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  • NBA roundup: Warriors withstand Joel Embiid's 46-point game
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, March 25, 2023

    Jordan Poole saved 19 of his team-high 33 points for the fourth quarter, Stephen Curry broke a late tie with two of his 29, and the Golden State Warriors overcame a 46-point performance by Joel Embiid to topple the visiting Philadelphia 76ers 120-112 on Friday night in San Francisco.

    • Klay Thompson chipped in with 21 points for the Warriors, who won their third straight overall and ninth in a row at home to maintain their No. 6 position in the Western Conference playoff race.

      Tobias Harris had 23 points and Tyrese Maxey 21 for the 76ers, who led by as many as 11 points in the fourth quarter despite the absence of James Harden, out with a sore Achilles.

      The loss, just Philadelphia's second in its last 11 games, cost it a game in its battle with the Boston Celtics for the No. 2 spot in the East.

      Kings 135, Suns 127

      Domantas Sabonis finished with 27 points, nine rebounds and nine assists, Kevin Huerter scored a team-high 29 points, and host Sacramento weathered 62 combined points from Devin Booker and Terrence Ross to knock off Phoenix.

      Sacramento withstood a 57.1 percent shooting first half for Phoenix, as the Suns led by as many as 14 points before intermission. A 23-9 run in the first 5:59 out of the locker room quickly flipped the game in the Kings' favor. Huerter's 3-pointer broke a 76-76 tie and gave Sacramento a lead it never relinquished the rest of the way.

      Booker finished with 32 points, 14 in the fourth quarter, and Ross' 30 points marked a season high. The Kings extended their lead over Phoenix for third place in the Western Conference to six games, while the Suns slid to fifth, a half-game behind the Los Angeles Clippers.

      Bucks 144, Jazz 116

      Grayson Allen torched his former team for 25 points and Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 24 with 11 assists to lead Milwaukee's thumping of short-handed Utah in Salt Lake City.

      Allen, drafted 21st overall by Utah in 2018, hit three quick 3-pointers and scored the first 11 points of the game as the Bucks led the whole way. Pat Connaughton netted 22 points, Jrue Holiday added 18 points and nine assists and Brook Lopez totaled 17 points, 14 boards and seven blocks for the NBA-leading Bucks, who have won three straight.

      Italian rookie Simone Fontecchio led Utah with 26 points, while Kelly Olynyk chipped in with 16 points and seven rebounds. The Jazz played without injured starters Lauri Markkanen, Jordan Clarkson and Collin Sexton.

      Wizards 136, Spurs 124

      Corey Kispert scored 26 points and Deni Avdija added 21 points and 11 rebounds for host Washington, which was at its best in the fourth quarter while beating San Antonio.

      The Wizards led by a point after a back-and-forth third quarter but took charge for good with a 22-8 run over the first 5 1/2 minutes of the final period.

      Keldon Johnson led all scorers with 30 points for the Spurs.

      Celtics 120, Pacers 95

      Boston overcame the return of Indiana point guard Tyrese Haliburton to post a home victory.

      Jayson Tatum scored a game-high 34 points and had seven rebounds for the Celtics, who made 18 3-pointers -- 14 more than the Pacers.

      Haliburton and Myles Turner each scored 20 points to lead Indiana, which trailed by 29 in the fourth quarter.

      Grizzlies 151, Rockets 114

      Luke Kennard made a career-high 10 3-pointers, Desmond Bane scored 25 points and Memphis rolled past visiting Houston.

      The Grizzlies extended their winning streak to five games and have won eight of nine. Kennard finished with 30 points. Memphis made a franchise-record 25 3-pointers.

      Jabari Smith Jr. and Kevin Porter Jr. scored 20 points apiece for Houston. Smith added eight rebounds while Porter had six rebounds, seven assists and two steals. Rookie Tari Eason matched his career high of 21 points.

      Hornets 117, Mavericks 109

      P.J. Washington scored 28 points and Gordon Hayward had 25 as short-handed Charlotte dealt a devastating blow to host Dallas' postseason hopes.

      The Hornets, who had lost five of their previous six games, shot 48.3 percent from the field to shake off recent offensive doldrums. Charlotte received a boost from the return of rookie center Mark Williams, who missed time with a thumb injury but provided 13 points and eight rebounds. Dennis Smith Jr. (illness), who also left Thursday night's game, had 13 points and nine assists.

      Luka Doncic scored 34 points to go with 10 rebounds and eight assists for the Mavericks. Guard Kyrie Irving was back after missing Wednesday night's loss to Golden State with a foot injury, supplying 18 points. Dwight Powell and Christian Wood had 14 points each.

      Lakers 116, Thunder 111

      Anthony Davis scored 15 of his 37 points in the first quarter and added 15 rebounds as Los Angeles got off to a fast start and held on for a victory over visiting Oklahoma City.

      The Lakers registered their third consecutive win and reached .500 for the first time this season. Dennis Schroder scored 21 points and Lonnie Walker IV added 20 for the Lakers, who defeated the Thunder for the second time this month and moved one game ahead of Oklahoma City in the Western Conference standings.

      Josh Giddey scored 27 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander also had 27 points for the Thunder, who dropped consecutive games for the first time since losing five in a row from Feb. 23-March 1.

      Raptors 118, Pistons 97

      Pascal Siakam compiled 32 points, nine assists and five rebounds as host Toronto defeated Detroit.

      Chris Boucher added 19 points off the bench for the Raptors, who have split the first two games of a four-game homestand.

