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Kirthmon F. Dozier/Detroit Free Press/TNS

Pistons overcome by Suns, home winning streak snapped at 4

Sports / Basketball /

DETROIT — In the midst of playing through their best stretch of the season, the Pistons got to gauge their progress against the Phoenix Suns, who have the NBA’s best record.

They kept it close in the first half, but the defending Western Conference champions showed why they’re one of the favorites to make another deep run in the playoffs ...Read more

Doral Chenoweth/The Columbus Dispatch/TNS

Penn State dictates pace, but Ohio State emerges with low-scoring win

Sports / Basketball /

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The scouting report contained the usual particulars detailing how Penn State wanted to play Ohio State. Secrets are hard to come by in the dregs of Big Ten play.

But the overall message to the No. 16 Buckeyes as they prepared to host the Nittany Lions: play hard. Play really hard. If Penn State leaves Value City Arena on ...Read more

Al Bello/Getty Images North America/TNS

Kevin Durant diagnosed with sprained MCL, expected to miss 4-6 weeks in rehab: report

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant has been diagnosed with a sprained MCL in his left knee.

The Nets’ star injured his knee Saturday during their game against the New Orleans Pelicans. An MRI completed on Sunday morning revealed his diagnosis, the team said in a statement. The Nets did not give an estimated timeline for his return.

“Durant is ...Read more

'You deserve better': Magic Johnson tears into Lakers after 37-point loss to Nuggets

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — Lakers coach Frank Vogel, desperate to grab onto something, has seen moments this year that he hoped could be a turning point.

The gutted-out win in Detroit, overtime in Indiana, dominance against Boston in Los Angeles, small-ball successes without Anthony Davis — all of them moments where the Lakers could plant their foot in ...Read more

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Ira Winderman: Heat second to one? Here's a scout's-eye view of the East.

Sports / Basketball /

The NBA Eastern Conference is competitive. Of that there is little debate from the Miami Heat or elsewhere, with at least four, maybe five, legitimate conference contenders, and arguably 13 playoff/play-in competitors.

So as teams reach the midpoint of their 82-game schedules, the question was put to a veteran NBA scout to sort out the ...Read more

Jason Miller/Getty Images North America/TNS

Jaylen Clark helps revitalize No. 3 UCLA in bounce-back win over Oregon State

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LOS ANGELES — It was a given that only a few fans would be permitted inside Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night, UCLA continuing to double down on safety even as almost every other team across the country played in packed arenas.

The question, then, became who would show up for the third-ranked Bruins two nights after an almost universal no-...Read more

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images North America/TNS

No. 5 USC, still struggling to catch up, loses to visiting Oregon

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LOS ANGELES — Another sluggish showing was slipping away, as Max Agbonkpolo burst into the lane in search of a spark. USC had struggled all night to stay with Oregon, which was flying high off its recent upset of UCLA. But there still was time to climb back when the USC forward came bounding through the paint with less than 10 minutes ...Read more

Chicago Bulls, playing without Zach LaVine and Lonzo Ball, can't pull off a buzzer-beater, falling to the Boston Celtics 114-112

Sports / Basketball /

DeMar DeRozan seemed poised for another miracle with the final handful of seconds ticking off the clock in Boston on Saturday night.

DeRozan already had scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to lead a short-handed Chicago Bulls team within punching distance of the Boston Celtics. He already had dished a pass to Nikola Vucevic for a wide-open 3...Read more

Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times/TNS

Poor shooting dooms Clippers in fourth quarter of 101-94 loss to Spurs

Sports / Basketball /

SAN ANTONIO — Having shrugged off another brutal display of first-half offense, the Clippers began to break some of their worst, and most persistent habits, as well, as Saturday’s fourth quarter began.

Committing fewer turnovers, grabbing more rebounds, receiving a significant contribution from Serge Ibaka — all had been rarities this ...Read more

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America/TNS

Lakers' defensive woes hit new low vs. Nuggets in biggest loss of the season

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DENVER — LeBron James’ body slumped forwards as his eyes first gazed to the corner and then across the floor to the bench.

In the third quarter of the team’s 133-96 loss to the Nuggets, the Lakers found themselves totally out of sorts, the slender-limbed Malik Monk of all people, left to guard the NBA’s reigning Most Valuable Player, ...Read more

Al Bello/Getty Images North America/TNS

Kevin Durant limps off with knee injury during win over Pelicans, heading for MRI Sunday

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — The scariest hours are the ones you don’t think about. For the Nets, championship dreams just became regular-season nightmares.

