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                ***** NBA Previews from The Sports Network *****
                              Friday, November 21
                              (All times Eastern)
 
 
 PHOENIX SUNS (7-5) AT PHILADELPHIA 76ERS (0-11), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Philadelphia 76ers remain the NBA's only winless
 team, but they'll once again try to change that Friday night when the Phoenix
 Suns pay their only visit of the season to the Wells Fargo Center.
 
 The Sixers are four losses away from matching the 1972-73 team for worst start
 in franchise history. That team from 40 years ago finished with the worst
 record in the history of the NBA.
 
 On Wednesday, Philly collected its 11th consecutive loss to begin the season
 with a 101-90 setback at home to the Boston Celtics. That setback came after
 an 0-4 road trip, low lighted by a 53-point loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
 
 Tony Wroten scored 21 points off the bench to lead the Sixers, who have fallen
 by double digits in eight of their 11 losses.
 
 Henry Sims added 14 points in the loss, Luc Mbah a Moute and Michael Carter-
 Williams scored 11 apiece and Nerlens Noel had 10.
 
 The Sixers won three of the four meetings between the Atlantic Division rivals
 last season and were in line to make a run at their first win before Boston
 pulled away in the second half.
 
 The Celtics outshot the Sixers 52.5 percent to 37.5 percent in the third and
 fourth quarters after the score was tied 46-46 at halftime.
 
 "We didn't communicate as much on defense and they got some open shots," said
 Noel, who, with Carter-Williams, returned to the starting lineup on Wednesday.
 "Rondo does a great job running that team."
 
 The Sixers play against the New York Knicks in Madison Square Garden Saturday,
 then play four in a row in Philly. Portland, Brooklyn, Dallas and San Antonio
 come to town as the 76ers search for a win.
 
 Friday night represents game four of a six-game road trip for the Suns. It
 started poorly with a loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, but Phoenix won the
 last two over the Celtics and Detroit Pistons.
 
 On Wednesday, Eric Bledsoe's go-ahead layup with 28.7 seconds left lifted the
 Suns to an 88-86 win over the Pistons at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
 
 Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knocked down a left corner 3-pointer to stake Detroit
 to an 86-85 edge, Bledsoe knifed through the lane and snuck his layup past
 Greg Monroe.
 
 Markieff Morris blocked a Brandon Jennings layup attempt with about five
 seconds to go and Caldwell-Pope's top of the arc triple was off the mark.
 
 Bledsoe split a pair of foul shots with 1.3 ticks on the clock and Jennings'
 heave at the horn was well short.
 
 "They let me get the ball and make plays in the fourth quarter and that's what
 I do," Bledsoe said.
 
 Bledsoe finished with 18 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Suns.
 P.J. Tucker had 16 points and seven rebounds and Goran Dragic added 12 points
 and four helpers in the triumph.
 
 The Suns visit the Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors before heading home.
 
 The Suns have won three in a row against the Sixers after Philly took four
 straight. The Sixers are 3-2 in their last five as the host in this series.
 
 
 ORLANDO MAGIC (5-8) AT CHARLOTTE HORNETS (4-8), 7 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Charlotte Hornets are back home Friday night and
 will try to halt a three-game losing streak when the Orlando Magic visit The
 Time Warner Cable Arena.
 
 The Hornets have dropped five of the last seven, but the current three-game
 slide started in Phoenix, included a 27-point home setback to the Dallas
 Mavericks and culminated with a two-point loss at Indiana on Wednesday night.
 
 Lance Stephenson's return to Indianapolis was spoiled when Solomon Hill's
 putback as time expired gave Indiana an 88-86 victory over the Hornets.
 
 Luis Scola had finished off a three-point play with 1:28 to go that drew the
 Pacers even. Stephenson and Marvin Williams both missed jumpers which would
 have given the visitors the lead once more.
 
 Rodney Stuckey got the ball as time wound down and hit the rim, but Hill
 alertly tapped it home at the buzzer.
 
 "We lost the game in Portland because we weren't physical enough, and it
 happened again tonight," Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said of blocking
 out opponents under the boards. "We've got to have everybody ready. If we're
 not physical, we're not winning these games."
 
 Al Jefferson's game-best 28 points weren't enough for the Hornets, who play
 four of their next five at home. Kemba Walker picked up 12 points and
 Stephenson had 10 in a losing cause.
 
 This will be Charlotte's first action since forward Jeffrey Taylor was
 suspended 24 games by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after pleading guilty to a
 domestic assault charge. Taylor may still appeal the suspension.
 
 The Magic fell in their most recent appearance on the hardwood, a 114-90
 setback at home to the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.
 