      Jaden Ivey had 20 points and eight assists for the Pistons, who have lost 16 of their past 17 games.

      Bulls 124, Trail Blazers 96

      Zach LaVine recorded 33 points on 12-of-20 shooting and had eight assists to lead hot-shooting Chicago to a convincing victory over host Portland.

      Nikola Vucevic added 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting and collected 15 rebounds for Chicago, which was without leading scorer DeMar DeRozan (quadriceps). Coby White had 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting and registered nine assists as the Bulls made 57.1 percent of their shots, including a torrid 17 of 28 from 3-point range.

      Shaedon Sharpe scored 24 points for Portland, which played without Damian Lillard (calf) and fellow starters Jusuf Nurkic (knee), Jerami Grant (quadriceps) and Anfernee Simons (foot). Portland (32-41) is 3 1/2 games out of the last play-in spot in the Western Conference.

      --Field Level Media

  • Blazers' Damian Lillard (calf), Bulls' DeMar DeRozan (quad) sit out
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 24, 2023

    Star guard Damian Lillard was one of four Trail Blazers who sat out Portland's Friday night home game against the Chicago Bulls.

    • Chicago star DeMar DeRozan (quadriceps) also missed the contest.

      Lillard was ruled out due to right calf soreness. The seven-time All-Star has regularly had calf issues in recent seasons. He is averaging 32.2 points and 7.3 assists in 58 games this season.

      Also missing the game for Portland were center Jusuf Nurkic (knee), forward Jerami Grant (quadriceps) and guard Anfernee Simons (foot).

      DeRozan departed the Bulls' Wednesday home game against the Philadelphia 76ers in the third quarter due to the right quadriceps strain. He is averaging 25.1 points in 66 games this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nets G Ben Simmons diagnosed with nerve impingement in back
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 24, 2023

    Brooklyn Nets guard Ben Simmons was diagnosed with a nerve impingement in his back on Friday, and the team provided no timetable for his return.

    • Simmons, 26, has not played since the All-Star break, missing the past 15 games with what was initially dubbed left knee soreness and back soreness.

      The Nets said the nerve impingement was diagnosed after a reevaluation.

      "He will remain out of action while we determine the best long-term course of treatment," the Nets said in a statement.

      Simmons has played in just 42 games this season amid multiple nagging injuries. When the Philadelphia 76ers traded Simmons to the Nets in February 2022, a back issue prevented him from making his team debut for the remainder of the season.

      When on the court, Simmons has averaged 6.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 6.1 assists per game. In 317 career games (308 starts) with the 76ers and Nets, he has averages of 14.7 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists.

      --Field Level Media

  • Mavericks' Luka Doncic fined $35K for money gesture
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 24, 2023

    Dallas Mavericks star guard Luka Doncic has been fined $35,000 by the NBA for directing an inappropriate and unprofessional gesture toward a game official, the league announced Friday.

    • Doncic took issue with the lack of a foul being called on Draymond Green and rubbed his fingers together toward an official with 1.7 seconds left in the fourth quarter of Dallas' 127-125 home loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday.

      The gesture could be construed as Doncic suggesting the referees were paid to call the game in the Warriors' favor.

      A four-time All-Star, Doncic leads the Mavericks with averages of 32.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.2 assists and 1.4 steals over 58 contests (all starts) this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Suns' Monty Williams fined $20K for ripping referees
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 24, 2023

    The NBA fined Phoenix Suns head coach Monty Williams $20,000 on Friday for public criticism of the officiating in Wednesday's loss to the Los Angels Lakers.

    • Williams was upset after the 122-111 setback because the host Lakers attempted 46 free throws to the Suns' 20. Los Angeles outscored Phoenix 36-15 at the foul line.

      "Where do you see a game with 46 free throws for one team?" Williams said during the postgame press conference. "That's just not right. I don't care how you slice it. It is happening to us too much. Other teams are reaching, other teams are hitting, and we're not getting the same call, and I'm tired of it. It's old. ... I'm over it. Been talking about the same thing for a while. Doesn't matter what team it is."

      It was the fifth loss in six games for the Suns (38-34), who return to action on Friday night at Sacramento. Phoenix currently sits in fourth place in the Western Conference, five games behind the third-place Kings with 10 games to play.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Cavs sink Nets on last-second 3-pointer
    By Field Level Media / Friday, March 24, 2023

    Isaac Okoro hit a game-winning 3-pointer in the final second as the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers rallied in the final two minutes for a stunning 116-114 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night in New York.

    • The Cavaliers won for the ninth time in 12 games by outscoring the Nets 12-2 over the final 2:13.

      Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points to lead the Cavaliers, who trailed by nine with 3:32 remaining. Evan Mobley collected 26 points and 16 rebounds as Cleveland moved five games ahead of the fifth-place New York Knicks.

      Mikal Bridges scored 32 points, but the Nets lost their season-high fifth straight and fell a half-game behind the Miami Heat into seventh ahead of Saturday's visit there. Spencer Dinwiddie added 25 points while Joe Harris contributed 15.

      Clippers 127, Thunder 105

      Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 24 as Los Angeles took control in the second half and beat visiting Oklahoma City.

      Bones Hyland had 16 points and seven assists for Los Angeles, which avenged a 101-100 home loss to Oklahoma City on Tuesday. The Clippers played without All-Star guard Paul George, who sprained his right knee Tuesday and will miss the remainder of the regular season.

      Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led Oklahoma City with 30 points against his former team. Josh Giddey scored 18 points, and Jalen Williams added 16.

