NBA Capsules: Evans, Kings stun Spurs in final minute
SAN ANTONIO (AP) — In an already tumultuous season for the Sacramento Kings, road trips have been especially brutal. They finally caught a break away from home, in perhaps the most unlikely place.
Tyreke Evans had 23 points and 11 rebounds, including a 22-foot jumper with 47.2 seconds left to put the Kings ahead for good in a surprising 88-86 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night.
The Spurs had been 9-0 at home, best in the NBA. Sacramento, meanwhile, had been abysmal away from home, getting blown out by an average of 23 points in its seven road losses.
"It just shows you the type of team we've got. We've got all the pieces to this puzzle," Evans said. "We've got big men, we've got guards. We just have to play hard for all 48 minutes. It shows the type of team we can be."
DeMarcus Cousins had 17 points and 13 rebounds and Marcus Thornton also scored 17 in Sacramento's second road victory of the season. The Kings are still trying to sort themselves out after coach Paul Westphal was fired this month following his escalating feud with Cousins, and Sacramento seemed to savor this win as if it was needed.
Evans paced around the court with both his arms raised. His teammates lingered long on the floor with wide smiles and high-fives as the stunned Spurs walked to their locker room.
Tony Parker led the Spurs with 24 points. San Antonio led 84-78 with 4 minutes to go but missed its last five shots, including Danny Green badly airballing a short runner as time expired.
Green said the play was the same one as a spectacular give-and-go with Tim Duncan that worked in Orlando two nights earlier. But this time Green, a former deep reserve who's been thrust into a significant role because Manu Ginobili broke his hand, took the shot himself instead of tossing it back to the perennial All-Star.
"I had Timmy for a drop-off but I wasn't sure if I had enough time left," said Green, who finished with eight points. "I let it go, and it was a little short."
It was the end of a disappointing final minute for Green, who was standing in front of Evans as the Kings star pulled up for the winning shot.
San Antonio started 9-0 at home for the third time in franchise history. Now only Chicago (6-0) remains unbeaten at home.
The Spurs hardly gave the game away. Sacramento led the entire way before Spurs center Tiago Splitter finally put San Antonio ahead with just under 10 minutes left.
Splitter, Duncan and DeJuan Blair all had 10 points for the Spurs. Duncan, coming off a punishing back-to-back in Florida, didn't play in the fourth quarter save for the final 5.5 seconds.
Jason Thompson added 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings. Evans had seven assists.
The Kings nearly let this upset slip away. They built a surprising 15-point lead early in the second quarter that quickly evaporated thanks to seven consecutive missed shots and bad decisions. Among them was Cousins getting a technical foul for protesting his third personal — despite teammate J.J. Hickson racing toward referee Ed Malloy in hopes of talking him out of a whistle.
He didn't make it in time.
"I gave him a chance," Malloy told Kings coach Keith Smart.
A chance is rarely what the Kings have had on the road. The NBA's youngest team was routed by 39 points in Dallas last week.
Four of Sacramento's next five games are on the road, too. It's one of the myriad challenges facing Smart, who took over Jan. 5 after Sacramento fired Westphal. The Kings are 4-5 since.
"We can make plays, as long as we keep our composure, play together, play for each other," Cousins said. "The thing about this team is we're very talented, we have all the pieces. We have to keep growing each game."
Notes: Sacramento C/F Chuck Hayes missed his eighth straight game with a dislocated left shoulder, but Smart said his big man is finally able to sleep through the night without pain. Smart said he expects Hayes to resume contact in practice in the next few days. … The Spurs hadn't lost to the Kings at home since 2006.
Other NBA Capsules
Holiday, Young lead Sixers in rout of Hawks
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Jrue Holiday had 16 points and 11 assists, and Thaddeus Young scored 20 points to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 90-76 win over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.
Andre Iguodala scored 11 points and Elton Brand grabbed 16 rebounds to help the 76ers win for the ninth time in 11 games and improve to 7-1 at home.
The Sixers left a dismal first half in the dust with a sensational third quarter. Jodie Meeks hit a pair of 3-pointers and Iguodala rocked nearly 18,000 fans with a pair of thunderous dunks during a 14-0 run.
In a game between teams that started the night as division leaders, the Hawks were in control until the 76ers found their way. Philadelphia pulled ahead by 18 in the fourth.
Ex-Sixer Willie Green scored 14 points for the Hawks, who had won four straight. Atlanta had been perfect since All-Star center Al Horford tore his left pectoral muscle, an injury that required surgery and could keep him out for the rest of the season.
