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NBA Injuries 1/22/2018
Cleveland Cavaliers G Kyrie Irving will miss the remainder of the NBA Finals against Golden State
Cleveland Cavaliers F Kevin Love will miss the remainder of the playoffs
Cleveland Cavaliers C Anderson Varejao is expected to miss the remainder of the season
Golden State Warriors C Ognjen Kuzmic is out indefinitely
Full Injury Report
Sunday, Jan 21, 2018

Status woe: Cavaliers not planning changes amid slump

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) As LeBron James and some teammates practiced free throws at a nearby basket, coach Tyronn Lue addressed questions about the troubling state of the Cavaliers while sitting in a high-backed, cushioned chair.

While he was cool, Lue's seat has warmed up.

With the Cavs mired in a bewildering midseason slump and less than 24 hours after a historically embarrassing loss to Oklahoma City, Lue said he has no immediate plans to change his starting lineup or rotations. Cleveland fans may be panicking, Lue's not nervous.

At least not publicly.

The Cavs are just 4-10 since Dec. 19, and in the past two weeks they've lost by 28 at Minnesota, 34 at Toronto and 24 to the Thunder, who scored 148 points and tied a record for the most points allowed by Cleveland in a regulation game - a mark that went unmatched since 1972.

It's a mess, and it's a mystery the way James and the Cavs have collapsed. They've slipped in the past, but this slide feels much more ominous than in the previous three years when Cleveland stumbled but still reached the Finals.

''This is kind of just my experience with this team, to be honest,'' said forward Kyle Korver, acquired last January in a trade. ''The year that I've been here, we've been really good and we've been really bad. It seems to come in waves, so, hopefully there's a good wave coming soon.''

With all that's wrong, changes would seem to be in order. Lue, though, believes the Cavs can solve their problems without any major alterations.

''It's the same group we won 18 out of 19 with also,'' he said, referring to Cleveland's stretch from Nov. 11 to Dec. 19. ''We've just got to play better. We've got to play better, we've got to be sharper and that's what we continue to keep working on. It's the same team that won 18 out of 19 and 13 in a row.''

Technically, Lue's right. The Cavs' roster hasn't been touched - not yet.

However, the club has been in almost continuous flux over the past month as key players Isaiah Thomas and Tristan Thompson returned from injuries. Also, reserves Jose Calderon, Channing Frye and Cedi Osman have seen their playing time diminish and Korver, the sharpshooter who had developed into the team's best crunch-time player other than James, has had his role reduced.

Lue has been searching for the right combinations, but the Cavs aren't connecting.

''We're just figuring out our team,'' Korver said. ''Ty's got a tough job. He's trying to find lineups that are working and he's trying to find minutes for everybody. I think he's doing a great job in that regard, as far as getting everybody in the game. Maybe not Channing, we'd like to get Channing out there a little more but it's a numbers thing right now.

''It's tough. There's a numbers thing right now. Definitely I've been a part of that, too. It's a long season. We're riding a bad wave right now, but hopefully we'll find some things that will start working again. Guys are getting healthier but we need to get back in sync. There's no answers right now.''

A demanding schedule and injuries have prevented the Cavs from practicing much, but they held their third workout this week. It was needed.

Lue, though, decided not to show his players film of the debacle against Oklahoma City.

''Just move on,'' he said.

Lue can't be absolved from blame, but players aren't faulting him for the team's many issues, some of which could be addressed before the Feb. 8 trade deadline.

Following Saturday's head-scratching loss, James said he ''would hope not'' when asked if he thought Lue would be fired. Dwyane Wade dismissed any outside noise condemning the only Cleveland coach to win a championship since 1964.

Those endorsements should help Lue, but he knows better than anyone how quickly change can come.

Two years ago, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert fired David Blatt despite the team's 30-11 record and replaced him with Lue, who at the time was the NBA's highest-paid assistant. Cleveland doesn't have a comparable situation now, and while there are no signs pointing to Lue being in imminent danger, anything is possible until the Cavs start stringing together some wins.

Lue can only do so much, and following similar comments by Thomas and Wade on Saturday, Korver said it's imperative for Cleveland's players to hold each other more accountable.