 The third quarter proved to be the difference as Orlando's eight-point
 halftime deficit turned into a 16-point hill to climb. LA shot 60 percent from
 the field during that 12-minute stretch after the break.
 
 "We have to get that consistency," said Magic forward Channing Frye.
 
 In a battle of the league's top rebounders, Nikola Vucevic out-rebounded
 DeAndre Jordan 14-11. Vucevic chipped in 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting for
 Orlando and Tobias Harris had a game-high 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting in the
 loss.
 
 Frye and Andrew Nicholson both finished with 10 in the losing effort.
 
 Evan Fournier sat out the game with a heel injury and is listed as
 questionable for Friday night. He is listed in the team's starting lineup.
 
 The two Southeast rivals split four meetings last season, but the Hornets have
 won five of the last seven matchups. Orlando is 2-3 in Charlotte over its last
 five.
 
 
 DETROIT PISTONS (3-9) AT ATLANTA HAWKS (5-5), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Atlanta Hawks will try and rebound from a
 disappointing loss last time out when they welcome the Detroit Pistons to
 Philips Arena.
 
 On Tuesday, the Hawks surrendered the first road victory of the season to
 the Los Angeles Lakers, 114-109. It was also Atlanta's first home setback of
 the campaign.
 
 The Lakers opened a 15-point halftime lead and the Hawks chipped away. They
 had a chance with 7.7 seconds left, but Pero Antic missed a 3-pointer for the
 tie.
 
 LA made two free throws and iced the victory.
 
 "We dug ourselves too big of a whole," Hawks head coach Mike Budenholzer said.
 "Playing from behind the entire game was difficult. You can't put yourself in
 that position."
 
 Paul Millsap netted 29 points to lead the Hawks, who received 23 from Jeff
 Teague and 15 from Al Horford. Thabo Sefolosha added 10 in the loss, the
 second straight for the Hawks.
 
 Atlanta may get some reinforcements Friday as starting forward DeMarre Carroll
 has been listed as probable with a groin strain. He sat out the last four
 games.
 
 The Pistons dropped their third straight on Wednesday thanks to an 88-86
 defeat at home to the Phoenix Suns.
 
 Phoenix's Eric Bledsoe knifed through the lane for the go-ahead layup with
 28.7 seconds left on the clock. Markieff Morris blocked a Brandon Jennings
 layup attempt with about five seconds to go and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who
 gave Detroit the lead with a late 3-pointer, missed from the top of the arc.
 
 Bledsoe split a pair of foul shots with 1.3 ticks on the clock and Jennings'
 heave at the horn was well short.
 
 "It's too bad they got an easy one as they did to win it," Pistons coach Stan
 Van Gundy said.
 
 Jennings posted 19 points and seven assists and Greg Monroe provided 18 points
 and 12 boards for Detroit, which has dropped six of its last seven games.
 Caldwell-Pope managed 15 in the loss.
 
 Josh Smith will play his third game in Atlanta since signing a free-agent deal
 with the Pistons in the summer of 2013. Smith spent the first nine seasons of
 his career with the Hawks.
 
 The two teams split four meetings last season and when the Pistons bested the
 Hawks in Atlanta on April 8, it snapped a 10-game series road losing streak
 for Detroit.
 
 
 MILWAUKEE BUCKS (7-5) AT TORONTO RAPTORS (9-2), 7:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Toronto Raptors own the best record in the Eastern
 Conference and will try to improve on that mark Friday night when the upstart
 Milwaukee Bucks stop by Air Canada Centre.
 
 The Raptors have won two in a row and seven of their last eight. Perhaps their
 best victory of this early season came Wednesday night against the Memphis
 Grizzlies.
 
 Toronto pulled off a 96-92 home win over the team with the league's best
 record. It was the Raptors' seventh home victory this season, which tied them
 with Portland for the most in the league. Friday's game will end a franchise-
 record seven-game homestand and Toronto is 5-1 on the residency.
 
 The Raptors overcame an 11-point deficit against the Grizzlies.
 
 DeMar DeRozan supplied 21 points, while his backcourt mate, Kyle Lowry, posted
 18 points with seven assists. Terrence Ross was a focal point in the victory,
 scoring 14 of his 16 in the fourth quarter.
 
 Memphis led by five with under four minutes to play in the fourth when the
 Raptors locked down on the defensive end. Ross nailed a 3-pointer before Lowry
 converted a layup to tie the game.
 
