Oladipo's 38 points lead Pacers to overtime win

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Oladipo's 38 points lead Pacers to overtime win

INDIANAPOLIS — Victor Oladipo dug the Indiana Pacers out of a hole again.

He scored 38 points and was perfect from the free-throw line, helping the Indiana Pacers escape with a 123-119 overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night.

"For whatever reason, it was tough for us in the first half," Oladipo said. "In the second half, things started going our way. We picked it up and played at a high level on both ends."

Myles Turner had 23 points and nine rebounds and tied his career high with six blocks, and Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 17 points and six rebounds for the Pacers (19-14), who came back from down 19 to take an 85-84 lead on Lance Stephenson's free throw with 8:29 remaining in regulation.

Spencer Dinwiddle led the Nets (12-20) and tied his career high with 26 points. He made three free throws with 19 seconds left in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 111 and force overtime (see full recap).

Nuggets stop Warriors' 11-game winning streak
OAKLAND, Calif. — Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn't see much passion from his team Saturday.

Golden State better find some fast for Christmas Day, when LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers come to town for a prime-time holiday rematch of the past three NBA Finals.

Gary Harris scored 19 points to lead a balanced Denver offense and the Nuggets stopped the Warriors' 11-game winning streak with a second impressive road victory in two nights, beating Golden State 96-81.

"It didn't feel like we were into it emotionally tonight. Sometimes after a long winning streak, whatever reason, you let your guard down a little bit. It wasn't there," Kerr said. "The biggest concern for me tonight, I didn't see a lot of joy. ... We weren't having much fun." (see full recap).

Schroder scores 27 in second half as Hawks beat Mavericks
ATLANTA — Dennis Schroder matched his career high with 33 points, including 27 in the second half, to help the Atlanta Hawks beat the Dallas Mavericks 112-107 on Saturday night in a matchup of last-place teams.

After missing Friday night's loss at Oklahoma City with a sprained ankle, Schroder hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 1:21 left to put Atlanta ahead 110-107.

Ersan Ilyasova added 19 points and seven rebounds for the Hawks (8-25), who got 13 points off the bench from rookie John Collins and won for just the second time in eight games.

Harrison Barnes led the Mavericks (9-25) with 22 points. Dirk Nowitzki scored 18, and J.J. Barea had 15 points and 12 assists off the bench as Dallas lost for the eighth time in 10 games (see full recap)

Westbrook's triple-double leads Thunder to win over Jazz
SALT LAKE CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder got the kind of night they envisioned when they brought in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to join reigning MVP Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Thunder won their fourth in a row with a 103-89 victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday night.

Utah had no answer for Westbrook, George and Anthony, who were playing the second night of a back-to-back.

"We're just finding it," Anthony said. "Everybody's doing what they're supposed to do. Everybody's playing their game. We're not playing as tense and thinking so much out there on the basketball court as we were a couple weeks ago. The flow of the game is starting to become better and better for everybody. Guys are starting to be comfortable with what's being asked of them and kind of just accepting it." (see full recap).

Bradley Beal helps Wizards pull even with Pacers

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Bradley Beal helps Wizards pull even with Pacers

WASHINGTON — Bradley Beal scored 19 points, Marcin Gortat had 18 and the Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night in a possible playoff preview.

Washington (40-30) earned its second straight win to move into a tie with Indiana for fourth in the Eastern Conference standings. The Wizards also claimed the first tiebreaker by taking two of three in the season series.

Gortat was 6 for 8 from the field and also grabbed eight rebounds. He scored a total of 17 points in his previous four games.

Washington went 10 for 20 from 3-point range and shot 54.8 percent from the field overall. Kelly Oubre, Jr. had 16 points for the Wizards, and Markieff Morris added 15 (see full recap).

Giannis' double-double helps Bucks hold on to beat Hawks
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 33 points and 12 rebounds, Khris Middleton added 23 points and the Milwaukee Bucks held on for a 122-117 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday.

The Bucks finished off the Eastern Conference's worst team with a game-ending 11-5 run, pushing the pace after the Hawks lost ball-handler Dennis Schroder. The guard fouled out with 2:46 left, and was called for a technical foul after exchanging words with an official on the way to the sideline.

Middleton hit the free throw that started the run. The Hawks looked rushed on their next two possessions with a turnover and a blocked shot, allowing the Bucks to brush past them.

Trailing by 13 at one point, Atlanta put up a spirited fight before losing its 50th game of the year. Taurean Prince scored 38 points, while Schroder finished with 18 (see full recap).

LeBron gets 33 points in triple-double as Cavs beat Bulls
CHICAGO — LeBron James scored 33 points as part of a triple-double, Jordan Clarkson had a tiebreaking four-point play with 1:27 left and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls 114-109 on Saturday night.

James had 12 rebounds and 12 assists for his 15th triple-double of the season, and Jeff Green added 21 points. Clarkson finished with 19 points to help the Cavaliers salvage a six-game split on their season-high six-game trip.

Denzel Valentine led Chicago with a career-high 34 points, hitting 8 of 11 from long range. The Bulls wiped out a 17-point halftime deficit even though they held out banged-up core players Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn, only to come up short in the closing minutes.

Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue spent the second half in the locker room with an illness, another hit for an already short-handed team (see full recap).

Justin Anderson has his number called — and delivers

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Justin Anderson has his number called — and delivers

One responsibility of professional athletes is being ready when your number is called.

Seems like a simple concept. However, not everyone can handle the duties of coming into a game cold and making an impact.

The Sixers' Justin Anderson prides himself on being able to thrive in just that type of situation. That's why when Brett Brown told him to be on alert prior to Friday's 120-116 win over the Nets, he was good to go.

"He came up to me before the game, maybe like 20 minutes before the game, and said he was going to go to me tonight," Anderson said. "I told him I was going to be ready. He went to me and we all played well."

Oh, Anderson was definitely ready. The third-year swingman entered at the 6:55 mark of the first quarter and made a trio of three-pointers to keep the sluggish Sixers afloat early on.

“I had hit the first one, and they were talking a little trash. They didn’t respect it, so they continued to go under [screens],” Anderson said. “I was always taught if they go under, raise up and shoot it. That’s what you practice for. I just wanted to make sure I took good shots, played hard, brung energy and I think we did a good of doing that.”

Wait, so guys on the 21-48 Nets squad had the nerve to talk a little smack? While a bit laughable, it didn’t help in knocking Anderson off his game.

“It just showed me that they weren’t disciplined in their scouting report and I tried to take advantage of it,” he said. “It’s not like I’m shooting 20s [percent] from the three. It was what it was and I just wanted to take advantage of my opportunity.”

Anderson finished with 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting from the field and 3 of 5 from three-point range along with two rebounds in 14 minutes. Even with that offensive production, it was his defensive prowess in the final minute that made the biggest impact on the night.

“We had the confidence to both give Richaun (Holmes) some minutes and Justin when it mattered and had a big stop,” Brown said. “I think it was against (Spencer) Dinwiddie. You know, moved his feet, guarded the yard as we call it.

That’s major trust in a player who missed 23 games earlier in the season with shin splints and eight more recently with an ankle sprain. But with the playoffs right around the corner, Brown knows he may need to go to Anderson again in an even more crucial moment.

“Good for him. He’s a wonderful teammate, he’s good people and he’s had sort of an erratic year with injury,” Brown said. “I thought tonight he confirmed what we all think in relation to him being able to help us.”