National Basketball Association
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                ***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
                              Friday, February 27
                              (All times Eastern)
 ( - The Cleveland Cavaliers are the hottest team in the NBA
 and they'll try to continue their fine form Friday night when they visit the
 Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
 The Cavs have won four straight and 18 of their last 20. The only two losses
 during this stretch came in Chicago and in Indianapolis, where the Cavs fell
 on Feb. 6.
 On Thursday, LeBron James served notice to the association that his name
 belongs in the hat for MVP consideration. The four-time winner recorded a
 season-high 42 points with 11 rebounds and five assists as the Cavs continued
 their hot play with a 110-99 win over the Golden State Warriors at the Q.
 Cleveland dropped a 112-94 decision against Golden State in early January that
 was the fourth loss of a season-high six-game losing streak.
 James did not play in that game and it proved to be a huge difference in the
 Kyrie Irving chipped in 24 points and Kevin Love posted 16 points and eight
 rebounds in the win.
 "When LeBron is getting it going like that, it is definitely tough for any
 opposing defense," Irving said. "I was a fan tonight, as I am every night when
 playing with all these guys. It was definitely something special what he put
 on tonight especially against the best team in the league."
 Irving injured his shoulder and is listed as doubtful for Friday's game at
 Indiana. He didn't travel with the team to Indianapolis and will undergo an
 MRI on Friday.
 Timofey Mozgov had 10 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland. Tristan Thompson
 chipped in 12 off the bench.
 The Cavs travel to Houston on Sunday to complete this minor road trip.
 The Pacers had a three-game winning streak snapped last time out in a 105-92
 road loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday.
 Indiana couldn't contain Russell Westbrook, who recorded a triple-double
 before the start of the fourth quarter.
 C.J. Miles scored 15 of his 21 in the third quarter and George Hill chipped in
 13 points and eight assists for Indiana, which defeated Golden State at home
 on Sunday.
 The biggest news to come from the Pacers this week was that All-Star wingman
 Paul George made it through a full practice on Thursday. He suffered a
 gruesome leg break while playing with USA Basketball this summer.
 "I've got LeBron tomorrow," he said.
 George was kidding and there is no timetable for a return, although he
 referenced mid-March as a possibility.
 "A long ways away," said George. "Still have some steps and some hurdles to
 overcome, but that's still a goal of mine."
 These teams have split two meetings this season with the home team holding
 court. They will meet March 20 in Cleveland, but the Pacers have won nine
 straight over their Central rivals in Indiana.
 ( - Someone's five-game losing streak will end Friday night
 in Philadelphia when the Washington Wizards visit the 76ers at the Wells Fargo
 Washington's slide is noteworthy as it is a playoff team sinking down the
 standings. The Wizards are fifth in the Eastern Conference, but just a half-
 game ahead of the surprising Milwaukee Bucks.
 The Wizards are 2-10 in their last 12 and have endured without guard Bradley
 Beal, who is shelved with a stress reaction in lower right leg. Washington has
 dropped six straight on the road, but returns home Saturday night versus the
 Detroit Pistons.
 Wednesday night looked like a good time to curb the skid as the Wizards
 visited the Minnesota Timberwolves. Problem was, the T-wolves played with a
 ton of emotion as Kevin Garnett returned to his original NBA home and Minny
 posted a 97-77 victory.
 Garnett's impact in the box score was modest, but his return to Minnesota was
 satisfying in terms of the crowd.
 "I don't know if I've ever been in a game in the NBA where there was the
 energy and the enthusiasm in that building tonight," Minnesota coach Flip
 Saunders said. "And it's because of one guy."
 Otto Porter led Washington with 13 points, Nene chipped in 12, and Garrett
 Temple netted 11. John Wall handed out 10 assists, but was held to five
 "It's tough times right now," Wizards head coach Randy Wittman said. "You have
 to fight through it."
 Paul Pierce missed the game with a bruised right knee and is listed as
 questionable for Friday night. Same status for Kris Humphries, who is battling
 a strained left groin.
 The Sixers' woes are more easily explainable. They are among the worst teams
 in the league and didn't improve at the NBA trade deadline when they shipped
 reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams to Milwaukee and got back
 a first-round pick.
 Since the trade, the Sixers dropped three straight on the road. It was Carter-
 Williams who trumped his former team, as the Bucks demolished the Sixers,
 104-88, Wednesday.
