Poole shines in playoff debut, Curry back as Warriors win
Jordan Poole shined in his long-awaited playoff debut scoring 30 points, staying in the starting lineup as Stephen Curry returned from a foot injury by coming off the bench initially, and the Golden State Warriors’ defense smothered Nikola Jokic to beat the Denver Nuggets 123-107 in the opener of their first-round playoff series.
Houston Rockets release DeMarcus Cousins after 25 games
Houston Rockets' DeMarcus Cousins, left, goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Philadelphia. All rights reservedHOUSTON – The Houston Rockets have released DeMarcus Cousins after just 25 games. Cousins was waived this week after signing a $2.3 million contract with Houston in the offseason. The 30-year-old Cousins was averaging 9.6 points and 7.6 rebounds this season playing in a reserve role. ___More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/hub/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports
DeRozan has 30 as Spurs hold on for 111-106 win over Rockets
Kenyon Martin Jr. #6 of the Houston Rockets drives for two over Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on January 14, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)HOUSTON – DeMar DeRozan scored 30 points and the San Antonio Spurs held off a late charge from the Houston Rockets for a 111-106 victory Saturday night. John Wall made a layup for Houston with less than 30 seconds left, but Patty Mills hit two free throws for San Antonio to extend it to 109-104. Tucker made two free throws for Houston after that, but Rudy Gay made two for San Antonio to secure the victory. A 3-pointer by David Nwaba got Houston within eight in the third, but the Spurs scored the next five points to push it to 82-69.
Wall scores 24 to lead Rockets over Wizards 107-88
Houston Rockets' John Wall reacts during the second quarter against the Washington Wizards in an NBA basketball game Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021, in Houston. Wall scored 24 points to help Houston to a 107-88 victory over Russell Westbrook and the Washington Wizards. Houston was leading by six when Wall re-entered the game. “I was itching to get back in in the fourth quarter," he said. “The fourth quarter was good," Silas said.
Spurs end 4-game home skid, top short-handed Rockets 103-91
Kenyon Martin Jr. #6 of the Houston Rockets drives for two over Jakob Poeltl #25 of the San Antonio Spurs at AT&T Center on January 14, 2021 in San Antonio, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio couldn't match the intensity of the short-handed Houston Rockets for three quarters, yet a strong finish by the Spurs was enough to snap a four-game home losing streak. “We played our best defense in the fourth quarter,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. He had 23 points, seven rebounds and three assists in 36 minutes during Houston’s 109-103 victory on Thursday. Spurs: Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon remains out, along with reserve center Drew Eubanks, due to the league’s health and safety protocols.
James Harden headed to Nets in blockbuster multiteam deal
Houston Rockets' James Harden leaves the court following a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, in Houston. The Nets acquired the three-time scoring champion from the Houston Rockets in a deal that became official on Thursday, a move Harden has sought for weeks. Harden is the centerpiece of a deal that also involved Cleveland and grew to a fourth team when Indiana, made a separate deal with Houston. All are under contract through 2022-23, with Harden and Durant both set to earn more than $40 million in each of the next two seasons. Brooklyn expects Harden to leave all that behind him and that his transition to the Nets will be smooth.
McCollum scores 44 to lift Trail Blazers past Rockets in OT
(AP Photo/Steve Dykes)PORTLAND, Ore. – CJ McCollum scored 44 points, including a 3-pointer with 6.3 seconds left that gave the Portland Trail Blazers a 128-126 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday night. Lillard's layup pushed the Blazers ahead 125-123 with 30 seconds left in overtime, but Harden made a 3 to push the Rockets ahead with 15.3 seconds left. Then with 6.3 seconds left, the ball found McCollum again and the Blazers' guard hit another long range shot putting Portland ahead 128-126. After Wood cut the Blazers lead to 123-120 with a layup, Harden tied the game again at 123 with 38.6 seconds left. After a missed 3-pointer by Lillard, Houston’s PJ Tucker was called for a loose ball foul on the rebound with 32 seconds left.
Rockets set to go into opener with 9 available players
Houston Rockets' James Harden looks on during the second half of an NBA basketball game against tha San Antonio Spurs in Houston, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. (Carmen Mandato/Pool Photo via AP)The Houston Rockets are preparing to have only nine available players, James Harden among them, for their first two games of the season because of ongoing quarantine issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. The Rockets play their opener in Portland on Saturday and visit Denver on Monday. Harden being ineligible to play meant the Rockets did not have the eight available players needed to start a game, so what was to have been their opener on Wednesday against Oklahoma City was postponed. Ben McLemore and Kenyon Martin Jr. are not with the Rockets on the trip and are self-isolating, the team said.
The Latest: USC basketball to return against Santa Clara
The Trojans will host Santa Clara instead of Long Beach State, which had to cancel because of ongoing COVID-19 issues in its program. ___UCLA’s women’s basketball game at Oregon State on New Year’s Day has been postponed indefinitely. The Beavers announced a confirmed case of COVID-19 on Dec. 20. The team issued a statement Saturday announcing the positive test and saying it had closed its facility for tracing. The day's other suspended games include league leader Portsmouth against Swindon Town.
OKC-Houston game postponed, Harden out after COVID violation
Houston Rockets' James Harden reacts during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in Houston, Thursday, Dec. 17, 2020. The drama began when reports surfaced that Harden and Russell Westbrook both wanted out of Houston. While the rest of the Rockets were preparing for the season, Harden was photographed partying in Atlanta at a rapper's birthday party and at a nightclub in Las Vegas. That would have left eight eligible players, which is the league minimum to start a game. Harden, according to the protocols, may now be ordered into quarantine and could lose more than $500,000 for each game missed because of protocol violations.
The NBA preseason begins, with empty arenas as the stages
Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford talks to players during a timeout in the first half of the team's NBA preseason basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Atlanta. The NBA preseason — a truncated 49-game, nine-day sprint — opened Friday with a five-game slate, action returning to NBA arenas for the first time in exactly nine months. Friday’s games:KNICKS 90, PISTONS 84At Detroit, R.J. Barrett scored 15 points and Toppin finished with 11 points and seven rebounds in his debut as the Knicks won their preseason opener. Julius Randle scored 11, while Elfrid Payton and Nerlens Noel each scored 10 for New York. Svi Mykhailiuk and Saddiq Bey led the Pistons with 14 points apiece.
Ill-considered posts lead to lost jobs amid protests, crisis
Craig Gore, who has worked on the shows S.W.A.T. and Chicago P.D., was fired Tuesday from the forthcoming Law & Order: Organized Crime spin-off because of Facebook posts. Many others from public-facing institutions and businesses have been sanctioned, demoted, suspended or fired for impolitic statements online in recent days. A Denver officer was fired Tuesday for writing Lets start a riot as the caption to an Instagram picture of himself and two fellow officers smiling in riot gear. An officer in Fulton, New York, posted an Instagram image that read, Black lives only matter to black people unless they are killed by a white person and found himself out of a job. These people who are getting fired or resigning, they're not realizing this.___Follow AP Entertainment Writer Andrew Dalton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton.