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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Pau Gasol had 22 points and 12 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup and Kobe Bryant nearly had a triple-double in leading the Los Angeles Lakers to a 111-100 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

Bryant had 17 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists and Steve Nash added 17 points and seven assists for the Lakers, who played without Dwight Howard due to a sore right shoulder. They have won four of their last five games and beat the Wolves for the 20th straight time, the longest active streak in the NBA.

Alexey Shved scored 18 points and Ricky Rubio had nine points and seven assists for the Timberwolves, who lost their sixth straight game. They trailed by 29 in the second quarter, but climbed within four in the fourth quarter.

PACERS 102, HEAT 89

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - David West scored 30 points and Paul George added 15, leading Indiana past Miami.

The Pacers (28-19) have won 13 in a row at home and two straight overall since losing three straight on the road. Indiana and the New York Knicks are the only teams in the league to beat the defending NBA champs twice this season.

Miami (29-14) was led by LeBron James with 28 points and Dwayne Wade with 17 - and this time the Heat were beaten at their own game.

Indiana shot a season-high 55.7 percent from the field.

The Pacers took control with a 13-0 first-half run that turned a 23-20 deficit into a 33-23 lead. They never trailed again.

Indiana led by as much as 19 points in the third quarter, and Miami never got closer than 12 in the fourth.

RAPTORS 98, CLIPPERS 73

TORONTO (AP) - Rudy Gay wowed a sellout crowd by scoring 20 points in his Toronto debut, leading the Raptors to a rout of the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers.

Amir Johnson had 19 points and matched his career high with 16 rebounds for the Raptors. DeMar DeRozan also scored 19 as Toronto welcomed Gay with a winning effort two days after he was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade that also included Detroit.

John Lucas scored 17 and Aaron Gray had seven points and 12 rebounds for the Raptors, who handed the Clippers their fourth straight loss in Toronto. Los Angeles has dropped five of its past eight overall.

KNICKS 96, BUCKS 86

NEW YORK (AP) - Carmelo Anthony scored 25 points, Amare Stoudemire had 17 points and seven rebounds off the bench, and the New York Knicks extended their winning streak to three games.

J.R. Smith had 17 points and Tyson Chandler pulled down 20 rebounds in New York's fourth straight win over Milwaukee.

Ersan Ilyasova led the Bucks with 19 points and seven rebounds. Monta Ellis added 16 points and Brandon Jennings had 14.

The Knicks trailed for the majority of the game until late in the third quarter when they stormed back.

CELTICS 97, MAGIC 84

BOSTON (AP) - Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett each had a double-double, and the Boston Celtics responded to yet another blow to their lineup with a win over the Orlando Magic, who lost their eighth straight game.

Pierce had 14 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists despite sitting out the fourth quarter. Garnett finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Celtics, who learned early in the day that promising rookie Jared Sullinger will miss the rest of the season following back surgery.

The short-handed Celtics also lost All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo this week, yet won their third straight and got back to .500 at 23-23.

Courtney Lee had 14 points and five assists for Boston. Jeff Green scored 17 points.

GRIZZLIES 85, WIZARDS 76

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Mike Conley scored 18 points and Tayshaun Prince added 14 in his Memphis debut, including a pair of key fourth-quarter jumpers, as the Grizzlies defeated the Washington Wizards.

Marc Gasol added 13 points and 15 rebounds for the Grizzlies, while Tony Allen and Jerryd Bayless finished with 11 points each. Prince hit his first three shots of the game, finishing 7 of 11 from the field. The game marked the first appearance for Prince, Ed Davis and Austin Daye, acquired in a three-team trade this week that sent Memphis leading scorer Rudy Gay to the Toronto Raptors.

Nene was the only Wizards player to reach double figures with 14 points, while handing out six assists as Washington lost its third straight after winning seven of 10.

NETS 93, BULLS 89

NEW YORK (AP) - Brook Lopez scored 20 points through three quarters, then the Brooklyn Nets turned to their bench to beat the short-handed Chicago Bulls.

Andray Blatche scored all of his 11 points in the fourth quarter and MarShon Brooks had nine of his 13 as the reserves scored the Nets' first 20 points. A starter didn't score until Joe Johnson's 3-pointer gave Brooklyn an 86-80 lead with 2 minutes to play. Johnson finished with 13 points for the Nets, who bounced back from a loss to Miami on Wednesday by beating another top Eastern Conference team.

Luol Deng scored 18 points and Taj Gibson had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Bulls, who played without starters Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Kirk Hinrich while losing for just the third time in 11 games.

76ERS 89, KINGS 80

PHILADELPHIA (AP) - Thaddeus Young had 23 points and 15 rebounds, and Jrue Holiday scored 21 to lead the Philadelphia 76ers past the Sacramento Kings.

Nick Young scored 20 points to help the Sixers win consecutive games for the first time since they had a three-game winning streak from Nov. 25-30.

Tyreke Evans scored 29 points and Isaiah Thomas had 24 for the Kings, who have lost six of seven and fell to 1-3 on a six-game road trip.

PISTONS 117, CAVALIERS 99

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Brandon Knight had 20 points and 10 assists, and the Detroit Pistons never trailed against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Greg Monroe added 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Pistons, who played without newly acquired point guard Jose Calderon. After being traded from Toronto to Detroit earlier this week, the Spanish-born Calderon needed to resolve visa issues before he could play.