 Carter-Williams made his Milwaukee debut and posted seven points with a team-
 high eight assists in the win.
 "(My teammates) make it easy for me," Carter-Williams said. "My job is to just
 run the plays and find them, get in the lanes. It's fun. I'm having a great
 Jason Richardson netted a season-high 16 points, while Robert Covington and
 Isaiah Canaan chipped in 13 and 11 points, respectively, in the loss, the
 Sixers 11th straight on the road.
 "We just gotta have some pride within ourselves," Richardson said.
 The Wizards have won four in a row over the Sixers, including the last two in
 ( - The Golden State Warriors will try to put Thursday
 night's debacle against the Cleveland Cavaliers behind them on Friday when
 they go north of the border to take on the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada
 The Warriors fell to LeBron James and company, 110-99, and are 1-2 on this
 road trip, which started with a loss in Indiana, and improved with a win in
 Golden State will visit Boston on Sunday and Brooklyn on Monday to close out
 the sojourn.
 On Thursday, the Warriors had no answers for James. The four-time MVP winner
 recorded a season-high 42 points with 11 rebounds and five assists as the Cavs
 continued their hot play over the Warriors.
 "It was a tough game," said Steph Curry. "We played hard, had some careless
 turnovers, but for the most part I think we executed. Our shots didn't fall.
 When (LeBron) does what he did tonight, you gotta be perfect, especially on
 the road."
 David Lee paced the Warriors with 19 points and Draymond Green added 16 points
 and eight rebounds. Curry was locked down for most of the night, scoring 12 of
 his 18 points in the first quarter en route to a 5-for-17 showing.
 Klay Thompson also struggled on Thursday, going 5-for-13 for 13 points.
 Harrison Barnes chipped in 11 for Golden State, which shot 42.4 percent from
 the field on Thursday.
 The Raptors have lost three in a row after starting their four-game trip with
 such promise. Toronto squashed the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks by
 25, then lost at Houston, New Orleans and Dallas.
 After Friday's home tilt, the Raptors head to New York to face the Knicks on
 Saturday and Philadelphia to meet the Sixers on Monday.
 On Tuesday, the Raptors fell to the Mavs, 99-92.
 DeMar DeRozan scored 18 points, Greivis Vasquez supplied 14 points and Patrick
 Patterson provided 12 points and seven boards for Toronto, which has dropped
 three consecutive contests on the heels of a four-game winning streak.
 Dallas seized control of the contest with an 11-1 swing during the middle
 stages of the fourth. Al-Farouq Aminu's turnaround jumper finished off the
 burst for a 97-85 Mavs margin with 4:29 left and they cruised to the finish
 line from there.
 The Raptors committed 19 miscues that led to 20 Dallas points.
 "Our fatigue turnovers got us.Turnovers were crucial, brutal, and led to
 baskets on the other end," Raptors coach Dwane Casey said of the second half.
 The Warriors beat the Raptors by 21 at Oracle Arena on Jan. 2 and have taken
 three of the last five in Toronto.
 NEW YORK KNICKS (10-46) AT DETROIT PISTONS (23-34), 7:30 P.M.
 ( - The Detroit Pistons will try to get back into the win
 column Friday night when the New York Knicks stop by The Palace of Auburn
 Detroit had a two-game winning streak snapped by the Cleveland Cavaliers on
 Tuesday. The Pistons had beaten the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards after
 they dropped the opener of this stay to the San Antonio Spurs before the All-
 Star break.
 The Pistons fell to the scorching-hot Cavs, 102-93.
 Detroit led by as many as 14 early in the third quarter but Kevin Love made
 eight 3-pointers in the contest.
 "I'm not down on our guys at all after that," said Pistons coach Stan Van
 Gundy. "I thought our guys competed hard."
 Reggie Jackson paced Detroit with 22 points and added nine assists and eight
 rebounds. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope contributed 21 points, Andre Drummond
 scored 17 with 10 boards, and Greg Monroe finished with 12 points and 14
 The Pistons signed John Lucas III for the remainder of the season.
 Detroit hits the road following Friday's bout. The Pistons will visit the
 Wizards, New Orleans Pelicans and Houston Rockets, come home for one game,
 then head west for four.
