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Kevin Garnett Ejected After Headbutting Dwight Howard

Kevin Garnett Ejected After Headbutting Dwight Howard

Elsa/Getty Images(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) -- Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard were battling for position under the basket in the first quarter Monday night -- perhaps are little too hard -- and Garnett ended up getting ejected for being literally hard-headed.

Garnett took exception to Howard's pushing and shoving and bounced the ball off of the Rocket's center's head. With just under eight minutes to go in the first quarter, the two began to exchange words and Garnett took the crown of his head to Howard's jaw.

The NBA league office will review the incident and hand down any disciplinary action if it is deemed necessary.

Back to the action on the court: James Harden lit up the Nets defense as he put up 30 points. Howard would add eight points and five rebounds.

Houston would go on to win the game 113-99.

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Kevin Garnett Ejected After Headbutting Dwight Howard

Kevin Garnett Ejected After Headbutting Dwight Howard

Elsa/Getty Images(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) -- Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard were battling for position under the basket in the first quarter Monday night -- perhaps are little too hard -- and Garnett ended up getting ejected for being literally hard-headed.

Garnett took exception to Howard's pushing and shoving and bounced the ball off of the Rocket's center's head. With just under eight minutes to go in the first quarter, the two began to exchange words and Garnett took the crown of his head to Howard's jaw.

The NBA league office will review the incident and hand down any disciplinary action if it is deemed necessary.

Back to the action on the court: James Harden lit up the Nets defense as he put up 30 points. Howard would add eight points and five rebounds.

Houston would go on to win the game 113-99.

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Kevin Garnett Ejected After Headbutting Dwight Howard

Kevin Garnett Ejected After Headbutting Dwight Howard

Elsa/Getty Images(BROOKLYN, N.Y.) -- Kevin Garnett and Dwight Howard were battling for position under the basket in the first quarter Monday night -- perhaps are little too hard -- and Garnett ended up getting ejected for being literally hard-headed.

Garnett took exception to Howard's pushing and shoving and bounced the ball off of the Rocket's center's head. With just under eight minutes to go in the first quarter, the two began to exchange words and Garnett took the crown of his head to Howard's jaw.

The NBA league office will review the incident and hand down any disciplinary action if it is deemed necessary.

Back to the action on the court: James Harden lit up the Nets defense as he put up 30 points. Howard would add eight points and five rebounds.

Houston would go on to win the game 113-99.

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Damian Lillard Levels Lakers

Damian Lillard Levels LakersNBA/Portland Trail Blazers(LOS ANGELES, Ca.) -- Damian Lillard took over the fourth quarter against the Lakers to lead the Portland Trailblazers to a 106-94 victory. Lillard dropped 17 of his 34 points in the last 8:16 of the game Sunday night, taking ...

Hawks Win 8th Straight, Top Wizards 120-89

Hawks Win 8th Straight, Top Wizards 120-89

Christian Petersen/Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- The Atlanta Hawks took care of the Washington Wizards (25-12) 120-89 for their eighth straight win on Sunday.

Kyle Korver led the way with 19 points and was followed by DeMarre Carroll with 16 in the victory.

"At this point, I don't think we've played a better game," Korver said. "We had that 6-minute stretch in the second quarter, but otherwise that's about as good as we've done this year."

Atlanta (29-8) has now won their last 22 of 24 games and leads the Eastern Conference for the first time this late in the season in 21 years.

"This is my eighth year, and I've never seen us like this besides the playoffs," Hawks forward Al Horford said. "I feel like the fans are starting to come out, they're starting to believe and it's exciting to see. We have a good team and we need their support."

The Hawks defense held John Wall to 15 points and Bradley Beal scored 12 in the loss.

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Celtics Trade forward Brandan Wright to the Suns

Celtics Trade forward Brandan Wright to the Suns

Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Brandan Wright's tenure with the Boston Celtics lasted just eight games as the team has traded the forward to the Phoenix Suns.

In exchange for Wright, the Suns have sent a protected first-round pick to Boston. he pick is protected within the first 12 selections for the next two seasons and then turns into a pair of second-rounders in 2016 and '17.