 Mike Conley countered with a jumper with 2 1/2 minutes remaining, but that
 would be the last gasp from the Grizzlies' offense. DeRozan knotted the score
 back up with a pull-up jumper, then Lowry followed two misses at the free
 throw line from Marc Gasol with a driving layup. Lowry then put the game away
 as he dribbled out the clock and hit Conley with a step-back jumper in the
 closing seconds to account for the final margin.
 
 "I think my teammates and my coaches can always depend on me to make the play
 at the end," said Lowry. "On the first one DeMar made a great pass and I got
 to the lane and he gave me a driving lane on the second and I just made the
 shot."
 
 The Raptors were squashed on the glass, 50-35, but did hand out 24 assists.
 They committed just eight turnovers and rank second in the league in fewest
 giveaways.
 
 The Bucks have been one of the surprises this season after they finished with
 the worst record in the league in 2013-14. They've won three straight and five
 of six.
 
 No victory was sweeter than Wednesday's triple-overtime, 122-118 thriller
 against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center.
 
 It was head coach Jason Kidd's return to Brooklyn after coaching them last
 season. The Nets advanced in the playoffs, but a reported power play by Kidd
 didn't work and he left for Milwaukee.
 
 "I know he wanted it bad, but I think the players wanted it more than he did,"
 guard O.J. Mayo said about Kidd. "For him to come to Milwaukee and give us
 hope. We're a good young team and we wanted it for him."
 
 Jabari Parker scored a career-high 23 points to lead the Bucks. Mayo added 21
 points off the bench while Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brandon Knight netted 18
 apiece.
 
 Knight had a chance to win it in the first overtime. He intercepted a Joe
 Johnson pass with 2.9 seconds to go and raced down the court. With Mirza
 Teletovic tracking him, Knight sprinted to the basket and got there in time to
 beat the buzzer, but his layup had too much on it and bounced off the rim.
 
 Knight, who shot just 5-for-20, made up for the missed layup by potting a
 triple out of a timeout at 19.6 of double OT, tying the game at 112. The Bucks
 simply outlasted the Nets in the third extra session.
 
 The Raptors swept the four-game season series against the Bucks last season,
 but Milwaukee is 6-4 in its last 10 north of the border.
 
 
 BOSTON CELTICS (4-6) AT MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (10-2), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Memphis Grizzlies will try to have enough healthy
 bodies on the floor Friday night when they welcome the Boston Celtics to
 FedExForum
 
 A stomach virus is ravaging the team with the best record in the NBA. The
 Grizzlies announced that Tony Allen, Courtney Lee, Beno Udrih, Jon Leuer,
 Jarnell Stokes, Kosta Koufos and Quincy Pondexter are all sick and
 questionable Friday night.
 
 Stokes and Pondexter played Wednesday night when the Grizzlies fell north of
 the border to the Toronto Raptors, 96-92. Memphis squandered an 11-point lead
 and saw the end of its four-game winning streak.
 
 Marc Gasol led an unhealthy Memphis team with 22 points to go along with 12
 rebounds and Zach Randolph deposited 18 points and 18 boards for the
 Grizzlies. Memphis slaughtered the Raptors on the glass, 50-35, but made some
 uncharacteristic mistakes late.
 
 Grizzlies guard and long-time Raptor Vince Carter was honored with a video
 montage during the first quarter as part of Toronto's 20th anniversary
 celebration for the franchise. A teary-eyed Carter waved to the crowd as he
 received a long standing ovation from the Toronto faithful.
 
 "It was amazing," Carter said of the tribute. "I didn't know how I was going
 to act. It was amazing to watch everything on the screen and it just felt like
 yesterday."
 
 The Grizzlies host the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, then head out on a
 four-game road trip.
 
 The Celtics stopped a three-game losing streak with a 101-90 road victory over
 the winless Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday. The Celtics have won two straight
 as the visitor.
 
 Brandon Bass and Jared Sullinger combined for 55 points, Rajon Rondo had 13
 assists and Boston pulled away for the win. Bass scored 23 off the bench,
 Sullinger added 22 with nine rebounds and Marcus Thornton had 13 points for
 the Celtics.
 
 Jeff Green finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rondo had nine points, but
 only attempted five shots.
 
 The Celtics outshot the Sixers 52.5 percent to 37.5 percent in the third and
 fourth quarters after the score was tied 46-46 at halftime.
 
 "We just played faster (in the second half)," said Sullinger. "Coach
 challenged us at halftime to play harder, faster, smarter and that's what we
 did."
 
 The Grizzlies have won 20 straight regular-season home games and have taken
 four straight over the Celtics. Boston has lost two in a row in Memphis, but
 did win the five previous trips to Beale Street.
 
