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  • Trade of Cousins to Pelicans becomes official
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, February 20, 2017

    The Sacramento Kings made official on Monday what had been reported shortly after the finish of Sunday's NBA All-Star Game: Star center DeMarcus Cousins is heading to the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster trade involving five players and two draft picks.

    • Cousins, the centerpiece of the deal, and forward Omri Casspi are heading to the Big Easy in exchange for rookie guard Buddy Hield, swingman Tyreke Evans, guard Langston Galloway, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick obtained from the Philadelphia 76ers.

      The 6-foot-11 Cousins, who is averaging a career-best 27.8 points in his seventh season, will form a dominant frontcourt with Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, who averages 27.7 points and is coming off a record 52-point performance in the All-Star Game.

      "It was time for a change and I decided this was the best direction for the organization," said Kings vice president of basketball operations and general manager Vlade Divac. "Winning begins with culture and character matters. With the upcoming draft class set to be one of the strongest in a decade, this trade will allow us to build the depth needed for a talented and developing roster moving forward.

      "We thank DeMarcus for his contributions and wish him all the best in New Orleans. The fans in Sacramento are the best in the world and we are all committed to building a team that will continue to make Sacramento proud."

      Although Cousins can be a free agent after next season and Sacramento considered signing him to a five-year contract extension worth approximately $210 million last month, his departure ends a tumultuous 6 1/2 seasons for the fifth overall draft pick in 2010.

      Cousins, who leads the league with 17 technical fouls, clashed with coaches and the media at times but has lifted his scoring average in each of the last four seasons.

      "He's a great player, dominant in this league, of course, with all the numbers he put up," Davis said Sunday immediately after reports of the trade surfaced. "DeMarcus is an elite player in this league."

      Both Cousins and Davis were college standouts at the University of Kentucky, with Davis selected No. 1 overall in the 2012 draft.

      Evans returns to Sacramento, which selected him in the first round (No. 4 overall) of the 2009 draft. He earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors and averaged 17.5 points in four seasons with the Kings before being sent to New Orleans in a three-team trade in July 2013.

      Evans, who has an expiring contract, averaged 9.5 points in 26 games this season after returning from a knee injury.

      Hield was selected by the Pelicans with the No. 6 overall pick out of Oklahoma last June. In 57 games, he is averaging 8.6 points.

      Galloway also averaged 8.6 points in 55 games for the Pelicans after spending his first two seasons with the New York Knicks. According to initial reports after the trade, Galloway is expected to be waived.

      Casspi, 28, is averaging 5.9 points in 22 games this season. He hasn't played since Jan. 13 due to a calf injury.

      To make room on the roster, Divac announced the Kings waived veteran forward Matt Barnes, who is averaging 7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds.

  • Stars aligning for front-running Warriors
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, February 20, 2017

    NEW ORLEANS -- And, now, the marathon that is the NBA season is closing in on Heartbreak Hill.

    • Fresh from placing four players -- Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green -- on the Western Conference All-Star team, the Golden State Warriors (47-9) have positioned themselves with 26 games left in the regular season as the clear favorites to reach the NBA Finals for the third consecutive year and win their second championship in that span.

      For a team still emotionally raw over blowing a 3-1 series lead to LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and the Cleveland Cavaliers in last season's Finals, the signs of swagger and feeling of invincibility are back.

      Certainly, the Warriors have not displayed the regular-season dominance they flaunted last season in setting the NBA record with 73 wins, but after making the blockbuster acquisition of Durant from Oklahoma City in free agency last season and road-testing their new 12-cylinder engine in November and December, they are beginning to look unstoppable.

      San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, whose Spurs own the second-best record in the NBA at 43-13, said three weeks ago that the Warriors were in a class by themselves. Whether or not Popovich was blowing smoke, as he has been known to do, Golden State once again has everyone's attention with its ability to answer any questions on a given night.

      The Warriors' brilliance in moving the ball like no other team is reflected in the shot attempts taken by the Big Three: Curry (973), Durant (950) and Thompson (933). Durant is averaging 25.8 points per game, followed closely by Curry (24.7) and Thompson (22.1).

      The player making the biggest adjustment has been Green, who has gone from 10.1 to 8.4 shots per game and experienced a slight slippage in his scoring average, from 14.0 to 10.2. But Green has been suffocating at the defensive end, averaging a career-best 2.1 steals, nearly 50 percent more than last season.

      "I wouldn't say anything has necessarily surprised me other than how fast this team has really come together," Green said. "If you look at the start of the season, everyone was unsure. This person didn't want to shoot too much, that person didn't want to dribble too much or this person (said), 'Oh, I'm going to pass up this shot because I don't know if I should shoot right now.'

      "We just play within the flow of the game and let everything figure itself out."

      Green said the Warriors have "come together on the defensive end." The Warriors ranked fifth out of 30 NBA teams in defensive efficiency last season (103.8) and now rank No. 2 (102.17) behind San Antonio (101.62).

      "With losing some of the guys we lost, a lot of people thought our defense would take a huge hit," Green said. "However, we figured it out, and we're still one of the top defensive teams in the league."

      James has been to the NBA Finals for the last six seasons, and he takes it as a badge of honor that the Warriors decided they needed to bring Durant into the fold.

      "To know that everyone is trying to build their team to get to where you are and knock you off, it's a motivating factor," James said.

      Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens said when he looks at the Warriors, he sees a team that simply plays the right way.

      "I just love the ball movement, the screening," Stevens said. "The talent and the ability to shoot and everything else is really good, but from a coaching standpoint, I love the way they share the ball. I love how much fun they seem to have playing together. And, defensively, they're a heck of a team. They've got a good thing going."

      Curry said Golden State is still smarting from losing the big series lead to the Cavaliers in the Finals last season, which should give the Warriors all the incentive they need.

      "Win a championship, man," Curry said Friday when asked about his season goals. "That's it. That's why we play, to realize that dream. Having been on the losing side, we know how thin the line is between winning and losing. That's what it's all about."

      Asked about the possibility of a repeat engagement with LeBron and the Cavaliers, Curry said: "It's a different year. He's playing well. There are guys in the Western Conference that are playing well that we know we're going to have to beat to get back to the Finals. Whoever we play, we'll be ready for them."

      "Our chemistry is phenomenal," Thompson added.

      Kerr is taking nothing for granted. He's aware of Popovich's class by themselves statement, but he's not publicly buying it. The Spurs are just four games behind the Warriors for the best record in the league.

      "When you think of their 20-year run of consecutive winning seasons, there's probably been four or five different versions of the Spurs," Kerr said. "It's not like (Popovich) has this formula and he plugs everyone into it. He changes his formula from time to time. I feel he's always kind of one step ahead of everybody."

      The race is on.

  • Matador defense the talk of All-Star Game
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, February 20, 2017

    NEW ORLEANS -- The 374 points combined by the West and the East teams in the 66th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night was an affront to matadors everywhere.

    • It wasn't just that the teams scored more points than in any previous All-Star Game. It was more that the 24 All-Stars, legitimately mindful of preserving their bodies for the meat-grinder of the rest of the regular season, seemed to relish looking the other way as another dribbler drove unimpeded to the basket.

      "I would like to see it more competitive," said West coach Steve Kerr, coach of the Golden State Warriors, who had four All-Stars in the game. "I'm not sure how to do it. It's up to the players really. It would be good to possibly incentivize the guys somehow. I don't know if you can maybe get their charities involved or a winner-take-all type thing, but I think it's possible to play a lot harder without taking a charge.

