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‘I Love the Game, I Missed it So Much’


Kyrie Irving made 10 of 11 shots after sitting out two months with a shoulder injury that he had feared could result in a season-ending surgery, scoring 21 points in his return to action Sunday night.

“It’s not really a surprise for me,” Irving said of his dazzling performance, which led the Brooklyn Nets past the visiting Atlanta Hawks 108-86.

The All-Star point guard got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24 and returned to full practice this week.

Per The NY Post:

“I missed the game, missed these fans … I’m grateful to be out here, I worked extremely hard to get back,” Irving said in an on-court TV interview. “I love the game, I missed it so much.”

After having missed 26 straight games, Irving showed no rust in his first action since Nov. 14. He had 21 points, four rebounds and three assists in 20 uber-efficient minutes with his 10-for-11 shooting performance the best percentage of his career.

The Nets held Atlanta — who played without Trae Young — to 33 percent shooting, and a horrid 12 of 48 from deep.

“We can be very dangerous,” Irving said. “We’ve got to play together. If we do the right things on the defensive end, we’ll be OK.”

Related Post Up: Kyrie Irving Leads Nets to Win Over Hawks in Return 😤





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How to watch Rockets vs. Timberwolves: NBA live stream info, TV channel, time, game odds


Who’s Playing

Minnesota @ Houston

Current Records: Minnesota 15-22; Houston 25-12

What to Know

The Minnesota Timberwolves have quite the challenge ahead of them as they’re expected to be blown off the court. They will take on the Houston Rockets at 5 p.m. ET on Saturday at Toyota Center. The Timberwolves have some work to do to even out the 4-16 series between these two since January of 2016, but a win here would be a good start.

While not quite a landslide, the contest between Minnesota and the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday was still a pretty decisive one as Minnesota wrapped it up with a 116-102 victory. It was another big night for SG Andrew Wiggins, who had 23 points and eight assists.

Houston was down 89-67 at the end of the third quarter, which was just too much to recover from.

Minnesota is now 15-22 while Houston sits at 25-12. A pair of offensive numbers to keep in mind before tip-off: The Timberwolves have only been able to knock down 43.40% percent of their shots, which is the fourth lowest field goal percentage in the league. To make matters even worse for the Timberwolves, the Rockets rank second in the league when it comes to points per game, with 118.7 on average. So the cards are definitely stacked in the Rockets’ favor.

How To Watch

  • When: Saturday at 5 p.m. ET
  • Where: Toyota Center — Houston, Texas
  • TV: ATTSN Southwest
  • Online streaming: fuboTV (Try for free)
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $28.60

Odds

The Rockets are a big 11-point favorite against the Timberwolves, according to the latest NBA odds.

Vegas was right in line with the betting community on this one, as the game opened as an 11-point spread, and stayed right there.

Over/Under: 228

See NBA picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Houston have won 16 out of their last 20 games against Minnesota.

  • Nov 16, 2019 – Houston 125 vs. Minnesota 105
  • Mar 17, 2019 – Houston 117 vs. Minnesota 102
  • Feb 13, 2019 – Minnesota 121 vs. Houston 111
  • Dec 03, 2018 – Minnesota 103 vs. Houston 91
  • Apr 25, 2018 – Houston 122 vs. Minnesota 104
  • Apr 23, 2018 – Houston 119 vs. Minnesota 100
  • Apr 21, 2018 – Minnesota 121 vs. Houston 105
  • Apr 18, 2018 – Houston 102 vs. Minnesota 82
  • Apr 15, 2018 – Houston 104 vs. Minnesota 101
  • Mar 18, 2018 – Houston 129 vs. Minnesota 120
  • Feb 23, 2018 – Houston 120 vs. Minnesota 102
  • Feb 13, 2018 – Houston 126 vs. Minnesota 108
  • Jan 18, 2018 – Houston 116 vs. Minnesota 98
  • Apr 12, 2017 – Houston 123 vs. Minnesota 118
  • Feb 25, 2017 – Houston 142 vs. Minnesota 130
  • Jan 11, 2017 – Minnesota 119 vs. Houston 105
  • Dec 17, 2016 – Houston 111 vs. Minnesota 109
  • Apr 11, 2016 – Houston 129 vs. Minnesota 105
  • Mar 18, 2016 – Houston 116 vs. Minnesota 111
  • Jan 13, 2016 – Houston 107 vs. Minnesota 104