 The Knicks haven't won since Feb. 1. They've lost eight straight and six in a
 row on the road with their last win as a visitor coming in Philadelphia on
 Jan. 21.
 On Wednesday, the Knicks fell at TD Bank Garden to the Boston Celtics, 115-94.
 Andrea Bargnani paced the lowly Knicks with a season-best 17 points, while
 Jason Smith, Lou Amundson and Langston Galloway all tallied 14 in New York's
 setback. Alexey Shved chipped in 11 off the bench.
 The Celtics went on a 34-6 run overlapping the third and fourth quarters that
 turned a six-point Celtics' deficit into a commanding 96-74 lead with 7:45
 Boston outscored the Knicks 18-4 over the final six minutes of the third, then
 Marcus Smart knocked down back-to-back treys to ignite a 16-2 stretch to begin
 the final frame.
 New York never got its deficit under 17 points the rest of the way.
 "We couldn't adjust to what was going on with them going smaller, so we were
 just trying to keep playing the way we were and they just kept hitting some
 big shots," Galloway said.
 Jose Calderon is doubtful Friday with a sore Achilles.
 The Knicks return to MSG for games against the Toronto Raptors and Sacramento
 The Pistons have won three straight and four of five in this series. Three of
 the victories during that stretch came at The Palace.
 ORLANDO MAGIC (19-40) AT ATLANTA HAWKS (45-12), 7:30 P.M.
 ( - The Atlanta Hawks will gun for a third consecutive
 victory Friday night when they host the Orlando Magic at Philips Arena in a
 Southeast Division clash.
 Friday's game is not a huge clash in the division considering the Hawks lead
 the Magic by 27 games, but Orlando has improved of late. The Magic have won
 three of their last four, but Atlanta has been better.
 The Hawks beat the Milwaukee Bucks in Brew City on Sunday, then came home and
 knocked off the Dallas Mavericks, 104-87, on Wednesday.
 The Hawks used balanced scoring and a pair of second-half runs to get past the
 short-handed Mavericks. Atlanta stumbled early, falling behind 34-22 after the
 first quarter, but outscored the Mavs by 29 the rest of the way.
 Atlanta opened the third quarter on a 19-4 run, putting behind them a
 forgettable first half and taking control of the game. The Hawks opened the
 fourth quarter on a 12-0 spurt to put the game away.
 "Our defense was better," said Al Horford. "After the second, the first
 quarter was terrible, but the second quarter was better ... we missed a lot of
 easy shots, but we found a way."
 Dennis Schroder, who scored a career-high 22 points in a win over Dallas
 earlier in the season, paced Atlanta with 17 points in this one. Kyle Korver
 made four 3s for 16 points, Paul Millsap tallied 15 with eight rebounds and
 Horford posted 11 points, eight boards and six assists.
 The Mavs were without Chandler Parsons, Tyson Chandler and Rajon Rondo, who
 was serving a one-game suspension.
 The Magic had their three-game winning streak halted Wednesday at home against
 the Miami Heat. The four-time reigning Eastern Conference champs prevailed in
 overtime, 93-90.
 Miami closed regulation on a 10-2 run to erase an eight-point deficit with
 less than a minute remaining. Henry Walker sandwiched a pair of 3-pointers
 around a free throw from Orlando's Victor Oladipo, the last one a deep left
 wing triple with 2.1 seconds on the clock to send the game to overtime.
 With the Heat leading 89-88, Dwyane Wade missed a straightaway 3 with 28
 seconds to go in overtime, but Nikola Vucevic was stripped in the paint at the
 other end and Wade made two foul shots for a 91-88 Miami cushion with 16.6
 seconds left.
 Vucevic's spinning left-handed layup again whittled the deficit to a point
 before Goran Dragic sunk two bonus shots to extend the margin to 93-90 with
 7.7 seconds on the clock.
 Oladipo's 3 at the horn was off the mark.
 "We just have to do a better job of closing out games," Orlando guard Willie
 Green said.
 Vucevic posted 26 points and eight boards, Oladipo provided 13 points and 13
 rebounds and Tobias Harris added 12 points and eight rebounds for the Magic.
 The teams have split two meetings this season with the home team prevailing
 each time. The Hawks are 13-3 in their last 16 regular-season encounters with
 the Magic and 8-1 as the host.
