National Basketball Association
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                ***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
                              Saturday, January 31
                              (All times Eastern)
 
 
 DALLAS MAVERICKS (31-17) AT ORLANDO MAGIC (15-34), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Mavericks halted their longest losing streak
 in two years last time out and will try to build momentum Saturday night when
 they face the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.
 
 Charlie Villanueva scored 20 points and the Mavericks held the Miami Heat to
 just three points over a nearly 14-minute span in the third and fourth
 quarters on the way to a 93-72 win on Friday night. The victory ended a four-
 game losing streak and seven-game, regular-season losing streak to the Heat.
 
 The Mavericks made three shots in the first quarter, scored 33 points in the
 first half and beat the Heat by 21.
 
 How?
 
 With a 39-3 run.
 
 The Mavericks started their run after being down 59-49 with around four
 minutes left in the third quarter. Twenty-nine of the 39 points were scored by
 Mavericks bench players, including 14 by Villanueva, who knocked down half of
 his six 3s during the flurry.
 
 Tyson Chandler, who finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds in the game, had
 six points during the run, as did Devin Harris. J.J. Barea added five, ending
 the run with a 3 to make it 88-62 with 3:03 remaining.
 
 Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis finished with 12 points apiece for the Mavs, who
 shot 41.5 percent from the field, making 13 of their 29 3-point attempts.
 
 "Since I was insanely cold, it was definitely good that we made some shots,"
 said Nowitzki.
 
 The Magic have been in the news for negative reasons lately. Yahoo Sport's
 Adrian Wojnarowski reported that head coach Jacque Vaughn is on the hot seat
 and could lose his job within days.
 
 "I'm here today for practice and I'm ready to do my job for today," Vaughn
 said before practice on Friday. "I do my job the best I can for that day."
 
 The Magic have dropped seven straight, including four in a row at home.
 
 The streak reached seven on Thursday with a 115-100 home loss to the Milwaukee
 Bucks. It was Milwaukee's first victory in Orlando since Dec. 29, 2004, a
 stretch that included 17 straight losses.
 
 Nikola Vucevic had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Victor Oladipo scored 21
 points in the setback. Willie Green scored 16 off the bench, Elfrid Payton
 managed 15 and Evan Fournier added 11.
 
 "We don't want to keep losing," said Vucevic. "We just have to find a way to
 get out of it. Nobody can help us but ourselves."
 
 The Magic allowed the Bucks to shoot 51.7 percent from the field and 48
 percent from long range. Orlando committed 24 turnovers, which led to 34
 Bucks' points.
 
 Things don't get any easier for the Magic. They visit the Oklahoma City
 Thunder and San Antonio Spurs in their next two games.
 
 The Mavericks have won five straight in this series and eight in a row in
 Orlando. The last time the Magic beat Dallas at home was March 31, 2006.
 
 
 SACRAMENTO KINGS (16-29) AT INDIANA PACERS (17-31), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Indiana Pacers have won two of their last three and
 will continue a homestand Saturday night when they welcome the Sacramento
 Kings to Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
 
 Indiana defeated the Orlando Magic, then lost the opener of this five-game
 stay to the Toronto Raptors. The Pacers got back into the win column on
 Thursday with a 103-82 drubbing of the New York Knicks.
 
 Rodney Stuckey scored a game-high 22 points, Roy Hibbert recorded a double-
 double and the Pacers overcame an early double-digit deficit.
 
 Hibbert totaled 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who snapped their
 three-game home losing streak by dominating the second and third quarters with
 67 points.
 
 Solomon Hill and David West each scored 10 points for an offense that
 connected on 53 percent of their shots and owned a 50-26 edge in the paint.
 
 "Every game is important for us from here on out. ... Our goal is to make the
 playoffs, and we're right there," said Stuckey, whose team is currently 12th
 in the Eastern Conference.
 
 The Pacers welcome Central Division rivals, the Detroit Pistons and Cleveland
 Cavaliers on this stay.
 