      "We know what silly is out there, if you're undercutting guys, but it's almost gone too far the other way where there's just no resistance at all. I think there's a happy medium in there somewhere."

      Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who directed the East squad, participated in his first All-Star Game. While Stevens said he enjoyed his week of being around high achievers, he noticed the casual nature of the game could not be considered anything close to the hard-nosed basketball he learned growing up in Indiana.

      "This game is about the players," Stevens said. "This game is about letting them go out and show what they do best. Certainly, I think that, whether it's from a timing standpoint, whatever the case may be, there were a few too many transition baskets allowed.

      "I mean, we talked about trying to get back in it at the end and talked about how, obviously, the one way to do that is keep people in front of you. But it probably should have been a bigger emphasis in retrospect now."

      Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving agreed with Kerr that pendulum has swung too far in the direction of offense.

      "In an All-Star Game like this, guys aren't trying to get hurt," Irving said. "For me, I would love to play in a competitive game. I know we play in competitive games in the summer, in pickup games, but I think going forward the All-Star experience will probably get a little harder in terms of defense."

      Even New Orleans Pelicans forward Anthony Davis, who set the All-Star scoring record with 52 points on 26-of-39 shooting from the floor, realized things may have to change, even though he was thrilled running the court against little resistance.

      "It was definitely fun," Davis said. "Of course, of this 52, 50 of them (were) dunks. I think you want to see defense. Of course, All-Star is about offense and giving the crowd a show. Nobody wants to go out here and get hurt. It's all about fun. You probably need to do a few more incentives. I didn't play any defense today. I was offensive-minded."

      Somewhere in Spain, a matador is weeping.

  • Reports: Pelicans acquire Cousins from Kings
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, February 20, 2017

    DeMarcus Cousins spent most of Sunday's All-Star Game in New Orleans cheering Anthony Davis' record-breaking 52-point performance.

    • Shortly after the game ended, multiple outlets reported that the Sacramento Kings agreed to trade Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans.

      Cousins will be joining forces with Davis to form a dominant frontcourt with the Pelicans (24-33). New Orleans sits 2 1/2 games behind the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

      According to the reports, the Kings are dealing Cousins and forward Omri Casspi for rookie guard Buddy Hield, swingman Tyreke Evans, guard Langston Galloway, a 2017 first-round pick and a 2017 second-round pick obtained from the Philadelphia 76ers.

      This season, Cousins is averaging career highs of 29.1 points per game and 11.2 rebounds. He is shooting 45.1 percent and making a career-high 35.4 percent from 3-point range.

      Cousins can be a free agent following next season, and last month the Kings considered signing him to a five-year contract extension worth approximately $210 million.

      While Cousins played only 2:27 in the Western Conference's 192-182 victory Sunday, multiple reports stated that the Kings were engaged in trade talks about his services.

      "He's a great player, dominant in this league, of course, with all the numbers he put up," Davis said Sunday immediately after the All-Star Game. "DeMarcus is an elite player in this league."

      Later, when reports of the trade were more widespread, Davis told ESPN, "This is an unbelievable weekend. All-Star MVP and now getting Boogie. It doesn't get better than this."

      Earlier this month, Sacramento general manager Vlade Divac told ESPN that the team was not planning on trading Cousins before the Feb. 23 trade deadline.

      By the end of All-Star weekend, Divac presented two proposals to team owner Vivek Ranadive, who recently changed his stance about moving Cousins.

      According to the Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles Lakers balked at the asking price when the Kings sought rookie forward Brandon Ingram.

      If the trade becomes official, it would end a frequently tumultuous 6 1/2 seasons for Cousins with the Kings, who drafted him sixth overall in 2010.

      Despite his big numbers, Cousins clashed with coaches and the media at times. He also leads the league with 17 technical fouls.

      Evans is returning to Sacramento, which selected him in the first round of the 2009 draft. He averaged 17.5 points in four seasons before being sent to New Orleans in a three-team trade in July 2013.

      Evans is being included in the deal since he has an expiring contract. This season with New Orleans, he averaged 18.8 points in 26 games after returning from a knee injury.

      Hield was the Pelicans' first-round pick last June. In 57 games, he is averaging 8.6 points.

      Galloway averaged 8.6 points in 55 games for the Pelicans after spending his first two seasons with the New York Knicks. According to the reports, Galloway is expected to be waived.

      Casspi, 28, is averaging 5.9 points in 22 games this season. He hasn't played since Jan. 13 due to a calf injury.

  • Jimmer scores 73 in China league game
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, February 19, 2017

    Jimmer Fredette, a former NBA first-round pick who struggled to make an impact in the league, scored 73 points in a Chinese Basketball Association game on Sunday night.

    • Fredette, playing in his first season in the CBA, and his Shanghai Sharks lost in double overtime on the road to the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions. The Sharks are owned by former NBA All-Star Yao Ming.

      Fredette's 73 points are the fourth most in a single game in the league, behind Errick McCollum (82), Quincy Douby (75) and Bobby Brown (74), according to ESPN.com. Fredette shot 25 of 49 from the field.

      Fredette, who turns 28 later this week, ranks third in the Chinese league in scoring with a 36.3-point average, leading Shanghai to a 29-6 record this season and into the playoffs, which begin Friday.

      Fredette had a standout college career at Brigham Young, leading the Cougars to four straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He won every major Player of the Year honor and was a first-team All-American during his senior season, leading the nation with 28.9 points per game.

      Fredette was selected 10th in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, who then traded him to the Sacramento Kings. He played five seasons in the NBA with the Kings, New Orleans Pelicans, Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks before signing with the Sharks last August.

      The 6-foot-2, 195-pound Fredette spent most of last season in the NBA Development League. The guard averaged 6.0 points and 1.4 assists in 235 career NBA games.

  • NBA honors Sager with $500,000 donation
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, February 19, 2017

    The NBA continued honoring the memory of late TNT sideline reporter Craig Sager by donating $500,000 to the SagerStrong Foundation on Saturday night.

    • The league gave Sager a tribute following Houston Rockets' guard Eric Gordon's victory over Cleveland's Kyrie Irving in the 3-point contest.

      TNT's Ernie Johnson came onto the court with Gordon, Irving and Kemba Walker. He said $10,000 would be donated to the cause for each shot they made in a minute.

      TNT analyst Reggie Miller got involved by being accompanied to the court by All-Stars James Harden and DeMar DeRozan along with WNBA champion Candace Parker and actors, including Anthony Anderson and Michael B. Jordan.

      Harden and DeRozan combined to make 13 3-pointers for $130,000. Johnson then offered to raise it to $500,000 if Stephen Curry made a halfcourt shot.

      Curry missed but Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal lifted Sager's youngest son Ryan, in the air for a dunk to reach $500,000.

      Sager died Dec. 15 at 65 following a lengthy battle with cancer.

      Sager was annonced earlier Saturday as the Curt Gowdy Media Award winner by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

  • McGrady, Webber, Hardaway, Moncrief among 14 HOF finalists
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, February 18, 2017

    Former NBA stars Tracy McGrady, Chris Webber, Tim Hardaway and Sidney Moncrief are among the 14 finalists for the 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame induction class.

