NBA

NBA: Timberwolves erase 22-point deficit in win over Clippers

By Sports Desk March 13, 2024

Anthony Edwards scored 37 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves rallied from a 22-point deficit for a 118-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker added a season-high 28 points and Mike Conley scored 23 with five 3-pointers for the Wolves, who bounced back from consecutive losses to pull within one game of the Northwest Division lead.

Kawhi Leonard left with back spasms between the first two quarters, the Clippers said. He played the entire first quarter, but he was seen leaving the arena during the second quarter.

Faced with a 57-35 deficit midway through the second quarter, Minnesota cut the Clippers’ lead to 63-55 at halftime and took control in the second half for the team’s largest comeback since November 2012.

Paul George scored 22 points for Los Angeles, which has dropped two straight for only the second time since Christmas.

Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert returned from a one-game absence with a right hamstring injury but then apparently injured his ribs or sternum at some point in the second half, heading to the locker room in pain.

Kings finally beat Bucks

De’Aaron Fox scored 29 points and Domantas Sabonis had 22 with 11 rebounds as the Sacramento Kings defeated the Milwaukee Bucks, 129-94, for their first win in the series in over eight years.

Sacramento posted its first win over Milwaukee since Feb. 1, 2016, with the 15-game losing streak being the longest active streak for any team.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 30 points and 13 rebounds as the Bucks finished a 1-3 California swing.

Hart stars in Knicks’ rout of 76ers

Josh Hart registered his fourth triple-double of the season and OG Anunoby scored 14 points in his return from an 18-game absence as the New York Knicks rolled to a 106-79 drubbing of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Hart had 20 points, a career high-tying 19 rebounds and 10 assists, and Jalen Brunson added 20 points and nine assists for the Knicks, who bounced back from Sunday’s loss to the 76ers.

Anunoby played his first game since Jan. 27 due to a right elbow injury that required surgery. New York improved to 13-2 in games that he has played in since his acquisition from Toronto on Dec. 30.

Kelly Oubre Jr. had 19 points and Tyrese Maxey added 17 after missing the previous four games due to a concussion. Philadelphia has lost four of its last five games.

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    LeBron James said "every seed matters" for the Los Angeles Lakers after he combined with Anthony Davis to power them past the Memphis Grizzlies and go eighth in the Western Conference.

    The Lakers entered Friday's game – their penultimate outing of the regular season – on a two-game losing streak and jockeying for position with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. 

    However, James put up 37 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Davis added 35 points as the injury-hit Grizzlies failed to hold on after going 118-117 up with one minute and six seconds left.

    James sank six points in the final minute to lift Los Angeles one game clear of Sacramento and Golden State, both of whom suffered defeats later on Friday.

    "Every game matters. Every seed matters. Wherever you fall, you can't play in the past," James said.

    "I can't say I would much rather be where we are today than be the number one seed. That would be a lie. Seeds matter, and wherever you fall, you take that challenge."

    The Lakers emerged from the Play-In Tournament to reach the Western Conference Finals last year before being dispatched by the eventual NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets.

    With coach Darvin Ham plotting a route through the postseason, he left James out on the court for 41 minutes on Friday, while Davis played 43 minutes on his return from a left eye injury which kept him out of Tuesday's loss to the Warriors. 

    Asked about the risks of keeping the duo out there, Ham said: "In the moment, you're not worried about that. You're worried about securing the victory you came to get. 

    "Everyone knows what time it is. It's that time of the year. Everyone knows what's at stake. 

    "Whatever we need, and however long we need to push guys, we've got to have it, and they understand that."

    Memphis are guaranteed to end a frustrating campaign 13th in the West, and Scotty Pippen Jr. said they were simply playing for future opportunities after scoring a career-high 28 points.

    "The emphasis going into the game was to play hard," Pippen said. "We knew they were playing for something, and they probably thought we were playing for nothing. 

    "But a lot of guys here are playing for opportunities. That's our motivation."

  • NBA: Embiid returns from injury scare, scores 32 to lead streaking 76ers NBA: Embiid returns from injury scare, scores 32 to lead streaking 76ers

    Joel Embiid shook off an apparent injury to finish with 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and the Philadelphia 76ers extended their winning streak to seven with a 125-113 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday.

    Embiid had 21 points, nine boards and seven assists in the first 17 minutes but appeared to land awkwardly on his left knee late in the first half. He limped to midcourt and gave up on the play.

    After coach Nick Nurse called timeout, Embiid went straight to the locker room. But he returned for the second half and promptly hit a 3-pointer on his first touch of the third quarter.

    Orlando, Indiana and Philadelphia are all 46-35 after the Pacers lost to Cleveland and are fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.

    Franz Wagner scored 24 points and Paolo Banchero added 22 for Orlando, which dropped its third straight game. The Magic can win the Southeast Division with a victory over Milwaukee on Sunday.

    Spurs rally to stun Nuggets

    Devonte’ Graham scored on a floater in the lane with 0.9 seconds remaining and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from a 23-point deficit for a 121-120 win over the Denver Nuggets, who may have suffered a potentially damaging loss.

    The loss dropped Denver out of sole possession of first place in the Western Conference and into a tie with Minnesota and Oklahoma City. After tiebreakers, the Timberwolves are first, the Thunder and second and the Nuggets are third heading into the final day of the regular season on Sunday.

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    Thunder handle depleted Bucks

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    Milwaukee played without superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (strained left calf) and All-Star Damian Lillard (sore left adductor) and dropped into a tie with the Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the East. The Bucks can still finish second with a win at Orlando on Sunday or a New York loss to Chicago.

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    "It stings to have this loss, but maybe we need this before heading into the postseason with a killer mentality," Porzingis said.

    "It's not who we are. This is not the team our fans love. That wasn't on display.

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    "We got out-toughed the last two games and haven't played to our standard," Brown said.

    "The game has shifted and it's going to shift even more in the playoffs."

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    "We made shots and made the right plays," Brunson said.

    "Obviously, we know they're the top dog in the East. Whenever you play against them, it's always a good measuring stick to see where you're at.

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