Wright was one of the players the Celtics received from the Dallas Mavericks in the Rajon Rondo trade.

"I have known Brandan since he entered the NBA in 2007," Suns president of basketball operations Lon Babby said. "He is a person of the highest character who will fit perfectly into our burgeoning Suns culture. We look forward to welcoming him to Phoenix."

"The way Dallas played last year is somewhat similar to what we play -- being in the open court and pick-and-rolls," Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.

In 35 games this season for the Celtics and Mavericks, the 27-year-old Wright is averaging 7.5 points and 3.6 rebounds per game off the bench.

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Trail Blazers Extend GM Neil Olshey

Trail Blazers Extend GM Neil Olshey

Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- As the Portland Trail Blazers continue to ascend as one of the best teams in the Western Conference, they've rewarded general manager Neil Olshey with a contract extension.

“Our team has made great strides under Neil’s leadership, and I am excited to extend his contract,” said owner Paul Allen. “Neil has done an outstanding job as General Manager by quickly rebuilding our team into a playoff contender. The franchise is clearly on the upswing, and I hope to see further improvements in the years to come."

Olshey took over GM duties for the team prior to the start of the 2012-2013 season, and he's played a huge role in the team's rise in the standings since then.

One of Olshey's first moves was drafting Damian Lillard sixth overall in 2012. He's become one of the best point guards in the NBA.

At 28-8, the Blazers have the second-best record in the NBA entering Friday.

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Nets Lose Williams to Fractured Rib

Nets Lose Williams to Fractured Rib

NBA via Brooklyn Nets(NEW YORK) -- Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams is out indefinitely with a fractured rib, the team announced Thursday.The 30-year-old Williams suffered the injury in Sunday's game against Miami. He then sat out Monday's loss to Dallas but returned for four minutes in Wednesday night's loss to Boston before having to leave the game because of the injury.Williams had an MRI that revealed a fracture in the left 12th rib."Deron reported some soreness above this area over the weekend and as a result underwent imaging studies on Monday, which were negative," Team physician Riley Williams III said in a statement. "Yesterday during the game, he reported a new onset of symptoms below the prior area of soreness. New imaging studies done today demonstrated the fracture. There is no timetable for his return."Williams has played in 32 games this season, averaging 13.9 points, three rebounds, and 6.3 assists per contest.Williams' rib will be re-evaluated in a week.

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Cavaliers Trade for C Timofey Mozgov

Cavaliers Trade for C Timofey Mozgov

National Basketball Association(NEW YORK) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers traded two protected first-round picks to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for center Timofey Mozgov and a 2015 second-round pick.

It's the second trade the Cavs have made in a week. They were part of a three-team deal that got them J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, and a first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Dion Waiters.

"It was a deal that we worked on for quite some time," Cavaliers GM David Griffin said. "We're very excited about this. It fits our needs."

The Cavaliers were in need of a center after losing Anderson Varejao for the season due to a torn Achilles.Mozgov reunites with Cavaliers' coach David Blatt, who coached him on the Russian national team in the 2012 Olympics in London.The Nuggets also receive a $4.6 million trade exception from the Cavs in the deal.The 7-foot-1, 250 pound Mozgov has played in 35 games this season, averaging 8.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game.

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Nuggets’ Brian Shaw Experimenting with Getting Rid of Early Shootarounds

Nuggets’ Brian Shaw Experimenting with Getting Rid of Early Shootarounds

Rick Havner for TSN(NEW YORK) -- In an effort to shake things up, Denver Nuggets head coach Brian Shaw is looking outside the box and will experiment with getting rid of morning shootarounds.

Shaw feels that this will help energize his team and help their focus during games.

“It’s just something that I’m experimenting with now to try to get us to a point where we can come out and be a little bit more sharp,” Shaw told the Denver Post. “Our attention span isn’t always the greatest.

“When we do stuff in the morning, sometimes it’s in one ear and out by the time we come back that night. So the closer we can do everything going into the game, hopefully it will be better for us.”