Tristan Thompson led Cleveland with 19 points.

NUGGETS 113, HORNETS 98

DENVER (AP) - Ty Lawson had 21 points and 13 assists, Andre Iguodala scored 24 and the Denver Nuggets beat the New Orleans Hornets for their sixth straight victory.

The Nuggets won 12 of 15 games in January, including a 10-2 mark at home, and got February started strong.

Ryan Anderson had 21 points and rookie Anthony Davis added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Hornets, who have dropped three straight and five of six.

JAZZ 86, TRAIL BLAZERS 77

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Al Jefferson had 21 points, including two one-handed shots in the lane to clinch the victory, and the Utah Jazz beat the Portland Trail Blazers.

Paul Millsap added 15 points for the Jazz, who have won eight of their last nine home games.

After trailing most of the game, LaMarcus Aldridge, who had 16 points and 10 rebounds, made a putback to cap nine consecutive points by the Blazers and draw Portland within six at 78-72 with 5:28 remaining. Alec Burks finally snapped the string of seven straight missed shots by Utah with a tip-in, but Damian Lilliard hit a 3-pointer make it 80-75 with 3:57 to play. But that's all the Blazers could muster down the stretch.

MAVERICKS 109, SUNS 99

PHOENIX (AP) - O.J. Mayo scored 20 points to lead six Dallas players in double figures and the Mavericks, despite the absence of Dirk Nowitzki, added to their mastery of Phoenix with a victory over the Suns.

Darren Collison added 19 points and Vince Carter 17 for the Mavericks, minus Nowitzki for the second game in as many nights because of a sore right hip.

Shannon Brown scored 20 and Goran Dragic added 19 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for the Suns, 0-3 against Dallas this season and losers of 11 of the last 12 in the series. The Suns lost at home for the first time in four games since interim coach Lindsey Hunter took over from the fired Alvin Gentry.

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John Wall and Bradley Beal sport Elena Delle Donne’s face mask in WNBA Playoffs

John Wall and Bradley Beal sport Elena Delle Donne’s face mask in WNBA Playoffs

The newest celebrity fashion statement in Washington D.C. is sporting Elena Delle Donne face mask.

Just ask Washington Wizards John Wall and Bradley Beal.

The two Wizards superstars made it out to the Entertainment and Sports Arena supporting their fellow D.C. athletes Thursday evening. The Mystics were playing Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals against the Las Vegas Aces.

Wall attended Game 1 as well with the Wizards first-round draft pick Rui Hachimura. Several other Wizards were spotted throughout the first two games of the series. 

Since mid-July, Delle Donne has worn a face mask after suffering a nasal fracture in a game. The injury forced the 2019 WNBA MVP to miss two contests until being cleared for play. Even though she no longer is required to wear the mask, medically, Delle Donne continues to wear it for the remainder of the year.

Earlier in the regular season, Redskins running back Derrius Guice also took in a Mystics game in a Delle Donne mask.

Just next time, someone give John a hand. He’s recovering from an injury after all.

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Elena Delle Donne celebrates second WNBA MVP award by crediting others

Elena Delle Donne celebrates second WNBA MVP award by crediting others

WASHINGTON -- A lot can change in four years, and for Elena Delle Donne, that has certainly been the case. As she stood at the podium on Thursday at St. Elizabeth's Arena to accept the 2019 NBA MVP award, she reminisced on her journey since 2015, the first time she got the honors.

Back then she was 26 years old, playing for the Chicago Sky and "wide-eyed," as she put it. A blockbuster trade, several injuries and a wedding later, she is MVP again.

"I've definitely grown so much," Delle Donne said. "It's a different vibe now. I just have a different feel being so settled and happy where I am." 

Delle Donne is quick to deflect compliments and spent much of her press conference tipping her cap to others. She thanked her teammates and coaches and said she wouldn't be able to win MVP without them.

She also thanked the Mystics front office and ownership group as they were getting set for Game 2 of the WNBA Semifinals against the Las Vegas Aces.

"Thank you to the organization. This is a first-class organization that really makes coming to work nice," she said. 

"You get to show up and we have a chef cooking for us. It's just a phenomenal place to be a part of. It feels like a family and I absolutely love D.C."

Delle Donne's most effusive praise was reserved for her wife, Amanda. Delle Donne went into detail about how her support makes the success she has on the court possible.

"She's the one I get to go home to and she keeps my head straight. She has to deal with all my craziness. She makes my pregame meals and basically gets everything in order for me," Delle Donne said.

Though Delle Donne talked mostly about others, the occasion was to celebrate her. Whether she is comfortable talking about herself or not, her accomplishments speak for themselves. She is now one of six players in WNBA history to win multiple MVP trophies and the first to do so with two different teams.

She got 41 of 43 first-place votes this time around after placing second in the league in scoring (19.5 ppg), fifth in rebounding (8.3 rpg) and 11th in blocks (1.29 bpg). She was the first player in WNBA history to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from three and 90 percent from the free throw line.

Delle Donne is in the midst of a historic career. And now at 30 years old, she understands her place in the sport has context that goes way beyond trophies at stats.

"It's always incredible to know that something you've done will go down in history. It's even more inspiring to know that there are little girls looking up to me that maybe can do the same or do more. That's what I did when I was younger because I had them to look up to," she said.

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