Professional basketball

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, front, exchanges words with Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, back, as Denver center Nikola Jokic looks on in the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, in Denver. The Nuggets won 109-98. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
December 15, 2018 - 2:45 am
DENVER (AP) — For all his offensive contributions and rebounding, Nikola Jokic's most important role in the end was peacemaker. Jokic scored 24 points, Jamal Murray had 19 and the Denver Nuggets beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 109-98 on Friday night after Murray and Russell Westbrook had a heated...
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Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson, center, drives to the basket between Sacramento Kings' Nemanja Bjelica, left, and Buddy Hield, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, in Sacramento, Calif. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
December 15, 2018 - 1:58 am
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Golden State coach Steve Kerr praised his team's smothering defense for providing the spark it needed to bounce back from a disappointing loss. He also chided the Warriors' offense for a lack of focus that made the a late run necessary. Not much is coming easy for the two-...
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Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, right, tries to get past Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Portland, Ore., Friday, Dec. 14, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
December 15, 2018 - 1:58 am
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A struggling Trail Blazers bench finally got rolling Friday night, setting a season high for points in a confidence-boosting win over the NBA-leading Toronto Raptors. Zach Collins scored 16 points and Seth Curry added a season-best 13, including three key 3-pointers early in...
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Indiana Pacers' Domantas Sabonis (11) and Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid (21) leap for a rebound during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, in Philadelphia. Indiana won 113-101. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
December 14, 2018 - 11:38 pm
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Bojan Bogdanovic excitedly slammed the ball to the floor as the final second ticked off and a stunned crowd headed for the exits. For the entire night, 76ers center Joel Embiid electrified Philadelphia fans with one of the best individual performances of the season. In the end,...
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Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) is fouled as he goes to the hoop against Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum (0) in the second quarter of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Dec. 14, 2018, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
December 14, 2018 - 10:52 pm
BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving credits Boston's defense for an offensive resurgence that has the Celtics riding the longest winning streak in the NBA. Irving scored 24 points in just three quarters, then rested in the fourth as the Celtics finished off a 129-108 rout of Atlanta on Friday night for...
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FILE - In this Monday, Aug. 20, 2018, file photo, police stand guard after the Confederate statue known as Silent Sam was toppled by protesters on campus at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, N.C. The board overseeing North Carolina’s public universities is meeting to decide the fate of "Silent Sam." The University of North Carolina System Board of Governors was meeting Friday, Dec. 14, to discuss a proposal to build a $5 million building to house the statue at UNC-Chapel Hill. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome, File)
December 14, 2018 - 5:34 pm
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — North Carolina's public university system rejected a proposal Friday to build a $5 million structure to house a toppled Confederate statue, opting instead to "go back to the drawing board" to figure out what to do with the monument. University of North Carolina System...
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Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki scores against the Phoenix Suns in the first half during an NBA basketball game, Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
December 14, 2018 - 2:03 am
PHOENIX (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki at last began his record-breaking 21st season with the Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night, coming off the bench in the first quarter of a 99-89 loss to the Phoenix Suns. No other NBA player has played that many seasons with the same team. "It is good to be back," he...
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Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) reacts after dunking the ball against the Los Angeles Lakers during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Dec. 13, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
December 14, 2018 - 12:11 am
HOUSTON (AP) — The Houston Rockets were clinging to a lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter on Thursday night when James Harden told coach Mike D'Antoni he needed to come out for a bit to rest — something the reigning MVP never does. D'Antoni was perfectly happy to fulfill Harden's...
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Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan, center, shouts at an official in the final seconds of the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons in Charlotte, N.C., Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. Officials ruled the Hornets had six players on the floor in the final second of the game, giving one free throw to Detroit. The Hornets won 108-107. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
December 13, 2018 - 1:14 pm
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Hornets owner Michael Jordan said it was "tap of endearment." After watching a bizarre ending to the Hornets' win against Detroit on Wednesday, a bewildered Jordan lightly smacked the back of second-year guard Malik Monk's head in closing seconds of the game. Jordan told The...
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Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka (9) celebrates with guard Kyle Lowry (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
December 13, 2018 - 3:02 am
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Minus their top player and with their coach still mourning his mother's death two days earlier, the Toronto Raptors put an emphatic stamp on a season sweep of Golden State. They did it with the two-time defending NBA champion Warriors nearly at full strength, too, a very...
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