So far so good for Shaw's experiment as the Nuggets won on Monday night, beating the Minnesota Timberwovles 110-101.

The Nuggets still sit at 15-20, 4.5 games behind the Phoenix Suns who hold the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

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Nowitzki Moves to 7th on Scoring List in Mavericks Win

Nowitzki Moves to 7th on Scoring List in Mavericks Win

NBA via Dallas Mavericks(DALLAS, Tx.) -- With a three-point shot, Dirk Nowitski put away the Brooklyn Nets and passed Moses Malone for seventh on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

Nowitski drained the three with 34.8 seconds left in overtime of Monday Night's 96-88 win over the Nets.

"Yeah, it's been insane, crazy ride in Year No. 17, and Moses was obviously an unbelievable player," Nowitzki said. "So it has been a humbling experience to pass all these all-time greats. It's a tribute to obviously the hard work, but all the great coaches and teammates that have gotten me to this point, and obviously staying healthy is a big part. I am proud of it but I am more proud that we got the win."

Nowitzki passed Hakeem Olajuwon for ninth in November and now trails -- in order -- Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Wilt Chamberlain and Shaquille O'Neal. 

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Cavs, Knicks, Thunder Complete Three Team Trade

Cavs, Knicks, Thunder Complete Three Team Trade

National Basketball Association(NEW YORK) -- The New York Knicks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and Oklahoma City Thunder have completed a three-team trade headlined by Dion Waiters, Iman Shumpert, and J.R. Smith.

In the deal completed late Monday night, the Cavaliers will obtain Smith and Shumpert from the Knicks, who in turn will receive three players with non-guaranteed contracts -- Alex Kirk and Lou Amundson from the Cavaliers and Lance Thomas from the Thunder. Oklahoma City will receive Dion Waiters from Cleveland.

Before the deal was completed, Cleveland officials spoke with LeBron James about his willingness to play alongside Smith, according to ESPN.

The Cavaliers are also receiving a 2015 protected first-round pick from Oklahoma City. 

The Knicks are receiving the Cavaliers' 2019 second round pick, though the motivation for the move was more about financial flexibility: By trading Smith, the Knicks no longer face his $6.4 million option next season, and may have more than $30 million in cap space for free agency.

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Lakers’ Kobe Bryant Rips AAU Player Development, Praises European System

Lakers’ Kobe Bryant Rips AAU Player Development, Praises European System

Chris Graythen/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Known as one of the most fundamental players in the NBA today, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant had some very critical words regarding AAU basketball and how young basketball players are being developed.

Bryant sees the players coming over from Europe as more skilled basketball players while the players coming up from AAU leagues struggle with some fundamental elements of basketball.

“I just think European players are just way more skillful,” Bryant said, according to Arash Markazi of ESPN. “They are just taught the game the right way at an early age. …They’re more skillful. It’s something we really have to fix. We really have to address that. We have to teach our kids to play the right way."

“AAU basketball -- horrible, terrible AAU basketball -- it's stupid," Bryant continued. "It doesn’t teach our kids how to play the game at all so you wind up having players that are big and they bring it up and they do all this fancy crap and they don’t know how to post. They don’t know the fundamentals of the game. It's stupid.”

Bryant is in his 19th NBA season.

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Cavaliers GM Griffin Defends Team, Coach Blatt

Cavaliers GM Griffin Defends Team, Coach Blatt

National Basketball Association(CLEVELAND, Oh.) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers are not off to the start everyone expected.

After acquiring LeBron James and Kevin Love this offseason to team with young point guard Kyrie Irving, Cleveland was looked at as the best team in the Eastern Conference. Still, the Cavaliers are currently 19-15.

The narrative is shifting to seek a scapegoat and first-year head coach David Blatt has become the target.

General Manager David Griffin is not happy, accusing some in the media of purposely driving a story of a divide within the team.

