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Washington's high-scoring Plum leaves opponents befuddled (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:06:22 PDT)
Mississippi State coach Vic Schaefer sees something familiar when he watches Washington guard Kelsey Plum. The Houston native and Rockets fan said Plum affects the game the same way NBA superstar James Harden does. ''They run a lot of stuff that the Rockets run,'' Schaefer said.

Pelicans' late playoff bid runs through Houston (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 23 Mar 2017 15:03:39 PDT)
While the odds are slim at best, the New Orleans Pelicans have mustered hope for crashing the Western Conference postseason party with five wins in six games. When the Pelicans visit the Houston Rockets (49-22) on Friday night at Toyota Center, they will be four games behind the Denver Nuggets for eighth in the West. The Pelicans (30-41) would have to leapfrog the Dallas Mavericks and Portland Trail Blazers before even considering bypassing the Nuggets, with the website Basketball Reference placing their postseason odds at a meager 1.3 percent.

Westbrook posts 35th triple-double; Thunder roll past 76ers (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 22 Mar 2017 23:04:00 PDT)
Add another first for Russell Westbrook - a triple-double without missing a shot. Westbrook recorded his 35th triple-double of the season with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists and the Oklahoma City Thunder cruised to a 122-97 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no NBA player previously has had a triple-double without missing a shot attempt or free throw.

Utah Jazz host 1997 Finals team for 20-year reunion (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 22 Mar 2017 21:29:47 PDT)
The Utah Jazz hosted members of the 1997 Finals team Wednesday night for a 20-year reunion. Hall of Fame coach Jerry Sloan, Hall of Fame point guard John Stockton, Bryon Russell, Greg Ostertag and others were in attendance. The game was scheduled against the New York Knicks so coach Jeff Hornacek, who was a member of the team, could participate.

76ers confirm Joel Embiid will undergo surgery to repair torn meniscus in left knee (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 22 Mar 2017 18:45:17 PDT)
Three weeks after announcing that Joel Embiid would be sidelined for the rest of the season by a meniscus tear and bone bruise in his left knee, the Philadelphia 76ers announced Wednesday that their sensational rookie center will undergo surgery “in the coming days” to repair the torn meniscus. Player and team “had been exploring treatment options” in the weeks since that change, according to Stein, before finally settling on surgery.

76ers' Embiid to undergo surgery for torn meniscus (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 22 Mar 2017 16:26:34 PDT)
The Philadelphia 76ers say center Joel Embiid will undergo surgery on a torn meniscus in his left knee. Coach Brett Brown said ''there has been tremendous due diligence ... and research'' before the decision about surgery was made.

Four Corners: Which non-playoff teams are worth keeping an eye on? (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 22 Mar 2017 11:35:59 PDT)
Sixteen NBA teams will advance to the 2017 playoffs, each striving to survive and advance in the springtime tournament with hopes (some more realistic than others) of hoisting the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy come mid-June. Karl-Anthony Towns and Ricky Rubio have helped lead the Timberwolves’ second-half surge. The Minnesota Timberwolves were everybody’s preseason pick for a “surprise” playoff run — to the point that it wouldn’t have shocked anyone — before it quickly became apparent we’d jumped on the bandwagon too soon.

How sliding into the DMs has killed the NBA's home-court advantage (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 22 Mar 2017 10:25:46 PDT)
Three decades after what George Karl described as the height of the NBA’s “drug and drinking era” — a span that claimed the careers of All-Stars past, present and future, and not by chance saw home-court advantage spike to a record high in 1987-88 — teams are performing better than ever on the road. According to Tom Haberstroh’s latest piece for ESPN The Magazine, the reason can at least in part be credited to Tinder, Instagram and other applications that give NBA players access to would-be suitors with a touch of a button on their smartphones. Indeed, various apps have done for sex in the NBA what Amazon has done for books.

Cavs take on Nuggets squad on playoff bubble (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 21 Mar 2017 23:56:07 PDT)
The Denver Nuggets are clinging to playoff hopes now, and it doesn't get any easier for them this week. After two losses in a home-and-home set with Houston, the Nuggets host the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night. Denver, which is 6-4 in March, leads the Trail Blazers by a game for the last Western Conference playoff spot.

Thompson, Curry outshine Westbrook, Harden fires Rockets
(Tue, 21 Mar 2017 00:14:14 PDT)
Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry outshined Russell Westbrook as the Golden State Warriors romped to victory against Oklahoma City on Monday, while James Harden produced another heroic display to hand Houston a dramatic win over Denver. Triple-double machine Westbrook was effectively stifled by the Warriors' potent offense and defense, restricted to only 15 points in front of an expectant home crowd at the Chesapeake Energy Arena. Instead it was reigning NBA MVP Curry and teammate Thompson who got on top, raining down three-pointers as the Warriors recorded a 111-95 victory.

