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Clippers fall to 2-7 in clutch-time games, join Wizards and Pistons

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The Los Angeles Clippers dropped to 2-7 in clutch-time games of the 2023-24 season, joining the Washington Wizards (0-5) and Detroit Pistons (1-7) in the bottom three. In other words, these three NBA teams have struggled the most to close out winnable games.

In Los Angeles’ 113-104 loss to the Denver Nuggets on Monday night, Kawhi Leonard scored a team-high 31 points. Ivica Zubac closed out his outing with 23 points and 14 rebounds as well. Though, Denver outscored Los Angeles 36-16 in the fourth quarter.

According to multiple NBA betting sites, the Los Angeles Clippers hold eighth-shortest odds to win this season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers.

Paul George picked up his fourth and fifth fouls early in the fourth. He finished with six points on just 2-of-13 shooting. The Clippers were held to four field goals in the final frame, when they shot 8-of-12 from the free throw line. Russell Westbrook airballed a free throw with the Clippers trailing 102-98.

James Harden had two turnovers in the final minutes. The 10-time All-Star is attempting only 12% of his shots inside the restricted area this season, a new career low.

Los Angeles Clippers are 2-7 in clutch-time games this season, drop to 4-7 with James Harden in lineup

“And so guys are frustrated offensively, but they should be frustrated defensively as well. That’s when you should get mad,” Clippers coach Ty Lue said.

“It’s on the defensive end, but I take full responsibility, like I said, and yeah, we’re just not going to play this style of basketball.”

George also shot an airball in the closing seconds as the Clippers lost their eighth in a row to the Nuggets. Note that Denver played without Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Aaron Gordon, who average a combined 58.2 points per game.

Jokic sat out the second game of a back-to-back because of low back pain, Murray has a right hamstring strain, and Gordon has a right heel strain. However, Reggie Jackson and DeAndre Jordan still carried the reigning champs to victory.

Jackson finished with 35 points and 13 assists, and Jordan added 21 points and 13 rebounds. The duo combined for 20 points in the fourth, when the Nuggets trailed by 11.

The Clippers outscored Denver 32-19 in the third. With the score tied 72-all, Zubac scored six in a row to ignite a 17-5 run that was capped by four straight points from Westbrook to give the Clippers an 88-77 lead going into the fourth.

Additionally, the Clips shot 6-of-20 (30%) from 3-point range.

“It’s a frustrating loss,” George said. “The guys stepped up over there, but a lot of the stuff we could have prevented. I thought just the energy there wasn’t well enough to compete.”

Now, the Clippers are 4-7 with Harden in the lineup. All four of L.A.’s wins were earned within the last six contests. The Clips fell to 7-9 for the season and rank 11th in the Western Conference standings.

Philadelphia 76ers stars Tyrese Maxey (6.9) and Joel Embiid (6.6) are currently averaging more assists per game than Harden (6.2). Last season, Harden averaged 10.7 dimes per contest with Philly.





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Hornets sign center Marques Bolden to a 10-day contract

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The Charlotte Hornets are signing free agent center Marques Bolden to a 10-day contract, agent Michael Johnson Jr. of All Day Group told Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium. 

Bolden, 25, went undrafted in 2019 out of Duke University and signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He was waived by Cleveland on Oct. 19, and then signed a 10-day contract on Jan. 30, 2020.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Hornets hold 12th-ranked odds to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Atlanta Hawks and Brooklyn Nets.

Bolden only appeared in one game during his rookie season — a 131-112 loss to the Golden State Warriors on Feb. 1, 2020. The 6-foot-10 big man recorded a pair of rebounds and a steal in less than three minutes off the bench.

The Texas native made six appearances in the second unit with the Cavs in the 2020-21 season. He averaged 1.2 points, 1.0 rebound, and 4.8 minutes per game while shooting 33.3% from the floor and 62.5% at the foul line.

Charlotte Hornets add Marques Bolden, who is averaging a G League career-high 13.7 PPG

In Cleveland’s 119-99 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Dec. 31, 2020, Bolden notched three points and one rebound in less than three minutes as a reserve.

Bolden was waived by the Cavaliers on Feb. 24, 2021, and went on to sign a deal with the Utah Jazz on Sept. 28. However, he was waived a month later and never appeared in a game with Utah.

The Duke product inked a standard contract with the Milwaukee Bucks on Sept. 20, 2022, and signed a two-way deal with the team on Oct. 21, 2023, but he only appeared in two NBA games with the club.

Furthermore, Bolden is averaging 17 points, 13.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocks over a six-game winning streak this season for the Wisconsin Herd, Milwaukee’s G League affiliate.

In 18 games (14 starts) with the Herd this season, Bolden has averaged a career-high 13.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.7 blocks, and 25.3 minutes per game while shooting 56.1% from the field.

He was waived by the Bucks on Jan. 7.

The Hornets had an open roster spot following the Kyle Lowry buyout.





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Texas A&M-Commerce, Incarnate Word Players Brawl Postgame

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A wild college basketball handshake brawl broke out following Texas A&M-Commerce’s 76-72 overtime win against Incarnate Word at the Alice P. McDermott Convocation Center in San Antonio on Monday.

