Wade gets huge ovation on NBA's homecoming night

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Wade gets huge ovation on NBA's homecoming night

MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade returned to Miami with a quiet game, but his mere presence got a rise out of Heat fans, and teammates Hassan Whiteside and Tyler Johnson led the way to a 91-85 victory against the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday that snapped a five-game losing streak and capped a celebratory night.

Wade came off the bench to score three points on 1-of-6 shooting with two assists, one rebound, a key late block, and four turnovers in 22 minutes in his first game since being acquired in a trade from Cleveland on Thursday. Wade played 13 seasons and won three NBA championships with the Heat before leaving as a free agent for Chicago in 2016.

Johnson scored 19 points and Whiteside scored 12 points and had 16 rebounds. Bam Adebayo added 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Josh Richardson chipped in 16 points for Miami.

All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored a game-high 23 points to lead the Bucks, who lost for just the second time in nine games under interim head coach Joe Prunty.

The Heat trailed 9-0 to start the game, with fans growing restless to see the return of the franchise's favorite son. They chanted, "We want Wade!"

Wade entered midway through the first quarter and received a standing ovation from the crowd. He immediately made an impact throwing a lob to Hassan Whiteside for a dunk on his first possession as the fans roared (see full recap).

Clippers get last laugh in 1st game vs. Griffin
DETROIT -- Lou Williams scored 26 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers handed former teammate Blake Griffin his first loss with Detroit, beating the Pistons 108-95 on Friday night.

It was a bit of an off night for Griffin, who scored 19 points but shot 7 of 19 from the field. The whole Detroit team faded down the stretch. The Pistons led 80-77 after three quarters but scored only 15 points in the fourth.

Detroit had won five in a row, with Griffin playing in four of those games.

Tobias Harris scored 12 points and Avery Bradley had 10. They were the key players the Clippers acquired in last week's deal that sent Griffin to Detroit.

Austin Rivers scored 16 points for Los Angeles in his first game back from a right ankle injury.

Bradley and especially Harris received ovations from the Detroit crowd when they were introduced in the starting lineup, but when the teams came out for the opening tip, there wasn't anything too unusual in terms of pregame greetings. In fact, Griffin and Bradley were hit with simultaneous technical fouls in the first quarter after battling for rebounding position.

After the game, Griffin headed straight toward the locker room and did not stick around to commiserate on the court (see full recap).

LaVine, Bulls spoil Butler’s Chicago homecoming
CHICAGO -- Zach LaVine scored 35 points against his former team, and the Bulls spoiled Jimmy Butler's return to Chicago with a 114-113 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

Butler scored 38 to finish one shy of a season high. But the Bulls rallied from 17 down to snap a seven-game losing streak.

LaVine came up big down the stretch, scoring eight in the final 1:11. He nailed three free throws after getting fouled by Butler to put Chicago ahead with 18.4 seconds left.

Karl-Anthony Towns and Butler missed 3-pointers in the closing seconds, giving Minnesota another tight loss.

Butler and Taj Gibson got standing ovations prior to their first game against the team that drafted them. There were more loud cheers following a video tribute in the first quarter, with both players standing and waving as the fans rose to their feet.

Butler delivered the sort of all-around performance Bulls fans grew accustomed to during his six seasons, before the draft night trade to Minnesota for LaVine, Kris Dunn and Lauri Markkanen. The four-time All-Star finished with seven rebounds and five assists.

Andrew Wiggins scored 18, Towns added 14 points and 10 rebounds and Gibson scored 10 for the Timberwolves, who came up short again after losing in overtime to Cleveland on Wednesday.

Robin Lopez scored 19 for Chicago (see full recap).

Ben Simmons shrugs off mental fatigue with another triple-double

Ben Simmons shrugs off mental fatigue with another triple-double


Around 6 p.m., Ben Simmons spoke about mental fatigue and the frustrations it can cause. 

An hour later, he hit the court and posted an 11-point, 12-rebound, 15-assist triple-double … with zero turnovers.

“I wish he was more mentally fatigued in the future,” Brett Brown said with a laugh. 

The 21-year-old rookie may be feeling the weight of his first NBA season, but he certainly didn’t show it Monday in the Sixers’ 108-94 win over the Hornets (see observations)

Simmons recorded his third triple-double in the last four games. He exhibited disciplined court vision by finding his teammates with a high level of ease and chemistry that’s been developing over the season (see highlights).

“I was trusting them to knock down shots,” Simmons simply put it. “They make it easy for me.”