NBA-Highlights of Monday's NBA games
(Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:33:35 PDT)
Highlights of Monday's National Basketball Association games: Rockets 125, Nuggets 124 James Harden converted a coast-to-coast layup with 2.4 seconds remaining to cap a wild fourth quarter and give the Houston Rockets a 125-124 win over the Denver Nuggets at Toyota Center. Harden corralled the rebound of an errant shot from Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson and raced up the center of the court before scoring to give the Rockets their final lead. Six Rockets scored in double figures, with Harden leading the way with a game-high 39 points and 11 assists.

Harden hits layup with 2.4 seconds left to lift Rockets (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 20 Mar 2017 22:32:05 PDT)
Harden drove the length of the floor for a layup with 2.4 seconds left to lift the Houston Rockets over the Denver Nuggets 125-124. Houston outlasted Denver in a duel between the second- and third-highest scoring teams in the NBA. ''The second half just became a shootout at the O.K. Corral - who's going to score more points?'' Nuggets coach Mike Malone said.

Harden seals thriller for Rockets
(Mon, 20 Mar 2017 22:08:01 PDT)
James Harden nailed a last-gasp layup with less than three seconds on the clock as the Houston Rockets snatched a 125-124 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Texas on Monday. Harden capitalized on a wayward shot from Nuggets guard Jameer Nelson to power up the length of the court to settle a thriller as the Rockets improved to 49-22. It was another talismanic display from Harden, who finished with 39 points to lead the scoring on a night when six Rockets finished in double figures.

James Harden on his game-winning sprint: 'I felt like I was Usain Bolt' (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 20 Mar 2017 21:31:11 PDT)
Down 124-123, the Rockets got a break when Denver point guard Jameer Nelson — yes, he plays in the final minute for a team would be in the playoffs if the season ended right now — airballed a jumper. James Harden on the sprint for the game-winner. Forget @johnwall, @jharden13 channeled his inner @usainbolt on the game-winner.

Former NBA All-Star Brandon Roy wins 2017 Naismith National High School Coach of the Year (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 20 Mar 2017 12:22:05 PDT)
Brandon Roy never cashed in on his professional NBA potential due to a series of crippling knee woes, setbacks that forced him to walk away from the league in 2013 after a comeback attempt with the Minnesota Timberwolves fell short. Just 32, the former Portland stud shooting guard has reemerged in his new life as a Seattle high school basketball coach with aplomb. Taking over a club at Nathan Hale High School that featured a 3-18 record in 2015-16, Roy made waves in February by leading the school to a perfect 29-0 mark and state championship in his first year, with most of the triumphs taking their lead from the work of coach Roy and the three-time All-Star, and highly-recruited, 6-9 forward Michael Porter Jr.

Chandler Parsons to undergo knee surgery, ending a brutal first season in Memphis (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 20 Mar 2017 10:45:01 PDT)
Chandler Parsons’ disappointing first season in Memphis may be over. The curtain has finally fallen on Chandler Parsons’ disappointing first year with the Memphis Grizzlies. The team announced Sunday that the 28-year-old forward will “undergo a meniscectomy to repair a partial tear of the medial meniscus in his left knee” on Monday, a procedure that the Grizz expect to keep Parsons on the sidelines for the rest of the 2016-17 season, playoffs included.

It's been a season of coaching stability, rare for the NBA (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 19 Mar 2017 23:09:08 PDT)
There were 10 coaching changes in the NBA during this past offseason, an unusually high number. With less than a month remaining in the regular season, all 30 coaches who started back in October are still in their jobs. ''I'm obviously a big fan of all the guys that coach in this league,'' said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, who also serves as president of the National Basketball Coaches Association.

Wizards, Celtics set to renew feisty rivalry (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 19 Mar 2017 21:58:26 PDT)
The Wizards have beaten Boston twice this season, both times in Washington. On Nov. 9, John Wall was ejected for a hit on Marcus Smart. On Jan. 24, the Wizards players arrived at work wearing funeral black -- this after the teams caused members of the Boston police to be in the hallway between the dressing rooms after a Celtics win.

Nuggets, Rockets meet again to complete home-and-home (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 19 Mar 2017 18:10:45 PDT)
The Denver Nuggets played so effectively while winning seven of nine games before Saturday night that it was easy to overlook the absence of forwards Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari when the Houston Rockets visited. Houston, fueled by MVP candidate James Harden, operated at full throttle. The Rockets' healthy roster proved vital down the stretch.

Trail Blazers used fast start to beat Hawks
(Sat, 18 Mar 2017 22:39:47 PDT)
The Portland Trail Blazers continued their quest to secure the final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a 113-97 win over Atlanta, that also snapped a five game losing skid to the Hawks. Portland, who are trying to overtake the Denver Nuggets in the postseason race, led by 23 points just 10 minutes into the game and rolled to victory behind 27 points from Damian Lillard and 22 from fellow guard CJ McCollum. "Well, the understatement is that the first quarter was really an outstanding quarter for us at both ends," Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts said.