The postgame handshakes quickly went from sportsmanlike banter to a violent confrontation in one of the craziest men’s college basketball brawls to date. While saying “good game,” two opposing players bumped into each other.

It all escalated from there. Multiple players from both teams started throwing hands. Coaches and a couple of players from each team tried to separate the brawling players, but the skirmish lasted almost two minutes.

 

“Oh no, this is not good,” the play-by-play broadcaster said, as punches were thrown. “This is not what you want to see after it has been a great game. We’ve got everything going on right now. We still have guys running after people, oh my goodness.”

Broadcast analysts also said a “young girl” in the crowd was hurt and that one of the team’s managers had “blood on his face.” There has been no further update from the authorities or schools on injuries.

Texas A&M-Commerce, Incarnate Word release a joint statement apologizing for the incident

In a joint statement late Monday afternoon, A&M-Commerce and Incarnate Word issued apologies “for the behavior exhibited by our respective men’s basketball programs” during the handshake lineup.

“There is no place in college sports for such actions,” the statement read. “The unsportsmanlike conduct that occurred after the game does not reflect the values of the universities involved, as well as the Southland Conference and their member institutions. The matter is currently being reviewed collectively by the Conference office and both institutions as the safety of our student-athletes, staff, and fans is our primary concern.”

The Southland Conference (SLC) also issued a brief statement addressing the fight, saying it is aware of the “end-of-game situation that occurred.”

“We will be working closely with both universities to review the footage and issue appropriate disciplinary action,” the Southland said in its statement. “Unsportsmanlike behavior is unacceptable in the Southland Conference and the safety of our student-athletes, spectators, and officials remains a top priority.”

Texas A&M-Commerce coach Jaret von Rosenberg had described the teams’ first game as “a dogfight.” The Lions won 71-66 over the Cardinals in the first meeting on Jan. 31.

The second matchup was more interesting for all the wrong reasons.

Additionally, Lions sophomore guard Alonzo Dodd recorded 20 points and senior guard Kalen Williams knocked down a go-ahead 3-pointer with 13 seconds left in overtime to rally Texas A&M-Commerce.

Dodd added seven rebounds and five assists. Williams made four 3-pointers and scored 16 points as well. Junior forward Kwo Agwa ended his outing with 13 points and blocked three shots.

Texas A&M-Commerce (10-17, 4-10 in SLC) and Incarnate Word (8-18, 3-10 in SLC) remain in the bottom three of the conference standings.





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Giannis explains why changing coaches has been ‘draining’ for Bucks roster

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Respecting a coach’s process seems to be one of the best moves for a healthy team, even though sometimes squads need to be shaken up from their core in order to react positively on the basketball court. However, the Milwaukee franchise has had four head coaches in the past six months, and their players are starting to suffer the consequences. 

Player-wise, the Bucks have made many roster changes: they acquired Patrick Beverley from the Sixers while trading Robin Lopez to Sacramento. However, it’s at the coaching helm where they need some stability.

Last month, the Wisconsin front office decided to fire first-year coach Adrian Griffin after 36 games, as he was chosen to replace Mike Budenholzer during the offseason after four-long campaigns. After his exit, Joe Prunty served as interim for three games before they finally found Doc Rivers as the squad’s official replacement.

During this past All-Star Weekend, star Giannis Antetokounmpo was asked about all the events that have occurred behind the scenes with these modifications, and he admitted that it has been “hard” to deal with them.

“It’s hard. It’s hard. This is my fourth coach in the span of six months,” the forward revealed. “Coach (Mike Budenholzer), coach (Adrian Griffin), (interim) coach Joe (Prunty) and Doc. Different philosophy, different game plan. It’s hard. It’s draining.”

The Greek Freak admits he’s tried his best to adapt. “I’m a student of the game. When somebody asks me to do something, I try to do it to the best of my ability,” he expressed. “I try to understand what we’re trying to accomplish, both so I can understand and so I can be there for my teammates when they ask questions.”

Ever since Rivers took charge, he hasn’t had it easy. Despite the Bucks being one of the East’s top contenders with a 35-21 record, the club is 3-7 with their newest coach on the bench, with whom they’ve dropped to their conference’s third place.

In a recent interview, the veteran tactician confessed that the transition had been more difficult that he had initially imagined. “It’s been probably more difficult than I thought,” to what he later revealed that he’d asked the team if he could’ve taken charge of the team during the All-Star Break.

Despite his recent comments, Giannis made it clear that he “loves” working with Rivers and his philosophy

The Bucks superstar later admitted that despite the constant transitions in the coaching staff, he’s enjoyed working under Doc’s winning mindset. Antetokounmpo recognizes the tactician’s succesful career and knows he speaks from experience.

“I love working with Coach Doc,” the All-Star said. “He’s been very, very successful. We can talk all day about things he’s accomplished around the league. He’s won, I think, 1,100 NBA games. Some people have never played 1,100 games.”

Giannis hopes he can turn them into title holders.”He brings that level of — how can I say — a championship level to the team. He won. He’s coached a lot of successful teams in the past. When you have that guy in your bench, you have to bring your A game,” the player added.

Throughout his career, Antetokounmpo has played under six different head coaches ever since he entered the NBA in the 2023/24 campaign.





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