 
 CLEVELAND CAVALIERS (5-5) AT WASHINGTON WIZARDS (7-3), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - LeBron James leads the Cleveland Cavaliers into the
 nation's capital Friday night for a matchup against the Washington Wizards at
 Verizon Center.
 
 This is a matchup of two of the Eastern Conference's best teams, although
 Cleveland is having a hard time proving that.
 
 The Cavs' record fell to .500 on Wednesday thanks to a 92-90 home setback to
 the defending NBA champion, San Antonio Spurs. That's the same Spurs' group
 who beat James and the Miami Heat soundly for the title in June.
 
 James had a chance to be the hero on Wednesday, but things didn't work out.
 
 San Antonio's Manu Ginobili split a pair of free throws to stake the Spurs to
 a 92-90 lead with 9.1 seconds left. Anderson Varejao rebounded Ginobili's miss
 and James dribbled behind his back as Ginobili lunged for the ball, but James
 lost it off his left hand as he attempted a crossover.
 
 Ginobili then threw the ball into the air from the left corner of the 3-point
 line to bleed off the remaining time.
 
 "I went behind the back and just lost it," James said. "That's how the ball
 rolls sometimes, not too upset about it."
 
 James tallied just four points on 2-of-7 shooting in the second half with four
 turnovers. He finished with 15 points, nine assists and six boards for
 Cleveland, which has dropped consecutive games on the heels of a four-game
 winning streak.
 
 Varejao provided 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Kyrie Irving netted 20
 points in defeat. Kevin Love posted a double-double, although a meager one of
 10 points and 11 rebounds.
 
 The Wizards had a three-game winning streak halted Wednesday night with a
 105-102 home loss to the Dallas Mavericks.
 
 Bradley Beal, playing in his first game this season after missing time with a
 broken left wrist, paced the Wizards with 21 points in a reserve role. It is
 unknown if head coach Randy Wittman will insert him into the starting lineup
 Friday.
 
 "Nothing's changed, it was a good day," Beal said after practice on Thursday.
 "We had some good lineups and good things going before I even came back, so
 what coach is doing, I have no problem with it at all."
 
 Paul Pierce and Marcin Gortat each netted 17 points for the Wizards, who lost
 for the first time in Washington DC this season. Washington is still off to
 its best start since the 1974-75 season, both overall and at home.
 
 John Wall finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds for his seventh double-
 double of the season. He leads Eastern Conference guards with that number.
 
 This game has the subplot of the backcourts. Beal famously pronounced that he
 and Wall were the best backcourt in the NBA during the preseason, but
 Cleveland's Dion Waiters disagreed, selecting himself and Irving.
 
 The two sides split four meetings last season, but the visitor prevailed in
 four instances. The Cavs have won four straight in Washington.
 
 
 BROOKLYN NETS (4-7) AT OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (3-10), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - When the Seattle SuperSonics picked up and left for
 Oklahoma City, their first season as the Thunder was a rough one.
 
 The Thunder set up camp in the Sooner State in 2008-09 and got off to a putrid
 3-29 start en route to a 23-59 finish. It was Kevin Durant's second year in
 the league and things have obviously turned out better since.
 
 Durant (foot) is currently sidelined, and so is Russell Westbrook (hand), and
 Oklahoma City has struggled to a 3-10 opening to the 2014-15 campaign. The
 Thunder have lost four in a row and hope to find some success on this upcoming
 four-game homestand, starting with Friday's matchup versus the Brooklyn Nets.
 
 The Thunder suffered a 107-100 road loss Wednesday against the Denver Nuggets,
 as Serge Ibaka posted 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead the way. Reggie
 Jackson finished with 16 points and Sebastian Telfair scored a season-high 18
 off the bench. OKC's reserves totaled 40 points.
 
 "I'm happy that we finally hit some shots," said Thunder head coach Scott
 Brooks. "That was good to see. The ball was moving throughout the game."
 
 Oklahoma City, which fell behind by 16 points in the second half before
 mounting a comeback, scored 100 points for the first time since its last win
 on Nov. 12 at Boston, a 109-94 triumph.
 
 Not only have the Thunder been playing without their two superstars, but
 forward Perry Jones is dealing with a hamstring issue. Jones is questionable
 Friday and hasn't played since Nov. 4. He is averaging 15.0 ppg.
 
 The Thunder are second-to-last in scoring with 89.7 points and only winless
 Philadelphia is worse at 88.6. OKC, though, plays tough defense and is fifth
 in opponents' scoring at 95.3 ppg.
 
 Oklahoma City will also host Golden State, Utah and New York.
 