Harden has 40 in triple-double, Rockets top Nuggets 109-105 (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 18 Mar 2017 22:32:28 PDT)
James Harden shook off a hard fall and fatigue to lead the Houston Rockets to a 109-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. ''I'm just happy we won (coming) off a loss,'' at New Orleans, Harden said. The Nuggets held Houston to 5-of-24 shooting from 3-point range but missed too many layups and free throws as their lead over hard-charging Portland for the final playoff spot in the West was sliced to 1 1/2 games.

Pelicans try to keep it going against Timberwolves (The Associated Press)
(Sat, 18 Mar 2017 12:36:14 PDT)
The New Orleans Pelicans have won three of their last four games, but they are a team still in search of their post-All-Star Game identity as they host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans (28-41) put together one of their most impressive complementary performances of the season in a 128-112 upset of the red-hot Houston Rockets on Friday night, and they did it with center DeMarcus Cousins sitting out to rest a sore left knee and a bruised right rib. New Orleans moved the ball effectively against the Rockets, collecting 29 assists, and small forward Solomon Hill, an under-performing offensive commodity most of the season, scored a career-high 30 points to go along with 24 points and 15 rebounds from All-Star forward Anthony Davis.

NBA-Highlights of Friday's NBA games
(Fri, 17 Mar 2017 22:37:42 PDT)
Highlights of Friday's National Basketball Association games: Bucks 107, Lakers 103 Khris Middleton scored 30 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo contributed 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists, helping Milwaukee defeat the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday night at Staples Center in a game that featured a scuffle between both clubs. Antetokounmpo made 11 of 16 shots from the floor as the Bucks (34-34) won for the eighth time in the last nine games. Jordan Clarkson had 21 points and Ivica Zubac added 18 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers (20-49), who lost their fourth in a row.

Hill's career-high 30 lead Pelicans past Rockets 128-112 (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 17 Mar 2017 21:43:20 PDT)
Solomon Hill hadn't been on the court for two minutes when he received a pass from Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday on the perimeter and decisively drained a 3-pointer. There were five more long-range baskets to come from Hill, who scored a career-high 30 points to help the New Orleans Pelicans overcome the absence of All-Star DeMarcus Cousins in a 128-112 upset over the Houston Rockets on Friday night. Against Houston, he helped the Pelicans beat the Rockets at their own, up-tempo game.

Nuggets face another foe coming off back-to-back (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 17 Mar 2017 21:03:13 PDT)
The Denver Nuggets are now into the tough part of their schedule, and with a playoff seed on the line, they can't afford to let any games get away from them. While the opponents are tough -- starting with Thursday's win over the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver has five straight games against teams in the playoffs if the season ended this weekend -- the schedule offers some break. With the Houston Rockets coming to town on Saturday night, it marks the fourth consecutive Nuggets opponent that will be playing on the second night of a back-to-back.

Hill on fire as Pelicans topple Rockets
(Fri, 17 Mar 2017 20:58:29 PDT)
Forward Solomon Hill scored a career-high 30 points and Anthony Davis finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds as the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Houston Rockets 128-112, spoiling a triple double performance by James Hardin. Hill, who entered Friday's NBA contest averaging just 6.5 points per game, shot six-of-nine from beyond the arc.

Pelicans' Cousins out vs. Rockets with knee, rib soreness (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 17 Mar 2017 15:24:23 PDT)
The New Orleans Pelicans say forward DeMarcus Cousins has been scratched from the lineup for Friday night's game against Houston because of left knee soreness and a right rib bruise. The Pelicans say Cousins has been examined by team physicians and that an MRI scan on his left knee did not show any structural damage. Cousins has played in 10 games for New Orleans since being acquired in a trade during the All-Star break.

Rockets-Pelicans Preview (The Associated Press)
(Fri, 17 Mar 2017 14:56:37 PDT)
Since Dec. 1, the Houston Rockets won 36 of 50 games, a sustained stretch of excellence fueled by an offense that lately has been more lethal and efficient than Golden State's. In routing the Los Angeles Lakers 139-100 on Wednesday night, the high-octane Rockets had their 10th game this season in which they have scored at least 130 points, the most in the franchise's 46-year history in Houston. Although the Rockets (47-21) face a far stingier defense Friday night when they take on the Pelicans (27-41) at the Smoothie King Center, expect the scoreboard to morph into beast mode.

Barton scores 35 points, lead Nuggets over Clippers 129-114 (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 16 Mar 2017 22:10:40 PDT)
Will Barton grew up playing pick-up basketball in Baltimore until he couldn't see because of darkness. Barton scored a career-high 35 points, Nikola Jokic recorded his fifth triple-double of the season and the Nuggets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 129-114 on Thursday night to win their fourth straight. Jokic finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists to help lead Denver to a win in a matchup of short-handed teams.

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