 ( - The Boston Celtics have been playing good basketball of
 late and will try to continue that momentum Friday night when the Charlotte
 Hornets stop by TD Bank Garden.
 The Celtics have won two in a row and six of their last nine, including four
 in a row at home.
 On Wednesday, Boston used a big second-half run to dispatch the New York
 Knicks, 115-94. It was the fourth consecutive game with 100-plus points for
 the Celtics, who close this three-game homestand Sunday against the Golden
 State Warriors.
 Newly acquired Jonas Jerebko's 20 points spurred a 34-6 spurt in the second
 half. That run, which overlapped the third and fourth quarters, turned a six-
 point Celtics' deficit into a commanding 96-74 lead with 7:45 remaining.
 Evan Turner did his part as well with a 10-point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple
 double. Isaiah Thomas chipped in 19 points and Jae Crowder supplied 18 as the
 Celtics received a huge effort from their second unit.
 "We were playing good basketball on the offensive end," Crowder said. "We just
 had to find a way to get stops and play up and down, so once we started doing
 that the game started going our way."
 Boston outscored the Knicks 18-4 over the final six minutes of the third
 quarter. Marcus Smart knocked down back-to-back treys to ignite a 16-2 stretch
 to begin the final frame.
 New York never got its deficit under 17 points the rest of the way.
 The Hornets stopped a five-game losing streak on Wednesday with a 98-86 road
 victory over the Derrick Rose-less Chicago Bulls.
 Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Hornets. Mo
 Williams added 17 points and five assists for the Hornets, who snapped a two-
 game road slide.
 Al Jefferson contributed 16 points and seven rebounds. Brian Roberts and
 Gerald Henderson had 12 and 11 points, respectively, for the Hornets.
 "I thought we had good intensity and focus the whole game," Charlotte head
 coach Steve Clifford said. "We had a really good fourth quarter, which is
 really important."
 The first three quarters featured 18 lead changes and 15 ties, with Charlotte
 holding a 67-65 lead. Ahead 76-73, the Hornets created some distance with a
 9-1 run. Kidd-Gilchrist tallied the final four points of the spurt to make it
 85-74 with 6:01 to play.
 Charlotte used an 8-0 flurry moments later to put the game out of reach.
 The Hornets visit the Orlando Magic on Sunday.
 The Hornets have won both matchups this season, including one in Boston.\
 ( - The Memphis Grizzlies return home to the FedExForum
 Friday night and hope to get back into the win column when the Los Angeles
 Clippers come to town.
 The Grizzlies completed a 2-2 road trip, which began with a loss to the
 Oklahoma City Thunder before the All-Star break. Memphis beat the Portland
 Trail Blazers, then the Clippers on Monday, but fell to the Sacramento Kings
 on Wednesday, 102-90.
 Zach Randolph paced Memphis with 20 points and Marc Gasol customarily filled
 the stat sheet, recording 14 points with seven rebounds and six assists. The
 Grizzlies backcourt of Mike Conley and Courtney Lee combined to score 21
 points on 8-of-25 shooting.
 "I thought we were lackadaisical as a team," Grizzlies forward Tony Allen
 The Grizzlies led by one heading into the fourth. Sacramento flipped the
 script in the final quarter by keeping Memphis off the board for the first
 four-plus minutes. Meanwhile, DeMarcus Cousins scored the first seven points
 of the fourth as part of a 10-0 run.
 The Grizzlies cut the deficit to five on a couple of occasions minutes later,
 but Rudy Gay dropped in a pair of jumpers around a 3-pointer that started an
 11-2 run. Cousins capped the spurt with a layup that made it 99-85 with over
 two minutes on the clock and the Kings ended their lengthy losing streak to
 Against the Clippers on Monday, a costly Chris Paul turnover helped Memphis to
 a 90-87 victory. It was the Grizzlies eighth win in the last nine meetings
 versus the Clips.
 LA began a four-game road trip with a 110-105 loss to the Houston Rockets on
 Wednesday. That's two losses in a row following the tough home setback to
 Paul had 22 points and 14 assists for the Clippers, who have lost two in a row
 on the heels of a four-game winning streak that included a win over Houston
 prior to the All-Star break.