 Brooklyn has lost a season-high five in a row and will play the next three
 games away from home against Oklahoma City, San Antonio and Philadelphia. It
 is 1-4 on the road this season.
 
 Nets fans got their money's worth in a tough 122-118 triple-overtime loss to
 the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. Both teams scored 10 points in the first
 extra period, seven in the second OT and Milwaukee took the final frame, 10-6,
 for the win. Bucks rookie Jabari Parker scored a career-high 23 points.
 
 Former Nets head coach Jason Kidd guided his new Bucks team into his old
 stomping grounds and came away with the victory.
 
 "I know he wanted it bad, but I think the players wanted it more than he did,"
 Bucks guard O.J. Mayo said about Kidd. "For him to come to Milwaukee and give
 us hope. We're a good young team and we wanted it for him."
 
 Brooklyn was led by 26 points from Brook Lopez, who has scored in double
 digits in eight of the nine games he's appeared in this season. Bojan
 Bogdanovic and Deron Williams scored 19 and 18 points, respectively, and
 Williams handed out seven assists. Williams and Joe Johnson, who also scored
 18 points, played more than 52 minutes.
 
 "Any time you go into this many overtimes and come away with a loss, it's
 tough," said Williams. "You play so hard, you fight. You play good in
 stretches but just come up short. It's a lot of minutes to be playing in a
 loss."
 
 The Nets committed 22 turnovers for 25 Milwaukee points. There were 17 lead
 changes and 14 ties in the triple-overtime affair, something the Nets have
 experienced six times in the team's history (2-4).
 
 In milestone news for Nets big man Kevin Garnett, Friday is the 1,389th game
 of his career and he will match Reggie Miller for seventh on the NBA's all-
 time list. Kidd, Garnett's former coach, is sixth with 1,391 games played.
 
 Brooklyn defeated Oklahoma City already this season, recording a 116-85
 triumph at home on Nov. 3. Jackson scored a game-high 23 points and Lopez
 ended with 18, as the Nets won for the third time in the last four meetings.
 
 The Nets have lost 10 of the last 14 as the visitor in this series.
 
 
 SAN ANTONIO SPURS (7-4) AT MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (3-7), 8 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The San Antonio Spurs escaped Cleveland with a close win
 over LeBron James and the Cavaliers, and will now turn their attention to the
 Minnesota Timberwolves Friday at the Target Center.
 
 The Spurs recorded a 92-90 win over the Cavs in a highly anticipated matchup
 between the defending champions and James. The Spurs have defeated James twice
 in three tries in the NBA Finals and got the best of the superstar again.
 
 James scored just two points in the fourth quarter and 15 for the game, and
 his costly turnover at the end sealed the win for San Antonio. Spurs top
 reserve Manu Ginobili picked up James' loose ball and was able to run out the
 clock. Ginobili previously made 1-of-2 free throws to complete the scoring.
 
 "I went behind the back and just lost it," James said. "That's how the ball
 rolls sometimes, not too upset about it."
 
 Boris Diaw posted 19 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while Finals MVP
 Kawhi Leonard added 12 points, 10 boards and four assists for the Spurs, who
 have won five of their last six games.
 
 "They're going to be one hell of a team," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said of
 the Cavaliers. "It's a new system, new bodies. It doesn't happen quickly. I'm
 glad we're playing them now. They're going to be a whole lot tougher later on
 in the year."
 
 Tim Duncan scored 11 of his 19 points in the first quarter and finished with
 10 boards. Duncan has 804 career double-doubles and trails Hall of Famer Karl
 Malone (814) for fifth on the all-time list.
 
 In injury news for the Spurs, guard Marco Belinelli (groin) and forward Matt
 Bonner (illness) are questionable for Friday's game.
 
 After visiting the Timberwolves, the Spurs will return to the Alamo City for
 three games versus Brooklyn, Indiana and Sacramento.
 
 Minnesota got back into the win column with Wednesday's 115-99 victory versus
 the New York Knicks in the opener of a four-game homestand. The victory put to
 rest a season-high five-game losing streak.
 
 The T-wolves held Knicks sharpshooter Carmelo Anthony to 20 points and were
 led by Kevin Martin's 37 on 14-of-20 shooting and 7-of-11 3-pointers. Shabazz
 Muhammad scored 17 points and Mo Williams added 14 and 13 assists for the
 Wolves, who shot almost 50 percent (49.4) and scored 28 points off 23 New York
 turnovers.
 
 "(Muhammad) plays so hard," Minnesota head coach Flip Saunders said. "I just
 thought, especially with Carmelo and their lineup, we needed some
 physicality."
 