    • The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame made the announcement on Saturday at NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

      Four players, seven coaches, one referee, one contributor and one team are finalists from the North American and Women's committees to be considered for election in 2017.

      Other finalists include Rollie Massimino, who coached Villanova to the 1985 NCAA championship, NBA referee Hugh Evans, Connecticut star Rebecca Lobo, Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey, Kansas coach Bill Self and two-time NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich.

      Previous finalists returning to the ballot include point guard Hardaway, record-setting high school coach Robert Hughes, Notre Dame women's coach Muffet McGraw, former Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and 10-time AAU national champion Wayland Baptist University.

      "We are grateful to the 14 finalists in the Class of 2017 for the impact they have had on the game we cherish," said Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. "To be named a Finalist for the Basketball Hall of Fame is an incredible accomplishment and we are proud to honor those who have shaped our game over the years.

      "The Honors Committee now has the challenging task of selecting this year's enshrinees and we look forward to making the announcement at the NCAA Final Four in Arizona this April."

      Webber played 15 seasons with five NBA teams and was part of Michigan's famed "Fab Five" group in the early 1990s.

      "I don't know what I'm most proud of," said Webber, who averaged 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds in his career and was a five-time NBA All-Star. "I'm proud to be in the room with all these great individuals."

      The 82-year-old Massimino is still coaching at NAIA school Keiser University in West Palm Beach, Fla.

      Enshrinees will be announced at the Final Four on April 3 and the induction ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., are set for Sept. 7-9.

  • Magic F Gordon craves dunk title
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 17, 2017

    NEW ORLEANS -- Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon, who finished second to Minnesota's Zach LaVine in the 2016 Slam Dunk Contest, has his sights set on winning the dunk title this year when the competition heats up on Saturday night.

    • "It's going to be innovative," Gordon said. "It's going to be technologically oriented. It's going to be original and creative. I'm not looking to play it safe."

      Last year Gordon leap-frogged the Magic's 6-foot mascot, Stuff the Magic Dragon, grabbed the ball and passed it under both legs before dunking it home.

      --Pelicans power forward Anthony Davis said despite New Orleans' struggling records in his five seasons with the team he wants to remain there and build a contender.

      "I want to be here," Davis said. "I love playing here. I plan on staying here. I want to do great things with this franchise. You can't do that if you leave."

      --Former New Orleans guard Eric Gordon, who has rebuilt his career as a dead-eye perimeter shooter with the Rockets, called his former team "dysfunctional" and said he had "a lot of ups and downs" in New Orleans.

      Gordon will compete in his first 3-point shootout.

      "It's different picking the ball off the rack," Gordon said. "I really want to win it."

      --Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol passed up a charter flight to New Orleans for the All-Star Game by driving the 395 miles in an electric Tesla automobile.

      It took Gasol nine hours instead of the usual six because he had to make two stops to recharge the Tesla's batteries.

      NOTES: The NBA excused Cavaliers F LeBron James and Knicks F Carmelo Anthony from the scheduled media session Friday. ... When West All-Star coach Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors was informed that Friday was former teammate Michael Jordan's 54th birthday, he said, "Wow, that's sad." ... Trail Blazers G CJ McCollum, who last October criticized Donald Trump for characterizing Trump's sexually explicit language in a 2005 video as "locker room talk," said he has little regard for the president. Asked what he would say if he had "10 minutes with Donald Trump," McCollum replied: "I doubt I would ever speak to him." ... Cleveland G Kyrie Irving, who won the 3-Point Contest in 2013, said his strategy is not to practice. "I'm trying to go into the 3-point competition with a clear conscience," he said. ... Celtics coach Brad Stevens, who is coaching the East team, said the key to Boston's success this season has been unselfish players. "I don't put a ceiling on us," Stevens said. "We've got a lot of guys with chips on their shoulder."

  • Coaches want to stay out of way at All-Star Game
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 17, 2017

    NEW ORLEANS -- Players play and coaches coach, except in an NBA All-Star Game.

    • At the NBA All-Star media availability on Friday, Eastern Conference coach Brad Stevens and Western Conference coach Steve Kerr said they would just roll the ball out on Sunday night (8 p.m. EST) and see if the scoreboards at the Smoothie King Center explode.

      "I think it's a great opportunity for a basketball junkie to be around high achievers, and for me it's all about (how much) I love the game," said Stevens, the former Butler University coach whose Boston Celtics are 37-20 and second behind only the Cleveland Cavaliers (39-16) in the East. "I grew up in the state of Indiana, where the game is really important. Whether it was high school or college or pros, there was always somebody to watch and somebody to learn from. To be around the best in this game is an honor."

      Stevens, who was 12 years old when the Indiana Pacers drafted Reggie Miller, is coaching his first All-Star Game, and he is a quick study. NBA All-Star Games are not about pick-and-roll defense and drawing up game plans.

      "It's great to be there, (but) I don't know how much coaching you actually do," Stevens said, laughing. "I know my lane. I think I'm going to get out of their way. I'll be there if we want to draw something up or do something out of a timeout, but this weekend's about the players. They've decided that coaches should be a part of it, so we'll represent the coaches and go from there."

      Kerr, whose Golden State Warriors are 47-9 and No. 1 in the West, will have the opportunity to put four of his players on the court at the same time. Point guard Stephen Curry and forward Kevin Durant will start for the West, and shooting guard Klay Thompson and power forward Draymond Green are reserves.

      One piece of drama left for Sunday night is the fifth player Kerr would have on the court if he chooses to play his four Warriors at the same time -- and whether Kerr would put Thunder guard Russell Westbrook on the court with Durant despite their prickly personal relationship after Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State in the offseason.

      "The only thing I want is for our players to enjoy the weekend," Kerr said.

      Both Westbrook and Durant deftly deflected questions about being back on the same team for the first time in about nine months.

      Someone asked Westbrook if he and Durant needed a "Kumbaya" moment to get past their widely reported differences.

      "I don't know what you all need," Westbrook said. "I'm in a great place. I'm having fun, having a great time. I'm happy with my team now and looking forward to moving forward."

      Asked if he was excited to be teammates with Westbrook once again, Durant responded economically: "I'm excited to be here."

      Durant said, "Stuff that you guys think are important, I don't think it's important at all. Now it's about all this other stuff."

      In reflecting for the past several weeks on having four Warriors on the All-Star team, Green said it is probably something that won't happen often in the future.

      "It's pretty special -- three of your teammates in the All-Star Game," Green said. "You make up four of the 12 guys, and that says a lot about our team, most importantly. To share the floor with those guys, especially in an environment like this, means a lot."

      Even though this is Stevens' first All-Star Game and each squad is filled with incredible talent, the Boston coach believes his 5-foot-9 point guard, Isaiah Thomas, might have a breakout performance among the tall trees.

      "I would put out a ceiling on Isaiah," Stevens said.

      Thomas said, "I think some people still doubt. Some people don't give me my just due and my respect. At the end of the day, it always comes back to my height. If I was 6-1, they would probably call me the best player in the world. It's been like that my whole life. ... I'm not saying I'm one of the best ever to put on a Celtics uniform, but I want to be in that direction."

  • Pacers F George unsure of future with Pacers
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 17, 2017

    Indiana Pacers All-Star forward Paul George wants to compete for NBA championships and he isn't sure that can happen with his current organization.