      Pelicans 115, Hornets 96

      Brandon Ingram had his first career triple-double, Jonas Valanciunas had a double-double and host New Orleans defeated Charlotte.

      Ingram finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists and Valanciunas had 20 points and 19 rebounds as the Pelicans won their third straight game to strengthen their standing in the tightly bunched battle to reach the Western Conference play-in tournament. CJ McCollum scored 20, Trey Murphy III had 19 and Naji Marshall added 16.

      P.J. Washington scored 18, Svi Mykhailiuk had 15 and Gordon Hayward added 12 to lead the Hornets (23-51), who lost starting guards Terry Rozier (foot) and Dennis Smith Jr. (illness) in the first half.

      Magic 111, Knicks 106

      Paolo Banchero scored 21 points as host Orlando held off New York despite squandering a 19-point third-quarter lead.

      Cole Anthony had 18 points off the bench for the Magic, who have won three of four to move within four games of the Chicago Bulls in the race for the final play-in spot in the Eastern Conference. Wendell Carter Jr. and Franz Wagner each scored 16 points apiece.

      Quentin Grimes and Immanuel Quickley scored 25 points each for the Knicks, who lost their third straight. Julius Randle had 23 points.

      --Field Level Media

  • LeBron James says no target date for his return
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 23, 2023

    LeBron James disputed reports Thursday that suggested he and the Los Angeles Lakers are hopeful for his return in the final week of the regular season.

    • ESPN and The Athletic reported that the team privately hoped to get James back for the final three to four games. Officially, the Lakers have said there is no timeline for the return of the NBA's all-time leading scorer.

      James responded to the speculation on social media.

      "There wasn't an evaluation today and there hasn't been any target date for my return," he tweeted. "I'm just working around the clock, every day (3X a day) to give myself (the) best chance of coming back full strength whenever that is. God bless y'all sources. I speak for myself!"

      Head coach Darvin Ham said Monday he expected James "back at some point" before the season is over.

      The Lakers began Thursday sitting at 36-37, precariously holding the 10th -- and final -- seed in the Western Conference, good for a berth in the play-in tournament. The Utah Jazz are a half-game behind the Lakers. The Jazz and Lakers play twice in the final four games.

      James, 38, has been sidelined since Feb. 26 with an injured tendon in his right foot. He has missed the last 12 games.

      The 19-time All-Star is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 47 games this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Hornets sign C Nick Richards to multiyear extension
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 23, 2023

    The Charlotte Hornets have signed center Nick Richards to a multiyear extension.

    • The team didn't announce financial terms of the deal, but Richards' agents told ESPN on Wednesday night that it's a three-year deal worth $15 million.

      The team avoids Richards going into restricted free agency this summer.

      Richards, 25, is averaging 7.9 points and 6.1 rebounds in 58 games (five starts) this season for the Hornets. He's averaging 5.0 points in 126 career games (10 starts) for Charlotte.

      The 7-foot center originally was selected by the New Orleans Pelicans in the second round of the 2020 draft. The Hornets acquired him from the Pelicans on draft night for a 2024 second-round pick.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Ja Morant contributes off bench in Grizzlies' win
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 23, 2023

    Jaren Jackson Jr. scored a season-high 37 points while Ja Morant added 17 off the bench in his return from an eight-game suspension as the Memphis Grizzlies secured the Southwest Division title with a 130-125 victory over the visiting Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

    • Jackson gave the Grizzlies a 120-116 lead by making three free throws and Memphis won a critical replay reversal when a foul against Morant was overturned and given to Rockets center Alperen Sengun, who fouled out with 1:26 left after pairing 25 points with eight rebounds. Desmond Bane (20 points, seven assists) scored on the ensuing Memphis possession.

      Jackson made 14 of 20 shots from the field in the win. Morant played as a reserve for the first time in his career as Memphis extended its winning streak to four games. Jackson added 10 rebounds and two blocks.

      Jalen Green scored 32 points while Kenyon Martin Jr. added a career-high 31 for the Rockets. Kevin Porter Jr. (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) posted his second career triple-double for Houston, which received 16 points and four 3-pointers from rookie Jabari Smith Jr.

      Warriors 127, Mavericks 125

      Jonathan Kuminga had a team-high 22 points off the bench, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry hit key hoops down the stretch, and Golden State scored a big win over host Dallas.

      The result had major short-term ramifications in the Western Conference playoff race, with Golden State not only moving 1 1/2 games up on Dallas but also gaining a tiebreaker advantage by claiming the season series 2-1. The game also featured a controversial play late in the third quarter, with the Mavericks vowing to file a formal protest to the NBA, alleging a mistake by referees led to two uncontested points by the Warriors.

      Curry finished with 20 points and a team-high 13 assists for the Warriors, and Kevon Looney added 12 points and 12 rebounds. In his return from a five-game absence due to a strained thigh, Luka Doncic paced the Mavericks with 30 points, 17 assists and seven rebounds.

      76ers 116, Bulls 91

      De'Anthony Melton scored 25 points and Tyrese Maxey chipped in 21 as visiting Philadelphia routed Chicago for its ninth victory in 10 games.

      Tobias Harris had 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Philadelphia. Joel Embiid added 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 16-plus minutes for Philadelphia. Embiid did not return to the team bench for the second half (mild calf tightness).

      Chicago leading scorer DeMar DeRozan sustained a right quad strain and did not return after leaving the game in the third quarter. He scored four points, all on free throws. Coby White paced the Bulls with 19 points, while Zach LaVine followed with 16. Andre Drummond notched a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.

