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Magic know they must stay true to defensive identity

Sports / Basketball /

Magic coach Jamahl Mosley has often described defense as his group’s identity on the court.

If Orlando (14-6) wants to bounce back from its 28-point road loss in Brooklyn on Saturday night that snapped a nine-game winning streak, the team must stay true to its form at Cleveland on Wednesday (Bally Sports Florida, 7) and beyond.

Although the ...Read more

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Ira Winderman: Heat have changed since Tyler Herro went out; how will they change upon his return?

Sports / Basketball /

MIAMI — With this coming Wednesday marking four weeks since Tyler Herro went down with his Grade 2 ankle sprain, it is hard not to notice how much has transpired for the Miami Heat in the interim.

The injury came during what would grow into a seven-game winning streak and stretch of nine victories in 10 games.

But during the absence there ...Read more

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Bob Raissman: NBA's gimmick game continues with ESPN-TNT broadcaster swap for In-Season tourney semis

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — When in doubt, confuse them.

That’s Adam Silver’s mantra with the NBA’s In-Season Tournament. Whether it be designer courts or point differentials, no gimmick shall be wasted.

Even the league’s national TV partners are getting into the act.

Nonetheless, it’s hard to fathom either the ESPN Faculty or Turner Sports suits ...Read more

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Luke DeCock: As ACC basketball play begins, league's November success opens door for a better March

Sports / Basketball /

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Just when it looked like the Return of the Can’t Stand Prosperity All-Stars, North Carolina dialed up the pressure and ran Florida State into the ground.

The Tar Heels so often frustratingly failed to build on big wins last year, and it certainly looked like whatever momentum they might have taken from Wednesday night’...Read more

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Lakers defeat Houston following return of injured trio

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LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Lakers are slowly starting to become whole, the return of versatile defender Jarred Vanderbilt, up-and-coming defender Cam Reddish and active big man Jaxson Hayes adding three more pieces to their puzzle.

Vanderbilt missed the start of the season while recovering from a left heel injury he suffered in the first ...Read more

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Late Nuggets comeback falls short in Sacramento despite Nikola Jokic's 30-point triple-double

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A four-game win streak came to an end for the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night in Sacramento, where the Kings opened up a 17-point lead in the first half and held on for a 123-117 win.

After playing five games in the last seven days, Denver (14-7) has three days off before visiting the Clippers on Wednesday.

The defending champions were one of...Read more

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Mikal Bridges' 26-point first quarter leads Nets to blowout win over Magic

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NEW YORK — Thursday’s loss to an undermanned Charlotte Hornets squad came down to a lack of concentration for the Nets. But in Saturday’s 129-101 defeat of the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center, Mikal Bridges and his teammates were locked in from the start to finish against the No. 2 team in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets’ bounce-back ...Read more

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Pistons fade late again against Cavaliers, lose 17th in a row

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DETROIT — Close, but no cigar.

The Pistons kept a game competitive again for three quarters, but came up short again in the fourth to keep their franchise-record losing streak going.

Detroit lost its 17th consecutive game with a 110-101 defeat to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night at Little Caesars Arena.

The Pistons trailed by three...Read more

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Heat defenseless in 144-129 loss to Pacers with Adebayo out

Sports / Basketball /

MIAMI — The Miami Heat made a case for Bam Adebayo as Defensive Player of the Year on Saturday night.

In his absence.

In a defenseless effort.

Unable to contain an Indiana Pacers offense lacking scoring and assist leader Tyrese Haliburton, the Heat fell, 144-129, at Kaseya Center to close out a 1-2 homestand and fall to 11-9 at the season�...Read more

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UNC Wilmington shocks Kentucky with major upset in first game on new Rupp Arena court

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LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky’s new basketball court in Rupp Arena was the scene of a major upset Saturday evening.

UNC Wilmington held off multiple rallies to shock Kentucky with an 80-73 victory, giving Seahawks coach Takayo Siddle another marquee win in the home of UK basketball. Siddle played for Gardner-Webb when that program knocked off ...Read more

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Clippers rally from 22 down to beat Warriors on Paul George's 3-pointer

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — The Clippers spent Saturday afternoon much as they'd spent their past month: Immediately digging themselves into an enormous hole, then furiously working to extricate themselves.