 The Kings have been a disaster of late. They own the longest active losing
 streak at eight games and will polish off a so-far winless road trip on
 Saturday night.
 
 There was some good news in Sacramento recently. After originally being
 snubbed by Western Conference coaches as a reserve, DeMarcus Cousins was added
 to the team by Commissioner Adam Silver to replace the injured Kobe Bryant.
 
 "I'm extremely excited to play in my first All-Star game," said Cousins.
 
 After learning the news on Friday, Cousins and his Kings fell to LeBron James
 and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 101-90, at Quicken Loans Arena.
 
 James returned from a one-game absence with 19 points, but Kyrie Irving and
 Kevin Love carried the load offensively for Cleveland, which won its ninth
 straight.
 
 Cousins led Sacramento with 21 points and 13 rebounds, followed by Rudy Gay,
 who chipped in 20 points. Omri Casspi gave 15 points off the bench for
 Sacramento, while seven other Kings reserves scored just 15 combined.
 
 Darren Collison chipped in 11 as the Kings shot 35.7 percent from the field
 and a dismal 3-for-18 from long range.
 
 "We never really got into a good rhythm," said Kings coach Tyrone Corbin.
 
 Sacramento will return home, starting Tuesday against the Golden State
 Warriors.
 
 The Kings beat the Pacers by one in Sacramento on Dec. 5 to snap a four-game
 series losing streak. Indiana is 4-1 in its last five as the host in this
 series.
 
 
 TORONTO RAPTORS (32-15) AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS (31-16), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors will take a five-game winning streak
 on the road Saturday night when they face the Washington Wizards at the
 Verizon Center.
 
 The Raptors and Wizards are two of the Eastern Conference's top teams and have
 been the entire season.
 
 On Friday, the Raptors ran their streak to five thanks to a 127-122 overtime
 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center.
 
 DeMar DeRozan finished with 26 points and nine assists to lead Toronto.
 
 "He did a great job," said head coach Dwane Casey. "They were double-teaming
 him, half-blitzing him a lot of times. He made the right decision with the
 basketball. One turnover in 40 minutes was huge. If they take away his
 jump shot, cool. He's picking people apart the old-fashioned way with the
 pass, which is great to see."
 
 Lou Williams netted 25 points, Amir Johnson had 24 points and seven rebounds
 and Jonas Valanciunas supplied 14 points and 11 boards for the Raptors.
 Patrick Patterson finished with 12 points and All-Star starter Kyle Lowry
 managed 10.
 
 With the game tied, DeRozan hit a runner and was fouled, but missed the
 ensuing free throw. Jarrett Jack went down the court and tied the game again
 on a floater with 56.6 seconds left.
 
 Mason Plumlee then blocked DeRozan on a layup attempt, but Johnson was there
 for his second huge putback of overtime. After Jack missed a jumper and Bojan
 Bogdanovic a trey, Brooklyn was forced to foul.
 
 DeRozan knocked down two free throws and Lowry split a pair to seal the win.
 
 The Raptors return to Canada for five straight before the All-Star break.
 
 The Wizards return home for two straight after a 2-2 western road trip. They
 started with a loss in Portland, then rattled off back-to-back wins over the
 Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers.
 
 On Wednesday, the Wizards nearly overturned an 18-point fourth-quarter
 deficit, but fell, 106-98, to the Phoenix Suns.
 
 Washington, which overcame a 19-point first-half deficit in Tuesday's win over
 the Lakers, tried all it could to perform an encore against the Suns. Down
 88-70 early in the fourth, the Wizards ripped off a 17-3 run to cut their
 deficit to four with under seven minutes left.
 
 The Suns weathered the surge by scoring the next eight points, but Washington
 had one last rush in them as Otto Porter's 3-pointer trimmed the deficit to
 101-97 with 1:17 left.
 
 Goran Dragic committed a turnover on Phoenix's ensuing possession, but John
 Wall was off on a 3 and Markieff Morris made a clutch jumper at the other end
 with 23.5 seconds left to seal it.
 