    • The 26-year-old George was non-committal about the possibility of re-signing a new deal with Indiana when appearing on an ESPN radio show on Friday. This despite speculation that Pacers president Larry Bird is preparing to offer a contract worth more than $200 million in July.

      "As I told Larry, I always want to play on a winning team," George said. "I always want to be part of a team that has a chance to win it (all). That's important.

      "Say what you want -- I want to compete for something. It's frustrating just playing the game for stats or for numbers or to showcase yourself. Man, I want a chance to play for a chance to win a championship."

      George, a four-time All-Star, isn't saying that can't happen in Indiana but he currently isn't totally convinced it can. He has thought about the prospects.

      "I wanted to be the first and want to be the first to be able to bring a championship to Indiana," George said. "So that's still on my mind ... and something I definitely want to achieve in Indiana."

      It's possible the Pacers could be able to offer George as much as $219 million in a new deal.

      His current contract has two seasons to run but George can opt out after the 2017-18 campaign.

      Bird addressed the situation with the Indianapolis Star last month.

      "Yeah, we want to keep him here long term. That's the plan," Bird said. "Before the year started, I told Paul and I said: 'Look, if you want to sign a long-term deal, we're willing to do that max. And if you want to wait, I understand.'

      "But this year, we're not going to worry about it, we're not going to talk about it, and he's going to make the decision that's best for Paul when it comes down to it."

      George is averaging 22.3 points this season. He is a popular figure in Indiana after badly breaking his right leg in the summer of 2014 and eventually returning to star status.

  • Warriors' Green clarifies 'slave master mentality' comments about Knicks owner
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 17, 2017

    Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, who earlier this week said New York Knicks owner James Dolan used "slave master mentality" toward Charles Oakley, clarified his comments "came off the wrong way."

    • Green originally made his comments on his "Dray Day" podcast on Uninterrupted, criticizing Dolan for his role after Oakley's arrest initially led to the Knicks legend being banned from Madison Square Garden.

      On Thursday, Green clarified his earlier comments to ESPN.

      "Number one, I never said James Dolan has a slave master mentality," Green told ESPN Radio's "Meet The All-Stars" show that will air Saturday. "I said when you look at something and someone is doing something for someone and all of a sudden they can't anymore, that falls under the slave mentality. ... I can't say James Dolan is a racist. I don't know James Dolan. Honestly, if he walked past me right now, I wouldn't know who he is."

      On Tuesday's podcast, Green said the Knicks benefited from Oakley as a player for many years.

      "The man is a legend. Treat him as such," Green said. "First off. This is Charles Oakley. Why is he buying a ticket? You doing it for me, it's all good. You doing it against me -- you speaking out against my organization -- it's not good anymore? That's a slave mentality. A slave-master mentality. That's ridiculous.

      "It was all fine and dandy when he was laying people out, taking fines and all this stuff for your organization. But now, all of a sudden, when he says something that he feels, it's a problem. I disagree with that. I definitely think, like I said, that that's a slave-master mentality."

      The 53-year-old Oakley was banned from the team's home games last week following his highly publicized altercation with security, who forcibly removed him from Madison Square Garden during a game. Oakley was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts of assault and one misdemeanor count of trespassing.

      Oakley's ban from the arena lasted less than a week after it was lifted by the Knicks on Tuesday. His reinstatement came one day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with Dolan and Oakley, with Michael Jordan joining by conference call.

      Dolan said Oakley was ejected because he was being verbally abusive to security while sitting nearby the owner. After Oakley's arrest, Dolan suggested Oakley might have an alcohol problem, which the former Knicks forward denied and the owner was criticized for making.

      Green still maintains that Dolan was in the wrong for how he treated Oakley.

      "I thought some of the things said about Charles Oakley -- from James Dolan, from the New York Knicks' Twitter handle -- some of the things said about Oakley was wrong, and I still feel that way," Green told ESPN. "However, I think that was a mistake by Dolan, that was a mistake by the Knicks. Then I think I followed up and made the same mistake they made about what they said about Oakley, about how it came off about what I said about James Dolan.

      "Like I said, I don't know (Dolan). I could never say he's a racist or he has a slave owner's mentality. I don't know if he has that. That's just how that situation looked to me from the outside looking in. And so that came off the wrong way, and it wasn't what I meant by it. But what I meant by it, is there should be a respect level between players, ownership, staff, people who work in the organization, the league office, former players. It's a family. And I think there should always be a respect level that is kept amongst the family, and I don't think that situation it was necessarily kept."

      TNT analyst and NBA legend Charles Barkley took exception to Green's initial "slave master mentality" comments.

      "I don't think you ever use basketball analogies to compare to slaves," Barkley told ESPN on Thursday. "To compare guys making $20-$30 million to slaves is just asinine and stupid."

      In an interview on Thursday with Sports Illustrated, Oakley compared Dolan to former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, who was banned for life from the NBA and forced to sell the team in 2014 after being heard on an audio recording making racist remarks.

      "This man's been around for a long time," Oakley said of Dolan. "I ain't heard nothing good about him."

      Oakley also said Dolan was "way out of line" for implying he was an alcoholic.

      "He's trying to peg me as a different person," Oakley told SI. "I'm not that guy."

  • NBA roundup: Butler's late free throws lift Bulls
    By The Sports Xchange / Friday, February 17, 2017

    CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls hit all 22 of their free throws, including a pair by Jimmy Butler with 0.9 seconds left after a touch foul call, to edge the Boston Celtics 104-103 on Thursday night at the United Center.

    • Trailing 103-102, Butler drew a foul on Marcus Smart off a jump shot on Chicago's final possession. The Bulls' leading scorer stepped to the free-throw line and drilled both foul shots, making him 9 for 9 for the game and giving him 29 points.

      Butler added seven assists for Chicago, which won their second straight game and ended a four-game winning streak by Boston.

      Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 29 points, including Boston's final 11 points in the fourth quarter. He scored 20 or more points for the 41st straight game, setting a franchise record previously held by Hall of Famer John Havlicek.

      Wizards 111, Pacers 98

      INDIANAPOLIS -- Otto Porter Jr. had 25 points and eight rebounds, and Washington led from start to finish in knocking off struggling Indiana.

      The Wizards also got 21 points and seven rebounds from Markieff Morris, John Wall had 20 points and 12 assists and Bradley Beal added 19 points on a night when Washington shot 51.8 percent.

      Myles Turner and Paul George each had 17 points to lead the Pacers, who lost six in a row. George made only 6 of 19 shots, including 1 of 7 from 3-point range. Indiana allowed at least 110 points in each contest of this six-game losing streak.

  • NBA notebook: Wizards SG Beal miffed he's not on All-Star team
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal is in disbelief that he was passed over for the Eastern Conference All-Star team in favor of New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony in an injury replacement pick made by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

    • Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love pulled out of the game due to a knee injury and Silver opted for Anthony on Wednesday night despite Beal helping the Wizards rise into one of the top teams in the East.

      "I'll never say a player doesn't deserve to be on the All-Star team. For one, Carmelo is a great player," Beal told reporters. "Hell, he's been one of the best offensive threats in the league for years now, and I'm taking absolutely nothing away from him. But the process of it does not make sense.

      "If they reward winning, then I don't understand how the decision was made. It was kind of weird to me."

      --Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade will miss Thursday night's contest against the Boston Celtics due to illness.

      It will be third straight game Wade has missed after he sat out the previous two due to a wrist injury.

