MIAMI — At least now they’re coming clean.
There is another gear. There is a greater focus. The next level has been activated.
For all the every-game-matters discourse the previous four months, acknowledgement of go-time has arrived for the Miami Heat.
March matters, opening with Saturday night’s victory over the Utah Jazz. Just as ...Read more
BOSTON — After the Celtics’ victory over the Mavericks on Friday night, Jaylen Brown wanted to see them reach another level. Even as the Celtics keep winning, Brown wasn’t satisfied. He said this is the part of the year “where we start to take it up a notch.”
Two days later, Brown backed up his word. But he led the Celtics to a level ...Read more
MINNEAPOLIS — For those who rue the fact that defense has left the NBA and scoring has gotten out of control, Sunday's game between the Timberwolves and Clippers was for you.
Depending on your perspective, an intense defensive struggle or offensive brickfest broke out, with every basket feeling more and more precious as the game got later.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Hubert Davis played for the New York Knicks during the mid-1990s, in a time of rugged physicality in the NBA and for the team that most personified the grittiest, most bruising period in the league’s history. That’s part of why he didn’t think much of the mini-skirmish here on Saturday early in the second half of ...Read more
DURHAM, N.C. — Even while racking up enough wins to stay in the nation's top 10 and among the top two teams in the ACC standings, Duke searched all season for a higher level of play.
The Blue Devils (22-6, 14-4 ACC) found it Saturday as they rolled through the ACC's resident defensive bully, posting a 73-48 win over Virginia.
That it came in...Read more
College basketball’s scoring crown belongs to Caitlin Clark.
Iowa’s generational superstar became the all-time NCAA Division I scoring leader Sunday, breaking “Pistol” Pete Maravich’s 54-year-old record with her 18th point of the day against No. 2 Ohio State.
Playing in front of her home crowd, Clark made a pair of free throws with 0...Read more
Last spring, there was almost a universal Lakers' voice bemoaning a lack of continuity, their deadline-assembled roster no match for the bulldozing Denver Nuggets, who made every big shot and got every big stop during a Western Conference finals sweep.
The Lakers' offseason, in no small part, was driven by the chance to respond — the vow to ...Read more
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Perfection (again).
South Carolina women’s basketball solidified its second consecutive undefeated regular season Sunday with a 76-68 win over Tennessee at Colonial Life Arena. The victory extended USC’s program-record home win streak to 57.
“I am super proud of them,” coach Dawn Staley said. “Like, super proud. If...Read more
STORRS, Conn. – The UConn men’s basketball team cut down the nets in Gampel Pavilion after its 91-61 win over Seton Hall clinched the program’s first outright Big East regular-season title since the 1998-99 season.
UConn, ranked third in the nation and 16-0 at home this year, finished its first undefeated season at both Gampel Pavilion ...Read more
DALLAS — Tyrese Maxey had a great homecoming.
After practice Saturday at Buddy Hield’s Big D residence, Maxey took an Uber to his parents’ home. The next day, the native of Garland, Texas, led the Sixers to a 120-116 victory over the Dallas Mavericks with family members and friends in the stands at American Airlines Center.
Sunday’s ...Read more
PHILADELPHIA — Sometimes I wonder if it’s me who's crazy or if it’s everybody else.
Or maybe it’s just Joel Embiid.
On Thursday, the 76ers’ fragile center addressed the press for the first time since his second surgery on his left knee, which was his third knee injury in seven seasons.
He said, morosely, that he was sad his injury ...Read more
MIAMI — The respect is that of a championship contender.
The place in the standings is that of a survivalist.
For the Miami Heat, the dichotomy lives on, once again viewed as something more than the standings indicate amid this scramble to avoid the play-in round.
No sooner, for example, did the Heat complete one of their most impressive ...Read more
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Tom Izzo tempered expectations heading into Saturday’s game at No. 2 Purdue.
He wanted to see Michigan State play well. If the Spartans fell short against the second-best team in the country at a place they haven’t won in over 10 years, he could live with it.
But he made clear what he can’t tolerate.
“I can’...Read more
LOS ANGELES — The clutch-time Nuggets spoiled another landmark night for the Lakers.
On the night LeBron James became the first player to ever score 40,000 career points, Denver came back from an 11-point deficit for a 124-114 win, the team’s sixth consecutive since the All-Star break, on Saturday night.
Nikola Jokic went for 35 points and...Read more
LOS ANGELES — In a game the NBA and the Lakers celebrated all the shots LeBron James made on his way to 40,000 points, the Nuggets continued to make every big shot necessary to gut the Lakers.
For the eighth consecutive time, including last year’s Western Conference finals, the Nuggets defeated the Lakers, collectively overshadowing any ...Read more
LOS ANGELES — LeBron James had scored more points than anyone in NBA history before Saturday’s game with Denver, but a major statistical milestone provided another chance to reflect on his longevity — a left-handed layup against the Nuggets in the second quarter giving him 40,000 career points.
James entered the game needing nine points ...Read more
PULLMAN, Wash. — The search continues.
Saying he was trying to discover whom he could build a team around near the end of a maddening season, UCLA coach Mick Cronin did not unearth any surprises Saturday evening.
Point guard Dylan Andrews is likely to be a cornerstone going forward after he continued his late-season surge with another strong...Read more
MIAMI — This was not about style points.
But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t something substantive about Saturday night’s 126-120 victory over the Utah Jazz at Kaseya Center.
Instead, it was about much of what the Miami Heat are about.
Grit. Grind. And plenty of Jimmy Butler being gritty while grinding.
With Butler scoring 37 points, ...Read more
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — For a rivalry that helped build the ACC into what it long was, that helped college basketball become like a religion in this state, Saturday lacked the usual anticipation between North Carolina and N.C. State. Some of the juice or buzz or hype — take your pick — was missing.
That’s what happens in a rivalry when one ...Read more
ORLANDO, Fla. — Battered, bruised and at times frustrated, UCF found itself in another tough Big 12 contest.
No. 8 Iowa State used a smothering trap defense that confounded and confused the Knights throughout much of the game, forcing a season-high 22 turnovers as the Cyclones hung on for a 60-52 win on Saturday.
UCF guards Darius Johnson ...Read more
- Marcus Hayes: Joel Embiid, injured again, should not play in the Olympics. He should prepare for the next Sixers season.
- Ira Winderman: Heat again at crossroads of contention or survival, of playoffs or play-in
- Nuggets dominate clutch minutes again to spoil Lakers' celebration of LeBron James scoring milestone
- LeBron James becomes first NBA player to score 40,000 points in Lakers' loss to Nuggets
- UNC erases second-half deficit, extends NC State rivalry misery in 79-70 win