      Nuggets 118, Wizards 104

      Nikola Jokic scored 31 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and passed for seven assists, and Denver held off a fourth-quarter rally to hand host Washington its fourth consecutive loss.

      Denver concluded its five-game road trip at 3-2 and maintained its pace atop the Western Conference. Jamal Murray finished with 17 points, a game-high eight assists, and six rebounds. Michael Porter Jr. added 21 points -- 18 of which came on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range -- and grabbed seven rebounds.

      Kristaps Porzingis led Washington with 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the floor. Deni Avdija added 16 points and a team-high eight rebounds.

      Lakers 122, Suns 111

      Anthony Davis recorded 27 points, nine rebounds and five assists to help Los Angeles notch a solid victory over visiting Phoenix.

      D'Angelo Russell added 26 points and six assists and Austin Reaves had 25 points and a career-high 11 assists as the Lakers won their second straight game.

      Devin Booker scored 33 points and Chris Paul added 18 for the Suns, who have dropped five of their past six games. Landry Shamet added 15 points and Torrey Craig had 14 for the Suns.

      Pacers 118, Raptors 114

      Andrew Nembhard scored 25 points, including a key 3-pointer in the final minute, and had 10 assists as visiting Indiana defeated Toronto.

      Myles Turner added 16 points before fouling out in the final minutes for the Pacers. Bennedict Mathurin scored 15 points for Indiana, Buddy Hield scored 13 points, T.J. McConnell 14 and Jordan Nwora 10.

      Pascal Siakam had 31 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors. Fred VanVleet scored 28 points to go along with 11 assists, Jakob Poeltl had 23 points and Chris Boucher scored 11.

      Heat 127, Knicks 120

      Jimmy Butler scored a game-high 35 points and dished nine assists, leading host Miami to a win over New York.

      Miami was trailing by two early in the fourth quarter before the Heat responded with a crucial 16-2 run. New York never recovered, and Miami beat the Knicks for the first time in three tries this season.

      Miami, which won its fourth straight home game, also got 22 points from Tyler Herro and 19 from Gabe Vincent. New York was led by RJ Barrett (26 points), Jalen Brunson (25) and Quentin Grimes (22). Knicks All-Star Julius Randle was held to 15 points on a frustrating night that included a technical foul.

      Bucks 130, Spurs 94

      Giannis Antetokounmpo had 31 points and 14 rebounds before resting for the entire fourth quarter as host Milwaukee never trailed in blowing out San Antonio.

      Khris Middleton added 19 points and 10 assists for Milwaukee, which improved to an NBA-best 52-20 after winning for the 23rd time in its last 26 games. Bobby Portis added 19 points and 10 rebounds.

      Devin Vassell led San Antonio with 16 points, and Keita Bates-Diop added 14 points. San Antonio trailed by double digits for the entire second half and lost for the fourth time in its last five games.

      Trail Blazers 127, Jazz 115

      Damian Lillard scored 30 points to lead a quartet of Portland players with at least 20 in beating Utah in Salt Lake City.

      Lillard struggled from 3-point range, hitting just 2 of 10, but made 6 of 9 inside the arc and nailed 12 of 14 free throws while adding 12 assists to help the Blazers snap their six-game losing streak. Shaedon Sharpe contributed 24 points and nine rebounds, Trenton Watford scored 21 with nine boards, and Jusuf Turkic had 20 points.

      Utah's Lauri Markkanen, who missed Monday's game with back soreness, topped all scorers with 40 points while also grabbing 12 rebounds.

      Timberwolves 125, Hawks 124

      Karl-Anthony Towns returned from a lengthy absence to score 22 points, including the two game-winning free throws with 3.6 seconds left, to lead Minnesota past Atlanta in Minneapolis.

      Towns had not played since Nov. 28, missing 51 games with a Grade 3 calf strain. Minnesota got 26 points off the bench from Naz Reid on 11-for-15 shooting, and 25 points and six rebounds from Jaden McDaniels. The Timberwolves were without leading scorer Anthony Edwards for the third straight game because of a sprained right ankle.

      Atlanta was led by Trae Young, who went 14-for-16 from the line and scored 29 points with eight assists. De'Andre Hunter, John Collins and Saddiq Bey each scored 16 points.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Mavericks plan to protest loss to Warriors
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, March 23, 2023

    The Dallas Mavericks are planning to file a formal protest to the NBA after claiming a mistake by referees late in the third quarter led to their 127-125 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday night, according to a report by The Athletic.

    • Referees supposedly changed a call without alerting Dallas' bench, causing the Mavericks to set up on the wrong side of the floor during a Golden State inbounds play. The mishap allowed Warriors center Kevon Looney to get a wide-open dunk, giving Golden State a 90-87 lead with just under two minutes left in the third.

      "For those wondering about the play with 1:54 to go on the 3rd, let me explain what happened. The ref called Mavs ball. The announcer announced it. Then there was a timeout," Dallas owner Mark Cuban said in a tweet. "During the time out the official changed the call and never told us. Then when they saw us line up as if it were our ball, he just gave the ball to the warriors.

      "Never said a word to us They got an easy basketball. Crazy that it would matter in a 2 point game. Worst officiating non call mistake possibly in the history of the NBA. All they had to do was tell us and they didn't."

      This isn't the first time Cuban has resorted to a protest, as he also filed for one after a 111-107 road loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 22, 2020.

      Sean Wright, Michael Smith and Andy Nagy were the officials for the contest.