 Corey Brewer had 14 points, rookie Andrew Wiggins added 12 and Minnesota
 evened its home record to 2-2. The T-wolves are 3-0 this season when holding
 opponents under 100 points.
 
 The Wolves played again without Ricky Rubio (ankle), center Nikola Pekovic
 (foot/personal) and forward Thaddeus Young (death in family). Rubio is still
 out and both Pekovic and Young are questionable versus the Spurs.
 
 Minnesota will also host Sacramento and Milwaukee, and lost two of three
 meetings with San Antonio last season. Spurs guard Tony Parker averaged 21.5
 points and 8.0 assists in two games against Minnesota last season.
 
 The Spurs, who won 16 in a row against the Wolves from April 13, 2007 - Jan.
 11, 2011, are 21-5 in the past 26 matchups in this series, but have lost two
 in a row and four of the last five visits to the Twin Cities.
 
 
 LOS ANGELES LAKERS (3-9) AT DALLAS MAVERICKS (9-3), 8:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The NBA's top scoring team meets the league's worst on
 defense, as the Dallas Mavericks entertain Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles
 Lakers Friday night from American Airlines Center.
 
 The Mavericks are averaging 108.9 points and have scored 100 or more points in
 five straight and 10 of 12 games this season. It appears that trend will
 continue with the Lakers in town and they've allowed 110.2 ppg.
 
 Dallas has won five in a row and recorded back-to-back wins in Charlotte and
 Washington. In Wednesday's slim 105-102 victory over the much-improved
 Wizards, Monta Ellis scored 24 of his season-high 34 points in the first half
 and Brandan Wright and J.J. Barea each posted 14 points off the bench.
 
 "Monta kept us going in the first quarter," said Mavericks head coach Rick
 Carlisle. "He had 18 points and we had two other guys that scored. He carried
 us on his back."
 
 Ellis has scored 30 or more points twice in the last three games and leads
 Dallas with 19.7 ppg. Dallas went 25-of-29 from the foul line with Ellis
 hitting 12 of his 14 free throws.
 
 The Wizards led 95-94 with under three minutes to go, but Dallas outscored
 them 11-4 to take a 105-99 lead. There were 15 lead changes and nine ties.
 
 Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons scored 13 and 11 points,
 respectively, while Tyson Chandler grabbed a season high-tying 16 rebounds to
 go with five points.
 
 Dallas is averaging 114.4 points during the winning streak and opponents are
 scoring 93.4 points in that stretch. It is 9-0 this season when scoring at
 least 105 points.
 
 The scoring barrage has the Mavericks 9-3 after 12 games for the first time
 since 2009-10, when they started with a 10-3 record. Dallas has won three in a
 row at home and is 5-1 in Big D.
 
 In Nowitzki notes, he has Elvin Hayes (27,313) in his sights for eighth on the
 all-time scoring list with 27,015. Nowitzki (9,493) is 17th on the all-time
 field goals made list, trailing the great Oscar Robertson (9,508). He's 31st
 on the all-time games played list with 1,200 and Shaquille O'Neal is 30th with
 1,207. Juwan Howard sits 29th (1,208) and Dale Ellis is 28th (1,209).
 
 Los Angeles will close out its three-game road trip and two-step through Texas
 Friday night. It has won a season-best two in a row after a 1-9 start and
 recorded a 98-92 triumph in Houston on Wednesday.
 
 NBA leading scorer Bryant (27.5 ppg) led the way with 29 points and also had
 seven assists and five rebounds. Jordan Hill posted a double-double of 16
 points and 10 rebounds, and Nick Young netted 16 in his second game back from
 a right thumb injury. Hill has a team-leading six double-doubles.
 
 Bryant and the Lakers used a 12-1 run late in the game to erase a 10-point
 deficit. LA outscored Houston, 28-17, in the final 12 minutes and didn't allow
 a field goal on the final five possessions.
 
 It marked the first time this season the Lakers won when trailing after the
 third quarter. They had a 47-38 advantage on the boards as well.
 
 "Look, we had a bad start," Bryant said on the team's website. "Are we a 3-9
 team? No. We're a much better team than that. We got off to a really bad
 start, but we'll (get better)."
 
 Bryant has led the team in scoring 10 times this season and has posted 20 or
 more on 10 separate occasions. He is approaching the great Michael Jordan
 (32,292) for third on the all-time scoring list with 32,030. Bryant is one
 block away from matching James Worthy (624) for sixth on the team's all-time
 list. Andrew Bynum is fifth with 628.
 
 After visiting the Mavericks, the Lakers will play four straight at home
 versus Denver, Memphis, Minnesota and Toronto.
 
 Los Angeles lost all three games against the Mavs last season, but is still
 9-4 in the past 13 encounters between the Western foes. The Lakers have lost
 their previous two visits to Dallas after a five-game win streak there.
 
 
 NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (6-4) AT DENVER NUGGETS (4-7), 9 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans will resume
 their four-game western trek Friday against the Denver Nuggets.
 
 The Pelicans opened the trip with a 102-93 loss in Portland and bounced back
 with Tuesday's 106-100 victory against Sacramento. Davis battled with Kings
 big man DeMarcus Cousins and recorded 28 points, nine rebounds and three
 blocks. Cousins had 24 points and 17 boards.
 
 Ryan Anderson scored 22 points off the bench, while Tyreke Evans and Eric
 Gordon netted 18 and 17 points, respectively, for New Orleans, which shot 49.4
 percent and scored 22 points off 15 Sacramento turnovers. The Pelicans had a
 season-low six turnovers in their fifth win in seven tries.
 
 "It is big," Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday said of the win. "I think we cut down
 our turnovers. We pride ourselves in that."
 
 Holiday ended with nine points and nine assists, and New Orleans survived
 despite the Kings having a 52-32 rebounding advantage, including a 17-4
 difference on the offensive end.
 
 The Pelicans are 2-3 on the road and will also visit Utah on the jaunt. They
 are in the midst of playing nine of 11 games away from the Crescent City.
 
 Denver has won two in a row and three of four games following a six-game
 slide, and posted a 107-100 triumph versus Oklahoma City on Wednesday thanks
 to Wilson Chandler's 21 points and 17 out of Timofey Mozgov.
 
 Ty Lawson posted his second straight double-double and third in four games
 with 15 points and a season-best 15 assists for the Nuggets, who controlled
 the ball to the tune of only nine turnovers and shot 48.8 percent.
 
 "It's something to build on," said Nuggets coach Brian Shaw. "It's something
 to build on and we'll take it into next game.
 
 Nuggets forward J.J. Hickson has missed two straight games with a sore right
 knee and is listed as probable versus the Pelicans. Hickson has posted an
 average of 7.3 points and 7.8 rebounds this season.
 
 The Nuggets will try to even their 2-3 home mark Friday against a New Orleans
 team they split four meetings with last season.
 
 The two teams have split the last 14 games in this series and Denver is
 unbeaten in the previous five at home against New Orleans.
 
 
 CHICAGO BULLS (8-4) AT PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS (8-3), 10:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - A five-game winning streak for the Portland Trail
 Blazers is at stake when they host the Chicago Bulls Friday night from the
 Moda Center.
 
 The Trail Blazers made it five straight wins and seven in eight tries with
 Monday's 102-93 decision over the New Orleans Pelicans.
 
 Even though Pelicans star Anthony Davis had 31 points and 11 rebounds, the
 Blazers countered with studs Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge. Lillard led
 the way with 24 points and seven assists, while Aldridge muscled his way to 22
 points and nine rebounds.
 
 Lillard led Portland in scoring for the fourth consecutive game and Aldridge
 had 16 points in the second half. Portland outscored New Orleans,
 34-13, over the last 12 minutes and was down by as many as 16 points.
 
 "I thought that was a tremendous defensive effort in the fourth quarter," said
 Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. "When you get stops, it's easy to get a
 rhythm on offense."
 
 Portland ended the night with 20 assists, marking the 11th game in a row it
 has dished out at least 20 or more assists.
 
 Wesley Matthews had 16 points and Chris Kaman added 15 and 10 boards for
 Portland, which shot 50 percent and scored 100 or more points for the eighth
 time in 11 games this season.
 
 It was Kaman's first double-double with the team and 173rd of his career. He
 also became the first Portland bench player with five straight games of 12 or
 more points and five-plus rebounds since Arvydas Sabonis turned the trick
 seven straight times from Jan. 2-18, 1996.
 
 Blazers forward Nicolas Batum missed his fourth straight game with a knee
 injury and is questionable Friday.
 
 Lillard has averaged 28.7 points over his last eight games for Portland, which
 is sixth in the NBA with 104.4 points per game and has a 7-1 mark when scoring
 100-plus points.
 
 Portland is 3-0 against Eastern Conference opponents and 7-1 at the Moda
 Center. After hosting the Bulls, the Blazers will head east for three games
 against Boston, Philadelphia and Charlotte.
 
 The Bulls had won three of four games and were 6-0 on the road until
 Thursday's 103-88 setback in Sacramento.
 
