NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

HOUSTON (AP) Russell Westbrook scored 28 points and Kevin Durant added 26 as the Oklahoma City Thunder built a big lead in the second quarter and rolled to a 124-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night.

Durant scored 11 points during a 16-0 run by the Thunder to end the first half and extend the lead to 18. Oklahoma City had another big run early in the third quarter to put the game further out of reach.

Former Thunder sixth man James Harden scored 25 for the Rockets, who went cold on offense for long stretches.

It was Oklahoma City's second win this season over Houston, after taking the first meeting 120-98.

Kevin Martin, who came to Oklahoma City in the trade for Harden, finished 19 points and five 3-pointers. Westbrook had eight rebounds and eight assists.

Marcus Morris scored a career-high 24 points for Houston.


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Eric Gordon had 24 points and seven assists, helping New Orleans overcome a 21-point first-half deficit and extend Charlotte's losing streak to 18 games.

The Bobcats are one game away from a winless December. They haven't won since Nov. 24.

Gordon, who hadn't played since April 22 following arthroscopic right knee surgery, was 5 of 13 from the field and 12 of 14 from the free throw line in 24 minutes.

Ryan Anderson had 19 points and made a pair of 3-pointers in the final period as the Hornets won for the second time in three games.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 22 points and nine rebounds and Gerald Henderson added 19 points for the Bobcats.

BUCKS 104, HEAT 85

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Brandon Jennings scored 25 points and Mike Dunleavy had 13 of his 18 in the fourth quarter as Milwaukee beat Miami to spoil Dwyane Wade's return.

Wade was back after serving a one-game suspension for flailing his leg and making contact with guard Ramon Sessions' groin during the Heat's victory over Charlotte on Wednesday. Wade sat out Miami's 109-99 loss to Detroit on Friday night, which snapped the Heat's six-game winning streak.

Wade had 24 points on 10-of-19 shooting. LeBron James scored 26 as Miami failed to reach 100 points for just the third time in 28 games.

Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 19 points for the Bucks, and Larry Sanders had 16 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks.

Dunleavy also had nine rebounds, six assists and three steals for the Bucks, who outscored Miami 35-14 in the fourth. The Heat (20-8) fell to 6-6 on the road.


NEW YORK (AP) - Brook Lopez scored a season-high 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Brooklyn improved to 2-0 under interim coach P.J. Carlesimo by beating Cleveland.

Lopez followed his 26-point, 11-rebound performance in a victory Friday over Charlotte by shooting 13 of 20 from the field, making a number of timely baskets in the fourth quarter that the Nets ultimately needed to hold on.

Deron Williams and Joe Johnson each scored 15 points for the Nets, who fired coach Avery Johnson on Thursday and followed with two victories over losing teams. But now, they head off for major tests at San Antonio and Oklahoma City.

CJ Miles scored 33 points and made eight 3-pointers for the Cavs, but Kyrie Irving capped a miserable shooting night when his tying 3-point attempt went in and out. He finished with 13 points on 5-of-16 shooting.

Tristan Thompson added 17 points and 15 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who played without center Anderson Varejao because of a knee injury.


MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Rudy Gay scored eight of his 19 points down the stretch to help Memphis beat Denver.

Gay's rush was part of 10 straight points for the Grizzlies, breaking open a 68-all game with 4:45 left. His baseline jumper with 1:25 left gave Memphis a 10-point lead, helping the Grizzlies snap a two-game skid.

Zach Randolph had 12 points for Memphis, which won despite shooting 40 percent. The Grizzlies outscored the Nuggets 28-15 in the fourth quarter.

Andre Iguodala, Corey Brewer and JaVale McGee all had 12 points for Denver, which had its two-game winning streak stopped. Danilo Gallinari, coming off a career-high 39 points Friday night against Dallas, was held to seven on 2-of-8 shooting.


OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Stephen Curry had 22 points and nine assists, David Lee scored 20 points and Golden State routed the short-handed Celtics to close a memorable month.

First-round pick Harrison Barnes added 15 points and eight rebounds to help the Warriors build a 20-point lead in the second quarter and cruise most of the way. Golden State (21-10) finished December with a 12-4 record and has at least 20 wins before New Year's Day for the first time since 1980.

