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Harden scores 33 as Rockets beat 76ers 125-103

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Harden scores 33 as Rockets beat 76ers 125-103

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden had 33 points and seven assists to lead the Houston Rockets to a 125-103 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Harden topped 20 points for the seventh straight game to send the 76ers to their fifth straight loss. He made 17 of 18 free throws, including six in the fourth quarter, as Houston improved to 9-2 in its last 11 home games.

Toney Douglas heated up in the fourth quarter for the Rockets, hitting five 3-pointers and scoring all 17 of his points.

Reserve Nick Young scored 21 points to lead Philadelphia, which matched its most lopsided loss of the season. The 76ers also lost by 22 points against the New York Knicks on Nov. 5.

Young hit a 3-pointer with less than three minutes left in the third quarter to cut Houston's lead to three, but the Rockets finished the quarter on an 8-1 run and led by 10 at the start of the fourth. Houston forward Greg Smith keyed the rally, scoring eight of his 13 points in the final two minutes of the third quarter.

Chandler Parsons got the rebound on his own 3-point attempt and followed with a powerful dunk that kept Houston's lead in double digits midway through the fourth quarter. Parson finished with nine points and was the only Rockets starter not in double-figures.

Jeremy Lin had 18 points and six assists, and Omer Asik added 17 points and 15 rebounds for Houston, which led by as many as 14 in the first half and was ahead 56-51 at the break.

Dorell Wright scored 20 points in a reserve role for Philadelphia, and Thaddeus Young added 17.

Philadelphia guard Evan Turner left the game with nine minutes left in the third quarter after suffering a left ankle injury. Turner limped to the locker room and returned with less than five minutes remaining, but he only stayed in the game for 17 seconds before heading back to the locker room.

Turner never re-entered the game and finished with six points, three assists and two rebounds, ending a 17-game streak of scoring in double-figures. The 2010 second overall pick has averaged 17.7 points in December and 15.5 this season.

Turner's absence might be the latest setback for the injury-plagued 76ers, who have been without center Andrew Bynum for the entire season.

Philadelphia point guard Jrue Holiday, the team's leading scorer at nearly 19 points per game, missed his fourth straight with a sprained left foot. Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said he hoped Holiday would be back for Friday's home game against Atlanta but said the team isn't rushing his return.

Notes: Texas A&M quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel attended the game and received a brief ovation when his name was announced halfway through the third quarter. Texas A&M University in College Station is roughly 100 miles from Houston's Toyota Center. ... Houston F Patrick Patterson missed his third straight game with a bone bruise in his right foot.

Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

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Former Hoya Marcus Derrickson signs a two-way contract with Golden State Warriors

Leaving the Georgetown Hoyas a season early is initially paying off for Marcus Derrickson. 

Less than a month before what would have been his senior season at Georgetown, the 6-7 forward has signed a two-way contract with the Golden State Warriors. 

Derrickson nabbed the second two-way position on the Warriors after an outstanding Summer League translated to a solid preseason.

Fitting right into the Warriors deep-ball oriented scheme, Derrickson was 6-16 from three point range during the five-game preseason. He's a versatile stretch-four that continues to develop and improve on his outside game. 

By signing a two-way contract, the former All-Big East Second teamer will have a chance to get called up to the two-time defending NBA champions at any point this season for up to 45 days. The remaining time will be with the Warriors' G-league affiliate the Santa Cruz Warriors

This arrangement will earn Derrickson a contract of $75,000 and a prorated amount for however much time he is practicing/ playing with Golden State. 

If he is called up to the NBA for more than the allotted 45 days, then the Warriors are obligated to give him a minimum rookie contract. 

Derrickson continues to prove himself as the list of aspiring players dwindles. As each contract begins to near its end, the Warriors time after time offer another opportunity.

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

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Trading Jodie Meeks gives Washington Wizards much-needed salary cap relief

With a luxury tax bill of approximately $19 million on the way, the Washington Wizards gave themselves some salary relief on Monday by trading veteran guard Jodie Meeks to the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Wizards attached a future second round pick and cash to the deal and in exchange received a future second round pick of their own, NBC Sports Washington has confirmed. ESPN first reported the news.

Though Meeks, 31, was due to make $3.45 million this season, his departure saves the Wizards about $7 million because of projected tax penalties. That's a lot of savings in a deal that got rid of a player who had become expendable.

Meeks had fallen out of favor with the Wizards for a variety of reasons. He was due to serve a 19-game suspension to begin the season due to performance-enhancing drugs. The ban was announced the day before their first round playoff series against the Raptors was set to begin in April.

Meeks also underperformed last season in the first year of his contract with the Wizards and requested a trade in February. This summer, Meeks exercised his player option to remain with the team.

The Wizards were not likely to count on Meeks much at all this season because they traded for Austin Rivers in June to add depth at the shooting guard position. Meeks' role was made clear by the fact he did not appear in any of the Wizards' four preseason games against NBA opponents.

Meeks' tenure in Washington was a significant disappointment. The Wizards signed him last summer in hopes he could shore up the shooting guard spot on their bench. 

Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he never earned the trust of his coaching staff. The Wizards opted to rely more heavily on starter Bradley Beal, who logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player last season.

Now, they are moving on.

Meeks leaving the organization should have little effect on the Wizards, though it does leave them with a hole on their roster that needs to be filled. They currently have 13 players, one below the league minimum. The Wizards now have 14 days to add a 14th player.

They could sign a free agent, convert one of their players on two-way contracts (Devin Robinson and Jordan McRae) or make a trade. The Meeks deal gives them a $3.45 million trade exception.

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