 Marcin Gortat and Porter each netted 14 points in the loss, while Kris
 Humphries tallied 11 points and 15 rebounds. Wall had 11 points, seven assists
 and seven rebounds in the loss.
 
 "You can say they beat us up on the boards in the first half. They were
 denying us everywhere on the offensive end," said guard Bradley Beal, who
 netted 13 on Wednesday.
 
 The Wizards host the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.
 
 The Raptors beat the Wizards by 19 in Toronto on Nov. 7 and have taken five of
 the last six meetings. The teams have split the last six encounters in
 Washington.
 
 
 HOUSTON ROCKETS (33-14) AT DETROIT PISTONS (17-30), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Josh Smith will make his return to The Palace of Auburn
 Hills Saturday night when his new team, the Houston Rockets, take on his old
 team, the Detroit Pistons.
 
 The Pistons shocked the NBA when they released the forward on Dec. 22. Smith
 had two years and almost $26 million left on his contract when the Pistons let
 him walk.
 
 After Smith's release, the Pistons won seven in a row to creep back in the
 conversation in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Since that streak,
 Detroit crashed back to Earth a bit with a 5-7 mark, which includes a four-
 game losing streak.
 
 Smith played his first game with the Rockets on Dec. 26 and the team is 12-7
 since his acquisition.
 
 "I'm excited," Smith said. "It's another opportunity to come out and get
 another win, especially against an old team. They're just friends. I don't
 have anything to prove. I think I've proven everything in a body of work of me
 being in this league. This is my 11th year so I don't really have anything to
 prove."
 
 His old team isn't sure what to expect.
 
 "I don't know Josh's mindset," said Stan Van Gundy, the head coach and
 president of basketball operations for the Pistons. "I'm sure he'll want to
 come back and play well. I think almost everybody does when they come back and
 play against their old teams."
 
 Smith's current team is in much better shape than his old one.
 
 The Rockets won their fourth straight Friday night in a 93-87 road victory
 over the Boston Celtics.
 
 In the absence of Dwight Howard, Donatas Motiejunas had a career night to keep
 the Rockets' winning streak alive. Motiejunas scored a career-high 26 points
 with 12 rebounds to lead the Rockets.
 
 Howard missed his third straight game with a knee injury. The team revealed
 earlier in the week that Howard is suffering from edema in the knee caused by
 fluid build-up in body tissues.
 
 Smith deposited 15 points and James Harden added 14 with seven assists and six
 rebounds for Houston.
 
 Detroit's postseason chances were hurt when point guard Brandon Jennings went
 down for the season with a torn Achilles tendon. During this slide, the
 Pistons lost three of four on the road.
 
 On Wednesday, the Pistons fell to the Philadelphia 76ers, 89-69, which
 represented a season-low in points by 10. The 79-point display came on opening
 night.
 
 Holding a 6-4 lead, the Sixers went on a 22-4 run to take control. The Pistons
 missed 12 straight shots during the stretch that resulted in a 28-8 margin.
 
 "Obviously, it was very difficult. We weren't ready to play. I don't think
 I've ever coached a game where one team's effort was that much better than my
 team's effort," Van Gundy said of his team's start.
 
 Greg Monroe ended with 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons. Jodie Meeks
 had 19 points on 4-of-16 shooting against his former team, while Jonas Jerebko
 was the only other Detroit player in double figures with 10.
 
 The Rockets have won seven in a row against the Pistons and three straight in
 Motown.
 
 
 PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (10-37) AT ATLANTA HAWKS (39-8), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks will aim for a 19th consecutive
 victory Saturday night when they welcome the Philadelphia 76ers to Philips
 Arena.
 
 Atlanta's All-Stars came through again on Friday.
 
 Paul Millsap, Al Horford and Jeff Teague had plenty of help as the Hawks
 pushed their franchise-record winning streak to 18 games.
 