Courtney Lee had 18 points and five rebounds starting in place of Rajon Rondo, a late scratch for Boston because of a bruised right thigh and hip. The Celtics (14-15) have lost six of eight to fall below .500 for the first time in almost two months.


ATLANTA (AP) - Lou Williams had 21 points and a career-high 12 assists, Al Horford added 20 points and Atlanta beat Indiana for its fourth consecutive win.

David West scored a game-high 29 points for the Pacers, who had won four straight and seven of eight.

With Josh Smith, Atlanta's leading scorer, unable to play because of a right hip flexor, Hawks coach Larry Drew started Zaza Pachulia, who responded with 17 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.

Indiana never got closer than three in the fourth quarter after Paul George's three-point play made it 91-88 at the 5:18 mark.


ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - DeMar DeRozan scored 21 points and Jose Calderon added 15 points and 10 assists, helping Toronto to an easy victory over injury-depleted Orlando.

Rookie Ed Davis had 18 points and seven rebounds as Toronto won for the seventh time in eight games. The Raptors, who hit a season-high 15 3-pointers, got 16 points apiece from Kyle Lowry and Terrence Ross.

Rookie Andrew Nicholson led Orlando with a career-high 22 points. Arron Afflalo added 14 points and Ish Smith had 13 points and six assists.

The Raptors hit nine of their first 10 attempts from behind the 3-point line and built a 67-47 halftime lead. Orlando cut it to 76-65 with 5:16 left in the third quarter, but that was as close as the Magic would get the rest of the game.

The Magic played without starting point guard Jameer Nelson (hip) and his backup, E'Twaun Moore (elbow).


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Nikola Pekovic had 28 points and 11 rebounds, and Kevin Love added 23 points and 18 boards to lift Minnesota over Phoenix.

Andrei Kirilenko had 20 points and five rebounds for the Timberwolves, who were missing guard Ricky Rubio because of back spasms.

Luis Scola had 33 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who lost their fifth straight. They led 102-99 with 3:30 to play, but once again failed to close it out.

Pekovic scored two quick ones underneath, but the Suns still had a chance down three with 8.1 seconds left. Dante Cunningham stole the inbounds pass to seal it.


CHICAGO (AP) - Marco Belinelli came off the bench to score 17 points, leading Chicago to a victory over Washington.

Carlos Boozer added 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Belinelli shot 7 of 16 in a reserve role as Richard Hamilton returned to the starting lineup. Hamilton had missed 12 games because of a torn plantar fascia in his left foot.

Chicago's Luol Deng scored 11 points after injuring his right ankle Tuesday in a loss to Houston.

Bradley Beal led the NBA-worst Wizards (4-24) with 14 points. Emeka Okafor added 11 points and 18 rebounds for Washington, which has lost nine of 10.

Wizards leading scorer Jordan Crawford sat out because of a left ankle injury.


PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Nicolas Batum had 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, Damian Lillard added 20 points and Portland beat Philadelphia for its eighth straight victory at home.

J.J. Hickson had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Trail Blazers. LaMarcus Aldridge added 16 points.

Jrue Holiday had 29 points, nine assists and nine rebounds to lead the Sixers, who have lost eight of 10. Thaddeus Young added 17 points.

Portland opened the fourth quarter with a 7-0 run to take a 10-point advantage.

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John Wall goes through full practice for first time since left knee surgery

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John Wall goes through full practice for first time since left knee surgery

John Wall crossed one of the biggest hurdles of his months-long recovery from arthroscopic left knee surgery on Saturday by participating in his first full practice.

That means Wall went through 5-on-5 scrimmages with teammates that included contact. He is free of restrictions.

Now it is only a matter of days before Wall is ready to return to game action.

"John did everything, he did an entire practice which was great," head coach Scott Brooks said. "I thought he did a great job offensively and defensively."


Wall, who last played on Jan. 25 against the Oklahoma City Thunder, has missed the Wizards' last 24 games. He has been absent for 35 of their 72 total games this season.

In the months he has been out, Wall has slowly worked his way to this point. He still has to get a few more practices under his belt before the Wizards can outline a target date for his return.

Wall was aggressive in testing his knee by attacking the basket, according to Brooks. Wall was moving around well and even lost a few pounds during his time off.