      Wade missed Thursday's shootaround because of the illness, coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters. The game is Chicago's final one prior to the All-Star break. Wade averaged 22.1 points over his past nine games.

      --Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan isn't trying to hide from his team's results, nor can he.

      The Magic (21-37) have eclipsed 25 wins just once in his five seasons at the helm and the team's ensuing first-round picks leave plenty for which to be desired.

      Orlando acquired several costly veterans last season, but the end result has been seeing Aaron Gordon -- the club's most promising player -- pushed from power forward to small forward. As a result, the 34-year-old Hennigan has taken it on the chin for his decisions.

      "First and foremost, the criticism is warranted," Hennigan said, via the Orlando Sentinel. "I don't know if it's welcome because no one likes to get criticized, but the job we have and the job we're trying to do is certainly subject to that. Our fans, quite frankly, deserve to be upset and deserve to be frustrated. ... I think the proverbial hot seat comes with the territory."

  • Wizards' Beal unhappy about All-Star snub
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Washington Wizards shooting guard Bradley Beal is in disbelief that he was passed over for the Eastern Conference All-Star team in favor of New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony in an injury replacement pick made by NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

    • Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love pulled out of the game due to a knee injury and Silver opted for Anthony on Wednesday night despite Beal helping the Wizards rise into one of the top teams in the East.

      "I'll never say a player doesn't deserve to be on the All-Star team. For one, Carmelo is a great player," Beal told reporters. "Hell, he's been one of the best offensive threats in the league for years now, and I'm taking absolutely nothing away from him. But the process of it does not make sense.

      "If they reward winning, then I don't understand how the decision was made. It was kind of weird to me."

      Beal and All-Star point guard John Wall have led Washington (33-21) to 17 victories in the past 20 games. Beal is averaging 22.3 points and has already established a career high with 144 3-pointers.

      Numbers aside, the 23-year-old Beal feels there should be a spot in the All-Star Game for him.

      "I don't know what the rules are or how everything goes, but I definitely feel I had a great opportunity," Beal said. "Being on a winning team and being able to have success and I'm playing pretty well this year, I felt like I deserved to be there, but at the end of the day it is what it is.

      "It's not going to determine me as a player. It's not going to put me down for the rest of the year. ... I can enjoy my break and come back full steam ahead and rolling into the playoffs."

  • Bulls G Wade (illness) to sit out vs. Celtics
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Chicago Bulls shooting guard Dwyane Wade will miss Thursday night's contest against the Boston Celtics due to illness.

    • It will be third straight game Wade has missed after he sat out the previous two due to a wrist injury.

      Wade missed Thursday's shootaround because of the illness, coach Fred Hoiberg told reporters.

      The game is Chicago's final one prior to the All-Star break. Wade averaged 22.1 points over his past nine games.

      "He was in a good rhythm," Hoiberg said. "For him to go down now with this wrist injury, now the illness, the break's coming at a good time for him."

      Wade is averaging 19.1 points in his first season with the Bulls.

      Hoiberg said forward Nikola Mirotic (back) will return after a two-game absence.

  • Magic GM Hennigan: 'The criticism is warranted'
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, February 16, 2017

    Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan isn't trying to hide from his team's results, nor can he.

    • The Magic have eclipsed 25 wins just once in his five seasons at the helm and the team's ensuing first-round picks leave plenty for which to be desired.

      Orlando acquired several costly veterans last season, but the end result has been seeing Aaron Gordon -- the club's most promising player -- pushed from power forward to small forward.

      As a result, the 34-year-old Hennigan has taken it on the chin for his decisions.

      "First and foremost, the criticism is warranted," Hennigan said, via the Orlando Sentinel. "I don't know if it's welcome because no one likes to get criticized, but the job we have and the job we're trying to do is certainly subject to that. Our fans, quite frankly, deserve to be upset and deserve to be frustrated. ... I think the proverbial hot seat comes with the territory."

      After shipping Tobias Harris to Detroit for Ersan Ilyasova and Brandon Jennings' expiring contract, Hennigan sent starting power forward Serge Ibaka to Toronto on Tuesday for fifth-year swingman Terrence Ross and the lower of the Raptors' two 2017 first-round picks.

      Orlando's 21-37 mark is better than only the Brooklyn Nets (9-47) in the Eastern Conference.

  • NBA roundup: Raptors overcome 17-point deficit, beat Hornets
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    TORONTO --Kyle Lowry scored 21 points and broke a tie late in the fourth quarter as the Toronto Raptors overcame a 17-point deficit to defeat the Charlotte Hornets 90-85 on Wednesday night.

    • The victory ended a three-game losing streak by the Raptors and was only their fifth win in the past 16 games. The Hornets have lost four in a row and 11 of their past 12.

      Norman Powell added 17 points for the Raptors. Frank Kaminsky led Charlotte with 27 points and Kemba Walker added 24.

      The Hornets took a 17-point lead into the fourth quarter, but the Raptors opened the period on a 20-2 run to take a one-point lead.

      After the Raptors built a five-point lead with 3:45 to play, Walker scored the Hornets' first field goal of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to three points.

      Kaminsky's 3-pointer with 1:54 to play tied the game before Lowry hit a jump shot and completed the three-point play, putting Toronto ahead for good.

      Cavaliers 113, Pacers 104

      CLEVELAND -- Kyle Korver scored 22 points off the bench for Cleveland and became the seventh player in NBA history to make 2,000 3-pointers.

      The Pacers have lost five straight games, a slump that immediately followed a seven-game win streak.

      LeBron James scored 31 points for his 13th 30-point game of the season, and Kyrie Irving scored 26 points and passed for seven assists for Cleveland.

      Korver shot 6 of 8 on 3-pointers, including a heave from 31 feet midway through the third quarter that went in.

      Jeff Teague recorded 15 points and 11 assists and Glenn Robinson III scored 19 points for the Pacers.

      Spurs 107, Magic 79

      ORLANDO, Fla. -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored 23 points and Kawhi Leonard had 22 in the Spurs' easy victory.

      San Antonio, which owns the second-best record in the NBA behind the Golden State Warriors, did not play its starters -- except for center Dewayne Dedmon -- in the fourth quarter.

      Spurs veteran Manu Ginobili, who had two points, left limping early in the fourth quarter with a twisted left ankle.

      The Magic lost for the fifth time in six games.

      Center Nikola Vucevic led the Magic with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Forwards Aaron Gordon and Jeff Green each scored 11 points.

      Bucks 129, Nets 125

      NEW YORK -- Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 33 points, and the Bucks held on down the stretch to extend the Nets' home losing streak to 16 games and their overall losing streak to 14 games.

      Antetokounmpo rebounded nicely after being held under 10 points for the second time this season on Monday in a win over the Detroit Pistons. The All-Star forward recorded his 13th game with at least 30 points and pulled down nine rebounds.

      Greg Monroe added 25 points, and Khris Middleton contributed a season-high 20 points in his fourth game back after missing the first 50 with a ruptured left hamstring.

      Brooklyn's Brook Lopez scored a season-high 36 points and came within three of his matching his career-high point total.

      Pistons 98, Mavericks 91

      AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- Reggie Jackson scored 22 points and Jon Leuer had 20 points to lead Detroit's victory.

      The Pistons outrebounded the Mavericks 57-38 and completed a two-game sweep of the season series for the first time since the 1997-98 season.