 Jamal Crawford led Los Angeles with 24 points, DeAndre Jordan filled the stat
 sheet with 22 points and 19 rebounds and J.J. Redick scored 15 points.
 "I feel like we let them get in the middle too much," said Jordan. "That
 opened up their 3s."
 The Rockets snapped a six-game losing streak to the Clippers, taking the lead
 for good on Corey Brewer's 3 a minute into the fourth quarter. It was part of
 a 15-1 run to open the quarter that gave Houston a 13-point lead with 7 1/2
 minutes left and the Clippers were never within a possession of the lead after
 The Grizzlies are 5-1 in their last six at home versus the Clippers.
 ( - The Houston Rockets look to stay unbeaten on their
 current homestand and will entertain the Brooklyn Nets Friday night at the
 Toyota Center.
 The Rockets are 3-0 on the five-game stay and recorded a 110-105 victory over
 the Los Angeles Clippers Wednesday night thanks to NBA leading scorer James
 Harden, who had 21 points and 10 assists. Harden is scoring 27.2 ppg and
 rolled his ankle.
 Harden is expected to play Friday.
 "It's pretty sore right now," Harden said. "But I'll get some rest tonight,
 ice it and get some rest tomorrow and hopefully I'll be ready to go Friday
 (against Brooklyn)."
 Corey Brewer scored 20 points off the bench, Donatas Motiejunas had 18 and
 nine rebounds, and Trevor Ariza posted 17 points for the Rockets, who rallied
 from an 85-84 hole to start the fourth quarter.
 Houston, which won for the 10th time in the last 14 tries, is third in the
 West and 16-2 when scoring 110-plus points. It will close the homestand Sunday
 versus Cleveland and is 21-8 as the host.
 The Rockets are 16-5 against the East.
 Rockets guard Patrick Beverley (illness) is questionable versus the Nets.
 Brooklyn is 2-4 on its eight-game odyssey and suffered a 102-96 loss to the
 New Orleans Pelicans Wednesday night. Joe Johnson's 21 points and 10 rebounds
 weren't enough to lift the Nets, who shot 42.4 percent and received 19 points
 off the bench from newcomer Thaddeus Young.
 "We played well, just not well enough," Nets coach Lionel Hollins said.
 Brook Lopez and Jarrett Jack scored 15 points apiece in reserve roles, as
 Brooklyn recorded a 49-29 advantage in bench points.
 The Nets are 13-17 away from Barclays Center and will end the trip Saturday
 against Dallas. They are 9-12 in games against the Western Conference and sit
 even with Charlotte for the eighth spot in the East.
 Houston defeated Brooklyn, 113-99, in the Big Apple on Jan. 12 and was led by
 Harden's 30 points. The Rockets are 15-1 in the last 16 games against the Nets
 and unbeaten in the previous seven matchups in Space City. The Nets haven't
 prevailed in Houston since the 2005-06 season.
 ( - The New Orleans Pelicans shoot for a fourth straight win
 Friday versus the Miami Heat at Smoothie King Center.
 The Pelicans posted their third win in a row with a 102-96 victory over the
 Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday and were led by Quincy Pondexter's 25 points.
 Tyreke Evans scored 15 points and handed out 11 assists, while Dante
 Cunningham netted 13 points.
 New Orleans went on a 10-0 run late in the fourth quarter to grab a 93-82
 advantage and the Nets never got closer than five points the rest of the way.
 The Pelicans made 51.4 percent of their shots and have turned things around
 following a four-game slide.
 "So many contributions tonight ... Guys making plays for each other," New
 Orleans coach Monty Williams said.
 Omer Asik posted 12 points and 13 rebounds in the win.
 The Pelicans are 19-10 at home and will visit Denver and Dallas after closing
 out this three-game stay in the Big Easy.
 Miami is coming off a 93-90 overtime triumph against the Orlando Magic
 Wednesday. Luol Deng scored 21 points, Dwyane Wade had 18 and Hassan Whiteside
 recorded 15 points and 13 boards for the Heat, who tied the game at 85-85 on a
 Henry Walker 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left.
 "At the end I just wanted to come through on my end of the deal. I have faith
 in my shot," said Walker, who had 10 points.
 The Heat ended overtime a perfect 4-of-4 from the line and only shot 38.1
 percent for the game. They have won two in a row and four of six games.