 Millsap scored 21 points, Horford had 17 and Teague scored six of his 13
 points in the fourth quarter as the Hawks held off LaMarcus Aldridge and the
 Portland Trail Blazers for a 105-99 victory on Friday night.
 
 Kyle Korver added 16 points and Kent Bazemore had 12 points in 40 minutes off
 the bench as the Hawks won without injured forward DeMarre Carroll, who sat
 with a left Achilles strain. Thabo Sefolosha replaced him in the starting
 lineup but played just 2:21 before going out with a calf strain.
 
 Millsap, Horford and Teague were all named to the Eastern Conference All-Star
 team on Thursday, the first time since 1980 that three Hawks made the game.
 Atlanta's Mike Budenholzer will coach the East in the Feb. 15 game at Madison
 Square Garden in New York.
 
 The NBA-leading Hawks haven't lost since Dec. 26 in Milwaukee. And at 39-8,
 they surpassed last season's win total (38-44). They could secure a perfect
 17-0 month with a win Saturday against Philadelphia, which will end a seven-
 game homestand.
 
 Neither the Hawks, nor the Blazers led by more than six in the game. The Hawks
 took the lead for good on Horford's jumper midway through the fourth quarter.
 Later, Horford's rebound and Teague's long pass over the defense led to a dunk
 for Millsap at the other end to make it a six-point game with 1:30 remaining.
 
 The Blazers were never closer than four after that.
 
 "It was definitely a tough test. They're a tough team," said Millsap. "Give
 them credit. First half, they executed well. Second half, we settled down."
 
 The 76ers won two in a row for the third time this season with a 103-94 home
 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night.
 
 Michael Carter-Williams scored 17 points with 10 assists and 10 rebounds for
 his fifth career triple-double. Luc Mbah a Moute paced the Sixers with 18
 points, while Nerlens Noel contributed 14 points, six rebounds and a career-
 high six blocks in the win.
 
 The Sixers, who have won two straight home games since taking the first two at
 home last season, snapped their season-opening 17-game losing streak with a
 win over Minnesota on Dec. 3.
 
 The Sixers scored a season-best 61 points in the first half and topped the
 100-point mark for the first time since Dec. 13 in an overtime loss to the
 Memphis Grizzlies.
 
 "The bottom line is that we played defense in the second half. That's where it
 starts and stops with me," Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
 
 Philly's mini road trip won't get much easier as it'll visit the Cleveland
 Cavaliers on Monday. LeBron James' group has won nine in a row.
 
 The Hawks have won two meetings this season against the Sixers and six in a
 row. Atlanta is 4-1 in its last five as the host in this series.
 
 
 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (28-20) AT MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (8-38), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Kevin Love returns to Minnesota on Saturday night when
 his new team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, faces his old one, the Timberwolves, at
 the Target Center.
 
 "The thing I don't want to do is make it about myself," Love said. "I know
 that there's going to be a lot of hoopla and talk about it. But the best thing
 we can do is continue to keep playing winning basketball."
 
 Love spent the first six seasons of his career in a Timberwolves jersey.
 Unhappy with his contract and having never made the playoffs, Love asked to be
 traded this past offseason and the Wolves got the last two No. 1 overall
 picks, Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, in the deal.
 
 Love made three All-Star games with Minnesota, but he's under no allusions
 about the response he'll get on Saturday.
 
 "Booooooooo," Love joked after shootaround Friday.
 
 The Timberwolves fired the first "shot." The team released a promotional video
 called "#TheReturn," which turned out to be about Cavs' teammate Mike Miller,
 who played one season in Minnesota.
 
 Love took the joke in stride.
 
 The Cavs are one of the hottest teams in the league, the winners of nine
 straight. They haven't lost since Jan. 13 in Phoenix and have taken three
 straight on the road.
 
 On Friday, Cleveland welcomed back LeBron James, a man himself who knows
 something about difficult returns to scorned former homes, in a 101-90 home
 victory over the Sacramento Kings.
 