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Arizona vs. Oregon State odds, line: 2020 college basketball picks, Jan. 12 predictions from proven model


The 24th-ranked Arizona Wildcats will take on the Oregon State Beavers at 10 p.m. ET on Sunday at Gill Coliseum. Oregon State is 11-4 overall and 7-1 at home, while Arizona is 11-4 overall and 0-2 on the road. Arizona is just 1-8 in its last nine road games, however the Wildcats are a perfect 7-0 in their last seven meetings against the Beavers. Oregon State, meanwhile, has won nine of its last 12 games overall. The Wildcats are favored by four-points in the latest Oregon State vs. Arizona odds, while the over-under is set at 144. Before entering any Arizona vs. Oregon State picks, you’ll want to see the college basketball predictions from the advanced computer model at SportsLine.

The model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, has crushed its top-rated college basketball picks against the spread the past three years, returning $2,770 to $100 players. Anybody who followed it during that span has seen huge returns.

Now, it has simulated Oregon State vs. Arizona 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning over, and it also says one side of the spread has all the value. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

Oregon State entered its contest against Arizona State on Thursday without any home losses — but there’s a first time for everything. The Beavers were within striking distance but couldn’t close the gap as they fell 82-76 to ASU. Oregon State’s loss shouldn’t obscure the performances of forward Tres Tinkle, who had 22 points along with six rebounds, and guard Ethan Thompson, who finished with 22 points.

Meanwhile, Arizona needed just one more bucket to secure the win on Thursday, but the Wildcats couldn’t get it done before the clock hit zeroes and lost 74-73 to Oregon. Despite the defeat, the Wildcats had strong showings from guard Josh Green, who had 17 points in addition to five boards, and forward Zeke Nnaji, who posted a double-double with 14 boards and 11 points.

A pair of offensive stats to keep in mind before locking in your picks: The Beavers enter Sunday’s matchup with 48.10 field goal percentage, good for 18th best in college basketball. The Wildcats have displayed some offensive firepower of their own as they come into the game boasting the ninth most points per game in college basketball at 82.4. 

So who wins Oregon State vs. Arizona? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Arizona vs. Oregon State spread you need to jump on Sunday, all from the model that has crushed its college basketball picks.





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Danny Ainge Won’t Trade ‘Young Assets to Get Some Veteran Player’


Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge feels no urgency to trade away his “young assets to get some veteran player.”

With next month’s NBA trade dealine looming, Ainge says Boston will talk to rival teams, but likely won’t pull the trigger on any major swaps.

At 26-11, Boston has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Per The Boston Globe:

“There’s a lot of really good players in the NBA, so there’s always players that you can potentially get,” Ainge said. “But I don’t go into a trade deadline with any more stress or pressure that I have to do something to get better. I don’t see it like that. If a deal is there that we like, we do it. If there’s no deals that we like, we don’t do it.”

Ainge made it clear he’s not interested in trading a core of his future — let’s say Marcus Smart or one of his young players — in a package for a player on an expiring contract who will play in Boston roughly two months.

“I don’t think I’m looking at any short-term urgency to trade away all my young assets to get some veteran player,” he said. “But we’re looking. We’ll have conversations before trade deadline like we do every year.

“We like our players. I like all the guys on our team right now. We’re excited about them and each one of them have a bright future. But sometimes you tweak your roster for a better fit, better balance. But at the same time you can also mess your roster up by making changes, too, because these guys get along and play hard together and they like each other and they know our system.

“Change for the sake of change is not what I’m looking for. Change for the sake of progress is what we’re always looking for.”

Related ‘It Was My Fault’: Danny Ainge Blames Himself for Celtics’ Struggles Last Season





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All-Star guard Kyrie Irving goes 10-for-11 from the field, helps lead Nets to blowout win in first game back


After missing 26 games with a right shoulder injury, Nets star guard Kyrie Irving was back in the starting lineup for Brooklyn when they hosted the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night, and despite the long layoff Irving looked a lot like his usual self as he helped the Nets secure a 108-86 victory. The All-Star guard dropped 21 points against the Hawks while missing just one shot from the field (10-of-11). He also added 4 rebounds, 3 assists, and a steal. Irving played just 20 minutes in the game, but that was mainly the result of the fact that the Nets held a commanding lead for the vast majority of the contest and not any conditioning issue, as Irving looked like he could have played more after nearly two months on the sideline.  

“I really missed the game of basketball,” Irving said after the game. “I’m grateful to be out here. I worked extremely hard to get back. We got a long season ahead of us, a lot more goals to accomplish, and it started tonight. … I love the game man, I missed it so much.” 