      --Field Level Media

  • Grizzlies' Ja Morant returns, scores 17 off bench
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    Memphis star guard Ja Morant returned to action and scored 17 points off the bench during the Grizzlies' 130-125 home win over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.

    • Morant missed the previous nine games, eight due to a suspension for detrimental conduct. He appeared as a reserve for the first time during his four NBA seasons, in his 241st game.

      "Once I got out there on the court and seen the fans' reaction to me being back, it definitely helped me a lot," Morant said. "Made me feel good inside."

      Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins said pregame that Morant would play slightly over 20 minutes, and the two-time All-Star wound up seeing 24 minutes in which he contributed five assists and four rebounds. Jenkins also said Morant was on board with coming off the bench.

      "This was something he brought to the table as well as had been on my mind," Jenkins told reporters pregame. "So we collectively thought this was the best strategy, at least for the first one or two games. And then we'll kind of re-evaluate after that."

      The Grizzlies were 6-3 during the nine games Morant missed. Tyus Jones filled in as the point guard and averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 assists, including reaching double digits in assists five times.

      Morant was disciplined following his live-streaming of a video on March 4 in which the NBA said Morant "is holding a firearm in an intoxicated state" while at a club in the Denver area following a loss to the Nuggets.

      He initially was held out by the Grizzlies before the NBA issued the suspension on March 15. Morant said he spent time in a Florida counseling facility during his time away from basketball.

      Morant rejoined the Grizzlies on Monday, but he sat out that night's home game against the Dallas Mavericks since his conditioning wasn't up to par.

      "Obviously we don't have a long runway until the end of the regular season, but we want to be smart with that layoff that we're not doing anything to jeopardize his health," Jenkins said.

      Standout shooting guard Desmond Bane said Morant has the support of his teammates.

      "He's gotta know that it's not all on him," Bane said. "He's got all of us to lean on. Players, coaches, the whole organization has got his back. And I hope the whole city of Memphis does too."

      Morant leads the Grizzlies with averages of 26.9 points and 8.1 assists in 54 games this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Portland places F Nassir Little in concussion protocol
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    The Portland Trail Blazers placed forward Nassir Little in the concussion protocol on Wednesday.

    • Little was injured in Sunday night's game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Little took contact to the face but was cleared to return after going through an evaluation.

      However, the team said he began exhibiting symptoms Tuesday and was evaluated further, resulting in Wednesday's move.

      Little, 23, is averaging 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds in 49 games (two starts) for the Blazers this season.

      Forward Jerami Grant (quadriceps) and guard Anfernee Simons (foot) have also been ruled out for Portland.

      The Blazers (31-40) enter Wednesday night's game at Utah on a six-game losing streak. They are four games out of the 10th spot in the Western Conference.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pacers G Buddy Hield fined $25K by NBA
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield has been fined $25,000 by the NBA on Wednesday for making an obscene gesture during the team's game against the Charlotte Hornets.

    • Sitting on the bench, Hield was seen using a hand gesture toward a fan during the second quarter of the Pacers' 115-109 loss to the Hornets on Monday in Charlotte, N.C. He finished with a team high-tying 20 points in the setback.

      Hield, 30, is averaging 17.1 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 72 games (all starts) this season.

      --Field Level Media

  • Clippers G/F Paul George (knee) out 2-3 weeks
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    Los Angeles Clippers swingman Paul George will miss 2 to 3 weeks after sustaining a sprained right knee in Tuesday night's game.

    • The team announced Wednesday that an MRI exam revealed the damage and that he'll be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks. The regular season ends in 2 1/2 weeks, April 9.

      George suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of Los Angeles' 101-100 loss to the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

      George, 32, appeared to hyperextend his right knee after he was fouled by Luguentz Dort on a rebound attempt with 4:38 remaining. He did not return to the game.

      George was seen on crutches postgame, according to The Athletic, and he exited the arena on a cart, according to ESPN.

      Facing his former team, George put up 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in 35 minutes.

      For the season, he is averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.5 steals in 56 games.

      The Clippers can ill afford to lose one of their stars for a significant period with just nine games left in the regular season. Los Angeles sits in fifth place in the Western Conference, just one game up on the Golden State Warriors and 1 1/2 games in front of both the Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks.

      Only the top six teams automatically qualify for the postseason. The teams in seventh through 10th will compete for two playoff berths in the play-in tournament. Currently, the teams sitting in sixth through 12th place are all within 2 1/2 games of the Clippers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pelicans' Zion Williamson (hamstring) to resume on-court activities
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson was cleared for on-court activities on Wednesday, more than 11 weeks since he strained his right hamstring.

    • Williamson, 22, last played when he was injured in a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 2.

      The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick received the go-ahead after an evaluation of his hamstring. The team said he will be evaluated again in another two weeks.

      Whether he plays for the Pelicans again this season is unclear. That two-week window from the team ends April 5. The Pelicans will have just three regular-season games remaining before the season ends April 9.

      The Pelicans also announced point guard Jose Alvarado, who has missed the last 10 games recovering from a stress reaction in his right tibia, showed "incremental improvement" and will continue the "rehabilitation process and will be re-examined in 2-3 weeks."

      Entering play Wednesday, the Pelicans (35-37) are on the outside of the playoffs in the packed Western Conference.

      The Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers, who have identical records, are a half-game out of the final play-in spot in the West, but only 1 1/2 games out of the sixth -- and final -- guaranteed playoff berth in the conference.

      Williamson has averages of 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.1 steals in 29 starts this season. He is shooting 60.8 percent from the floor.

