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New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis helps beat New York Knicks with 48-point performance

NEW YORK — New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis had a simple explanation for his 48-point, 17-rebound performance against the New York Knicks on Sunday. “I just tried to get us going on both ends of the floor. I was able just to continue to make shots,” Davis said. That’s quite an understatement. Davis set a season-high for points on Sunday and compiled a stat line rarely seen in the NBA. In the process, he helped the New Orleans Pelicans rebound from a 19-point third-quarter deficit to beat the Knicks…

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Houston Rockets hope star guard James Harden can return from Grade 2 right hamstring strain within a week

LOS ANGELES — The Houston Rockets hope star guard James Harden can return from a Grade 2 strain of his right hamstring within a week, coach Mike D’Antoni said. “It could be Thursday or Saturday, I don’t know,” D’Antoni said before the Rockets’ practice Sunday at UCLA. “He’s got to get better. We’ll see. Whenever he’s ready.” James Harden suffered the hamstring injury on Dec. 31, when he drove for a layup in the fourth quarter of a double-overtime win over the Los Angeles Lakers.┬áBill Baptist/NBAE/Getty Images Houston has home…

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Chris Paul is pursuing passing perfection with the Houston Rockets

Chris Paul tapped his chest and mouthed “My bad” to Ryan Anderson after delivering a less-than-perfect pass to his wide-open Houston Rockets teammate. “Really, man?” Anderson responded. Filling the void created by James Harden’s injury, Chris Paul took 29 shots and scored 37 points, hitting several big buckets in crunch time to lead Houston past Portland. Rockets guard Chris Paul did not hold back his frustrations with veteran referee Scott Foster after Wednesday’s win over Portland, adding to the growing tension between players and officials. 1 Related Anderson wasn’t upset…

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Zach LaVine returns for Bulls in win

CHICAGO — Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine scored 14 points in his season debut in Saturday night’s 107-105 win over the Detroit Pistons, after missing almost a year while recovering from a left ACL injury. “It felt really good,” LaVine said after the game. “Just to be out there playing again, having that feeling; I haven’t had it in such a long time. To get the win, cap it off; I’d love to play in the fourth quarter, but I’ll be able to soon. It was just a good night…

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Steph Curry back in Golden State Warriors’ starting lineup against Toronto Raptors

TORONTO — Stephen Curry is back in the starting lineup for Golden State‘s game against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday night. Curry resprained his troublesome right ankle before the Warriors lost to the LA Clippers on Wednesday night. He also sat out Friday’s win at Milwaukee. Curry missed 11 games in December with a similar injury but had averaged 35.2 points in five games since returning. The two-time MVP is averaging 27.9 points, 6.4 assists and 5.2 rebounds in 28 games for the defending NBA champions. Warriors forward Andre Iguodala,…

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LiAngelo Ball, LaMelo Ball fail to score in second Lithuanian game

12:28 PM ET Jeff GoodmanESPN Insider Close Joined ESPN as a college basketball Insider in June 2013 Previously wrote for CBSSports.com and FOXSports.com In their second professional game in Lithuania, this one coming against improved competition in the Lithuanian league, the Ball brothers failed to score. LiAngelo played nine minutes and LaMelo logged just five in Vytautas’ 95-86 road loss at Lietkabelis. The two brothers combined for 29 points in their debut on Tuesday in a Big Baller Showcase game — a five-game “friendly” series designed to play against second-tier…

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Giannis Antetokounmpo gets hard lessons from Kevin Durant – NBA

MILWAUKEE — As Giannis Antetokounmpo continues carving out a path for himself as one of the best players in the NBA, the Bucks star knows he will pick lessons up for himself along the way. Such was the case in Friday night’s 108-94 loss to Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors, as Durant got the best of the 23-year-old. “When you guard players like Durant, you just got to make their game as tough as you can,” Antetokounmpo said. “He’s going to get 20 shots up and he’s going…

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Tim Hardaway Jr. of New York Knicks returning from leg injury Friday

New York Knicks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. will return to the court on Friday after a 20-game absence due to a left leg injury. Hardaway is expected to come off of the bench in the Knicks’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Head coach Jeff Hornacek has said that he’d like Hardaway to work on his conditioning before he returns to the starting lineup. The shooting guard hasn’t played since Nov. 29 due to a stress injury in his left leg. New York (18-21) has struggled without Hardaway, going 8-12. The…

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Lakers legend James Worthy believes in Lonzo Ball and Magic Johnson

LOS ANGELES — James Worthy sees some Magic Johnson-like traits in Lonzo Ball and believes his old Showtime point guard will be able to “deliver” some star reinforcements in free agency this summer. Before the season started, Johnson, the Los Angeles Lakers‘ president of basketball operations, said he can envision Ball and Brandon Ingram running the floor like Johnson and Worthy did during their Showtime days. Johnson set an extremely high bar for the past two No. 2 overall picks respectively. “Big shoes to fill,” said Worthy, currently a Lakers…

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NBA — Spurs culture is high aspiration for Lakers rebuild

LOS ANGELES — The fourth-quarter heists came in quick succession, three in a span of less than two minutes. First, Larry Nance Jr. swatted an entry pass intended for LaMarcus Aldridge out of the air as the Los Angeles Lakers clinged to a two-point lead. Three possessions later, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope leapt into the passing lane like a cornerback and snatched a dish from Patty Mills then raced the sideline for a breakaway dunk. The next trip down, Nance did much the same at nearly the identical spot on the floor,…

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