"He looks great and that's not easy with time off," Brooks said. "He will be back in no time."


The Wizards have gone 14-10 since Wall went down, an impressive mark especially considering how tough their schedule shook out. Most of those games came against teams with winning records either holding playoff spots or fighting for them.

The shine, though, is wearing off. They have lost two straight games and seven of their last 11. Their offense has stalled in recent defeats and it's become more and more clear they could use Wall's presence.

"He gives us that edge," Wall said. "When you have him on the floor, you get a lot of easy shots. John creates a lot of attention when he drives to the basket... I think [his teammates] have always appreciated it, but when you don't have him around you definitely miss it."

While the Wizards continue to wait for Wall to return to games, just having him in practices helps. Brooks explained how guarding a player of Wall's caliber, a five-time All-Star, raises the intensity level of their scrimmages. If his teammates do not bring their best effort, Wall can very easily expose them.


There is also something intangible about Wall's presence. The media sees it once the doors open at practice. He is talkative and energetic on the court.

Some of his teammates even described him as "loud."

"Sometimes I tell him that he's a little too loud," guard Bradley Beal said. "But that's the energy that we've missed."

"He brings the juice. He brings the energy level up," Brooks said. "You miss his spirit. You miss the way he interacts with guys. He's fiery and competitive. He gets after guys. He cheers guys on. I like that. I like guys that show emotion and passion on the court."

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Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Wizards display lack of urgency in loss to Nuggets and Scott Brooks is frustrated

Following their seventh loss in 11 games and another lackluster performance in key areas, Wizards head coach Scott Brooks reverted back to a critique that characterized many defeats months ago. He called into question the effort of his team, more specifically their urgency. How they could overlook the stakes at this point of the season and with so much on the line had escaped him.

Brooks wasn't pleased following Washington's 108-100 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. He didn't like their three-point defense, their inability to force turnovers and their lack of zip on offense. But overall, it was the apparent lack of realization that time is running out in the regular season and off-nights cannot be afforded.

"We have to play with more spirit [and] we have to take some pride in our home court," Brooks said. "We’re building our habits going into the playoffs and these are moments where we need to take advantage because it’s playoff implications in every game."


Pride is something Brooks has referenced after the Wizards' worst defeats since he took over. This one didn't qualify, as they only lost by eight points and had opportunities late to write a different ending. But they were playing a team fighting for their own playoff position in the opposite conference and for the most part did not match their intensity.

The Nuggets, to put it plainly, are among the worst defensive teams in basketball. They were missing their leading scorer, Gary Harris. And they tightened their rotation to just eight players.

Yet the Wizards only managed 100 points, six below their season average, and committed 17 turnovers. Aside from their 33-point third quarter, the Wizards' offense was effectively stalled. 

"We can’t have guys that are not going to participate with hard cuts and hard setups and good screens. We need everybody. It’s not one person, it’s all," Brooks said.


The Wizards only forced 10 turnovers on the Nuggets and only three in the first half. That held back their offense in the sense they had few opportunities for fastbreak buckets.

"That’s where we get most of our offense from anyways, getting stops, getting out in transition," forward Otto Porter said.

The Wizards have lost two straight games. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers and Pacers both won on Friday night.

The Wizards are sixth place in the East and just 1 1/2 games out of fourth, but there is a huge difference in those spots. Sixth could mean meeting the Cavs in the first round and they have won three straight since Kevin Love returned from injury.


The Cavaliers could quickly become the most dangerous team in the Eastern Conference. Their record is deceiving due to Love's injury and they still boast LeBron James, the best player on the planet. No one can control a playoff series quite like he can.

An argument could be made the Wizards would be better off moving down than up, as the seventh spot would match them up with the injury-riddled Boston Celtics. The Wizards are just 1 1/2 games ahead of the seventh-seed Miami Heat.

The Wizards, though, would prefer to move up and they still have a chance to get into fourth, which would mean home court advantage.

John Wall will return at some point, likely soon. In the short-term, Brooks would like to some urgency and for his team to get back to the trademark ball movement that allowed them to go 10-3 in their first 13 games when Wall went down.

"We can get it back, but it’s not going to come back. We have to go get it. It’s time to do it; it’s time," Brooks said.

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