Simmons became the first rookie in the NBA to record a triple-double with 15 assists and no turnovers. Only David Robinson and Andre Iguodala had reached a triple-double without an error as rookies. 

Simmons considers his assists and turnovers to be the most meaningful stats of the triple-double, noting his turnovers usually are caused by mental errors. 

"That’s amazing," Joel Embiid said. "To be able to make the right reads and not turn the ball over, there’s a few guys in the league that can do that ... that just shows you that he can be a great point guard."

The 6-foot-10 point guard is averaging 16.2 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.9 assists and 1.7 steals per game over 34 minutes. With each game that passes, Simmons continues to be linked with the feats of Hall of Famers. From joining in the same company as Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson to moving ahead of Allen Iverson for most 10-assist games by a Sixers rookie, his performances are often tied back to historical markers. 

“I think people get caught up in how many points I score every game,” Simmons said. “It’s not about that. It’s a matter of points that we’re getting as a team and how many stops we get … 

"People are always going to say I need to do certain things but I know what I’m capable of and I know what I’m really good at.”

LeBron continues triple-double tour

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LeBron continues triple-double tour

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James scored 40 points as part of his third triple-double in four games and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Milwaukee Bucks 124-117 on Monday night as coach Tyronn Lue began his leave of absence to address health issues.

Lue said Monday in a statement he been dealing with chest pains and loss of sleep, and that tests have offered no conclusion about what the issue is. Associate head coach Larry Drew will run the team in Lue's absence.

James scored 17 points in the third quarter and finished with 12 rebounds and 10 assists for his 16th triple-double this season and 71st of his career.

The four-time MVP took over in the third beginning with back-to-back 3-pointers. After not getting a foul called on a third attempt, he finished Cleveland's next possession with a massive dunk. He was fouled attempting another dunk and made both free throws the following time down.

Milwaukee cut a 17-point lead to 117-109, but James drove the length of the floor for a dunk with just over a minute left.

Cavaliers All-Star forward Kevin Love returned after missing six weeks because of a broken left hand and scored 18 points in 25 minutes. He sparked a 10-0 run in the second quarter with two 3-pointers

Giannis Antetokounmpo had 37 points and went 11 for 11 at the foul line for Milwaukee, which is seventh in the Eastern Conference. Khris Middleton had 30 points, making 11 of 16 from the field (see full recap).

Heat set franchise scoring mark in 2OT win
MIAMI -- James Johnson scored a career-high 31 points, Kelly Olynyk added 30 off the bench and the Miami Heat set a franchise single-game scoring record by beating the Denver Nuggets 149-141 in double overtime Monday night.

Miami's total was also an NBA season-high and helped the Heat get back to the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Houston and Oklahoma City each scored 148 in games earlier this season.

Wayne Ellington scored 29 points for the Heat. Nikola Jokic had 34 for Denver, while Wilson Chandler added 26 for the Nuggets.

"That was as playoffs as it comes right there," Olynyk said.

The NBA's stat system crashed late in the first overtime, and crews were scrambling to determine the final numbers long after the buzzer. All that ultimately mattered was the score -- one that moved the Heat closer to a playoff berth and left the Nuggets two games back in the Western Conference race.

Neither team was at full strength. For Miami, Dwyane Wade (left hamstring strain) missed his fourth consecutive game, and Hassan Whiteside (left hip pain) sat out his fifth straight contest. Denver was without leading scorer Gary Harris, sidelined again by a strained right knee that could keep him out several more days (see full recap).

Oladipo, Pacers rally past Lakers
INDIANAPOLIS -- Victor Oladipo sparked a decisive run and finished with 20 points, Myles Turner had 21 points and the Indiana Pacers recovered from a poor start for a 110-100 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

The victory snapped Indiana's two-game losing streak.

Los Angeles was led by Kyle Kuzma with 27 points and Brook Lopez with 23, but the Lakers still lost their third straight.

Oladipo and Darren Collison got Indiana going with back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the third quarter for a 77-70 lead. After a layup from Julius Randle, Collison made a 20-footer and Lance Stephenson hit a 10-footer. When the 14-4 flurry ended, Indiana led 85-74 with 3:04 left in the third.

The Lakers never seriously challenged after that.

It was a stark contrast to the Lakers' fast start. Efficient shooting helped them take a 28-19 lead in the first quarter, but when the shooters cooled off, the Pacers charged back and used a 15-6 second-quarter run to make it 51-50 late in the period.

The Pacers still trailed 59-57 at the half -- before Oladipo helped flip things in the second half (see full recap).