      Dirk Nowitzki racked up 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Mavericks.

      Heat 117, Rockets 109

      HOUSTON -- Hassan Whiteside posted a double-double and led a decisive performance on the offensive glass as the Heat completed a season sweep of the Rockets.

      The Heat have won 14 of 16 games. Houston had its four-game winning streak snapped.

      Whiteside finished with 23 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks as the Heat turned 12 offensive rebounds into 19 second-chance points for the wire-to-wire victory. Dion Waiters totaled 23 points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Heat.

      James Harden produced his 15th triple-double with 38 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists while Ryan Anderson added 17 points.

      Celtics 116, 76ers 108

      BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas tied John Havlicek's 45-year-old Celtics record with his 40th straight 20-point game and then pulled off his usual fourth-quarter heroics to lead Boston to its fourth straight win.

      Thomas, who has failed to score at least 20 in all but one game he has played in this season, finished with 33 points. He scored 11 points in the fourth quarter to help end the 76ers' three-game winning streak.

      Havlicek set his record from Nov. 17, 1971 through Jan. 30, 1972.

      Dario Saric came off the bench to lead the Sixers with 20 points and 10 rebounds.

      Pelicans 95, Grizzlies 91

      MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Forward Solomon Hill scored a season-high 23 points and the Pelicans held off Memphis in the closing minutes.

      New Orleans had a 16-point lead at the start of the fourth quarter. But the Grizzlies twice got the lead down to a point, the last time at 92-91 when Vince Carter hit a 3-point shot with 48.5 seconds left.

      Anthony Davis (18 points and seven rebounds) then hit a jumper with 38.8 seconds left to hike the lead to 94-91. Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday (19 points and seven assists) missed a pair of free throws with 17.7 seconds left, but Memphis guard Mike Conley (17 points and four assists) missed a contested three.

      Timberwolves 112, Nuggets 99

      DENVER -- Andrew Wiggins continued his torrid stretch with 40 points, his fourth 40-point game of the season, to lead Minnesota's win.

      Wiggins followed up his 41-point performance against Cleveland on Tuesday with another great game. He has now scored 20 or more points in 15 straight games. He is the first player in franchise history to have four games of 40 or more points and is averaging 28.9 points in February.

      Karl-Anthony Towns had 24 points and a season-high 19 rebounds for Minnesota.

      Gary Harris scored 22 points and Jameer Nelson had 16 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds for Denver. Mason Plumlee, acquired from Portland on Sunday, made his Denver debut with 11 points and nine rebounds.

      Suns 137, Lakers 101

      PHOENIX -- Eric Bledsoe had his third career triple-double with 25 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists and the Suns rolled to their biggest win of the season.

      It was the largest margin of victory for Phoenix over Los Angeles in the 240 all-time meetings.

      Devin Booker had 21 of his 23 points in the first half and Alex Len and Marquese Chriss had 15 points each for Phoenix, who set a season high for points, shooting percentage (55.7 percent) and fastbreak points with a 41-16 edge over the Lakers.

      The Suns have beaten the Lakers 11 straight times at Talking Stick Arena, their longest home winning streak in the history of the series.

      Lou Williams and D'Angelo Williams had 21 points each for the Lakers, who have lost 16 of the last 21 meetings with Phoenix overall.

      Jazz 111, Trail Blazers 88

      SALT LAKE CITY -- Gordon Hayward scored 22 points, dished out seven assists and collected six rebounds to help Utah snap a three-game losing streak.

      Utah shot 11 of 22 from 3-point range, allowing the Jazz to blow the game wide open in the second half.

      CJ McCollum scored 18 points, and Damian Lillard had 13 on 3-of-19 shooting. Jusuf Nurkic added 13 in his Blazers debut.

      Thunder 116, Knicks 105

      OKLAHOMA CITY - Russell Westbrook racked up his 27th triple-double of the season by scoring 38 points to go with 14 rebounds and 12 assists. He sits alone in third place alltime for most triple-doubles in a season.

      Victor Oladipo poured in 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting, and Jerami Grant came off the bench to score 13 points for Oklahoma City.

      Carmelo Anthony led the Knicks with 30 points on 11-of-20 shooting, and Derrick Rose collected 25 points.

      Warriors 109, Kings 86

      OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State vented the frustration of six consecutive substandard quarters with a 28-2, third-quarter flurry Friday night that enabled the Warriors to erase a halftime deficit and roll to a rout of Sacramento.

      Klay Thompson had a game-high 35 points, including 14 in the third-period spree, helping Golden State record a seventh straight home win over Sacramento. The victory increased the Warriors' run of consecutive games without back-to-back defeats to an NBA-record 142.

      Kevin Durant chipped in with 21 points to go with seven rebounds and seven assists for Golden State, which saw All-Star Draymond Green get ejected for two technical fouls. Matt Barnes, a former Warrior, finished with a 15-point, 14-rebound double-double for the Kings.

      Clippers 99, Hawks 84

      LOS ANGELES -- Blake Griffin scored a team-high 17 points and collected nine rebounds in three quarters, and Los Angeles captured its fourth consecutive victory with a win over Atlanta.

      J.J. Redick contributed 15 points, hitting 5-of-8 from 3-point range, while Austin Rivers chipped in 13 points for the Clippers. Clippers center DeAndre Jordan had a game-high 16 rebounds to go with seven points.

      Dennis Schroder had 15 points and seven assists for the Hawks. Dwight Howard finished with 11 points and 15 rebounds, allowing him to past passed Buck Williams for 13th on the NBA's all-time rebounding list with 8,502.

  • Knicks' Anthony replaces injured Love on All-Star roster
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Eastern Conference All-Star reserve Kevin Love in the NBA All-Star Game, which will be played Sunday at Smoothie King Center in New Orleans.

    • Love, who was named an All-Star for the fourth time, had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on Tuesday and is expected to be sidelined about six weeks.

      This marks the 10th All-Star selection for Anthony, who is averaging 23.2 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 55 games this season.

      Anthony, 32, will be playing in the All-Star Game for the eighth consecutive year. Anthony has 23,775 career points, recently passing Charles Barkley for 25th place on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

      There have been reports in recent weeks that the Knicks may be looking to trade Anthony, and some reports suggested the Cavaliers might be willing to part with Love to acquire Anthony. Cavaliers officials have denied such a trade might take place.

  • Warriors' Green: Knicks owner has 'slave-master mentality'
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said New York Knicks owner James Dolan used "slave master mentality" when taking issue with Charles Oakley's criticisms and initially banning him from Madison Square Garden.

    • Green blasted Dolan on his "Dray Day" podcast for Uninterrupted with Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson

      Green said the Knicks benefited from Oakley as a player for many years.

      "The man is a legend. Treat him as such," Green said. "First off. This is Charles Oakley. Why is he buying a ticket?

      "You doing it for me, it's all good. You doing it against me -- you speaking out against my organization -- it's not good anymore? That's a slave mentality. A slave-master mentality. That's ridiculous.

      "It was all fine and dandy when he was laying people out, taking fines and all this stuff for your organization. But now, all of a sudden, when he says something that he feels, it's a problem. I disagree with that. I definitely think, like I said, that that's a slave-master mentality."

      Oakley was banned from the team's home games last week following his highly publicized altercation with security, who forcibly removed him from Madison Square Garden during a game. Oakley was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts of assault and one misdemeanor count of trespassing.

