to anybody in the media. But tonight wasn't cool.''


Simmons might need Embiid's practice schedule this deep into the season.

''Physically I feel fine, but mentally it's a little draining,'' he said.


The 76ers held ''Barbershop Night'' on the promotional schedule and members of the organization had images of players or team logos shaved in their heads.


Hornets: Play Wednesday at Brooklyn.

76ers: Host Memphis on Wednesday.


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Lakers 100 vs. 110 Pacers Final Recap

Oladipo helps Pacers rally past Lakers 110-100

By MICHAEL MAROT - AP Sports Writer

Monday, March 19 at 10:35 PM (EDT)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) Victor Oladipo reverted to his form from the first half of the season Monday night - driving and defending.

The Indiana Pacers looked a lot more like themselves, too.

Oladipo scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half, Myles Turner added 21 points and seven rebounds and the Pacers rallied for a 110-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. The win ended a two-game losing streak, allowing Indiana to keep pace with Cleveland in a tight Central Division race.

''It's tough when (the whole team is) going,'' Lakers coach Luke Walton said. ''Someone that has (Oladipo's) skill level and his skill set and his ability to break down a defense makes it challenging.''

It was a needed win for the Pacers. Indiana faces six teams currently in playoff position in its final 11 games and must play seven road games.

Over the previous few games, the young Pacers looked like they might be wearing down. When they gave up 37 points to the Lakers in the first quarter, it seemed as if it would be more of the same.

Instead, with Oladipo leading the way, Indiana dug down, defended and finally flipped the game just in time to give the Lakers their third consecutive loss and fifth straight in Indianapolis.

Coach Nate McMillan couldn't have dreamed up a more convincing finish.

''We did a better job defensively getting back and keeping them in front of us,'' he said. ''We were making shots and that helps, too.''

The start certainly didn't follow McMillan's script.

Kyle Kuzma finished with 27 points and eight rebounds, and Brook Lopez had 23 points and eight rebounds for Los Angeles. They were the catalysts in the Lakers' strong start, helping build a 28-19 lead that held for most of the first half.

Everything changed in the second half when OIadipo took control.

He and Darren Collison got Indiana going with back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third quarter for a 77-70 lead. After Julius Randle put in a layup, Collison answered with a 20-footer, and when the 14-4 flurry ended, Indiana led 85-74 late in the third.

The Lakers never seriously challenged after that.


Lakers: Kuzma was 3 of 10 on 3s, extending the franchise record for a rookie to 135. ... The Lakers lead the league with 52.7 points in the paint per game but only managed to match the Pacers 46-46 in that category. ... Randle finished with 21 points and nine rebounds. ... Lonzo Ball had four points and eight assists.

Pacers: Backup center Domantas Sabonis missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle and will miss the Pacers next game as well, coach Nate McMillan said before the game. ... Oladipo extended his streak of consecutive games with a steal to 54, breaking a tie with Ron Harper for No. 8 in league history. ... Thaddeus Young had 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists while Lance Stephenson had 16 points and five rebounds.


Collison returned to the starting lineup for the first time since having knee surgery in early February. He wound up with 15 points and eight assists.

''It felt good, just getting used to playing with the first unit again'' he said.


The Lakers were 16 of 23 from the free-throw line, the latest chapter in a season-long struggle.

One thing that has helped, Walton said, was meditation. But plenty of people from all walks of life also have chimed in about possible solutions.

''There's a lot of people who know how to fix free throws,'' Walton said.

What about shooting under-handed Rick Barry style?

''If it works I'd be totally fine with our guys doing that,'' he said.


Lakers: Visit New Orleans on Thursday night, the second stop on a five-game road trip.

Pacers: Will try to earn a series split at New Orleans on Wednesday night.


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Bulls 92 vs. 110 Knicks Final Recap

Hardaway, Beasley lead Knicks past depleted Bulls, 110-92

By JEFFREY BERNSTEIN - Associated Press

Monday, March 19 at 11:14 PM (EDT)

NEW YORK (AP) The Knicks have won two straight games for the first time in almost two months, and they're not apologizing for the caliber of their competition.

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points and Michael Beasley added 17 as New York beat the depleted Chicago Bulls 110-92 on Monday night.

''We don't care who they put out there,'' Beasley said. ''They could put a bunch of toddlers out there. Once the game starts, the game starts.''

Enes Kanter had 10 points and 13 rebounds, while Troy Williams added 11 for the Knicks.

Cristiano Felicio scored a career-high 17 points for the Bulls, who were missing their top three scorers and went 3-for-30 from 3-point range. Bobby Portis and Antonio Blakeney scored 16 points apiece.

The Knicks used an 11-0 run to end the second quarter and take a 47-37 halftime lead.

Felicio scored Chicago's first 11 points of the second half and the Bulls pulled within four, 56-52, on Denzel Valentine's layup with 7:45 left.

That was close as they would get, as the Knicks followed with a 21-5 stretch and opened up a 77-57 lead on the second of Hardaway's consecutive 3-pointers with 2:35 left in the quarter.