 James missed the previous game with a wrist injury and scored 19 points versus
 Sacramento. Love had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 21
 points with six assists. Irving carried the load offensively in Cleveland's
 win over Portland on Wednesday, netting a career-high 55 of the team's 99
 points.
 
 James also contributed seven assists and four steals, and J.R. Smith added 16
 points.
 
 "It feels okay. A little sore obviously, but it feels good," said James. "I do
 whatever it takes to help us win. I just try to get guys involved, pick my
 spots."
 
 The Timberwolves have lost six of their last seven, including a 103-94 setback
 to the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night in the City of Brotherly Love.
 
 Kevin Martin had 19 points, Nikola Pekovic tallied 18 points with seven
 rebounds and Gorgui Dieng posted 14 points and 10 rebounds for the
 Timberwolves, who looked to win two straight games for the first time this
 season.
 
 Minnesota went scoreless for the final two minutes of the third and did not
 register a point until Martin made a free throw 3:18 into the fourth.
 
 Andrew Wiggins then scored five straight points as part of a 7-0 burst for the
 Timberwolves to cut the deficit to three with under seven minutes left. The
 Sixers did enough to win.
 
 "We turned the ball over a lot. We didn't show patience when we needed to,"
 Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders said.
 
 Minnesota committed 21 turnovers.
 
 The Cavaliers beat the Timberwolves by 21 in Cleveland on Dec. 23 and the
 teams have split the last 10 meetings. The T-wolves are 3-1 in their last four
 over Cleveland as the host.
 
 
 OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (23-23) AT MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (34-12), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Before the Memphis Grizzlies hit the road for the
 majority of February, they will close out January versus the visiting Oklahoma
 City Thunder Saturday at FedExForum.
 
 The Grizzlies are scheduled to play three straight and seven of the next nine
 games away from home and will put a five-game winning streak on the line
 Saturday night. The Grizzlies recorded a 99-69 demolition of the Denver
 Nuggets Thursday, as Zach Randolph muscled his way to 15 points and 17
 rebounds.
 
 Randolph has recorded a double-double in 11 straight games and has 27 on the
 season.
 
 Jeff Green netted 13 points, while Marc Gasol added 10 points and seven
 rebounds for Memphis, which has won nine of its last 10 games and led by as
 many as 33 in the fourth quarter.
 
 "Defensively, I thought we have taken another notch," Gasol said.
 
 Memphis, which improved to 20-5 at home, has held its last five opponents
 under 100 points. The Grizzlies are 20-7 against teams from the West.
 
 Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley (wrist) is questionable Saturday and has
 missed back-to-back games. Conley is averaging 17.4 points and 5.6 assists.
 Veteran Vince Carter (foot) is doubtful versus the Thunder.
 
 The Thunder have lost three of their last four games after winning four in a
 row, and will try to get back on track Saturday night. Kevin Durant has missed
 back-to-back games with a toe injury and is questionable against the
 Grizzlies.
 
 In a 100-92 loss at New York, Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points and grabbed 10
 rebounds to lead the Knicks. Russell Westbrook poured in 40 points and made
 all 12 of his free throws to pace the Thunder.
 
 Reggie Jackson scored 13 points off the bench and Serge Ibaka added 10 and 10
 rebounds for Oklahoma City, which made 40 percent from the floor and turned
 the ball over 14 times for 20 New York points.
 
 "We just gave them too many opportunities," Westbrook said. "They got a lot of
 offensive rebounds. (We) made some mistakes defensively."
 
 The Thunder fell to 9-16 this season when Durant misses a game. Thunder guard
 Dion Waiters (ankle) is probable Saturday.
 
 OKC is 10-16 on the road and will return home to host the Orlando Magic on
 Monday.
 
 Oklahoma City lost the first of four meetings with Memphis by a 91-89 score on
 Nov. 7, as Conley scored 20 points. Jackson had 22 in that one for the
 Thunder, who were without Durant and Westbrook.
 
 The Thunder and Grizzlies will meet again Feb. 11 and April 3.
 