MAGIC 92, LAKERS 80
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Dwight Howard scored 21 points and grabbed 23 rebounds, and Orlando overcame a tough shooting performance to beat Los Angeles.
Jameer Nelson added 17 points and nine assists, and J.J. Redick had 15 points as the Magic had all five starters in double figures.
Kobe Bryant scored 30 points and Pau Gasol 13 for the Lakers, who lost their second straight and posted a season low in points to drop to 1-6 on the road this season.
The Magic led by as many as 23, helped by Los Angeles' second consecutive night shooting under 40 percent.
Orlando, which was slightly better at 41 percent but connected on 12 3-pointers, has beaten the Lakers in six of their last nine regular-season meetings.
TIMBERWOLVES 101, CLIPPERS 98
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin Love hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer after Ricky Rubio's tying 3 with 20 seconds to play, lifting Minnesota over Los Angeles.
Darko Milicic had 22 points and seven rebounds for Minnesota before fouling out with 1:01 left, and Love had 17 points and 14 rebounds. The Timberwolves have won three straight for the first time since a four-game stretch from Jan. 29 to Feb. 6, 2010. After that, they lost 29 of their final 31 games.
Rubio, Minnesota's rookie point guard, missed his first 10 field goal attempts before draining a clutch 3 from in front of the Clippers' bench.
Chauncey Billups missed a driving layup against Rubio coming out of a timeout, and Love got the rebound before Minnesota called a timeout with 1.5 seconds on the clock.
The loss snapped a seven-game home winning streak for the Clippers.
Mo Williams scored 21 of his 25 points off the bench in the first half for Los Angeles before getting ejected midway through the fourth quarter. Blake Griffin had 21 points and 10 rebounds.
BULLS 114, CAVALIERS 75
CLEVELAND (AP) — Luol Deng scored 21 points, Carlos Boozer added 19 and 14 rebounds, and Chicago managed easily without superstar Derrick Rose in embarrassing Cleveland.
Rose missed his third straight game with a strained left big toe, but the Bulls barely missed the NBA's reigning MVP and handed the Cavs their worst home loss. Cleveland lost by 35 at home in 1990 and 2001.
Chicago, which has the league's best record at 14-3, led by 42 points in the fourth quarter when all the Bulls' starters were lounging in sweats.
Anderson Varejao scored 14 points and rookie Kyrie Irving added 13 for the Cavs.
C.J. Watson started for Rose and scored 13 of his 15 points in the first half.
SUNS 79, CELTICS 71
BOSTON (AP) — Marcin Gortat scored 24 points with 12 rebounds and Steve Nash had 11 points and nine assists to lead Phoenix over Boston.
The Suns won their second straight after a five-game losing streak.
Playing without point guard Rajon Rondo, the team's most consistent starter this year, the Celtics had their lowest-scoring game of the season. They lost for the sixth time in seven games and fell to 0-4 against the Western Conference.
Ray Allen led the Celtics with 14 points and six rebounds.
TRAIL BLAZERS 94, RAPTORS 84
TORONTO (AP) — LaMarcus Aldridge had a season-high 33 points and a career-best 23 rebounds as Portland handed Toronto its seventh consecutive loss.
Raymond Felton scored 14 points, and Marcus Camby and Gerald Wallace each had 10 rebounds as Portland won its seventh straight over Toronto. The Trail Blazers have not lost to the Raptors since a 101-100 overtime defeat on Dec. 22, 2006.
Aldridge had 23 points and 11 rebounds in the first half.
James Johnson scored a career-high 23 points for the Raptors, who have lost nine of 10.
NUGGETS 108, WIZARDS 104
WASHINGTON (AP) — Al Harrington scored a season-high 29 points, and Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson each had 21 to lead Denver past Washington.
It was the fifth win in six games for the Nuggets, who played without Nene due to a bruised right heel. He's expected back Saturday in New York.
After Arron Afflalo gave Denver a 100-98 lead on a layup with 2:07 to play, Harrington hit a 3-pointer with 1:14 left to make it 103-98.
Washington dropped to 2-13 and failed to post its first two-game winning streak. Last season, it took the Wizards 39 games to win two in a row.
Nick Young lead Washington with 25 points. John Wall had 13 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds — narrowly missing his second career triple-double.
BUCKS 100, KNICKS 86
NEW YORK (AP) — Brandon Jennings scored a season-high 36 points and Milwaukee won on the road for the first time this season.