"This narrative of our coaching situation is truly ridiculous," Griffin told reporters on Sunday. "It's a non-story, it's a non-narrative. Coach Blatt is our coach, he's going to remain our coach. Do not write that as a vote of confidence. He never needed one. It was never a question. So don't write it that way."

What really seemed to irk Griffin was when members of the media ignored comments by James that were in support of the team.

"I heard the entire audio file of LeBron James' comments. No more than three different times he said, 'We are growing together every day. The team grows together every day and I am happy with who we have at the helm,'" Griffin stated. "But that wasn't a sexy pull quote, so we kept looking for something else, until we could pull something negative."

Griffin emphatically denied the idea of Blatt being removed as head coach, saying "No change is being made. Period."

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Rondo Shines in Return to Boston

Rondo Shines in Return to Boston

NBA via Boston Celtics(BOSTON) -- Rajon Rondo hit a career-high five 3-pointers and finished with a season-high 29 points in his return to Boston Friday night to help the Dallas Mavericks top the Celtics 119-101.Rondo, who was traded to Dallas last month, also had six rebounds and five assists for the Mavericks (24-10) which have now won four straight.

Rondo received a standing ovation from the Boston fans before the game. Then the Celtics played a video tribute to the point guard after the first quarter that ended with a picture of Rondo hugging the Larry O'Brien Trophy from when the Celtics won the 2008 Championship, along with the caption, " Thank You Rajon!"

"Obviously, it was a special day," Rondo said. "I'm emotionally tired. I'm physically tired, and I'm drained."Monta Ellis scored 22 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 17 and seven rebounds in the win.Avery Bradley led the Celtics (11-19) with 22 points.

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LeBron James To Miss Two Weeks

LeBron James To Miss Two Weeks

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(CLEVELAND, Oh) -- The Cleveland Cavaliers' season struggles may escalate as they are about to lost their best player.

LeBron James will miss the next two weeks with knee and back pain, according to an announcement from the team via Twitter on Thursday. 

James, who has missed the previous two games, re-injured his knee on Christmas Day against the Miami Heat, when he jumped over courtside seats.

"I've been playing with it, and it goes away and comes back," he said. "So, the one in Miami kind of reaggravated it when I came out of the game in the third quarter."

This couldn't come at a worse time for the Cavaliers as they have already lost Anderson Verajao for the season to an Achilles tear and Kevin Love has been battling routine aches and pains.

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Nets Will Continue to Bring Deron Williams and Brook Lopez Off the Bench

Nets Will Continue to Bring Deron Williams and Brook Lopez Off the Bench

Bruce Bennett/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The Brooklyn Nets are playing better of late with high-priced players Deron Williams and Brook Lopez coming off the bench, so that's where they'll stay for now according to head coach Lionel Hollins.

Williams is making $19.75 million this season but has been used sparingly since returning from injury a few games ago. He played just 17 minutes in the team's win over the Sacramento Kings on Monday night.

Lopez, who is making $15.7 million this season, also has seen his minutes drastically reduced recently. He's averaged just over 12 minutes per game the past four contests.

According to Hollins, this is a trend that Nets fans may want to get used to seeing.

“Why you keep asking about Deron and Brook? This is the Brooklyn Nets,” Hollins told the New York Daily News. “Yes, they were starters, they’ve been out and if you note, while they were out we started playing better and winning, so why would I go back and change the lineup now?”

At 14-16, the Nets currently hold the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference.

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Westrbrook Leads Thunder Past Spurs, 114-106

Westrbrook Leads Thunder Past Spurs, 114-106

Ronald Martinez/Getty Images(SAN ANTONIO) -- No Kevin Durant? No problem for the Oklahoma City Thunder were able to top the San Antonio Spurs 114-106 thanks in large part due to point guard Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook dominated on Thursday as he scored a game-high 34 points, pulled down five rebounds, and dished out 11 assists.

"You've just got to rally behind him," said Thunder guard Anthony Morrow. "He's a leader, natural born. He comes out there, he plays hard."

Second-year center Steven Adams had one of the best games of his career as well, as he scored 16 points, pulled down a career-high 15 rebounds, and blocked three shots. Forward Serge Ibaka also added 21 points.

