76ers

Curry lights up Grizzlies for 38 points in return

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Curry lights up Grizzlies for 38 points in return

OAKLAND, Calif. — Stephen Curry made a sensational return from injury by scoring 38 points with a season-high 10 3-pointers, and the Golden State Warriors beat the Memphis Grizzlies 141-128 on Saturday night.

Curry shot 13 for 17 and 10 of 13 from deep in 26 minutes for his ninth 30-point game this season after missing 11 games with a sprained right ankle. His mere presence brought an energy to the Warriors and all of Oracle Arena, and he spent much of the fourth quarter pacing, gesturing in delight while cheering his teammates with a towel draped over his head.

Kevin Durant added 20 points, nine assists and five rebounds, and Klay Thompson scored 21 points as the Warriors wrapped up nearly three weeks at home in California. Zaza Pachulia scored a season-best 17 points and also had eight rebounds and six assists.

Marc Gasol led six Memphis players in double figures with 27 points on 10-for-13 shooting (see full recap).

Porzingis scores 30 to lead Knicks to win over Hornets
NEW ORLEANS — Kristaps Porzingis scored 30 points, Jarrett Jack made two free throws to break a tie with 9 seconds remaining and the New York Knicks defeated the New Orleans Pelicans 105-103 on Saturday night.

Jack finished with 15 points, and Michael Beasley scored 15 off the bench for the Knicks, who snapped a season-worst four-game losing streak.

Anthony Davis had 31 points and nine rebounds for the Pelicans and missed a 3-pointer just before the final buzzer. DeMarcus Cousins had 29 points and 19 rebounds, Jrue Holiday scored 13 and E'Twaun Moore had 12.

Cousins made a 3-pointer and scored on a drive to give New Orleans a 99-91 lead with 2:57 left before New York fought back.

Porzingis scored seven straight points to give the Knicks a 103-101 lead with 38 seconds left (see full recap).

Jazz top Cavs behind Mitchell's 29 points
SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points, and the Utah Jazz handed LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers their third straight defeat, 104-101 on Saturday night.

James had 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists on his 33rd birthday as Cleveland lost at Utah for the sixth straight time. The Cavs' three-game losing streak is their second this season.

Mitchell blew by J.R. Smith with the dribble and finished a layup in traffic over James with 35 seconds remaining to give the Jazz a 100-97 lead. James then missed a layup, and Utah finished off the game from the free-throw line. The Jazz snapped a three-game losing streak.

Mitchell shot 10 for 17 from the field. Ricky Rubio had 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists (see full recap).

Heat overcome 18-point deficit to beat Magic
ORLANDO, Fla. — Tyler Johnson scored 22 points in the third quarter and Goran Dragic had 14 in the fourth to help the Miami Heat overcome an 18-point deficit and beat the Orlando Magic 117-111 on Saturday night.

Johnson finished with a season-high 31 points, and Dragic had 25 points and eight assists.

Aaron Gordon led the Magic with 39 points, and Evan Fournier added 23.

Dragic's baseline runner with 2:03 remaining put the Heat up 107-105 and he added a layup to push the lead to four. After Gordon's three free throws with 1:12 left, Johnson hit a 3-pointer to give Miami a four-point lead (see full recap).

LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer takes tanking jab at Sixers

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LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer takes tanking jab at Sixers

The Sixers have been minding their own business this summer.

We touched on that earlier this week as players from one Eastern Conference contender after another opened up about how their respective teams were going to reach the NBA Finals (see story).

That’s fine. You would expect those squads to feel confident in their ability, especially now that the conference’s boogie man, LeBron James, has moved on to Hollywood.

But then the Sixers had a grenade lobbed their way from an unlikely source.

Speaking at an event dubbed “The Playbook,” essentially a pep rally for LA Clippers fans to speak with members of the front office, owner Steve Ballmer assured supporters in the crowd that the franchise wasn’t going to adopt a tanking method to get back in contention like the Sixers.

“That ain’t us. Nuh-uh, no way,” Ballmer said, per the Los Angeles Times. “People can do it their way. We’re going to be good our way. We’re not going to show up and suck for a year, two years. I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in. How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?”

Wow, OK.

Let’s look at the fact that the Sixers’ history, which includes three championships and a laundry list of some of the game's all-time greats, provided the organization with the leeway to undertake such a massive overhaul in a promise to reclaim the glory days. 

The Clippers, on the other hand, have just 13 playoff appearances in their 48-year history and zero titles. 

But this isn’t to beat up on the Clippers. They had to dig themselves out of the mess former owner Donald Sterling created and it can’t be easy always operating in the “Showtime” shadow cast by the Lakers.

This is more about what exactly Ballmer has accomplished — or hasn’t accomplished — in his brief time running a franchise to take a shot at the Sixers from across the country.

Since paying $2 billion for the Clippers prior to the start of the 2014-15 season (one year after the Sixers started “The Process”), the team has actually taken a wrong turn. In that ’14-15 campaign, they won 56 games and reached the Western Conference semifinals. The 2015-16 season produced 53 wins and a first-round exit. In 2016-17, LA registered 51 victories before bowing out in the first round again. Last season, the Clippers had a 42-40 record (two of those losses came to the Sixers) and missed the postseason.

Plus, in just the past calendar year under Ballmer’s watch, the Clips have lost their big three of Chris Paul (trade), Blake Griffin (trade) and DeAndre Jordan (free agent).

That doesn’t exactly scream team on the rise.

Ballmer may indeed have a plan to make sure the Clippers get back in the hunt. After all, he does have respected basketball minds Jerry West and Lawrence Frank handling front-office business and Doc Rivers still orchestrating things on the sidelines. And L.A., while now missing its star trio, does have some intriguing players on the roster that could surprise a few people.

Still, that collection was projected by ESPN to finish with a 35-47 record in 2018-19 and miss the playoffs again in the stacked Western Conference.

With the Clippers staring a decline right in the face and the Sixers boasting two franchise cornerstones in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons along with other solid pieces from Sam Hinkie’s process, it appears a bit misguided for Ballmer to take such a swipe.

Ballmer might not want the Clippers to tank under his leadership. The thing is, the organization might be forced into that method regardless.

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Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as 2nd female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

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Sixers hire Lindsey Harding as 2nd female full-time scout in NBA from WNBA

The Sixers have made a historic hire in their scouting department.

The team has hired former WNBA star Lindsey Harding as a full-time scout starting next season. 

"I think when you have this goal in mind, your gender shouldn't even matter," Harding told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne. "It should be about if you can do it, if you're good, you're experienced, if you know what you're doing and what you're talking about."

Harding, a Duke product and the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 WNBA draft, is just the second woman to be hired by an NBA team as a scout after a career in the WNBA. Jenny Boucek, who is now an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, was the first former WNBA player to be hired as a scout back in 2006 by the Seattle SuperSonics. Becky Hammon, one of Harding's former opponents who urged Harding to pursue this path, was hired as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Hammon has since been interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks' GM job and been promoted to Gregg Popovich's top assistant.

Harding completed the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season after retiring in 2017. The 34-year-old guard spent nine seasons in the WNBA and represented Belarus in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.

"Lindsey has quickly become one of the game's bright young minds in basketball operations," Sixers head coach and interim GM Brett Brown said to Shelbourne. "Having graduated from the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season, Lindsey is applying the same grit and basketball IQ she used as a player in her move to the front office. We look forward to the work Lindsey will do to help grow our program and further solidify a culture of winning.

"It's no secret how much I value the culture we've built in Philadelphia and how much a family-like atmosphere means to our program. Lindsey is a leader, and she is a welcomed addition to the 76ers family. I look forward to working with her."

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