 Whiteside has grabbed at least nine rebounds in 12 straight games, recording
 nine double-doubles in that stretch.
 Miami is 15-15 as the guest this season and will start a three-game homestand
 Saturday versus Atlanta, Phoenix and the LA Lakers.
 The Heat recently dropped a 105-91 decision at home to the Pelicans on Feb.
 21, as Eric Gordon scored 24 points and Anthony Davis left the game with a
 shoulder injury, which caused him to miss the All-Star Game. Davis aggravated
 the injury and is currently sidelined.
 New Orleans has won two in a row against Miami after losing the previous five
 ( - Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose is expected
 to undergo knee surgery Friday morning, just hours before his team resumes a
 seven-game homestand versus the Minnesota Timberwolves.
 Rose will have a meniscectomy on the medial meniscus tear in his right knee
 and the Bulls are optimistic he can return this season.
 "We have a lot of faith in Derrick," Bulls president Michael Reinsdorf told
 the Chicago Tribune. "We know he has gone through a lot the last few years.
 We're behind him. And we think he's going to be good. He has put so much
 effort into his various comebacks. We're hoping this is just a minor setback."
 The Bulls lost on Wednesday in a 98-86 decision to the Charlotte Hornets. Pau
 Gasol, who's expected to take over the scoring load with Jimmy Butler, posted
 25 points and 13 rebounds. Butler had 14 points and Aaron Brooks ran the
 point, finishing with 12.
 Charlotte scored 31 points in the final period and held Chicago to 21.
 "It's just a weird game," Brooks said. "We have to bring more energy."
 Chicago is still 6-2 in its last eight games and 2-1 on the homestand. The LA
 Clippers, Washington Wizards and Oklahoma City will also visit the Windy City.
 The Bulls have a 17-12 record at the United Center and are fourth in the
 Eastern Conference, just a half-game behind Cleveland.
 Minnesota has won five of its last eight games and welcomed back a familiar
 face Wednesday with a 97-77 victory over the Wizards. Kevin Garnett made his
 return to the Timberwolves and scored five points with eight rebounds in 19
 "I don't know if I've ever been in a game in the NBA where there was the
 energy and the enthusiasm in that building tonight," Minnesota coach Flip
 Saunders said. "And it's because of one guy."
 Kevin Martin scored 28 points, rookie Andrew Wiggins had 19 and Nikola Pekovic
 registered 15 and 13 boards for the Wolves. The T-wolves had a 53-43 advantage
 on the glass and posted 21 points on 19 Washington turnovers. The Wizards blew
 an 18-3 lead early on and gave up a 17-2 surge later on.
 After visiting Chicago, the Wolves will play four in a row at home versus
 Memphis, LA Clippers, Denver and Portland.
 Minnesota is only 8-15 against the East and suffered a 106-105 loss at home to
 the Bulls on Nov. 1. Butler made two key foul shots after a Wiggins foul and
 scored 24 points. Martin had 33 in that one for Minnesota, which has lost nine
 of the last 10 games in this series.
 UTAH JAZZ (21-35) AT DENVER NUGGETS (20-37), 9 P.M.
 ( - The losses keep piling up for the Denver Nuggets.
 The Nuggets hope to stop the bleeding when they resume a five-game homestand
 Friday versus the Utah Jazz at the Pepsi Center.
 Denver suffered their fourth straight loss and 17th in 19 tries with
 Wednesday's 110-96 defeat at the hands of the Phoenix Suns. Will Barton led
 the hosts with 22 points off the bench, Danilo Gallinari scored 20 and Ty
 Lawson chipped in 13 points and seven assists.
 "I'm all about winning," said Barton, who was acquired from Portland in the
 Arron Afflalo deal at the trade deadline. "Whether I score 20 or zero, if I'm
 out there doing things to contribute to a win, that's really all that
 Denver forward Joffrey Lauvergne finished with a career-high 11 points with
 nine rebounds.
 Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried (hand) and guard Wilson Chandler (groin) are
 questionable Friday, while center Jusuf Nurkic (ankle) is out.
 The Nuggets are winless in their last eight home games and have a 12-16 record
 in the Rocky Mountains. They will also host New Orleans and Milwaukee on this
 Utah will try to bounce back from a 100-97 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers
 Wednesday in the finale of a three-game homestand. The Jazz were aiming for a
 third straight win, but lost for the fifth time in nine attempts after blowing
 a 13-point lead in the fourth quarter.