Irving had been progressing toward a return for quite some time, as he began playing 2-on-2 a couple of weeks ago, and participated in a full practice, including 5-on-5 contract drills, on Thursday. The Nets played .500 basketball (13-13) in his absence. Surgery was on the table for Irving, but he opted instead for a cortisone shot so that he could return to the court quicker, though he did seriously consider having the procedure done. 

“Yeah, it definitely crossed my mind,” Irving said of surgery last week, via NBA.com.  “I wouldn’t be honest with you if I didn’t tell you that, but I felt that the next step in the progression is to get the cortisone and see how it responds and then move on from that point… You either continue to get cortisone shots, which is obviously detrimental to your health in your muscles, or you go get arthroscopic surgery. For me, it’s just about being able to go back out there after the right amount of rehab, the right amount of rest, recovery, and see what we can do for the rest of the season and then reevaluate after a few months.” 

The Nets are obviously happy to have Irving back out on the floor considering the fact that he is one of the most dynamic guards in the entire league, and that they made a major investment in him over the offseason. The Nets currently sit eighth in a surprisingly crowded Eastern Conference playoff picture, and with Irving back they will try to climb up the standings. 

Irving’s return does create an interesting dilemma for Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, though. Spencer Dinwiddie had been playing some All-Star-caliber ball while starting at the point position in Irving’s absence. On the season he’s averaging 22.5 points, 6.4 assists and 3.2 rebounds per game — numbers that represent career-highs for the sixth-year guard, and his play has been a big reason that the Nets have been able to stay in the playoff picture. Now that Irving is back, does Atkinson move Dinwiddie back to a reserve role, or does he start Irving and Dinwiddie together in Brooklyn’s backcourt and make adjustments elsewhere? 

Atkinson has certainly considered his options, but he hasn’t committed to any specific rotations yet. Instead, it’s likely that Brooklyn’s rotation will be fluid for a while, as Atkinson tinkers to see which combinations of players work best together. On Sunday night, he started Irving and Dinwiddie together while bumping Caris LeVert down to the bench. 

“That’d be a tough tandem to match up with,” Atkinson said of playing Irving and Dinwiddie together last week. “And Spencer can obviously guard off the ball easy — he’s 6’6″ — so that’s good, too. And Spencer’s a two-way player. It’s exciting to think what it could be. You could have Caris, Kyrie and Spencer. You know, that was kind of obviously in the original plans. You could play them as a finishing lineup. I wouldn’t hesitate to do that at all. My job at the end of the day is to do the best for the team, what’s going to fit best for the team concept.” 

No matter what Atkinson does, Dinwiddie’s usage and opportunities are going to drop, as Irving excels with the ball in his hands, and he will have it, a lot (Dinwiddie scored just seven points on seven shots on Sunday night). Overall though, the Nets’ outlook is obviously improved, as teams will now have to account for two dynamic guards when they play them. Brooklyn won’t reach its full potential as a team until Kevin Durant joins the active roster next season, but Irving’s return should certainly provide them with a big boost for the rest of this season. 





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Michigan State vs. Purdue score, takeaways: Boilermakers rout No. 8 Spartans in another Big Ten upset


A weekend full of puzzling outcomes in the Big Ten continued Sunday as unranked Purdue knocked off No. 8 Michigan State 71-42. The Boilermakers became the fourth team from within the conference to win as an underdog over the weekend, joining Iowa, Indiana and Wisconsin. This was the only outcome of the four, however, that didn’t feel like an underdog won.

Purdue went wire-to-wire in leading the Spartans in an impressive, thorough beatdown. The Boilermakers jumped out to a 19-4 lead early and led by as many as 22 points in the first half and 29 in the second, putting enough cushion in the lead early to make it an insurmountable deficit for Michigan State. Sparty did make it mildly interesting by cutting the lead to 11 in the second half, but Purdue fed off the energy of the home crowd and never flinched as it cruised to the victory.

Purdue’s win is impressive on its own, but its energy all the more so considering Thursday it went to two overtimes before falling 84-78 to Michigan — the second consecutive Big Ten loss for the Boilermakers. Michigan State also played Thursday but took care of Minnesota 74-58 in regulation. Based off how each team came out Sunday, you’d have thought Michigan State was the one coming off a double-OT outing and not Purdue. Sparty looked flat and lethargic early, struggling to generate offense while Purdue made shot after shot in a game that felt and looked more like a 40-minute party than anything.

