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PHILADELPHIA (AP) Kobe Bryant scored 34 points, Metta World Peace added 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers won consecutive games for the first time in nearly a month with a 111-98 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday.

Dwight Howard had 17 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who led 60-50 at halftime. Darius Morris had a career-high 15 points, all in the first half, and Chris Duhon scored 14.

The Lakers (11-14), who beat Washington 102-96 on Friday night, won two in a row for the first time since a three-game streak from Nov. 16-20.

Even without injured stars Steve Nash and Pau Gasol, the Lakers hardly resembled the team which entered the night four games below .500.

Nick Young paced the reeling Sixers (12-12) with 30 points, while Spencer Hawes and Evan Turner added 16 apiece. Thaddeus Young had 14 points for Philadelphia, which dropped a third straight game for the first time this season.

RAPTORS 103, ROCKETS 96

TORONTO (AP) - Jose Calderon had 18 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds, and Toronto won consecutive games for the first time in eight months with a victory over Houston.

Alan Anderson had 24 points and DeMar DeRozan added 19 for the Raptors (6-19), who hadn't won consecutive games since April 13 and 15 of last season.

James Harden scored 28 points for the Rockets and Marcus Morris added 19.

Former Raptors sharp-shooter Carlos Delfino drained two baskets in the final 1:04 to pull the Rockets within two points, but Calderon sunk two free throws to put Toronto back up by four.

The teams traded free throws for most of the final minute.

NUGGETS 122, KINGS 97

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - Reserve JaVale McGee scored 19 points, Danilo Gallinari had 18 and Denver built a big lead in the first half to cruise past Sacramento.

The Nuggets scored 16 straight points to snap a first-quarter tie and take control.

Denver has won seven in a row against the Kings. Sacramento has lost four straight overall.

Isaiah Thomas had 20 points and DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Kings.

Sacramento's Aaron Brooks committed a hard foul against Andre Miller late in the first quarter and a mild altercation ensued involving Cousins and Kenneth Faried of the Nuggets. All four players were given technical fouls.

TRAIL BLAZERS 95, HORNETS 94

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Rookie Damian Lillard hit a 3-pointer with 0.3 seconds left as Portland handed New Orleans its sixth straight loss.

After trailing by as many as 16, Austin Rivers hit a 3-pointer for the Hornets to tie it at 92 with 50.9 seconds left to set up Lillard's winner. Lance Thomas made a layup for the Hornets as time ran out for the final margin.

J.J. Hickson had a season-high 24 points and added 16 rebounds for the Trail Blazers, who have won three straight. Hickson has five straight double-doubles and 13 overall this season.

Ryan Anderson had 26 points, including seven 3-pointers, for New Orleans.

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

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Wizards release statement on the passing of John Wall's mother

The Washington Wizards announced the passing of John Wall's mother, Frances Pulley on Friday. 

Wall's mother had been battling cancer before her passing. She was 58. 

In a statement on Twitter, the Wizards said, "Sending thoughts and love for John Wall and his family after the passing of his mother, Frances Pulley. She will forever be a part of our #DCFamily."

Zach Leonsis, the senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, also released a statement

"Thinking of @JohnWall and his family right now. Keeping you guys in our prayers. So terribly sorry for your loss and know that she will be remembered forever. #DCFamily

Wall's Kentucky coach, John Calipari also expressed his condolences for his former star: 

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Nationals trading for a third baseman is possible -- as long as it’s not Nolan Arenado

Nationals trading for a third baseman is possible -- as long as it’s not Nolan Arenado

Here’s the list of players on the Nationals’ active roster who could play third base: Wilmer Difo, Jake Noll, Adrián Sánchez, Howie Kendrick, Carter Kieboom. Career major-league starts at the position: Difo, 29; Noll, one;  Sánchez, nine; Kendrick, 25; Kieboom, zero. 

Such is the state of third base for the defending World Series champions. Not good. 

Which makes Josh Donaldson’s agent smile and any semi-skilled third baseman with a pulse a possible target. Possible trades? Count the Nationals in. On most. Not on Nolan Arenado. That’s a non-starter because Washington is not going to send assets (prospects) for a contract it was unwilling to give Anthony Rendon in the first place. Zero chance. Zilch.

However, Kris Bryant is more intriguing depending on the years and ask -- as always with trades. Beyond him and Kyle Seager, is there another third baseman the Nationals could pursue in a trade? The question takes on weight because of the aforementioned toothless list of in-house candidates and shallow free-agent talent pool beyond Donaldson.

Any trade consideration needs to begin with an understanding of the parameters Washington is working from. Last season, Rendon’s one-year deal to avoid arbitration earned him $18.8 million. When Washington looks at the cost for its next third baseman, the number will be similar to last season’s cost for Rendon. A bump in the competitive balance tax threshold, plus savings at first base and catcher, provide the Nationals wiggle room for increases in spots. So, $18-25 million annually for a third baseman is in play.

Second, the Nationals’ farm system needs to be taken into account. Their 2018 first-round pick, Mason Denaburg, had shoulder problems last year. Mike Rizzo said at the Winter Meetings that Denaburg is healthy and progressing. But, the early shoulder irritation for a high school pitcher who also had problems his senior year with biceps tendinitis provides his stock pause. He’s a would-be trade chip. So is Kieboom.

But, what is Kieboom’s value? What damage did it receive during his rocky, and brief, appearance in the majors last season? Did his potent hitting in the Pacific Coast League after being sent back mitigate his big-league struggles? 

Beyond Kieboom, the farm system’s next tier is manned by Luis Garcia, 2019 first-round pick Jackson Rutledge, Wil Crowe and Tim Cate, among others. Only Garcia is part of MLB.com’s top-100 prospects list (which is more of a guide than an industry standard).

So, when Bryant or Seager -- or anyone not named Arenado -- are mentioned, know where the Nationals are coming from. If they are positioned to take on money, they don’t want to use assets to do it (this is the Donaldson Scenario). If they can save money, find a solid player and retain the few high-end assets, then a trade could be in play (this would be the Seager Scenario, if Seattle pays some of the contract). 

The Bryant Scenario is the most appealing and challenging. He’s the best player of the group. However, acquiring him would be high-cost and short-term. Bryant has two years remaining before he can become a free agent -- with an outside shot at becoming a free agent after next season because of a grievance he filed against the Cubs for service-time manipulation. Obtaining him would likely focus on multiple pitching prospects.

There is no Arenado Scenario. Just a reminder.

Piled together, Washington is in a tough spot. What it has is not enough. What it needs will be costly.

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