      Williamson missed all of last season after having surgery on a broken foot. He had missed eight games in 2022-23, including three in December while in health and safety protocol, before the hamstring injury.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wizards F Kyle Kuzma (ankle) out vs. Nuggets
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma has been ruled out of Wednesday's home game against the Denver Nuggets due to a sprained right ankle.

    • Kuzma last played on Saturday, collecting 33 points and seven rebounds in Washington's 132-118 loss to the Sacramento Kings. He sat out the Wizards' 122-112 setback to the Orlando Magic on Tuesday.

      Kuzma, 27, is averaging 21.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in 64 games (all starts) this season.

      He has contributed 16.5 points and 6.4 boards in 406 career games (276 starts) with the Los Angeles Lakers (2017-21) and Wizards since being selected with the 27th overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft.

      --Field Level Media

  • Clippers' Paul George exits with apparent knee injury
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    Clippers guard Paul George was assisted off the floor and helped to the locker room after sustaining an apparent right knee injury during the fourth quarter of Los Angeles' 101-100 loss to the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.

    • George appeared to hyperextend his right knee after he was fouled by Luguentz Dort on a rebound attempt with 4:38 remaining. He did not return to the game.

      After the contest, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said the team was still checking on George's status. George was seen on crutches postgame, according to The Athletic, and he exited the arena on a cart, according to ESPN.

      Facing his former team, George put up 18 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals in 35 minutes.

      For the season, he is averaging 23.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.5 steals in 56 games.

      George, 32, is an eight-time All-Star and four-time All-Defensive Team selection. He has career averages of 20.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 1.7 steals.

      The Clippers can't afford to lose one of their stars for a significant period with just nine games left in the regular season. Los Angeles sits in fifth place in the Western Conference, just one game up on the Golden State Warriors and 1 1/2 games in front of both the Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks.

      Only the top six teams automatically qualify for the postseason. The teams in seventh through 10th will compete for two playoff berths in the play-in tournament. Currently, the teams sitting in sixth through 12th place are all within 2 1/2 games of the Clippers.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Paul George gets hurt in Clippers' loss
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, March 22, 2023

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 31 points against his former team and Jalen Williams added 20 as the Oklahoma City Thunder continued to solidify their playoff standing Tuesday with a 101-100 victory over the host Los Angeles Clippers.

    • Josh Giddey scored 13 points and Isaiah Joe added 12 as the Thunder won for the eighth time in their past 10 games.

      Kawhi Leonard scored 21 points and Paul George added 18 against his former team before departing with a knee injury. George appeared to hyperextend his right knee after he was fouled by Luguentz Dort on a rebound attempt with 4:38 remaining. He did not return to the game.

      Leonard had a chance to give the Clippers the victory on the last possession after a rebound of a Williams miss. However, after dribbling near the 3-point arc for 21 seconds, he was unable to get a shot off in time.

      Celtics 132, Kings 109

      Jayson Tatum scored 36 points, Jaylen Brown added 27 and Boston beat host Sacramento to finish 4-2 on a cross-country trek.

      Derrick White added 20 points for the Celtics, and Marcus Smart scored 17. White completed a double-double with a team-high 11 assists, while Tatum was Boston's leading rebounder with eight boards.

      Domantas Sabonis tallied 16 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists for the Kings, who lost their second straight. Sabonis' triple-double was his 12th of the season. De'Aaron Fox led Sacramento with 18 points.

      Cavaliers 115, Nets 109

      Donovan Mitchell scored 31 points as Cleveland took control in the second quarter to beat Brooklyn in New York -- the Cavaliers' eighth win in 11 games.

      Mitchell made 10 of 22 shots, including five of Cleveland's 14 3-pointers. Former Net Caris LeVert added 18 points, while Darius Garland and Evan Mobley contributed 17 apiece for the Cavaliers, who shot 50.6 percent.

      Day'Ron Sharpe scored 20 points to lead the Nets, who tied a season high with their fourth straight loss. Spencer Dinwiddie added 19 points and 11 assists, while Mikal Bridges contributed 18 points.

      Hawks 129, Pistons 107

      Trae Young bounced back from his second-worst scoring night of the season to score 30 points as Atlanta finished off a four-game season sweep of Detroit.

      Young added 12 assists for his 35th double-double and 24th 30-point game of the season. Bogdan Bogdanovic started at guard in place of Dejounte Murray (illness) and scored 18 points. John Collins added 15 points and eight rebounds, and Clint Capela had 12 points and 16 rebounds.

      Detroit's Marvin Bagley III scored a season-high 31 points, including a career-high four 3-pointers. The Pistons also got 21 points from Killian Hayes and 17 from Jaden Ivey.

      Magic 122, Wizards 112

      Seven players scored at least 14 points, led by Gary Harris' 22, and Orlando dealt a blow to visiting Washington's play-in aspirations.

      Paolo Banchero finished with 18 points for the Magic on 6-of-9 shooting from the floor and matched Carter's team-high total of nine rebounds.

      Kristaps Porzingis returned to the lineup after missing Washington's Saturday loss to Sacramento due to an illness, and he scored a game-high 30 points. However, Kyle Kuzma was a late scratch because of an ankle sprain.

      Pelicans 119, Spurs 84

      Brandon Ingram scored 32 points to lead five players in double figures as host New Orleans routed short-handed San Antonio.

      Jonas Valanciunas added 19 points and 15 rebounds and Trey Murphy III scored 17 points as the Pelicans completed a four-game sweep of the season series.