''We are out there competing,'' Valentine said. ''Everybody competes and gives it there all with their minutes, but if the ball don't go in the basket, you lose. We got 12 more games left and we have to make the most of them.''

New York led 83-67 at the end of the third, and the Bulls got within 10 points midway through the fourth. The Knicks responded with an 11-2 run that put away a win that doesn't mean much for a team bound for the draft lottery.

''I don't think it's for real, like `We're going to tank,''' said Kyle O'Quinn, who had of the Knicks' season-high 61 rebounds. ''But, I think it's encouraged. You know, why not? But, I don't think you can get five guys out on the court and tell them to lose as professionals.''


Bulls: Coach Fred Hoiberg said Kris Dunn was being put in a walking boot after he suffered a right toe sprain against Memphis on Thursday. Dunn also missed Chicago's game against Cleveland on Saturday. ... The Bulls had beaten the Knicks in the teams' previous three meetings this season.

Knicks: Courtney Lee returned after missing Saturday's game for personal reasons. Lance Thomas missed his second straight game for personal reasons. ... The Knicks ended their five-game homestand at 2-3.


Chicago's Zach LaVine (16.7 points per game), Lauri Markkanen (14.9) and Dunn (13.4) were out with injuries, while Robin Lopez (12) was dressed but did not play. Nikola Mirotic, who had been leading the Bulls in scoring (16.8), was traded to New Orleans on February 1.

''It doesn't change the game plan at all,'' Jeff Hornacek said. ''We are still trying to do what we are supposed to do offensively and defensively. The scouting report changes a little bit in terms of what you do with Markkanen or what you do with Dunn. So that part changes. Other than that, we are trying. It is not like we have all our guys either.''


During a timeout, the Knicks honored former Army Staff Sgt. Alfredo De Los Santos and presented him with a $10,000 scholarship for his daughter, Josely. De Los Santos lost his right leg when he was wounded in Afghanistan in 2008. He is now a professional hand cyclist who had a 4th-place finish at the 2016 Paralympics.


The Bulls lost to the Cavaliers on Saturday and dropped consecutive games for the first time since Feb. 26-27. The Knicks, who beat the Hornets on Saturday, won consecutive games for the first time since Jan. 26-30.


Denzel Valentine is the only player on either team who has played in every game this season. He has started 34 of the Bulls' 70 games.


Bulls: Host Denver on Wednesday.

Knicks: Visit Miami on Wednesday.


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Grizzlies 115 vs. 118 Nets Final Recap

Crabbe, LeVert lead Nets over Grizzlies 118-115


Tuesday, March 20 at 12:01 AM (EDT)

NEW YORK (AP) The Brooklyn Nets proved supreme in another showdown with one of the NBA's worst teams.

Allen Crabbe and Caris LeVert each scored 22 points and the Nets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 118-115 on Monday night.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson had 16 points and 12 rebounds, and DeMarre Carroll scored nine of his 18 points in the fourth quarter for the Nets, who have two straight wins for the first time since Jan. 19-21. They won Saturday over Dallas.

''He's just a tough winner. It's just who he is,'' said Nets coach Kenny Atkinson of Carroll's effort.

''He's not a take-over-the-game guy. He does what it necessary to win a ballgame. I thought his will helped us.''

Andrew Harrison, who missed Memphis' last nine games due to a right wrist injury, scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half but missed a potential tying 3-pointer before the final buzzer. The Grizzlies have lost 20 of 21.

''I should have pushed the ball up,'' said Harrison, who was playing for the first time since Feb. 28. ''It's all one me. All on me.''

Brionte Webber had a career-high 15 points for the Grizzlies, who were without Marc Gasol due to flu-like symptoms. The team has lost 15 straight games on the road since a Christmas Eve victory at Sacramento.

Brooklyn trailed 94-87 heading into the fourth quarter before turning it around against the Grizzlies, who dropped to 19-51, one game behind league-worst Phoenix, who had the night off.

Carroll capped a string of three straight 3s to tie it at 97 with 8:45 remaining in the final period. After a three-second defensive technical free throw by Harrison gave the Grizzlies a 101-100 lead with 6:54 left, the Nets scored nine straight points highlighted by LeVert's dunk with 4:07 left to lead 109-101.

Crabbe increased Brooklyn's advantage 116-108 with 38 seconds left, but Memphis made it interesting despite having a bevy of guys on the floor that might not have had the opportunity if not for the team's current state.

''You can watch all the film that you want to, you can watch all the NBA basketball you want,'' interim coach J.B. Bickertstaff said. ''But until you're in that moment and the pressure is on you and you feel your heart beat a little bit faster, the game is moving a little bit faster, until you learn how to play in those moments and slow those moments down in your mind, until you go through it, you won't learn. So, it's invaluable the education our guys are getting.''

Wayne Selden Jr., who scored 17 points off the bench, hit a 3, and JaMychal Green made a layup to make it 117-115 with 12 seconds left. Spencer Dinwiddie then hit a free throw to extend the Nets' lead to 118-115 with 11 seconds to go before Harrison missed a potential tying 3 with 0.4 seconds remaining.