The Nets’ 120-105 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday turned into a horror story midway through the second quarter when MVP frontrunner Kevin Durant suffered a freak knee injury and ...Read more

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Julius Randle scores 24 points as Knicks beat Hawks for third straight win

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ATLANTA — The Knicks are a winning team for the first time since November and Julius Randle got his revenge in ATL.

Randle and his teammates turned away a late run by the nemesis Hawks on Saturday, with the embattled power forward icing the 117-108 victory with a powerful move in the paint. After that and-1 conversion with about three minutes...Read more

Michael Reaves/Getty Images North America/TNS

Embiid, 76ers snap Heat home winning streak at seven with 109-98 decision

Sports / Basketball /

MIAMI — There already had been games without both Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry for the Miami Heat.

This wasn’t one of them, it only felt that way most of the night.

With Butler shooting 1 of 11 and Lowry 2 of 11, the Heat found themselves in scramble mode Saturday night against the Philadelphia 76ers at FTX Arena.

And scrambling to find a ...Read more

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Tom Thibodeau says Cam Reddish has to earn his minutes with glut of wings

Sports / Basketball /

ATLANTA — Tom Thibodeau’s message Saturday was clear as he addressed the outlook of his newest player, Cam Reddish:

Playing time will be earned, not given.

Although Reddish requested a trade from the Hawks because he desired a bigger role, the Knicks already carry a load of wings and don’t have an obvious spot to slot in the 22-year-old....Read more

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Inconsistent Texas gives away winnable Big 12 game at Iowa State with 20 turnovers

Sports / Basketball /

AMES, Iowa — Good luck trying to figure out No. 21 Texas at this point. It’s quickly becoming a guessing game as to which team will show up.

The offense was plain dreadful last weekend in Stillwater. Three days later, the Longhorns ran roughshod over their Red River rivals.

Seems like there’s a happy medium in there somewhere. Saturday�...Read more

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Kansas State pulls off upset of No. 19 Texas Tech for first Big 12 win

Sports / Basketball /

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Boy, did the Kansas State men’s basketball team need that.

The Wildcats won their first conference game of the season by pulling off an improbable 62-51 upset against No. 19 Texas Tech on Saturday at Bramlage Coliseum.

K-State (9-7, 1-4 Big 12) won thanks to 14 points from Nijel Pack, 12 points from Mark Smith and 10 ...Read more

John E. Moore III/Getty Images North America/TNS

No. 9 Kansas runs away from West Virginia in second half for 85-59 victory

Sports / Basketball /

LAWRENCE, Kan. — West Virginia has won a men’s basketball game in every Big 12 arena — except Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse — since joining the league in 2012-13.

The No. 9-ranked Jayhawks on Saturday improved to a perfect 10-0 all-time against Bob Huggins’ Mountaineers at home by overcoming an eight-point first-half deficit and running ...Read more

Michael Hickey/Getty Images North America/TNS

TyTy Washington keys Kentucky's 107-79 rout of Tennessee

Sports / Basketball /

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky All-American Kenny Walker found the Wildcats playing a game against Tennessee fitting on the day former UK coach Joe B. Hall died at age 93.

“I’m sure there is no team in the SEC he wanted to beat more than Tennessee,” Walker said.

Kentucky's 107-79 victory Saturday was the Wildcats' largest margin of victory ...Read more

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Led by Mark Williams, Duke beats up on NC State as Blue Devils roll to 88-73 win

Sports / Basketball /

DURHAM, N.C. — The void Manny Bates’ season-ending shoulder injury left in the middle of N.C. State’s defense was clearly on display Saturday when Duke big man Mark Williams ably took advantage.

A 7-1 sophomore center, Williams scored 19 points while grabbing 11 rebounds with eight blocked shots to lead the No. 8 Blue Devils to a 88-73 ...Read more

John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune/TNS

Zach LaVine not expected to miss 'significant time' with knee injury, but Bulls still reeling from key absences

Sports / Basketball /

CHICAGO — After undergoing an MRI on his left knee Saturday morning, the Chicago Bulls said star guard Zach LaVine isn’t expected to miss “significant time” as he recovers from a non-structural injury.

But any absence is significant for the Bulls as they attempt to correct a free fall of three losses in four games with seven players ...Read more