      Oakley's ban from the arena lasted less than a week after it was lifted by the Knicks on Tuesday. His reinstatement came one day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with Dolan and Oakley, with Michael Jordan joining by conference call.

      Oakley told the New York Post on Saturday following his release from jail that he was minding his own business when team security approached his seat.

      Dolan said Oakley was ejected because he was being verbally abusive to security while sitting nearby the owner. After Oakley's arrest, Dolan suggested Oakley might have an alcohol problem, which the former Knicks forward denied and the owner was criticized for making.

      "That's not something that you say to the world. That's not classy at all," Green said on his podcast. "It's not OK for you to go say to the world as a multibillion-dollar organization. How can you even pin that on someone? Just throw that out there. That's grimy. I think that's wrong."

  • NBA roundup: Cavs top Timberwolves
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    MINNEAPOLIS -- LeBron James and Kyrie Irving each scored 25 points, and James added 14 assists as the Cleveland Cavaliers pulled away for a 116-108 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    • The Cavaliers withstood a big night by Timberwolves forward Andrew Wiggins, who scored 41 points. It matched Wiggins' second-highest point total of the season.

      Wiggins had help from Karl-Anthony Towns, who scored 26 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Gorgui Dieng added 12 points, but no other Timberwolves player reached double figures in scoring.

      A step-back 3-pointer by James and a fast break layup by former Timberwolves player Derrick Williams pushed Cleveland's lead to 114-106 with 1:39 to play. That essentially sealed the win for the Cavaliers.

      Bulls 105, Raptors 94

      CHICAGO -- Jimmy Butler scored 19 points in his return to action -- including seven free throws in the final 1:48 -- as Chicago held off a late Toronto rally for a victory.

      Butler, who last played Feb. 10 and was sidelined with a right heel contusion, played 38 minutes and hit 15 of 19 free throws as the Bulls snapped a three-game losing streak. He was 2 for 10 from the field. Doug McDermott scored 20 points for Chicago.

      The Raptors, who fell for the 11th time in the past 15 games, are 0-11 against the Bulls since late 2013. Kyle Lowry scored 22 points, and DeMar DeRozan had 18 for Toronto.

      Kings 97, Lakers 96

      LOS ANGELES -- DeMarcus Cousins scored 40 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out eight assists, leading Sacramento to a victory over Los Angeles.

      Ben McLemore and Darren Collison chipped in 13 points apiece for the Kings, who matched their season high with a fourth consecutive win. Cousins made one of two free throws to break a tie at 96 with nine seconds remaining. Lakers guard Lou Williams misfired on a 3-point attempt just before the final horn.

      Williams scored a team-high 29 points for the Los Angeles, while Julius Randle added 11 points and Nick Young contributed 10.

  • NBA notebook: Cavs lose Love for six weeks
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to remove a loose body from his left knee in New York City on Tuesday morning and is expected to miss six weeks.

    • Love's procedure was performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery. According to the Cavaliers, Love sustained the injury during the team's 125-109 win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.

      Love was scheduled to represent Cleveland along with teammates LeBron James and Kyrie Irving at the NBA All-Star Game next Sunday in New Orleans. The 28-year-old and four-time All-Star is Cleveland's leading rebounder (11.1 per game) and third-leading scorer (20 points per game) over 46 games this season.

      -- Serge Ibaka is headed north of the border after the Orlando Magic agreed to trade the three-time all-defensive first teamer to the Toronto Raptors for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick.

      Ibaka was traded to the Magic last offseason after spending seven seasons with Oklahoma City in a deal that featured Victor Oladipo. The 27-year-old averaged 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 56 games with Orlando. The Magic were reportedly concerned about their ability to retain Ibaka, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

      Ross, 26, is averaging 10.4 points through 54 games in his fifth season in Toronto.

      -- Charles Oakley's ban from Madison Square Garden lasted less than a week.

      The New York Knicks legend was banned from the team's home games last Friday after his highly-publicized altercation with security, who forcibly removed him from the arena during last Wednesday's game. He was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts of assault and one misdemeanor count of trespassing.

      On Tuesday, a Madison Square Garden source told ESPN the ban was lifted.

      His reinstatement comes one day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with Knicks owner James Dolan and Oakley. Michael Jordan participated in the discussion via telephone.

  • Magic trade Ibaka to Raptors for Ross, first-round pick
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Serge Ibaka is headed north of the border after the Orlando Magic agreed to trade the three-time All-Defensive first teamer to the Toronto Raptors for Terrence Ross and a 2017 first-round pick on Tuesday.

    • Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry was thrilled with the deal.

      "I think he's a great addition to any team, especially ours where we add some shot-blocking, some outside shooting, some inside toughness, some athleticism running up and down the floor," Lowry said of Ibaka at the game-day shoot-around.

      Ibaka was traded to the Magic last offseason after spending his first seven seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder in a deal that featured Victor Oladipo. The 27-year-old averaged 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 56 games with Orlando.

      During his time with the Thunder, Ibaka led the league in blocked shots twice (2012, 2013) and averaged 11.6 points, 7.4 boards and 2.5 swats in 524 games while helping lead Oklahoma City to an appearance in the NBA Finals.

      The Magic were reportedly concerned about their ability to retain Ibaka, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer.

      Ibaka and Raptors president Masai Ujiri have a longstanding relationship, and Ibaka loves the city of Toronto, according to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun.

      Ross, 26, is averaging 10.4 points through 54 games in his fifth season in Toronto.

      "In welcoming Terrence to the Magic family, we have added an athletic, shot-making wing to our developing, young core, while also making our roster more versatile," general manager Rob Hennigan said in a news release. "We thank Serge for his contributions and professionalism, and certainly wish him well."

      The Raptors (32-23) are six games behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. Orlando is out of the playoff mix with a 21-36 mark.

  • Knicks lift ban on Oakley after arrest
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Charles Oakley's ban from Madison Square Garden lasted less than a week.

    • The New York Knicks legend was banned from the team's home games last Friday following his highly-publicized altercation with security, who forcibly removed him from the arena during last Wednesday's game.

      Oakley was arrested and charged with three misdemeanor counts of assault and one misdemeanor count of trespassing.

      On Tuesday, a Madison Square Garden source told ESPN the ban was lifted.

      Oakley's reinstatement comes one day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver met with Knicks owner James Dolan and Oakley. Michael Jordan participated in the discussion via telephone.

      "Both Mr. Oakley and Mr. Dolan were apologetic about the incident and subsequent comments, and their negative impact on the Knicks organization and the NBA," Silver said in a statement after the meeting.

      Dolan said Oakley was ejected because he was being verbally abusive to security while sitting nearby Dolan. After Oakley's arrest, Dolan suggested Oakley might have an alcohol problem, which the former Knicks forward denied.

      Oakley told the New York Post on Saturday following his release from jail that he was minding his own business when team security approached his seat.

      Dolan fired Madison Square Garden security chief Frank Bendetto, who oversaw security for former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama for the Secret Service, after the indicent.

  • Cavaliers' Love to miss six weeks after knee surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, February 14, 2017

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to remove a loose body from his left knee in New York City on Tuesday morning and is expected to miss six weeks.

    • Love's procedure was performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery. Dr. James Rosneck of the Cleveland Clinic was also present for the surgery.

