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Best of NBA: Cavaliers hold off Hornets for 3rd straight win

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Best of NBA: Cavaliers hold off Hornets for 3rd straight win

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- LeBron James scored 31 points, Kevin Love had 22 points and 10 rebounds and the Cleveland Cavaliers continued their dominance against the Charlotte Hornets with a 115-107 victory Wednesday night.

The Cavaliers have won seven straight against the Hornets and 11 of 12. James is 40-6 in the regular season against Charlotte.

Kyle Korver's 3-pointer with 1:06 left in the third quarter put the Cavaliers ahead for good at 86-84. They extended the lead to 10 points three times in the fourth quarter, first when James drove into the lane and hit a stepback baseline jumper to make it 105-95.

Jeff Green added 13 points for Cleveland, Korver had 11 and J.R. Smith 10. The Cavaliers have won three straight and four of five.

The loss was Charlotte's fifth in a row since a five-point win at Milwaukee on Nov. 1. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist shot 10 of 14 from the field and led Charlotte with a season-high 22 points, three shy of his career best. Point guard Kemba Walker had 20.

Hornets guard Nicolas Batum played his first game of the season after a tearing a ligament in his left elbow last month. He started and scored 16 points in 32 minutes, including seven straight in the second half as the Hornets took a 58-52 lead (see full recap).

Raptors ride hot 3-point shooting to victory
NEW ORLEANS -- DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and the Toronto Raptors kept hitting 3s to beat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-116 on Wednesday night.

The Raptors shot 16 for 34 on 3-pointers, with C.J. Miles going 5 for 9.

Kyle Lowry had 22 points, Jonas Valanciunas had 21 and Miles 17 for Toronto. Serge Ibaka added 12 points and Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet each had 10.

DeMarcus Cousins scored 25 points for the Pelicans and Anthony Davis had 19.

New Orleans had a 64-42 scoring advantage in the paint, but couldn't match Toronto's outside shooting. The Raptors shot 59 percent overall and won for the fourth time in five games.

The Pelicans lost for the second time in their last seven games.

Toronto turned a one-point halftime edge into a 98-86 lead after three quarters, boosted by DeRozan's 11 points.

Lowry scored on an offensive rebound and Miles made a 3-pointer as Toronto built the lead to 110-93 early in the fourth quarter (see full recap).

Pacers build big lead early, hold on late for win
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Darren Collison scored a season-high 30 points, Victor Oladipo had 21 and the Indiana Pacers built an early lead before holding off a late rally to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-113 on Wednesday night.

Collison added eight assists, made all 12 of his foul shots and connected on 8 of 13 from the field, including 2 of 4 from outside the arc.

Memphis lost its third straight. It had a chance to tie it after a review of an out-of-bounds call gave the Grizzlies the ball with 9 seconds left. Marc Gasol's 3-pointer with 3 seconds remaining was off the mark.

Gasol led Memphis with 35 points and 13 rebounds. Tyreke Evans added 18 points and nine assists, while Chandler Parsons scored 13 points.

Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 16 points for Indiana, including a 3-pointer that momentarily stalled a fourth-quarter surge by Memphis.

The Grizzlies trailed by 17 early in the fourth but scored 10 straight points to cut the deficit to 105-98 before Bogdanovic's 3.

Memphis played without starting point guard Mike Conley, who has a sore left Achilles tendon. Despite shooting well at times, Memphis' offense seemed in disarray and committed fifteen turnovers (see full recap).

Sixers reportedly rebuffed in attempt to hire Rockets GM Daryl Morey

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Sixers reportedly rebuffed in attempt to hire Rockets GM Daryl Morey

Well, you can’t say the Sixers aren’t aiming high.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Sixers “have been rebuffed in their attempt to hire away Houston's Daryl Morey to take over as their new general manager.” Stein added that the team had great interest in Morey, but he couldn’t be lured away from the Rockets.

Morey, who has served as the Rockets’ general manager since 2007, was named the NBA’s Executive of the Year after Houston secured the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a franchise-best 65-17 record during the 2017-18 regular season.

Morey obviously fits the Sixers from a surface standpoint with his analytics background, commitment to building a pace-and-space roster and desire to chase stars. However, what makes the Sixers’ desire in him really interesting is that Morey is the mentor of former Sixers front office executive Sam Hinkie.

Bryan Colangelo, the man who replaced Hinkie in the Sixers’ front office, resigned in June after a scandal involving multiple secret Twitter accounts rocked the franchise. Head coach Brett Brown took over as interim general manager following Colangelo's resignation.

The Sixers have been patient throughout their search as managing owner Josh Harris recently said there is no timetable to select a candidate.

“We’re just getting focused on it now, given everything with free agency and the draft, and also the other GMs are in the same place. We’re looking for the right person,” Harris told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Amy Fadool last week (see story). “One of the things that Bryan Colangelo did really well was we built a great staff, whether it be (vice president of basketball operations and chief of staff) Ned Cohen or (vice president of analytics and strategy) Alex Rucker or (vice president of player personnel) Marc Eversley or (Delaware Blue Coats general manger) Elton Brand, we have a lot of great people. It’s very consensus-oriented, there’s a lot of people in the dialogue, and we want to make sure we find the right fit for that. 

“It’s not going to be easy. My guess is it’s going to take awhile. And we’re obviously focused on doing it as quickly as possible, but at the same time I don’t want to set unrealistic expectations — it could take a little while. So we’re just starting that.”

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Sixers officially bring back Amir Johnson on 1-year contract

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Sixers officially bring back Amir Johnson on 1-year contract

The band is back together.

The Sixers are still making their offseason moves official, which is what happened on Monday when the team officially announced a one-year deal to bring back Amir Johnson. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is reportedly worth the veteran’s minimum, which would be $2.39 million for the center.

“Our experience with Amir last year confirms to us, on so many levels, that he is a perfect fit for our young and developing team,” Brett Brown said in a statement. “His work ethic, leadership and buy-in to team-first basketball all comes to mind when I think of his value to our ball club and his acceptance of a backup role to All-Star Joel Embiid is priceless. We are thrilled to have Amir and his family back in our program and I know this feeling is a shared by all of his teammates.”

Johnson, the last player drafted into the NBA straight from high school, spent his 13th professional season with the Sixers in 2017-18. The 31-year-old averaged 4.6 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 15.8 minutes a night.

However, it was the little things Johnson did that really added up for the Sixers. The big man had the highest aggregate hustle score, which measures screen assists, deflections, loose balls recovered, charges drawn and contested shots per contest, to win the league’s second-ever Hustle Award. 

“This is definitely an honor,” Johnson said after receiving the award. “I pride myself on doing the little things on the court and I just want to say thank you to my teammates and coaches. This award means a lot.”

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