''You've just got to look at yourself in the mirror and say `What can I do better?''' Korver said. ''You can't point the finger. You can't get mad at a guy for not doing what you thought he should've done. You just can't point fingers. It's really simple but it really is true. ... We're all grown-ups. When you're a mature grown up you just look yourself in the mirror.''

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Status woe: Cavaliers not planning changes amid slump

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue isn't changing his starting lineup or rotations despite Cleveland's current troubling state.

A day after the Cavs gave up 148 points - tying a franchise record that stood since 1972 - in an embarrassing loss to Oklahoma City, Lue said he's not making any major moves to snap his team from its mid-season doldrums.

The Cavs have lost 10 of 14 and have been blown out three times in the past week.

Lue decided not to show his players video on Sunday as the team practiced in advance of Tuesday's game in San Antonio. Lue explained his reasoning for not making any changes as the Cavs are the same team that won 13 straight and 18 of 19 earlier this season.

Cavs forward Kyle Korver said the only way to fix things is ''to look yourself in the mirror and say how can I help the team? It's really simple but it really is true.''

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Lopez, Markkanen power Bulls to easy win over Hawks

ATLANTA (AP) Lauri Markkanen wasn't feeling his 3-point shot against Atlanta's perimeter defense, so the Bulls' big man decided to attack inside.

''That was their game plan, but I can do much more than just shoot from the outside,'' he said. ''I missed I don't know how many 3s, but that wasn't going for me tonight. I had to figure out something else.''

Robin Lopez scored 20 points, Markkanen added 19 and Chicago easily beat the Hawks 113-97 on Saturday night.

The Bulls, coming off a 7-point home loss to defending NBA champion Golden State three days ago, have won four of five and 15 of 23. They never trailed, taking an 11-point lead midway through the first quarter on Lopez's dunk and going up 17 on Markkanen's dunk in the closing seconds of the first half.

The closest Atlanta got in the third was 10 points on John Collins' dunk. The lead swelled to 25 midway through the fourth on Portis' 3.

''I thought that we really played a complete game tonight,'' Chicago coach Fred Hoiberg said. ''I thought that we played with the right mentality.''

Dennis Schroder scored 18 points and Dewayne Dedmon had 11 for Atlanta, which showed why it's spent the season at or near the bottom of the NBA standings.

The Hawks began the game ranked seventh in 3-point shooting, but they had little chance of competing after missing 34 of their first 38 shots beyond the arc. Atlanta, coming off a dramatic late victory over New Orleans, was attempting to win three straight for the first time this season.

''The shot isn't falling, but you have to find another way to win the game,'' Schroder said. ''We didn't do it tonight. We have to keep moving on to the next game.''

With the Hawks poorly defending inside, Markkanen took his game to the rim. The 7-foot, 227-pound Finn, a prolific 3-point shooter, had five dunks. He went 0 for 4 beyond the arc, marking the first time in 17 games that he didn't hit a 3.

Markkanen hit 100 3s in his first 41 games, faster than any rookie in NBA history, but he wants to make the adjustment inside when teams focus on taking his perimeter game away.

''I know I can't just shoot 3s,'' Markkanen said. ''I've got to get to the rim. Eventually that's going to open a lot more space for 3-pointers and stuff like that. I just try to mix it up.''

TIP-INS

Bulls: Hoiberg said G Kris Dunn, in the NBA's concussion protocol, will not join the team Monday in New Orleans. Dunn is still suffering headaches, dizziness and soreness from losing two front teeth after his face hit the floor. ... Chicago is 7-16 on the road but has won four of its last six away from the United Center. ... The Bulls have hit at least 10 3s in 10 straight games.

Hawks: The team's best 3-point veteran shooters, F Ersan Ilyasova and G Marco Belinelli, were a combined 0 for 12 beyond the arc. Atlanta finished 11 for 48. ... The Hawks have dropped three straight in the Bulls series after winning seven in a row.

BULLISH START

Chicago did as it pleased in the first half, dishing out 18 assists on 21 field goals to begin the third quarter with a 55-38 lead. They scored the game's first 14 points in the paint on five dunks, and Atlanta had no one capable inside to defend Lopez, who had 16 before intermission on 8 for 9 shooting.