The Bucks won for the sixth time in their last seven trips to New York, where they outplayed a Knicks team that has lost five straight overall. New York heard frequent boos after turning the ball over or missing shots right at the rim all night.
Milwaukee snapped a three-game skid and improved to 1-8 on the road. The Bucks dominated the second half behind Jennings, who loves to make the Knicks pay for passing on him with the No. 8 pick in the 2009 draft.
Carmelo Anthony scored 35 points for the Knicks before he was ejected with 1:33 left after picking up his second technical foul.
GRIZZLIES 98, PISTONS 81
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Rudy Gay scored 24 points and surging Memphis held off a second-half rally by Detroit.
The Grizzlies, who have won five straight, led by 23 in the third quarter before the Pistons fought back. Detroit cut the deficit to six in the fourth, but Memphis pulled away after that.
Rookie guard Brandon Knight scored 22 points for Detroit, which has lost 10 of 11. The Pistons were without guards Rodney Stuckey (groin) and Will Bynum (right foot), as well as forward Charlie Villanueva (right ankle).
Marc Gasol had 17 points for Memphis, and Mike Conley added 14 points and 11 assists. The Grizzlies improved to 7-3 since Zach Randolph went out with a torn MCL.
PACERS 94, WARRIORS 91
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — George Hill scored on a three-point play with 1.8 seconds remaining and Indiana held off a late charge by Golden State.
Hill stole the ball from Monta Ellis, then raced the length of the floor for a tiebreaking layup. Hill was fouled by Stephen Curry and made the free throw for the final margin.
Curry's 29-footer at the buzzer bounced off the back of the rim.
Danny Granger had 26 points and Roy Hibbert added a career-high 16 rebounds for Indiana, which has won four of five. The Pacers (10-4) are off to their best start since opening the 2003-04 season 13-1.
Ellis finished with 25 points and six assists, while Curry had 12 points in his first game in more than two weeks.
Other NBA News
Howard, Smith downplay trade ahead of Lakers game
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Magic fans will get a glimpse of the present and a possible future Friday when Orlando hosts the Los Angeles Lakers.
CLEVELAND (AP) — Derrick Rose's injured toe is better, just not good enough to risk playing on. The league's reigning MVP sat out his third straight game Friday night with a sprained left big toe, an injury he first sustained on Jan. 10 at Minnesota. Before the Bulls played the Cleveland Cavaliers without Rose, coach Tom Thibodeau said his star point guard has improved.
"Each day he's moving in the right direction," Thibodeau said, "and when he's ready to go, he'll go."
Rose did not participate in the morning shootaround and he did not warm up with his teammates. Rose was not available for comment. He entered the locker room briefly and walked past reporters into the trainer's room.
Cavaliers coach Byron Scott joked that he was hoping Rose would be out.
"My prayers were answered," Scott said.
The Bulls are taking a cautious approach with Rose, who is averaging 20.8 points and 8.7 assists. Rose hasn't played since last weekend against Toronto. Even without their top player, the Bulls (13-3) blew out Phoenix 118-97 on Tuesday. C.J. Watson started for Rose and scored 23 points. Watson will also take Rose's spot against the Cavs.
Thibodeau believes the Bulls have enough depth and talent to hold their own until Rose comes back.
"Here's the thing about our team," he said. "We have more than enough to win with. If he's hurt and he's injured, he doesn't play. If he can tolerate the pain and feels good enough then he'll play. That's the way it is. This is the NBA."
Depleted Pistons sign player from D-League
AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — The short-handed Detroit Pistons have reached into the NBA's D-League to fill their depleted backcourt.
The Pistons signed guard Walker Russell Jr. from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. Detroit coach Lawrence Frank said Russell should see minutes Friday night against Memphis.
Guards Rodney Stuckey (groin) and Will Bynum (foot) were not available, leaving the Pistons with just three healthy backcourt players.
Ben Gordon and rookie Brandon Knight were expected to start for Detroit, which also was missing forward Charlie Villanueva because of an ankle injury.
Russell is the son of former Pistons player Walker D. Russell. The younger Russell was waived by Detroit before the start of the season. He led the D-League with 9.9 assists and averaged 16.6 points in 16 games this season in Fort Wayne.
Nuggets' Nene out with bruised right heel
WASHINGTON (AP) — Denver Nuggets forward Nene is out of Friday's game against the Washington Wizards with a bruised right heel. Nene previously missed three games with a bruised left foot.