 The Jazz led 82-69 on Elijah Millsap's layup in the first minute of the fourth
 quarter and had 21 turnovers, leading to 22 Lakers points. Gordon Hayward had
 20 points, Derrick Favors scored 18 with nine rebounds, and Millsap recorded
 17 off the bench.
 Rudy Gobert was busy with 16 points and 14 rebounds for Utah.
 "They were aggressive on their pick-and-roll defense and we just didn't
 react," said Jazz coach Quin Snyder. "We had a couple opportunities to make
 plays and we didn't, but that clearly fueled their offense. They played well
 and they were loose. We had stretches where we played well, but just didn't
 maintain that level."
 Utah is 9-19 on the road and will host Milwaukee Saturday night.
 The Nuggets handed the Jazz a 103-101 defeat in Salt Lake City on Dec. 1, as
 Lawson made a go-ahead jumper with 29.6 seconds left. Lawson ended with 15
 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets, who almost let a 22-point lead slip
 away and have won five of the last seven games in this series.
 Utah and Denver will meet again March 27 and April 1.
 ( - The San Antonio Spurs have struggled on this Rodeo trip
 and will be in search of a win Friday against the Sacramento Kings.
 The Spurs are 2-5 on their annual junket and suffered a fourth consecutive
 loss in Wednesday's 111-95 setback to the Portland Trail Blazers.
 San Antonio trailed 32-16 after the first quarter, but had a 34-19 advantage
 in the second stanza. The Blazers pulled away by posting a 60-45 scoring
 advantage in the second half.
 Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Danny Green
 added 17 and Kawhi Leonard posted 14 points. Tony Parker didn't do much in his
 27 minutes of time, posting only two points and four assists. Parker is
 averaging only 3.0 points in his last three games.
 "I'm not used to losing like this," said Duncan. "We just kind of stumbled out
 of the break."
 The Spurs are 14-16 outside the Alamo City and will close the journey Saturday
 against the Phoenix Suns.
 Sacramento opened a three-game homestand on a high note with Wednesday's
 102-90 triumph over the tough Memphis Grizzlies.
 Rudy Gay scored 28 points and both DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore added 16
 apiece for the Kings, who made 48.8 percent for the game and posted their
 third straight win at home. Jason Thompson had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
 "Rudy Gay was very good with his shots," said Kings coach George Karl.
 "Memphis does this to everybody, and they usually win. It had a physicality to
 it like a playoff game. Our guys stood up to it and played at an extremely
 high level."
 The Kings are 2-1 since Karl took over as coach and are 13-17 at Sleep Train
 Arena. Sacramento will close the homestand Monday versus Portland.
 Cousins (ankle) is questionable Friday and is averaging 23.9 points and 12.3
 rebounds this season. Cousins is second with 34 double-doubles. Chicago's Pau
 Gasol has 38 this season.
 Sacramento and San Antonio have split two games this season and will meet
 again March in the Lone Star State.
 San Antonio is 22-2 in its last 24 versus Sacramento.
 ( - The Milwaukee Bucks are on the west coast over the next
 four games and will begin the trek Friday against the Los Angeles Lakers.
 The Bucks will also visit Utah, Denver and Golden State, and have a 15-14
 record on the road this season.
 Milwaukee ended a two-game slide with Wednesday's 104-88 victory over
 Philadelphia, as former Sixer Michael Carter-Williams posted seven points and
 eight assists in his debut. MCW was acquired by the Bucks before last week's
 trade deadline.
 "(My teammates) make it easy for me," Carter-Williams said. "My job is to just
 run the plays and find them, get in the lanes. It's fun. I'm having a great
 John Henson recorded 21 points with nine rebounds, Khris Middleton scored 19
 points and Zaza Pachulia had 12 for the Bucks, who are 10-3 since Jan. 27 and
 turned 19 Philadelphia turnovers into 30 points during the first half. The
 Bucks brought a 61-32 lead into the locker room at the break.
 Philadelphia committed 28 turnovers that led to 37 points. Milwaukee tied its
 season high for steals (16) and set season highs for total opponent turnovers
 (28) and points earned off of those turnovers (37).
 The Bucks are 19-1 this season when holding their opponent under 90 points.