Portis finished with 14 points and Justin Holiday had 13 for the Bulls.

''We knew it was going to be an important game for us after a tough loss against Golden State,'' Nikola Mirotic said. ''I think that game gave us confidence that we can beat any team in the league.''

UP NEXT

Bulls: Visit New Orleans on Monday.

Hawks: Host Utah on Monday.

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Mitchell gets 23, Jazz end Clippers' streak with 125-113 win

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) The offensively challenged Utah Jazz found a way to score points in droves Saturday night.

Donovan Mitchell scored 23 points and helped Utah close out a 125-113 win over the Los Angeles Clippers with their second-highest point total this season.

Despite missing starting guard Rodney Hood because of a leg injury, Utah set season bests for points in the first quarter (39) and first half (76). It never trailed while ending the Clippers' six-game winning streak.

''Just playing with force,'' Jazz center Rudy Gobert said. ''Being aggressive. Moved the ball. Our defense got a lot of deflections, a lot of steals and got a lot of easy stuff from that.

''It felt good, but at the same time they were scoring too much. So it didn't feel great. It's kind of like you're having fun offensively, but can't get a stop. If you get stops, the game is over in the third.''

The Jazz drove to the basket at will in the first half, shooting 62.5 percent en route to a 76-59 halftime lead. They began the night ranked 26th in the league in points per game.

''Honestly, we just didn't have it,'' Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. ''They played a lot harder than us, which I rarely say. They played desperate.

''We didn't handle their pressure. They pressured us in the first half. Second half, we were much better. But in the first half, I just didn't think we were ready for the intensity that they were going to bring.''

Joe Ingles got aggressive and finished with a career-high 21 points, reaching the 20-point mark for just the third time in his career. Mitchell had his 21st game of 20-plus points, most among rookies, and also had seven assists and four rebounds. Derrick Favors had 14 points and 12 rebounds.

''When the ball sticks or stays on one side of the floor, we're not going to be as efficient,'' Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. ''We're a team that needs the ball to move side-to-side. And when it does, Joe's usually involved in helping it move and he's the beneficiary, a lot of times, of that movement. He was ready to shoot and aggressive.''

Lou Williams paced the Clippers with 31 points, a franchise-record 10 steals and seven assists, and he helped cut the lead to single digits in the fourth quarter. He's the first player in league history to reach 30 points, 10 steals and seven assists in a game since steals became a recorded stat. Blake Griffin added 25 points and eight rebounds.

''We're a very resilient group,'' Williams said. ''We were out here again tonight with another lineup and we fought hard and fell short. But it's a very resilient group.''

TIP-INS

Clippers: DeAndre Jordan missed his fourth straight game with a left ankle sprain. ... LA allowed 50 points in the paint. ... The Clippers were outrebounded 56-34.

Jazz: Gobert played 28 minutes as he works his way back from a sprained knee. He wasn't as effective as his 23-point, 14-block effort Friday, but was able to play the second night of a back-to-back. He finished with 16 points, seven rebounds and three blocks.

HOOD-LESS

Hood did not play after suffering a lower left leg contusion Friday night. He's averaged a career-high 16.7 points.

''I think it's collective,'' Snyder said about replacing his offense. ''It's more about us being efficient offensively. We've got a little bit of a Chinese water torture as far as how we need to score. Everybody's got to do a little bit.

''Our guys are great about being unselfish and not caring who gets shots. Different guys are going to get shots. The way we've been balanced, we've had a lot of guys lead us in scoring and have big nights. That's what we need.''

QUOTABLE

''I've had the most fun that I've had in years coaching a group,'' Rivers said before the game. ''It does remind me a lot of my first year in Orlando, we had that crazy group of guys. It's just a fun group to coach. They're extremely coachable. They want to do right. They get along and play together and sometimes you're fortunate enough to win games.''

UP NEXT

Clippers: Hosts Minnesota on Monday night.

Jazz: Travels to face Atlanta on Monday night.

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Paul has 33, Rockets end Warriors' streak with 116-108 win

HOUSTON (AP) James Harden felt closer to normal after struggling in his first game back from a hamstring injury, and the Houston Rockets got a big game from Chris Paul to down the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night.