 
 PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (32-15) AT MILWAUKEE BUCKS (24-22), 8:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Milwaukee Bucks will put their two-game winning
 streak on the line Saturday night when they play host to the Portland Trail
 Blazers at the Bradley Center.
 
 The Bucks, who have won three of their last four, finished off a Florida sweep
 with wins over the Miami Heat and Orlando Magic.
 
 On Thursday, Milwaukee earned its first victory in Orlando in 10 years with a
 115-100 win.
 
 Brandon Knight tallied 16 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals
 to pace the Bucks to their first win in Orlando since Dec. 29, 2004, a stretch
 that included 17 straight losses.
 
 "It was a great game," said Bucks coach Jason Kidd. "From start to finish, our
 guys executed the game plan. They shared the ball."
 
 Jerryd Bayless led seven Bucks in double figures with 19 points. Khris
 Middleton and Jared Dudley added 17 apiece and John Henson posted 12 points
 and 11 rebounds in the win.
 
 O.J. Mayo scored 13 off the bench and Giannis Antetokounmpo managed 10 points.
 
 The Blazers are struggling. They've dropped two straight and seven of their
 last nine, plus, the Blazers have lost five in a row as the visitor, including
 both stops on this current road trip.
 
 After the first visit on the trek was canceled in Brooklyn due to impending
 snow, Portland lost to a LeBron James-less Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday,
 then to the steaming-hot Atlanta Hawks on Friday.
 
 In between setbacks, Blazers' guard Damian Lillard was passed over for a spot
 on the Western Conference All-Star team and was not happy about, stating in an
 Instagram post he felt "disrespected."
 
 The Blazers were valiant against the Hawks, but eventually fell, 105-99.
 
 LaMarcus Aldridge scored 37 points for Portland a day after he was named to
 the Western Conference All-Star team.
 
 "An incredible individual performance," said Hawks head coach Mike
 Budenholzer. "We tried to make it difficult on him but he still scored 37."
 
 Wesley Matthews added 16 points and Lillard scored 13 with 11 assists for the
 Blazers.
 
 Neither team led by more than six in the game. The Hawks took the lead for
 good on Al Horford's jumper midway through the fourth quarter. Later,
 Horford's rebound and Jeff Teague's long pass over the defense led to a dunk
 for Paul Millsap at the other end to make it a six-point game with 1:30
 remaining.
 
 The Blazers were never closer than four after that.
 
 "It was a very competitive game," said Portland coach Terry Stotts. "Both
 teams made runs but they made more plays at the end of the game than we did."
 
 The Blazers defeated the Bucks by seven in Portland on Dec. 17 and have won
 three straight in this series. The teams have split the last 12 meetings in
 Milwaukee.
 
 
 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (32-15) AT SAN ANTONIO SPURS (30-17), 9 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs will put their three-game winning
 streak on the line Saturday night when the Los Angeles Clippers come calling
 at AT&T Center.
 
 The Spurs won the first three during this six-game homestand. San Antonio will
 get visits from the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat before heading off of a nine-
 game road trip wrapped around the All-Star break.
 
 On Wednesday, the Spurs collected their third straight win with a 95-86
 decision over the Charlotte Hornets. It was their ninth victory in the last 11
 and they haven't lost consecutive games since late December.
 
 Tim Duncan, who was named as a Western Conference All-Star on Thursday, posted
 his second straight double-double and five Spurs reached double figures in the
 win.
 
 Duncan had 12 points and 14 rebounds, while Tony Parker and Danny Green scored
 17 and 16 points, respectively. Duncan and Green finished with three blocks
 and two steals apiece.
 
 The Spurs led by as many as 18 in the first half before taking a 55-38 cushion
 into the half. The Hornets got back in the game with a strong third quarter in
 which they held San Antonio to 4-of-21 shooting and 14 points.
 
 "We went through a little dry spell in the third quarter," said Green. "It
 seemed like there was a lid on the basket, but we kept moving, kept finding
 each other, and kept penetrating."
 
