Best of NBA: Balanced Cavaliers run win streak to 12 straight


Best of NBA: Balanced Cavaliers run win streak to 12 straight

CHICAGO -- Dwyane Wade and Kevin Love each scored 24 points, LeBron James had 23 and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Chicago Bulls 113-91 Monday night for their 12th straight win.

Backed by a trio of stars, the Cavaliers matched their longest winning streak since the 2014-15 season.

Wade made 9 of 13 shots in his first game in Chicago since agreeing to a buyout with his hometown team in late September. Love grabbed 13 rebounds and made 8 of 13 from the field. James finished 9 of 15 with seven rebounds and six assists. The Cavaliers shot just under 52 percent.

Kris Dunn led Chicago with 15 points. Robin Lopez and Justin Holiday scored 14 apiece as the Bulls fell to 3-19 with their ninth straight loss (see full recap).

Celtics win despite Greek Freak’s 40 points
BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving had 19 of his 32 points in the second half, helping offset a 40-point night by Giannis Antetokounmpo as the Boston Celtics held off the Milwaukee Bucks 111-100 on Monday night.

Al Horford added 20 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Jayson Tatum chipped in 17 points to help Boston improve to an NBA-best 21-4. The Celtics have won five of their last six.

It was the third 40-point game this season for Antetokounmpo. Khris Middleton added 19 points while Eric Bledsoe had 18 points.

Boston led by as many as 20 in the third quarter, before the Bucks stormed back, thanks in large part to Antetokounmpo. He almost singlehandedly kept the Bucks in it, scoring 16 points in the period and trimming Boston's lead to 88-81 entering the fourth.

It was 104-97 following a free-throw by Bledsoe, but the Celtics got five straight points from Irving to get the lead back up to 12 with less than a minute to play (see full recap).

Grizzlies top Timberwolves to snap 11-game skid
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Marc Gasol scored 21 points, Tyreke Evans added 16 -- including two key free throws with 12.7 seconds left -- and the Memphis Grizzlies snapped an 11-game skid with a 95-92 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

Memphis, which hadn't won since Nov. 7, had to wait a bit longer after Evans' free throws. On the ensuing possession, Jimmy Butler's off-balance, 26-footer over Andrew Harrison bounced off the backboard and grazed the rim, snapping the Grizzlies skid.

Butler led Minnesota with 30 points, his second-straight game with at least 30. Taj Gibson finished with 14 points, while Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague added 12 points each.

The game was close throughout with 14 lead changes and 12 ties, the last tie coming at 86-all with 5:43 remaining. After a pair of free throws from Gasol, Memphis never surrendered the lead the rest of the way, although the margin didn't reach more than three points.

Memphis held Minnesota to only 17 points in the fourth in holding off the Timberwolves (see full recap).

Nets 127, Sixers 124: Shorthanded Sixers scorched yet again by Nets' guards

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Nets 127, Sixers 124: Shorthanded Sixers scorched yet again by Nets' guards


No Jimmy Butler. No Mike Muscala. JJ Redick ice cold. The Nets’ guards continuing to kill them.

It just didn’t look like the Sixers' night Wednesday from the beginning in a 127-124 loss to Brooklyn at the Wells Fargo Center.

The loss was just the Sixers’ second defeat at home this season and drops them to 19-10 overall. 

Here are observations from the loss:

• Joel Embiid looked more like the player we’ve grown accustomed to seeing. There was definitely an effort to get him the ball early and often. He was 10 of 15 for 23 points in the first half.

He was a force on both ends, posting 33 points, 17 rebounds and six assists.

The footwork here is gorgeous.

The issue was when Embiid wasn’t on the court. He was a plus-7 while backup center Amir Johnson was a minus-10.

• Ben Simmons continues to be aggressive early and looking to score. He took nine shots in the first half. He shot just 4 of 9 but was getting into the paint at will. He wasn’t quite as aggressive in the second half when the Sixers could’ve used it.

The two-man game between Embiid and Simmons showed flashes to get the Sixers a brief lead. It’s not something the Sixers do a ton of, but with Butler out of the lineup and Redick struggling (5 of 15), it was an effective way to get both players going.

Simmons was also on the receiving end of this insane alley-oop from T.J. McConnell.

From courtside, it looked like Simmons was going to touch the ceiling.

He finished with 22 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

• Have to give credit where it’s due: Furkan Korkmaz played a solid game Wednesday night. In his first NBA start, Korkmaz provided his typical shooting from his first touch.

What was more impressive was the pair of runners he hit off of overaggressive closeouts and his engagement on the defensive end. Defense has always been the question for Korkmaz and tonight he answered the bell, showing off some of his athleticism and instincts.

Both of those attributes were on display on this pick-and-roll by Brooklyn.

He also showed a little chemistry with Embiid on a couple offensive possessions.

Is he turning into a legitimate bench option? It’s still too early to tell, but the Sixers needed him tonight and he played well, matching the career high he set Monday night with 18 points.

• The Sixers' pick-and-roll defense continues to be an issue — as do guards D’Angelo Russell and Spencer Dinwiddie. The duo combined for 51 points on 16 of 28 from the field after killing the Sixers in the previous two matchups in Brooklyn this season. 

Dinwiddie was really cooking in the third quarter, at one point hitting five straight shots on his way to a career-high 39-point night. He’s a guard that can create his own shot and score in bunches. He’ll also be a free agent at season’s end. 

The Nets have yet to talk an extension with Dinwiddie, according to reports. If Brooklyn decides to get value for him while it can at the deadline, Elton Brand should place a call.

• Shake Milton got his first meaningful action in the first half with the Sixers being down so many men. The rookie out of SMU had a tough go and didn’t get back into the game until the outcome was decided late in the fourth quarter.

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Sixers vs. Nets: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

Sixers vs. Nets: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

The Sixers (19-9) will look to extend their league-leading record at home (14-1) against the Nets (10-18) at the Wells Fargo Center.

Though their first matchup against the Nets at Barclays Center is one they’d like to forget, it was Jimmy Butler’s game-winner in their second matchup that everyone will remember. But Wednesday night, Butler is out with a groin strain.

Here are the essentials for tonight’s matchup:

• When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
• Where: Wells Fargo Center
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia+
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

Here are three storylines to watch:

Spencer Dinwiddie is always a problem

Dinwiddie always causes the Sixers trouble. He scored 31 points in his 28 minutes off the bench in their last matchup, including 4 for 5 from three-point range. He’s second in the league in assists off the bench, trailing only JJ Barea. And he's tied for the most double-digit scoring games off the bench with Lou Williams (24). With the Sixers' bench already depleted, watch out for Dinwiddie to have another big night.

To blitz or not to blitz?

In their last game against Brooklyn, the Sixers found success defensively after they started blitzing and double-teaming the pick-and-roll in the second half. Defending the pick-and-roll has been one of the Sixers' biggest defensive weaknesses this season (see film review). With a team certainly looking to exploit that, it’ll be interesting to see what defensive adjustments the Sixers start this game off with.

Clutch who?

The Nets are tied for the most clutch games (those in which the margin has been five points or fewer during the final five minutes of a game) in the NBA this season with 17, but their record is just 5-12 in those games. The Sixers, on the other hand, have played in just one less clutch game this season, but their record is 13-3 (and two of those wins are game-winning three-pointers by Butler). With Butler out tonight, and the game on the line, who steps up?

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