      Love was ruled out for Tuesday's game against his former team, the Minnesota Timberwolves, on Sunday with left knee soreness and swelling. Dr. Rosneck evaluated Love's knee the same day.

      According to the Cavaliers, Love sustained the injury during the team's 125-109 win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.

      Love was scheduled to represent Cleveland along with teammates LeBron James and Kyrie Irving at the NBA All-Star Game next Sunday in New Orleans.

      The 28-year-old and four-time All-Star is Cleveland's leading rebounder (11.1 per game) and third-leading scorer (20 points per game) over 46 games this season.

      The Cavaliers (37-16) have a two-game lead over the Boston Celtics for the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

  • NBA roundup: Nuggets pound Warriors with 24 3-pointers
    By The Sports Xchange / Monday, February 13, 2017

    DENVER -- Juancho Hernangomez hit six of Denver's franchise-record 24 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 27 points as the Nuggets routed the Golden State Warriors 132-110 on Monday night.

    • Nikola Jokic had 17 points, 21 rebounds and 12 assists for his second triple-double. He set career highs for assists and rebounds but was overshadowed by the team's outside shooting. Four players hit at least four 3-pointers and Denver (25-30) finished at 60 percent on its 40 3-point attempts. Jameer Nelson (23 points) had five 3-pointers and Will Barton (24 points) sank four from long range.

      Kevin Durant scored 25 points for Golden State (46-9). The Warriors were just 8 of 32 from long range, including Stephen Curry's 1-of-11. He went 4 of 18 from the field and finished with 11 points.

      Pelicans 110, Suns 108

      PHOENIX -- Anthony Davis had 24 points, 10 rebounds and the winning basket with 40.3 seconds left to lift New Orleans over Phoenix.

      Davis gave New Orleans (22-34) the lead for good by grabbing an offense rebound and putting back a 10-foot jump hook to make it 109-108. Tyreke Evans hit one free throw to extend the lead to 110-108 with 18.4 seconds left.

      The Suns had three chances to tie on their final possession, but Eric Bledsoe missed a driving layup and P.J. Tucker missed two chances off offensive rebounds. Bledsoe scored a game-high 37 points for Phoenix (17-39), which lost three of four meetings with New Orleans this season.

      Clippers 88, Jazz 72

      SALT LAKE CITY -- Blake Griffin had 23 points and nine rebounds to help Los Angeles coast past Utah.

      Austin Rivers added 15 points and DeAndre Jordan chipped in 10 points and 13 rebounds to power Los Angeles to its third straight win. The Clippers (34-21) beat the Jazz for the ninth straight time in Utah dating to January 17, 2012, and for the 17th time in the last 18 meetings.

      Derrick Favors scored 13 points and Rudy Gobert added 10 points and 14 rebounds to lead Utah. The Jazz (34-22) lost their third straight game after shooting a dismal 32.2 percent (28 of 87) from the floor.

      Celtics 111, Mavericks 98

      DALLAS -- Isiah Thomas tortured Dallas again, this time scoring 29 points to lead Boston at American Airlines Center.

      The Celtics (36-19) won for the 10th time in 11 games and snapped a six-game losing streak in Dallas. Boston also won both games in the series this season.

      Thomas scored 30 points in the previous meeting in November -- 22 in the fourth quarter of a 90-83 victory in Boston. The All-Star point guard wasn't as lethal in the fourth quarter this time, but his 3-pointer put the Celtics up 100-89 with 4 1/2 minutes left and ended any upset hopes by the Mavs.

      Kelly Olynyk scored 15 points off the bench for Boston (22-33).

      Wizards 120, Thunder 98

      WASHINGTON -- Markieff Morris scored 23 points and John Wall had 15 points and 14 assists as Washington thrashed Oklahoma City.

      Bradley Beal scored 22 points as all five starters reach in double figures for the Wizards, who made 13 of 21 3-point attempts, shot 57.5 percent from the field overall and led by as many as 34 points. Washington (33-21) has won three straight, 10 of 11 overall and 19 of 20 at home. The Wizards are an Eastern Conference-best 17-5 since Jan. 1.

      Russell Westbrook scored 17 points for the Thunder (31-25), but the Most Valuable Player candidate was nowhere near his triple-double form. He finished with four rebounds and four assists.

      Magic 116, Heat 107

      MIAMI -- Evan Fournier scored nine of his game-high 24 points in the fourth quarter as Orlando cooled off Miami at AmericanAirlines Arena.

      The Heat (24-32) had won eight straight home games before the loss to Orlando (21-36). In addition, the Heat had won 13 straight games overall -- the longest in the NBA this season and the longest in league history for a sub-.500 team -- before losing at Philadelphia on Saturday night.

      Miami was led by Dion Waiters' 23 points. Goran Dragic added 22 points and Hassan Whiteside produced a double-double (12 points, 19 rebounds).

      76ers 105, Hornets 99

      CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Dario Saric came off the bench for 18 points and 11 rebounds and Philadelphia won its third straight.

      The Sixers (21-34) led by 12 points early and then, after giving up the lead briefly late in the third quarter, pulled away again. They were playing without centers Joel Embiid (knee) and Jahlil Okafor, who remained in Philadelphia while on the trading block.

      Kemba Walker led the Hornets (24-31) with 29 points.

      Spurs 110, Pacers 106

      INDIANAPOLIS -- Kawhi Leonard scored 32 points and San Antonio rallied to defeat Indiana in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

      LaMarcus Aldridge's three-point play with 52.2 seconds left gave the Spurs a 105-100 lead and Tony Parker made two free throws with 23.4 seconds remaining that pushed the advantage to 107-101. Aldridge finished with 19 points, and Danny Green, David Lee and Tony Parker each scored 12 for the Spurs (42-13).

      Paul George led the Pacers (29-26), who have lost four straight, with 27 points.

      Grizzlies 112, Nets 103

      NEW YORK -- Mike Conley scored 32 points and Memphis rebounded from a disappointing showing against Golden State.

      Conley's 30-point game was his fifth of the season, matching the total he accumulated in his first nine seasons. Marc Gasol nearly had his third career triple-double with 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

      Brook Lopez scored 17 points and Spencer Dinwiddie added a season-best 17 as Brooklyn lost despite hitting 12 3-pointers.

      Bucks 102, Pistons 89

      MILWAUKEE -- Greg Monroe scored 25 points and Michael Beasley added 23 as Milwaukee won consecutive games for the first time in a month.

      Monroe hit 12 of 15 shots from the floor and had 13 rebounds. Beasley was 10 of 13 from the field for Milwaukee (24-30), which made only 6 of 21 3-pointers but shot 50.6 percent overall.

      Marcus Morris led Detroit (26-30) with 26 points. Andre Drummond added 21 pooints and 12 rebounds, and Jon Leuer had 11 rebounds and 15 points.

      Hawks 109, Trail Blazers 104 (OT)

      PORTLAND, Ore. -- Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 25 points, and Atlanta scored the final 12 points in overtime to secure a victory over Portland.

      Dennis Schroder added 22 points, and Paul Millsap contributed 21 points, nine rebounds, five assists and four blocked shots for the Hawks. Dwight Howard chipped in 19 points, 16 boards and four blocks for Atlanta, which had lost two of its previous three games.

      CJ McCollum scored 26 points and Damian Lillard added 21 for the Trail Blazers, who lost for the fifth time in seven games. Portland scored the first seven points in overtime and never scored again.