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‘Careless’ Nets play sparked angry James Harden response

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As the Nets threw away the NBA’s longest winning streak, James Harden punched a chair.

Nineteen turnovers Saturday led to 32 points for the Mavericks and caused the Nets to look as sloppy with the basketball as they did at times before Harden arrived via trade. Only this time, Harden was primarily at fault, with a game-high six turnovers as he tried to feed teammates other than the injured trio of Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and Tyler Johnson.

“I played the same way,” Harden said. “I made outlet passes to Bruce [Brown] that I [normally] get, they were deflected. Dribbles to the basket, throw the ball out of bounds — myself, I did that. I wasn’t trying to do more than I normally do. I played my game, and sometimes you have bad games.”

Harden described his turnovers as “careless” examples of “trying to thread the needle.” During one second-half timeout, Harden, who scored only four of his 29 points after halftime, stood from his seat and knocked an empty chair to the ground with his fist.

James Harden
James Harden struggles to get free of the defense.
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“We had some careless turnovers for sure that led to run-out layups,” coach Steve Nash said. “That hurts. We’re only down four at the half and gave them 20 points off turnovers. That crushed us.”

The Spurs commit the fewest turnovers per game (11.1) in the league. So, there won’t be extra possessions in Monday’s game for the Nets (14.6) to make up for those given away.

“[The Mavericks] were aggressive on defense — jumping the passing lanes — and made us speed up a little bit and forced us to turn the ball over,” forward Jeff Green said. “In order for us to win, especially when we’ve got guys out, we’ve got to do better. We have to take care of the ball. We have to make sure we get a good shot every time.”


Irving (right shoulder maintenance) was not listed on Sunday’s injury report. Green (right shoulder contusion) did not play the final 15 minutes against the Mavericks and is listed as questionable against the Spurs. He missed one game last week. Johnson (migraine) is considered probable to return. Guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (right knee soreness) started Saturday but was added to the injury report as questionable.


Forward Tyler Cook has played 14 minutes over the two games since he was signed to a 10-day contract for depth. He will bump up the ladder if the Nets are cautious with Green.

“Especially on the defensive end and rebounding,” Cook said, “I can be of immediate service to this group.”

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Bulls’ Zach LaVine called cops on ‘obsessed’ fan at his home

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Zach LaVine had an unwanted visitor.

The Chicago Bulls star had to call the police after an “allegedly obsessed” woman showed up to his Chicago home and refused to leave on Thursday night, according to TMZ. 

The woman reportedly traveled from out of state, demanding to speak with the first-time All-Star, who was home at the time.

Police took her a local hospital for mental evaluation, and she has not been formally arrested or charged with a crime.

LaVine, 25, wrapped up first-half action with the Bulls on Wednesday and was drafted to Kevin Durant’s All-Star side for Sunday’s festivities in Atlanta.

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Blake Griffin a free agent after Pistons buyout

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Blake Griffin will be free to sign with the Nets or another interested NBA team after agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons.

The six-time All-Star forward “has interest from most of the NBA’s top playoff contenders and is expected to make a decision on his next team after conversations with prospective teams,” ESPN reported.

The Nets, Lakers, Heat, Warriors and Clippers – his former team — are among those that have expressed interest, according to the New York Times. ESPN.com added that the Blazers are interested

The 31-year-old Griffin hasn’t played since Feb. 12 while the Pistons attempted to trade him before the March 25 deadline, but they found no takers due to the remainder of his $36.6 million salary for this season and the $39 million he’s owed for 2021-22.

Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
Blake Griffin was released by the Pistons on March 5, 2021
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Griffin is averaging a career-low 12.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in 20 games this season. He was dealt by the Clippers to Detroit in 2018, during the first season of a five-year extension worth $171 million.



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Broncos send a pretty strong warning to Drew Lock

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Drew Lock is no lock to remain the Denver Broncos’ starting quarterback in 2021.

General manager George Paton and coach Vic Fangio both said Thursday that the team expects to bring in competition for Lock, possibly with the ninth pick in the NFL Draft.

“Obviously we’re always looking to bring in players at all positions that can raise the level of competition, and the quarterback is no different in that regard,” Fangio said, according to the team’s website.

“Until we get or until Drew proves to be the next great quarterback, like the ones that the Denver franchise has been used to in years past or certain teams around the league … are used to, we’re going to always try and bring in competition. But I have confidence that Drew can continue to improve.”

Lock made 13 starts in 2020 and tied with Carson Wentz for the league lead with 15 interceptions. He finished 32nd in the league among qualifying quarterbacks with a 75.4 passer rating, ahead of only Dwayne Haskins, Wentz and Sam Darnold.

Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
Drew Lock faces the Patriots on October 18, 2020.
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“Very talented, was inconsistent at times, has a lot to work on,” Paton said Thursday. “But I’ve spoken with Drew, I see him every day. He’s here early. He’s working. He really wants to be great. And we’re always going to try to bring in competition at every position, and quarterback as well. But I like the track that Drew’s on.”

Lock, the Broncos’ second-round pick in 2019 out of Missouri, had started five games as a rookie, winning four of them. Denver went 4-9 with him as the starter last season.

“I’m confident that Drew’s going to continue to improve,” Fangio said. “Drew’s had a great offseason up to this point. There’s not a lot you can do, but he’s working hard on his own, coming over here and getting workouts, and I know he’s doing a lot at home by himself, watching video by himself. He’s got a good setup over there. And he’s doing anything and everything he can to improve, even in February and now in March.”

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