      Sandro Mamukelashvili scored 20 points for the Spurs, who played without Keldon Johnson (neck), Devin Vassell (knee) and Zach Collins (rest). San Antonio lost for the third time in four games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Grizzlies G/F Dillon Brooks suspended after 18th technical
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, March 21, 2023

    Memphis guard-forward Dillon Brooks will serve a one-game suspension Wednesday after getting slapped with his 18th technical foul of the season during a game Monday night.

    • Under NBA rules, a player is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 16th technical foul. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, he will be automatically suspended without pay for an additional game.

      Brooks was issued the latest tech for taunting the Dallas Mavericks' bench, specifically Theo Pinson. It occurred with 7:31 remaining in the third quarter of the Grizzlies' win over the Mavs.

      "... I just wanna let (Pinson) know he's a cheerleader," said Brooks, who pantomimed waving pom-poms.

      Brooks scored nine points in the win. He's averaging 14.2 points per game on the season.

      He'll miss Wednesday's home game against Houston.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Wolves optimistic Towns, Edwards will return Wed.
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, March 21, 2023

    The Minnesota Timberwolves are optimistic that Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards will return from injuries Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks, The Athletic reported Tuesday.

    • Towns was upgraded to questionable for Wednesday's game.

      Towns has missed 52 games with a right calf strain; Edwards sustained a right ankle sprain Friday night against Chicago.

      The Wolves sit No. 8 in the Western Conference and have lost five of their past seven games. They enter Tuesday's action 1/2-game out of seventh and 1/2-game from dropping out of the play-in tournament.

      Minnesota is 26-26 in Towns' absence. He suffered the injury Nov. 28 in a loss at Washington.

      In 21 games (all starts) this season, Towns is averaging 20.8 points on 50.5 percent shooting to go with 8.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game.

      The first overall pick of the 2015 NBA Draft, Towns is in his eighth season with Minnesota. He has career averages of 23.1 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 503 games (all starts).

      A first-time All-Star this season, Edwards is averaging 24.7 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.6 steals through 71 starts.

      He owns career averages of 21.8 points, 5.1 boards and 3.7 assists in 215 games (198 starts) since Minnesota made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

      --Field Level Media

  • Knicks legend Willis Reed dies at 80
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, March 21, 2023

    Basketball Hall of Famer and legendary New York Knicks center/power forward Willis Reed died at the age of 80 on Tuesday.

    • Per multiple reports, Willis suffered from congestive heart problems over approximately the past year.

      Reed is best known for the iconic moment in which he emerged from the tunnel at Madison Square Garden to take the court for Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers. His availability for that game was unknown -- reportedly even to his teammates -- given he was nursing a right thigh injury.

      Reed provided an emotional lift for the Knicks in their 113-99 victory over the Lakers. He finished with just four points and three rebounds in that game.

      "Willis Reed was the ultimate team player and consummate leader," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "My earliest and fondest memories of NBA basketball are of watching Willis, who embodied the winning spirit that defined the New York Knicks' championship teams in the early 1970s. He played the game with remarkable passion and determination, and his inspiring comeback in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals remains one of the most iconic moments in all of sports.

      "We send our deepest condolences to Willis' wife, Gale, his family and his many friends and fans."

      A league MVP in 1970, Reed was named the NBA Finals MVP that season as well as in 1973. The Knicks won the NBA title in both seasons -- the last two in the franchise's history.

      A seven-time All-Star, Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds in 650 career games -- all with New York. He was the first member of the Knicks to have his number retired.

      "The Knicks organization is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our beloved Captain, Willis Reed," the Knicks said in a statement. "As we mourn, we will always strive to uphold the standards he left behind -- the unmatched leadership, sacrifice and work ethic that personified him as a champion among champions. His is a legacy that will live forever."

      Reed was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA roundup: Knicks' Julius Randle scores 57, Wolves still prevail
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, March 21, 2023

    Taurean Prince outdueled Julius Randle in a battle of performances that flirted with history Monday night, hitting all eight of his 3-point shots and scoring the insurance basket with 10.4 seconds remaining as the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves edged the New York Knicks 140-134.

    • Prince racked up 35 points and finished one 3-pointer shy of tying the NBA record for most 3-pointers without a miss, held by Ben Gordon (twice) and Latrell Sprewell. Prince is just the seventh player to hit at least eight 3-pointers without a miss.

      The Timberwolves needed every bit of Prince's effort to overcome a 57-point performance by Randle, who tied Richie Guerin (Dec. 11, 1959, against the Syracuse Nationals) for the third-most points in a game in team history and finished five points shy of tying Carmelo Anthony's franchise mark, set Jan. 24, 2014, against the Charlotte Hornets.

      Mike Conley (24 points, 11 assists) had a double-double for the Timberwolves, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Jaden McDaniels scored 18 points while Rudy Gobert had 16. Jalen Brunson supplied 23 points for the Knicks.

      Bulls 109, 76ers 105 (2OT)

      Zach LaVine scored 26 points, DeMar DeRozan added 25 and Chicago outlasted host Philadelphia 76ers.

      DeRozan hit consecutive shots to tie the game before LaVine and Coby White sealed the victory with two free throws apiece in the final 51.4 seconds of the second overtime. Joel Embiid had 37 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots for the Sixers. Embiid fouled out with 3:54 remaining in the second extra period trying to block LaVine's shot.

      Embiid's driving layup gave the Sixers a 99-97 advantage with 47.6 seconds left in the first overtime, but DeRozan tied the game at 99 on a layup with 37 seconds to go. Following a turnover by James Harden, the Bulls had one last chance to win the game but DeRozan misfired on a 3-pointer to force a second extra session.

      Jazz 128, Kings 120

      Rookie Ochai Agbaji scored a career-high 27 points to lead short-handed Utah to a victory over Sacramento in Salt Lake City.

      Agbaji, who led Kansas to the NCAA championship a year ago, made several key plays down the stretch to help the Jazz win despite the absence of injured starters Lauri Markkanen (back), Jordan Clarkson (finger) and Collin Sexton (hamstring). Kelly Olynyk tallied 19 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for Utah.

      De'Aaron Fox produced 37 points and seven assists and Keegan Murray had 22 points, but the Kings saw their three-game winning streak end. A Domantas Sabonis dunk cut the gap to 123-120, but Agbaji restored a five-point advantage with a pair of free throws with 41.3 seconds remaining and Utah closed it out.

      Hornets 115, Pacers 109

      Kelly Oubre Jr. scored 28 points and Charlotte wiped out a 21-point first-half deficit to defeat visiting Indiana.

      Terry Rozier racked up 23 points and Gordon Hayward hit a pair of key fourth-quarter baskets to finish with 22 points as the Hornets snapped a four-game losing streak by winning the finale of a five-game homestand. Nick Richards supplied 14 points and a career-high 17 rebounds.

      Myles Turner and Buddy Hield both had 20 points for the Pacers, who couldn't overcome a five-minute scoring drought down the stretch. Bennedict Mathurin notched 18 points, Isaiah Jackson had 12 and Jalen Smith added 10.

      Warriors 121, Rockets 108

      Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson combined for 59 points as Golden State snapped an 11-game road losing streak with a victory over Houston.

      Curry finished with 30 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Thompson added 29 points and seven rebounds. They combined to shoot 21-for-44 overall and 10-for-28 from 3-point range to pace the Warriors.

      Jonathan Kuminga chipped in 17 points off the bench for Golden State, which won on the road for the first time since a Jan. 30 victory at Oklahoma City. All five starters scored in double figures for the Rockets. Rookie Tari Eason posted his seventh double-double with 21 points and 12 boards while fellow rookie Jabari Smith Jr. also recorded a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.

      Grizzlies 112, Mavericks 108

      Memphis trailed by 13 points at the end of three quarters but outscored Dallas 29-12 in the fourth to earn a hard-fought home win.

      Jaren Jackson Jr. played most of the game in foul trouble but led Memphis with 28 points, while Santi Aldama scored 22 points and grabbed a career-high 14 boards to earn his fourth double-double of the season. Kyrie Irving led Dallas with a team-high 28 points. He also added four rebounds and two blocks.

      Jackson picked up his fourth and fifth fouls within a span of three seconds and he left the game with 7:10 left in the third. With Jackson out, the Mavericks outscored the Grizzlies 22-16 the remainder of the quarter and took a 96-83 lead into the final frame before Memphis came back.

      --Field Level Media

  • Hawks F Jalen Johnson out another week
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 20, 2023

    Atlanta Hawks forward Jalen Johnson will be sidelined at least another week with multiple injuries.

    • He has missed the past two games due to left-hamstring tightness. An MRI on Monday revealed a mild left-hamstring strain and mild left-groin strain.

      Johnson, 21, is averaging 5.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 14.5 minutes in 64 games (six starts) this season.

      The Hawks drafted him in the first round (20th overall) in 2021 out of Duke.

      --Field Level Media

  • Luka Doncic out, Kyrie Irving questionable vs. Grizzlies
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 20, 2023

    The Dallas Mavericks ruled out star Luka Doncic (left thigh strain) for Monday night's game against the Memphis Grizzlies, with Kyrie Irving (sore right foot) and Tim Hardaway Jr. (non-COVID illness) questionable for the contest.

    • The matchup is key for both teams as they seek to cement their playoff positioning in the Western Conference.

      The Grizzlies are battling the Sacramento Kings for second place in the West with an outside hope of chasing down the current top seed, the Denver Nuggets, who have a four-game lead. Meanwhile, the Mavericks (36-35) are holding on to the final guaranteed playoff spot in the conference, a half-game ahead of the seventh-seeded Golden State Warriors.

      Doncic leads the Mavericks with averages of 33.0 points, 8.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game over 57 contests.

      Since being acquired at the trade deadline, Irving has played in 12 games and contributed 28.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.6 assists.

      Hardaway has appeared in 64 games (40 starts) and averaged 14.2 points and 3.6 rebounds.

      --Field Level Media

  • Lakers expect LeBron back ‘at some point’ this season
    By Field Level Media / Monday, March 20, 2023

    Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham said he expects superstar LeBron James "back at some point" before the season is over.

    • Ham made the comments Sunday ahead of the Lakers' 111-105 win over the Orlando Magic. James has been sidelined since Feb. 26 with an injured tendon in his right foot and has missed 11 games so far.

      "We anticipate him coming back at some point," Ham told reporters Sunday.

      The Lakers improved to 35-37 on the season and are 6-5 in LeBron's absence. They have 10 games remaining, including Wednesday's home game against the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers enter Monday's action 10th in the tightly packed Western Conference, the final seed for the play-in tournament.

      The season ends April 9.

      James, 38, scored 26 points in the Lakers' 111-108 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Feb. 26, but he twisted his right foot when he stepped on an opponent's foot in the third quarter. He finished the game but was clearly in pain in the locker room.

      The 19-time All-Star is averaging 29.5 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 47 games this season.

      --Field Level Media