Grizzlies: Tyreke Evans (inactive) did not play. He was replaced by Harrison in the starting lineup. ... Deyonta Davis started at center in place of Gasol. It was just his third start of the season. ... Green had a double-double with 14 points and 16 rebounds. . Memphis had seven players score in double figures. Dillon Brooks had 15 points and Chandler Parsons added 13. Ivan Rabb had 10 points.

Nets: Crabbe moved into second place for the most 3-pointers in a season by a player in franchise history. His first 3-pointer of the night gave him 163, passing Joe Johnson. The 25-year-old is now three shy of Deron Williams' record of 169 set during the 2012-13 season.


Grizzlies: Continue their three-game trip at Philadelphia on Wednesday night.

Nets: Host Charlotte on Wednesday night to close their three-game homestand.


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Nuggets 141 vs. 149 Heat Final Recap

Wild night in Miami: Heat top Nuggets 149-141 in 2 OTs

By TIM REYNOLDS - AP Basketball Writer

Monday, March 19 at 11:42 PM (EDT)

MIAMI (AP) They broke the stat system. That's how good Miami and Denver were - even modern technology couldn't keep up with the Heat and Nuggets.

For 48 minutes, they went back and forth.

And one overtime wouldn't decide it, either.

Finally, after three hours, the Heat said enough. James Johnson scored a career-high 31 points, Kelly Olynyk added 30 off the bench and Miami set a franchise single-game scoring record by beating the Nuggets 149-141 in double overtime on Monday night.

''There didn't deserve to be a loser,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ''Guys probably really enjoyed playing in a game like this.''

His guys did, anyway. Olynyk became the second reserve in Heat history to score 30. Wayne Ellington had 23 points, and the Heat made 20 3-pointers - second-most in franchise history.

All that comes with a serious disclaimer. There was no official boxscore after the game, because the system crashed in the first overtime and crews were scrambling to determine official numbers long after the final buzzer. What mattered most was the score - one that moved Miami (38-33) into seventh in the Eastern Conference and left the Nuggets two games back of the last Western Conference spot.

''They just executed,'' Nuggets forward Paul Millsap said. ''They got some, I think, fluke plays and a little luck and they're at home, you know. Momentum shifted a little bit.''

Miami's point total was also an NBA season high. Houston and Oklahoma City each scored 148 in games earlier this season.

Nikola Jokic had 34 points and 14 rebounds for Denver (38-33), while Wilson Chandler added 26 for the Nuggets. Jamal Murray scored 23 and Will Barton finished with 22 for Denver.

''There's no stats. The stat machine blew up I guess,'' Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. ''But the only stat I cared about tonight is that I'm proud of the way we competed, I'm proud of the way we executed, I'm proud of the fact that we gave ourselves a chance.''

Neither team was at full strength. For Miami, Dwyane Wade (left hamstring strain) missed his fourth consecutive game, and Hassan Whiteside (left hip pain) sat out his fifth straight contest. Denver was without leading scorer Gary Harris, sidelined again by a strained right knee that could keep him out several more days.

Denver led 16-5 after 3 1/2 minutes, and that was the only double-digit lead by either side for about the next three hours. It was airtight until the very final moments, almost to an absurd degree.

After one quarter, Denver led by one.

Halftime, Miami led by one.

After three, Miami still by one.

After regulation, tied.

After one overtime, still tied.

''That's as playoffs as it comes,'' Olynyk said.

Back and forth they went all night, two teams who played a one-point game at Denver back in November - that one not being decided until Dion Waiters' missed jumper as time expired sealed the Nuggets' win. This one had even more fireworks, with the Heat missing shots at the end of regulation and the first overtime before finding a way in the second OT.

Olynyk and James Johnson had all 13 Miami points in the first overtime.

''We didn't exactly want it to be like this,'' said Ellington, who rattled home a 3-pointer to start the second OT and put Miami ahead for good. ''But these are the types of games that show your character.''


Nuggets: Including the franchise's ABA days, all 28 previous Nuggets teams to finish .500 or better made the playoffs. That streak seems in jeopardy now. ... Denver fell to 19-5 in games where it scores at least 115 points. The Nuggets are now 17-30 when allowing more than 105.

Heat: It was the highest-scoring first four quarters of an overtime game in Heat history. The previous before-OT high was 115 at Golden State on Dec. 1, 2008. ... A pregame moment of silence was held for the six victims of last week's bridge collapse near Florida International University. ... The previous scoring record was 141 points, done twice.


The Heat continue paying tributes to the 17 victims of the shooting last month at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Florida. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra and several players spent their day off Sunday at the Parkland Rec League Basketball Championship, honoring the lives of victims Joaquin Oliver, Luke Hoyer and Alex Schacter by announcing scholarships in their names - as well as a $500,000 donation.


This seven-game trip for the Nuggets is their longest since a seven-gamer in the 2011-12 season. As if a late-season two-week trip wasn't tough enough, Denver's remaining schedule is brutal; after visiting Chicago on Wednesday, the Nuggets will have 10 games left - all against teams currently in the playoff mix.


Nuggets: Visit Chicago on Wednesday.

Heat: Host New York on Wednesday.


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