 Charlotte got within two, but Matt Bonner and Manu Ginobili, both of whom
 scored 10 points, hit consecutive 3s to jumpstart a 12-0 run. Duncan scored
 twice on the flurry that gave the hosts an 81-67 edge that all but sealed the
 outcome.
 
 The Clippers had a six-game winning streak snapped on Friday in a 108-103 road
 loss to the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Pelicans. That was game two of an
 eight-game odyssey that includes stops in Brooklyn, Cleveland, Toronto,
 Oklahoma City and Dallas.
 
 Chris Paul, who was named a Western Conference All-Star reserve, finished with
 24 points, Blake Griffin scored 19 and DeAndre Jordan contributed 12 points
 and 15 rebounds for the Clippers
 
 "Sometimes the basketball gods say you shouldn't win the game," Clippers head
 coach Doc Rivers said. "I thought tonight was one of those nights."
 
 Paul scored 10 points during a 12-0 swing to get Los Angeles within 95-94 with
 5:07 remaining. With under two minutes to play, Eric Gordon knocked down a
 turnaround fadeaway shot and Dante Cunningham threw down a dunk to give the
 Pelicans a six-point lead and seal the win.
 
 Clippers guard JJ Redick returned after missing Wednesday's game with back
 spasms and scored 12 points
 
 The Spurs won both meetings this season, one in LA and one in San Antonio. The
 Spurs have won four straight against the Clippers and since late 2002, are
 22-2 as the host in this series, including playoffs.
 
 
 CHARLOTTE HORNETS (19-27) AT DENVER NUGGETS (19-28), 9 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The start of a three-game road trip didn't go as planned
 for the Charlotte Hornein the first half against
 SDSU, missed all four chances behind the 3-point line in the period and fell
 behind by double figures at the break. The team tried to turn the corner after
 intermission, limiting the host to only eight field goals, but the Bulldogs
 were then outscored at the free-throw line, 10-2.
 
 Marvelle Harris accounted for just 13 points and Paul Watson 10, while Alex
 Davis logged 10 rebounds, eight points and four blocked shots in the road loss
 during which FSU was outscored at the charity stripe by a 20-8 margin.
 
 Harris has typically been the go-to guy on offense for the Bulldogs,
 particularly in conference games where he has put up 19.8 ppg on 49.1 percent
 shooting from the floor. He is also first in assists (24) and steals (19) and
 among the best on the glass with 4.6 rpg as well. Watson checks in with 12.9
 ppg and 5.5 rpg, but his 60.6 percent accuracy at the free-throw line is
 disappointing given his frequent trips to the stripe.
 
 Leading by as many as 12 in the second half, the Rams took their foot off the
 gas against Boise State on Tuesday night at Taco Bell Arena and it cost them a
 much-needed victory as they bowed by four to the hosts. Except for Tiel
 Daniels who finished with seven points, every CSU starter scored in double
 figures as Daniel Bejarano led the way with 19 points, to go along with eight
 rebounds. Joe De Ciman produced another 15 points, Stanton Kidd 13 and J.J.
 Avila 10 points to go along with a team-best nine boards in the setback.
 
 Avila, who has started all seven conference games in which he has appeared, is
 responsible for 17.3 ppg in those decisions and is also first with 7.3 rpg,
 although Bejarano (11.1 ppg) is hot on his heels with 7.1 rpg. However, the
 big difference between the two has Avila shooting 56.0 percent from the field
 and Bejarano making only 33.8 percent of his attempts from the floor. One of
 the players flying under the radar a bit is John Gillon (9.8 ppg) who is
 averaging close to four assists per game and shooting 45.8 percent beyond the
 arc.
 
 The Rams can't afford to lose any more ground behind the leaders in the MWC,
 but they also can't assume that Fresno State will be an accommodating opponent
 this weekend either. As long as the CSU defense is prepared to play the full
 40 minutes then the hosts should come out on top.
 
 Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 71, Fresno State 59
 
 
 
 01/31 10:36:04 ET