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Best of NBA: Cavaliers complete incredible rally to beat Knicks

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Best of NBA: Cavaliers complete incredible rally to beat Knicks

NEW YORK -- LeBron James had 23 points and 12 assists, Kyle Korver scored 19 of his 21 points in the fourth quarter to spark a huge comeback, and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the New York Knicks 104-101 on Monday night.

James also had a technical foul after a first-quarter altercation with Frank Ntilikina and Enes Kanter, which seemed to charge up the Knicks as they built what became a 23-point lead late in the third quarter.

But the Cavaliers made nine 3-pointers in the fourth after hitting just seven through three quarters, charging back for their eighth straight victory at Madison Square Garden.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had 28 points and 10 rebounds, and Kanter added 20 points and 16 boards. But Kristaps Porzingis shot only 7 for 21 while scoring 20 points as the Knicks blew their chance to beat the Cavs for the second time this season.

New York led by 15 after three but the Cavs surrounded James with plenty of perimeter shooting and the Knicks couldn't contain them. Cleveland tied it on Channing Frye's 3 with 2:15 to go before James made it 100-97 with another 1:23 left.

The game was just two days after James, following a victory in Dallas, said Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. should be a Knick. The Knicks passed on Smith in the draft, taking Ntilikina one spot earlier at No. 8 (see full recap).

Curry-less Warriors surge to win over Magic
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Kevin Durant had 21 points, a season-high eight assists and seven rebounds, Shaun Livingston scored a season-best 16 points in place of the injured Stephen Curry, and the Golden State Warriors pulled away in the second half to beat the Orlando Magic 110-100 on Monday night for their seventh straight win.

Draymond Green had a season-high 20 points, five assists, four rebounds and two steals as the Warriors completed an unbeaten four-game homestand.

Nikola Vucevic scored 20 points, Evan Fournier had 16 and Aaron Gordon added 10 points and 10 rebounds in the Magic's fourth defeat over six games.

Livingston also had six assists on a night they were without Curry as he nursed a bruised right thigh from where he took a knee Saturday night. Durant sat out with the same injury to his left leg last Wednesday against Minnesota.

Coach Steve Kerr called them similar injuries and is being cautious with two-time MVP Curry, who sat out on his bobblehead giveaway night and has only been receiving treatment on the leg without any on-court work.

"If it was a playoff game he would play, but he's pretty sore," Kerr said. "We've got two days before our next game so this gives us the chance to really get him healthy and right. ... It's a no-brainer to rest him" (see full recap).

Miller’s late threes rescue Pelicans
NEW ORLEANS -- Darius Miller hit four three pointers in the fourth quarter, when he scored 14 of his 21 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans survived a sloppy performance to beat struggling Atlanta 106-105 on Monday night.

DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and 16 rebounds, and Anthony Davis added 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocked shots for the Pelicans, who've won five of six. E'Twaun Moore tied a career high with 24 points for New Orleans.

Kent Bazemore scored 22 points for the Hawks, who led by as many as 14 points before fading to lose their fourth straight.

Bazemore also missed a critical free throw with 37.1 seconds left. Atlanta still had a chance to take a late lead, but Dennis Schroder's errant pass toward Tyler Cavenaugh sailed out of bounds with 3.2 seconds to go.

Davis' late turnover -- New Orleans' 19th in the game -- gave Atlanta one last desperation shot with about a second left, but Bazemore was unable to get a clean look at his 3-point attempt over Jrue Holiday, and the shot fell short.

Atlanta took advantage of Pelicans mistakes to keep it close and was accurate from deep, hitting 17 of 36 from 3-point range. Cavanaugh, Luke Babbitt and Marco Belinelli each hit four 3s. Cavanaugh finished with 16 points, while Belinelli had 14 and Babbitt 12 (see full recap).

Is Joel Embiid's trash talking starting to get old?

Is Joel Embiid's trash talking starting to get old?

Each week, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go this edition are NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we examine whether Joel Embiid’s trash talking is starting to get old.

Haughton
Absolutely not.

First, look at it from a team perspective. The Sixers thrive off of Embiid’s emotion. Look no further than Friday night’s triple-overtime thriller against the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Sixers were sleepwalking through that game for much of the night until Embiid mixed it up with Carmelo Anthony following an and-one with a few minutes left in the fourth quarter. Embiid got the crowd juiced up and his teammates fed off that energy during the critical 11-0 run to close out regulation.

When Embiid’s trash talk spills over to social media, he does try to keep things light and playful. That’s his personality and that’s his realm, so none of what he’s doing really comes from a position of genuine malice.

On the bigger scale, this is what the NBA has been about long before Embiid came along. From Larry Bird’s bravado to Michael Jordan’s ruthlessness to Shaquille O’Neal’s blatant disrespect of opponents, the league has a long list of trash talkers.

As LeBron James said when the Cavaliers came through the Wells Fargo Center right after Thanksgiving, players today are just too sensitive.

Hudrick
Let’s just let Joel be Joel.

The guy came over from Cameroon, knowing very little about the game and getting teased by his teammates in high school. After overcoming that and landing at Kansas, injuries took away the end of his only season there and then his first two NBA seasons. He was the brunt of jokes as the Sixers continued to lose and he had to watch from afar. He’s earned the right to feel himself a little bit.

What I see is a kid having fun. I have to give Philly fans credit. Flamboyant characters don’t usually do well here. In a city that (still) obsesses over the play of a quiet, hard-nosed guy like Chase Utley and has fallen head over heels for the humbleness of Carson Wentz, Embiid doesn't fit the mold. But he's been embraced and beloved.

Here’s the other thing: he’s backing it up. If he was out there talking trash but shooting 30 percent from the field and not running down the reigning MVP for a blocked shot in a triple-OT game, that would be a different story. He’s put this team on his back and has them poised for a playoff berth.

Let the man live.

'Dots don't connect' for Sixers on inbound confusion

'Dots don't connect' for Sixers on inbound confusion

Of all the scenarios that transpired over the Sixers’ triple-overtime loss to the Thunder on Friday, there is one moment that stands out.

Fast-forward to the end of the second overtime. The Sixers had the opportunity to take the final shot after Dario Saric grabbed a defensive rebound. Joel Embiid motioned for a timeout before Saric put the ball on the floor. 

The Sixers huddled and prepared for a half-court play they had practiced before, confident they could execute it with 1.2 seconds on the game clock.

However, as they went to set up, the officials told them the inbound was actually full court. Saric had dribbled the ball before the timeout was called, they were told. That change wiped out the play they had initially planned. 

“They asked us what side of the floor did we want to advance it to, and so we told them,” Brett Brown said. “We drew up a play to try to score. Then we walked out and they said no you can’t advance it, it goes full court. When you look at the tape, you can see Joel and myself calling a timeout with 1.2 seconds. They said Dario dribbled, yet there were still 1.2 seconds. The dots don’t connect.”

The last-second shift in inbound position left the Sixers scrambling. Embiid said the team was “caught off guard.” Ben Simmons considered the call to be “huge.” 

“We weren’t told that we couldn’t progress the ball up the floor until we actually had to run the play,” Simmons said. “That kind of messed us up. We got into a late play, which didn’t convert.” 

The Sixers didn’t connect on their final possession. There’s no guarantee the shot would have gone in, but they would have been prepared to get a good look. 

“[It changed] everything,” Robert Covington said. 

Instead of pulling off a last-second game-winner, the Sixers went into triple overtime. They were edged out by two points, 119-117 (see game recap)

"That kind of like messed up in our minds, but that’s not an excuse," Embiid said. "We shouldn’t have an excuse for losing that game."