Purdue big man Trevion Williams posted a career-high 36 points in the loss to the Wolverines and picked up where he left off against Michigan State. He scored a game-high 16 points on 7-of-14 shooting, adding seven rebounds and four assists — all team-highs. Evan Boudreaux added 11 points and Sasha Stefanovic scored 10 points.

The stars for Michigan State didn’t shine in the same way they have of late, which played a big role in Purdue’s success. Preseason Player of the Year frontrunner Cassius Winston scored just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting, going 0-fer from the 3-point line on five attempts. Xavier Tillman, Sparty’s big man who has averaged 18.3 points and 11.25 rebounds in his last four outings, managed just eight points and eight boards.

The loss snaps Michigan State’s eight-game winning streak that dated back to early December and hands it a first tally in the loss column in league play (5-1). Purdue improves to .500 in league play (3-3), snapping its two-game losing skid with an emphatic victory. Let’s have a look now at some of the biggest takeaways from the Big Ten upset on Sunday. 

1. Purdue’s hot and cold home/road splits: Purdue is one of the toughest teams in the Big Ten to crack this season. It has looked top-15 quality, like it did Sunday in a dominant win over a top-10 team, and it has looked lethargic in baffling losses to Nebraska and Illinois.

The way in which those losses came are all the more confounding: Purdue lost 63-37 to Illinois just a week ago and 70-56 to Nebraska a month ago. Neither were close. Most teams in college hoops are better at home than on the road, but the contrast when you look at Purdue’s splits are pretty jarring. This team’s got to find a way to escape with a few roadies. If it can’t, it may be looking at missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.

2. Purdue finding its balance: As a member of the USA U10 men’s national team last summer, it was evident Trevion Williams was headed for a sophomore star turn. He helped lead the team to a gold medal by averaging 8.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game, including a 17/12 outing against Latvia. The flashes of stardom were real. Now, just in time for the meat of league play, he’s realizing some of that talent. Purdue is unleashing him and giving him more freedom in its offense, and the results the last two games — a near-road upset of Michigan and an outright upset of Michigan State — suggest Williams will continue to be the focal point of the offense.

3. Nothing working for Sparty: It can happen to bad teams, and it can happen to good teams: bad outings are bound to come about. For Sparty, they picked a bad day to have a bad day. They hit a season-low two 3-pointers (ot of 16 attempts), hit just 35.3% from the field, and committed 18 turnovers — all season-worst stats. 

Even for a Hall of Fame coach that’s been around in this role since the mid-90s, it was up there amongst the all-time brutal performances.

“Probably the worst beating I’ve taken as a coach,” said Izzo after the game, who added that Purdue’s resolve after a double OT loss several days ago was “Gene Keady-ish.”

“I give them a lot of credit,” Izzo added. “They were a little desperate after a tough loss at Michigan and after getting beat like they did against Illinois. It doesn’t surprise me that Matt [Painter] would do this.”





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Wiz Ink Anzejs Pasecniks To Standard Deal


The Washington Wizards have seen enough from Latvian prospect Anzejs Pasecniks to convert his two-way contract into a standard deal, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reports.

The 24-year-old has chipped in admirably for the injury ravaged big league squad, averaging 8.2 points and 6.2 rebounds in just over 22 minutes of action per night.

Pasecniks will fill in the roster vacancy created by the team’s forthcoming release of C.J. Miles.

Pasecniks was drafted by the Wizards in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft but played in Spain prior to the 2019-20 season.





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Clippers vs. Nuggets odds, line, spread: 2020 NBA picks, Jan. 12 predictions from proven computer model


The Los Angeles Clippers will take on the Denver Nuggets at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday at the Pepsi Center. Denver is 26-12 overall and 15-5 at home, while Los Angeles is 27-12 overall and 10-8 on the road. The Nuggets enter Sunday’s showdown having won 12 of their last 15 games at home. The Clippers, meanwhile, have covered the spread in seven of their last nine road games. Los Angeles is favored by one-point in the latest Nuggets vs. Clippers odds, while the over-under is set at 222.5. Before entering any Clippers vs. Nuggets picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the advanced computer model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and last season it returned a whopping $4,280 on its top-rated NBA spread and money line picks. It’s already returned almost $1,800 in profit on all its top-rated NBA picks during the 2019-20 season and entered Week 11 on a blistering 26-13 run on all top-rated NBA spread picks. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, it has simulated Nuggets vs. Clippers 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning under, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in well over 60 percent of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

Denver came up short against Cleveland on Saturday, falling 111-103. Denver’s loss shouldn’t obscure the performances of Nikola Jokic, who posted a double-double with 19 points and 12 boards along with five dimes, and Jamal Murray, who finished with 24 points in addition to five rebounds. Jokic enters Sunday’s showdown against the Clippers averaging 19.3 points, 9.7 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game, while Murray has scored 22 or more points in three of his last five outings. 