"I thought they outplayed us almost in every facet of the game," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "When somebody retrieves 50 percent of their shots, you can't say you're focused or playing competitive in any way, shape or form."

Spurs guard Manu Ginobili scored 11 points, had seven rebounds, and dished out 13 assists in the loss.

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Wizards Cruise Past the Knicks, 102-91

Wizards Cruise Past the Knicks, 102-91

NBA via Washington Wizards(NEW YORK) -- Washington Wizards point guard showed a national audience just why he's become one of the best guards in the NBA on Christmas Day as he led the team past the New York Knicks for a 102-91 victory.

Wall finished the game with 24 points, six rebounds, and 11 assists. He leads all Eastern Conference guards in assists, and second overall in the NBA.

It was Wall's ninth game this season with at least 20 points and 10 assists, the most in the NBA.

"I'm just a feisty guy that likes to compete," Wall said. "And I want to win games."

Even though they only won by 11 points, the game was never close. The Wizards led as many as 22 points during the contest and never trailed at any point.

Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony did all he could to keep the team in it, as he scored a game-high 34 points.

The Wizards improved to 20-8 while the Knicks fell to 5-26.

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Scoreboard Roundup – 12/23/14

Scoreboard Roundup – 12/23/14

Hemera/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- NBA: Chicago Bulls 99 (19-9) - Washington Wizards 91 (19-8)

Indiana Pacers 96 (10-19) - New Orleans Pelicans 84 (14-14)

Orlando Magic 100 (11-20) - Boston Celtics 95 (10-16)

Cleveland Cavaliers 125 (17-10) - Minnesota Timberwolves 104 (5-22)

Brooklyn Nets 102 (12-15) - Denver Nuggets 96 (12-17) 

Atlanta Hawks 107 (21-7) - Los Angeles Clippers 104 (19-10)

Philadelphia 76ers 91 (4-23) - Miami Heat 87 (13-16)

Charlotte Hornets 108 (10-19) - Milwaukee Bucks 101 (14-15)

Portland Trail Blazers 115 (23-7) - Oklahoma City Thunder 111 (13-16) - Overtime

Top 25 Men's Basketball: (4) Louisville 80 (11-0) - CS Northridge 55 (3-10)

(7) Villanova 92 (12-0) - N.J.I.T. 67 (5-8)

Stanford 74 (7-3) - (9) Texas 71 (10-2)

(14) Utah 80 (9-2) - South Dakota State 66 (9-4)

NCAAF Bowl Games: Boca Rotan Bowl: Marshall 52 (13-1) - Northern Illinois 23 (11-3)

NHL: Montreal Canadiens 3 (22-11-2, 46pts) - New York Islanders 1 (23-11-0, 46pts)

New York Rangers 4 (18-10-4, 40pts) - Washington Capitals 2 (17-11-6, 40pts)

Toronto Maple Leafs 4 (20-12-3, 43pts) - Dallas Stars 0 (14-14-5, 33pts)

Boston Bruins 5 (18-14-3, 39pts) - Nashville Predators 3 (22-9-2, 46pts)

Philadelphia Flyers 5 (14-14-6, 34pts) - Minnesota Wild 2 (16-13-3, 35pts)

Carolina Hurricanes 2 (10-20-4, 24pts) - New Jersey Devils 1 (12-17-7, 31pts) - Shootout

Detroit Red Wings 6 (18-8-9, 45pts) - Buffalo Sabres 3 (13-19-3, 29pts)

Tampa Bay Lightning 4 (21-11-4, 46pts) - Pittsburgh Penguins 3 (22-7-5, 49pts)

Colorado Avalanche 5 (13-13-8, 34pts) - St. Louis Blues 0 (21-10-3, 45pts)

Arizona Coyotes 5 (12-18-4, 28pts) - Edmonton Oilers 1 (7-21-7, 21pts)

Winnipeg Jets 5 (18-10-7, 43pts) - Chicago Blackhawks 1 (23-10-2, 48pts)

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