 Minus forward Pau Gasol (calf) and guard Derrick Rose (hamstring), the Bulls
 were once again led by Jimmy Butler, who posted 23 points on 11-of-18 shooting
 and has scored 20 or more in four straight games. He leads the team with 21.5
 points per game.
 
 Mike Dunleavy, Taj Gibson and Aaron Brooks scored 12 points apiece for the
 Bulls, who were aiming for the first 7-0 start on the road in franchise
 history and played poorly in the second quarter (30-18). The Kings shot 51.4
 percent and posted 23 points off 15 Chicago turnovers.
 
 "We got a gap in the middle of the second quarter where we got hurt," Bulls
 head coach Tom Thibodeau said afterward. "The game was won there and we
 couldn't get a handle on it the rest of the way."
 
 Chicago opened its circus road trip with a win against the Los Angeles
 Clippers and will also visit Utah and Denver out west before returning east
 for road bouts in Boston and Brooklyn.
 
 Gasol and Rose are questionable for the Bulls Friday. Rose hasn't played since
 Nov. 13 at Toronto and has been plagued by issues all season. Gasol, in his
 first season with Chicago, has missed back-to-back games and is averaging 18.6
 points and a team-high 10.6 rebounds.
 
 The Bulls lost both games against the Trail Blazers last season and are
 winless in the last six meetings between the teams. Portland is 11-2 in the
 past 13 contests in this series and unbeaten in previous six in the Rose City.
 
 Chicago's last win in the Pacific Northwest occurred on Feb. 3, 2007, an 88-86
 victory.
 
 
 UTAH JAZZ (5-7) AT GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (8-2), 10:30 P.M.
 
 (SportsNetwork.com) - The Golden State Warriors will make a quick stop home
 before they embark on a five-game journey, as they host the Utah Jazz Friday
 night from Oracle Arena.
 
 The extremely well-rested Warriors have won three in a row and were last in
 action Sunday in a 136-115 beatdown of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers
 at Staples Center. Bryant posted a season-high 44 points on 15-of-34 shooting
 and got no help from anyone else.
 
 Golden State, meanwhile, had seven players in double digits and was led by
 Stephen Curry's 30 points and a season-high 15 assists. Curry made 5-of-9
 3-pointers and has more 30-point/15-assist games since 2013-14 (5) than the
 rest of the NBA combined (4).
 
 "That's our team, they were at their best. What Steph did tonight was the best
 point guard job I've seen," Warriors coach Steve Kerr said.
 
 Marreese Speights scored 24 points off the bench, Klay Thompson posted 18
 points and Andrew Bogut ended with 15 and 10 rebounds for the Warriors, whose
 136 points were a season high.
 
 Golden State buried 14-of-28 3-pointers and also got 14 points from Harrison
 Barnes and 10 each by Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala. Golden State scored
 81 points in the second and third quarters and led 34-23 after one. LA made it
 closer than it really was with a 36-21 advantage in the fourth quarter.
 
 The Warriors last started 9-2 in 1972-73 and lead the NBA in field goal
 percentage (49.9) and opponent field goal percentage (41.4). The last team to
 lead the league in both offensive field goal percentage and FG percentage
 allowed over the course of a full season was the 1980-81 Philadelphia 76ers
 
 Golden State, which is 5-0 when holding teams under 100 points, is second in
 points scored with 108.6 and has a 4-1 record as the host this season. It will
 start a five-game trek Sunday against Oklahoma City, Miami, Orlando, Charlotte
 and Detroit.
 
 The Jazz are back on the road and recorded a 98-81 win over the Thunder on
 Tuesday, as Alec Burks finished with 20 points and a career-high 14 rebounds.
 Burks helped the Jazz turn a 17-point deficit, the largest of the season, into
 a win.
 
 Enes Kanter had a double-double of his own with 16 points and 15 boards, while
 Trek Burke scored 17 points and Gordon Hayward added 13 for Utah, which shot
 43.3 percent and had a 55-44 advantage on the glass.
 
 "I felt like we just fought hard. We came out a little static, but we came out
 the second half and fought hard and won the game," Burks said.
 
 The Jazz outscored the Thunder, 42-26, in the paint and posted a 32-17
 difference in scoring in the third quarter. Hayward is averaging 20.0 points,
 5.3 rebounds and 4.2 assists this month.
 
 Utah is 2-5 on the road and went 2-3 on a recent road trip.
 
 Golden State won all four meetings with Utah last season and is 5-2 in its
 last seven encounters against Utah in Oakland.
 
 
 
 11/21 10:30:46 ET

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