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Mavs’ Luka Doncic — ‘A lot to learn’ after tough loss to Rockets

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The Dallas Mavericks' young stars, fresh off blowing a double-figure lead in the fourth quarter, tried to put a positive spin on their 153-149 overtime loss Friday night to the Houston Rockets."This one is, I would say, a great loss for us," Mavs center Kristaps Porzingis said after his 39-point, 16-rebound performance in their opener of the seeding schedule for the NBA restart in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. "We have to take lessons from this game. We have to look at the film and see what we could have done better at the end to close out the game. That's
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Basketball

Celtics’ Marcus Smart – Refs overturned call so Giannis Antetokounmpo wouldn’t foul out

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11:27 PM ETTim BontempsESPN Celtics guard Marcus Smart said that the referees gave him an "excuse" in explaining their decision to overturn a charge call against reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in the closing minutes of Boston's 119-112 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Friday night, a call that would have caused Antetokounmpo to foul out of the game."Wish we got a better one," Smart said when asked if he'd received an explanation for the call. "The excuse was I was late on drawing the charge."Quite frankly, I think we all know what that was about. It was Giannis' sixth
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Basketball

While starring in return, Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic worried for grandmother with COVID-19

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In what was already an emotional outing with it being his first official game back since breaking his leg in March 2019, Jusuf Nurkic revealed after the Portland Trail Blazers' 140-135 overtime victory Friday over the Memphis Grizzlies that his grandmother is in a coma with COVID-19."The last couple of days have been the toughest days of my life. My grandma got COVID and she's in a coma," Nurkic said. "I think people don't realize the s--- is real out there. We've been fortunate to be here in a safe environment, we're tested every day, but please take care of
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Basketball

David Griffin — Zion Williamson starting — not finishing — quarters part of Pelicans’ plan

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5:56 PM ETAndrew LopezESPN The way the New Orleans Pelicans handled the minutes of rookie forward Zion Williamson was seemingly the talk of the NBA on Thursday night as the league returned to play in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.On Friday, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin spoke to reporters to try to clear up the situation -- including why Williamson played only at the beginning of quarters and wasn't on the floor as the Utah Jazz took the lead in the fourth and ultimately handed New Orleans a loss."The reason they are taking place as they are
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Basketball

Deandre Ayton now ‘comfortable’ shooting from deep, hits 2 of 3 in Suns’ win

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7:46 PM ETAndrew LopezESPN When Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton first met with the media following the NBA's announcement that the season was restarting, he mentioned how much he had been working on his 3-point shot.Ayton said his shot from distance was falling like a "middy" -- a midrange jumper.Ever since the team has been in Orlando, Florida, Ayton has made good on his shot. He nailed both of his 3-point attempts in the Suns' scrimmage games and continued his long-distance success on Friday evening as Phoenix opened seeding-game play with a 125-112 win over the Washington Wizards. The 2019
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Basketball

Kings player to be cleared after inconclusive COVID-19 test result

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LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- A Sacramento Kings player had an inconclusive coronavirus test this week but was ultimately cleared for Friday's game against the San Antonio Spurs, coach Luke Walton told reporters.Sources told ESPN that the player had to quarantine for two days after the inconclusive test -- or "false positive" -- Wednesday, but successive negative results Thursday and Friday allowed for his availability against the Spurs on Friday."(An inconclusive test), it's bound to happen," Walton said. "It will probably happen again to someone else while we are out here, but the player is back with us and we
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Basketball

Capital One Arena ready to take cash bets at box office

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The box office at Capital One Arena in Washington is being transformed into a sportsbook, complete with betting windows and self-serve kiosks, and will begin taking cash bets Friday, a first for an American sports venue.Beginning at 4 p.m., Friday, bookmaker William Hill U.S. will operate seven betting windows and nine kiosks at the arena's box office, taking wagers on professional and collegiate sports.The box office will serve as a temporary space while construction on a permanent sportsbook inside the arena continues. In the meantime, the sportsbook will be open seven days a week with normal operating hours of 11
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Basketball

Stanford freshman Tyrell Terry to stay in 2020 NBA draft pool

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Stanford Cardinal freshman guard Tyrell Terry will keep his name in the 2020 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Friday."After talking with those closest to me and careful consideration, I came to the conclusion that taking this next step is something that I'm ready for," Terry said. "I'm confident in my game and ready to compete at the highest level, against the best players in the world, and to learn from the best coaches in the world. I still plan on continuing my education and getting my degree from Stanford. But for now, I'm ready for this challenge".The NCAA has
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Basketball

How to beat the Bucks

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The Milwaukee Bucks are big favorites to come out of the Eastern Conference. According to Caesars Sportsbook, they enter the bubble at minus-230 to reach the NBA Finals in October.Still, respect from Vegas is one thing, but execution in Orlando is another. While the Bucks have the league's best record, the reigning MVP and the top defense, these guys are beatable. Just ask the defending champion Toronto Raptors, who knocked them out last year with a simple blueprint that could repeat itself this year.With the Boston Celtics taking on the Bucks in each team's restart debut Friday (6:30 p.m. ET
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Basketball

What Jusuf Nurkic gained from losing a year to injury

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IT WAS THE kind of play people see once and vow never to watch again.One second, Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic was flying through the air, trying to tip in an offensive rebound at the end of a double-overtime game against the Brooklyn Nets on March 25, 2019. The next, he was lying on the ground, writhing in pain, his lower leg obviously broken.For the first month, Nurkic didn't watch video of the play. He already remembered so many strange events from that night. The baseline referee accidentally kicking his foot as he tried to step over him. The
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