How they ultimately come out of their all-in move to acquire James Harden is a long-term question that won't be known for months. But Saturday, they ...Read more

Timberwolves grind out 123-117 road victory over Hornets

Sports / Basketball /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There was a lot of skepticism throughout the NBA that the Timberwolves' insistence on playing two centers on the floor at the same time, all the time, was a smart basketball idea.

On a night like Saturday, when the rest of the offense was struggling, it made all the sense in the world.

Each of the Wolves' centers — Karl-...Read more

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Paul Sullivan: Northwestern upsets No. 1 Purdue but still is playing the underdog despite a rare taste of March Madness

Sports / Basketball /

Northwestern coach Chris Collins didn’t expect the Wildcats to get the benefit of the doubt.

Not even after finishing second in the Big Ten last season or beating No. 1 Purdue in February or winning its NCAA Tournament opener against Boise State or losing a nail-biter to UCLA in the second round.

Nothing had changed, and that was perfectly ...Read more

Duke continues to struggle, falls on the road to Georgia Tech in ACC opener

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ATLANTA — No. 7 Duke’s bad week on the road got worse Saturday.

The Blue Devils lost their second game in a row, 72-68 to Georgia Tech, and also lost starting point guard Tyrese Proctor to a leg injury.

Baye Ndongo, a 6-9 freshman from Senegal, scored 21 points for Georgia Tech. That included two baskets on lob passes that erased Duke’s ...Read more

UNC overcomes poor start, rides big second-half run to beat Florida State

Sports / Basketball /

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — No. 17 North Carolina defeated Florida State in the teams’ ACC opener Saturday, the Tar Heels coming back from a slow start, and a 14-point, second-half deficit, to post a 78-70 win.

The Heels (7-1, 1-0 ACC) struggled before the break, and early in the second half, but stormed back with a 22-0 run in fewer than five ...Read more

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Nuggets survive Jusuf Nurkic's big night for 119-111 win over Suns

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They needed to fend off a second-half surge from the Phoenix Suns, but the Denver Nuggets held on Friday in Phoenix for a 119-111 win over one of the top contenders in the West.

Denver (14-6) shot 57% from the field and only turned the ball over nine times to win its fourth consecutive game. Next is the end of a road back-to-back Saturday at ...Read more

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Kansas wins thriller vs. defending champion UConn, 69-65

Sports / Basketball /

LAWRENCE, Kan. — Kansas guard Kevin McCullar released a well-deserved roar on Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse.

As the Jayhawks struggled to score late in the second half vs. UConn, McCullar canned two straight 3-pointers.

After one of McCullar’s 3-pointers, star big man Hunter Dickinson hit a trey to give KU a 61-54 lead over the Huskies....Read more

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Jayson Tatum ejected, but Celtics survive for wild victory over 76ers

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BOSTON — Jayson Tatum had to be restrained. Even well after he said the magic word that got him ejected for just the second time in his career, Tatum continued barking at referee Bill Kennedy — a rare display of emotion from the Celtics superstar — so much so that he had to be held back by coaches Joe Mazzulla and Charles Lee before he ...Read more

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Donte DiVincenzo remains hot in Knicks' win over Raptors

Sports / Basketball /

Donte DiVincenzo is the answer at the two.

It’s been the biggest revelation for the Knicks, who have not gotten the production they expected out of Quentin Grimes in the starting lineup at the shooting guard spot this season.

Grimes’ cold shooting streak continued in the Knicks’ 119-106 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday.

The ...Read more

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Focused Magic fend off Wizards for 9th consecutive win

Sports / Basketball /

ORLANDO, Fla. — Winners of nine in a row after Friday night’s 130-125 home victory over the Washington Wizards, the Magic are aware there’s still a long season ahead of them.

Nevertheless, coach Jamahl Mosley’s squad is focused on taking things one game at a time.

“Because that’s what brought us here,” Magic big man Moe Wagner ...Read more