Meanwhile, Los Angeles beat Golden State 109-100 on Friday. It was another big night for Kawhi Leonard, who had 36 points and five assists along with nine rebounds. The Clippers are averaging 115.6 points per game on offense, the fourth-best mark in the NBA. However, Los Angeles has struggled against Denver in its most recent meetings. In fact, the Clippers are just 1-4 in their last five games against the Nuggets. 

So who wins Nuggets vs. Clippers? And which side of the spread hits in well over 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Clippers vs. Nuggets spread you need to jump on Sunday, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks





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Watch Oregon State vs. Arizona: TV channel, live stream info, start time


Who’s Playing

Arizona @ Oregon State

Current Records: Arizona 11-4; Oregon State 11-4

What to Know

The #24 Arizona Wildcats are 6-0 against the Oregon State Beavers since January of 2016, and they’ll have a chance to extend that success on Sunday. Arizona is on the road again on Sunday and play against Oregon State at 10 p.m. ET at Gill Coliseum. The Wildcats don’t have the home-court advantage, but they do enjoy a 4-point advantage in the spread.

The Wildcats needed just one more bucket to secure the win last week, but they couldn’t get it done before the clock hit zeroes and lost 74-73 to the Oregon Ducks. Arizona’s loss shouldn’t obscure the performances of G Josh Green, who had 17 points in addition to five boards, and F Zeke Nnaji, who posted a double-double on 14 rebounds and 11 points. Nnaji has posted a double-double in each of his past four games.

Meanwhile, Oregon State entered their matchup against the Arizona State Sun Devils last Thursday without any home losses — but there’s a first time for everything. Oregon State was within striking distance but couldn’t close the gap as they fell 82-76 to ASU. Despite the defeat, the Beavers had strong showings from F Tres Tinkle, who had 22 points along with six rebounds, and G Ethan Thompson, who had 22 points.

The losses bumped both teams down to an identical 11-4. A pair of offensive stats to keep an eye on: The Wildcats enter the contest with 82.4 points per game on average, good for eighth best in college basketball. The Beavers have displayed some offensive firepower of their own as they rank 14th in college basketball when it comes to field goal percentage, with 48.10% on the season. We’ll find out if either of these strengths ends up making the difference in the game.

How To Watch

  • When: Sunday at 10 p.m. ET
  • Where: Gill Coliseum — Corvallis, Oregon
  • TV: Fox Sports 1
  • Follow: CBS Sports App
  • Ticket Cost: $6.00

Odds

The Wildcats are a 4-point favorite against the Beavers, according to the latest college basketball odds.

Vegas had a good feel for the line for this one, as the game opened with the Wildcats as a 4.5-point favorite.

Over/Under: 144

See college basketball picks for every single game, including this one, from SportsLine’s advanced computer model. Get picks now.

Series History

Arizona have won all of the games they’ve played against Oregon State in the last six years.

  • Feb 28, 2019 – Arizona 74 vs. Oregon State 72
  • Jan 19, 2019 – Arizona 82 vs. Oregon State 71
  • Feb 22, 2018 – Arizona 75 vs. Oregon State 65
  • Jan 11, 2018 – Arizona 62 vs. Oregon State 53
  • Feb 02, 2017 – Arizona 71 vs. Oregon State 54
  • Jan 30, 2016 – Arizona 80 vs. Oregon State 63





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Washington Signs Johnathan Williams To Two-Way


The Washington Wizards will bring Johnathan Williams back on a two-way contract, Candace Buckner of the Washington Post reports. The 24-year-old already has six games with the club this season.

The Wiz were obligated to release Williams when they hardship provision they utilized to acquire him initially expired. The team has since freed up a two-way slot and will ink the forward into one of those spots.

Williams averaged 5.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for Washington in his brief stint with the squad, he averaged just north of 20 minutes per and started in four of the six contests.

Williams will split time between the big league franchise and their Capital City Go-Go G League affiliate.





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