Coach George Karl said he expects Nene to play against former teammate Carmelo Anthony when the Nuggets visit the New York Knicks on Saturday night. Kosta Koufos will start in Nene's place and Timofey Mozgov will return to the starting lineup. Mozgov started the first 14 games, but missed Wednesday's game in Philadelphia with a strained back.
Rudy Fernandez, who's missed the last two games with a strained right Achilles, is expected to play against Washington, Karl said.
Denver is playing four games in five nights.
Celtics G Rondo to miss Suns game with sore wrist
BOSTON (AP) — Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers says point guard Rajon Rondo will sit out Friday night's game against Phoenix because of a sore right wrist.
Rondo was injured Wednesday night when he took a hard foul from Toronto's Linas Kleiza while going to the basket. An MRI was negative.
Rivers says Rondo is hoping to be back for Sunday's game against the Washington Wizards. But the coach isn't putting a timetable on Rondo's return. Rondo is averaging 15 points, 9.4 assists and 5.1 rebounds this season.
Bucks' Dunleavy, Mbah a Moute ready; Jackson out
NEW YORK (AP) — Mike Dunleavy and Luc Mbah a Moute are back from injuries for the Milwaukee Bucks, but Stephen Jackson sat out their game in New York after missing the morning shootaround.
Dunleavy missed nine games with groin pain, while Mbah a Moute was sidelined with right knee tendinitis since Jan. 5. Jackson overslept Friday morning and coach Scott Skiles said he wouldn't play. Shaun Livingston started in his place at shooting guard.
NBA D-League News
Fort Wayne Mad Ants hire Laettner as asst. coach
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — Former Duke All-American Christian Laettner has been hired as assistant coach of the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Mad Ants.
The NBA Development League team said Friday it had hired 42-year-old Laettner and he will be working full time with head coach Steve Gansey. The team says Laettner joined the Mad Ants in Sioux Falls and would be on the bench for Friday night's game against the Skyforce.
Laettner is best remembered for his last-second shot in the East Regional finals of the 1992 NCAA tournament that clinched Duke's win over Kentucky. He was picked third overall in the 1992 NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves and played professionally from 1992-2005.
Laettner says he looks forward to helping developing players reach the next level.
U.S. women's hoops picks three assistants
Jen Gillom has entered an exclusive club.
The 1988 Olympic gold medalist will be an assistant on the women's basketball team for the London Olympics, making her just the fourth person to be both a player and coach in the games. Pat Summitt, Anne Donovan and Dawn Staley were the other three — all of them won gold medals in both roles.
Gillom is joined on the London staff by Doug Bruno and Marynell Meadors. The trio assisting head coach Geno Auriemma was announced Friday at a press conference in Chicago.
"It has been a long time, hasn't it?" said Gillom, hired as an assistant coach by the Washington Mystics on Tuesday. "When I played on the 1988 Olympic team and brought home a gold medal, it was a dream come true. Returning to the world stage as a coach completes a basketball journey that has come full circle for me. That brings joy to my heart."
Bruno's 21st-ranked DePaul team will face No. 3 Connecticut and Auriemma on Saturday night in a Big East game. He admitted that he first got interested in USA basketball in 1959 when his father took him to the Pan-Am games in Chicago, where he saw Oscar Robertson and Jerry West play. Bruno has had a successful career at DePaul and got started with U.S. basketball when he coached the 2006 Under-18 team to a gold medal and then won the Under-19 World Championships the next year.
"USA basketball is a special, special organization," Bruno said. "You love this country."
Meadors guided the Atlanta Dream to the WNBA finals the past two seasons.
"We're going out to win the gold and keep it in the United States," she said.
The three were all part of the staff that won the FIBA World Championships in 2010 to earn the U.S. an automatic bid to the London Games.
"Having continuity is great for the team," said Tamika Catchings, who has won a gold medal for the U.S. in the past three Olympics. "We've built relationships with them over the past three years and it would be strange if they weren't around for London."
It's been rare that the assistants from the world championship team didn't go on to be assistants for the Olympics.
The U.S. has won the last four gold medals and owns a 33-game winning streak in the Olympics, dating to the 1992 bronze medal game.
The London Olympic team will be selected this spring from the 27-member national team pool that includes Catchings, Diana Taurasi, Sue Bird, Maya Moore, Candace Parker, Sylvia Fowles, and college junior Brittney Griner.
The Olympics begin July 27.