 The Lakers will try to win three in a row for just the second time this season
 (Dec. 9-14) when they open a two-game residency versus Milwaukee and Oklahoma
 Los Angeles made it back-to-back wins following a seven-game slide with a
 100-97 victory in Utah on Wednesday. Jordan Clarkson scored 22 points and the
 Lakers came back from 13 points down in the fourth quarter to snap their 11-
 game road skid.
 "We're not going to quit and pack it in," Lakers coach Byron Scott said of his
 team. "That's not me. And I'm glad it's not them. We keep trying to get better
 each game. We make a ton of mistakes at times, but it's not because of a lack
 of effort."
 Jordan Hill scored 16 points, Wayne Ellington had 15 and 10 rebounds, and
 Carlos Boozer netted 14 points for the Lakers, who had a 31-19 scoring
 advantage in the crucial fourth quarter. LA scored 22 points off 21 Utah
 turnovers and shot 44.9 percent.
 Los Angeles is only 3-16 since Jan. 11 and guard Nick Young is questionable
 versus the Bucks with a swollen knee. Young did not play against Utah and
 posted 19 points in a 118-111 overtime win versus Boston on Sunday.
 The Lakers dropped a 113-105 decision in overtime at Milwaukee on Feb. 4, as
 Giannis Antetokounmpo scored 25 points. Boozer countered with 28 points for
 LA, which has lost four in a row and six of seven against the Bucks. Milwaukee
 has never won five in a row against the Lakers.
 Los Angeles is 49-13 all-time at home in this series.
 ( - Russell Westbrook can't do it all for the Oklahoma City
 Thunder, as they try to bounce back from a recent loss with Friday's matchup
 against the Northwest-rival Portland Trail Blazers.
 The Thunder opened a three-game road trip with a 117-113 overtime loss to the
 Phoenix Suns Thursday night and were paced by Westbrook's fourth triple-double
 of the season. Westbrook poured in 39 points on 12-of-38 shooting, grabbed 14
 rebounds and handed out 11 assists. He missed what would have been the game-
 tying layup with 5.7 seconds left in overtime.
 Westbrook has recorded back-to-back triple-doubles and has at least a double-
 double in the previous five contests. He is averaging 29.8 points, 9.3 assists
 and 8.2 rebounds in his last 13 games, and has an NBA-best four triple-doubles
 in 2014-15.
 "Honestly, I think I was actually shooting too much," Westbrook said. "I think
 I got to do a better job of trusting my teammates more. I am not saying I
 don't, but consistently trusting them regardless of what is going on,
 regardless of the time, score and possession. Just find a way to trust them
 and let them make some plays as well."
 Westbrook has 12 triple-doubles in his career.
 Enes Kanter and Serge Ibaka added 18 and 13 points, respectively, for Oklahoma
 City, which had its season high tying seven-game winning streak snapped.
 Oklahoma City is 13-18 on the road and will close the road swing Monday
 against the Los Angeles Lakers.
 The Trail Blazers will close out a three-game homestand Friday and are coming
 off an impressive 111-95 victory over the defending champion San Antonio Spurs
 Wednesday. Wesley Matthews netted 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting and Damian
 Lillard had 18 points.
 "Our emphasis this week has been ball movement," said Matthews. "We were
 playing with energy.
 Nicolas Batum scored 15 with nine assists and LaMarcus Aldridge returned from
 a one-game absence (thumb) and posted 11 points and 13 rebounds. Aldridge has
 tallied eight double-doubles in his last 11 games, posting 22.9 points and
 10.9 rebounds in that span.
 Aldridge is now 124 rebounds behind Clyde Drexler for the most rebounds in
 franchise history (5,339).
 Portland shot 13-of-26 from the 3-point line, marking the first time in
 25 games it shot at least 50.0 percent from beyond the arc. It finished 50.6
 percent shooting for the game and scored 23 points off 13 turnovers.
 The Trail Blazers have won five of their last six home games and are 24-6 in
 the Rose City this season. They are 29-5 when scoring 100-plus points and will
 visit Sacramento and the LA Clippers next.
 Oklahoma City has lost the first two meetings with Portland this season and
 the division foes will meet again April 13 in the OKC. The Blazers have won
 four of the last six games in this series.
 02/27 10:20:39 ET

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