Paul scored 33 points with 11 rebounds, Harden bested Stephen Curry twice in the final seconds and the Rockets held off the Warriors 116-108 to snap their 14-game road winning streak.

The victory gives Houston a 2-1 series advantage over Golden State after the reigning NBA champions had won the series the previous three seasons.

''Obviously they're a championship caliber team for the past four years ... and that's what we're trying to build our way up to,'' Harden said.

Harden stepped back from Curry for a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to make it 114-108 with 1:10 left, then blocked Curry's 3-point attempt after a timeout.

Harden finished with 22 points. Paul added two free throws with 28 seconds left.

Golden State lost away from home for the first time since Nov. 22. The Warriors had won seven straight in Houston.

''It's been a good streak, disappointing end to it,'' coach Steve Kerr said. ''But we didn't deserve to win tonight. We played pretty poorly, did a lot of things to hurt ourselves and we're playing a great team. Can't get away with it.''

Houston coach Mike D'Antoni raved about the performance of the 32-year-old Paul .

''The guy is a winner, he's been a winner, he's going to win,'' D'Antoni said.

Kevin Durant led Golden State with 26 points, Draymond Green had 21 and Curry added 19 on a night he went 5 of 15 on 3-point attempts and 6 of 20 overall. It was just the sixth time in his career that he'd attempted 20 or more shots while making six or fewer.

''It was just one of those nights where I personally didn't have the right vision on the floor,'' he said. ''So I've got to take that responsibility for that one. It was pretty bad.''

The Warriors were wrapping up a five-game road trip and had won the first four games to tie a franchise record for consecutive road wins. But they struggled from the outset Saturday and trailed by double digits for most of the first half.

It was Harden's second game back after missing seven with a strained hamstring. He was in a much better rhythm than in his return Thursday night, when he scored a season-low 10 points. He had eight assists, two steals and two blocks Saturday.

The Rockets got the victory despite missing Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green, who were both serving the second game of a two-game suspension for an altercation with the Clippers. Clint Capela added 18 points for Houston on a night when top reserve Eric Gordon went 0 for 9 from 3-point range and finished with just six points.

Golden State led by four before Houston went on a 9-2 run, with the first five points from Paul, to take a 109-106 lead with about three minutes left.

TIP-INS

Warriors: Green surpassed the 4,000-point mark (4,019) and added seven rebounds to also reach 3,000 rebounds. ... Golden State had 19 turnovers. ... Young finished with 16 points.

Rockets: It was the second time in five games that Paul had scored 30 points or more. ... Ryan Anderson had 13 rebounds. ... Paul also had seven assists and three steals.

THEY SAID IT

Durant on the improvement of the Rockets this season: ''I think the difference between them this year and last year - obviously everybody is going to say CP (Paul) - but they're just playing harder. They're playing harder on the defensive side of the ball.''

UP NEXT

Warriors: Host the Knicks on Tuesday night.

Rockets: Host the Heat on Monday night.

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TOP 25 REWIND: No. 7 Shockers stumble for 1st time in AAC

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Wichita State has hit its first bump in its new American Athletic Conference home. Coach Gregg Marshall now gets a chance to see how his seventh-ranked Shockers handle it.

The Shockers were one of five AP Top 25 teams to lose twice this week, joining No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 8 Texas Tech as top-10 teams in that group. First came an 83-78 home loss to SMU on Wednesday - snapping a 27-game home winning streak and giving Wichita its first lost in AAC play - followed by Saturday's 73-59 loss at Houston.

This is part of the Shockers' first go-around through the American after moving from their 72-year home in the Missouri Valley Conference, where they won four straight regular-season titles with a 68-4 record from 2013-17.

Wichita State (15-4, 5-2) had not lost consecutive conference games since the 2012-13 season before this week.

The problems hit both sides of the court. SMU shot nearly 64 percent in its win. Against Houston, though, Wichita State's most glaring troubles came in a 33-percent, 18-turnover offensive showing.

Wichita State had won its first four AAC games by double-figure margins, but things have been tougher starting with a 72-69 win at Tulsa on Jan. 13.

''We have to work on everything,'' Marshall said after the Houston loss, adding: ''I have to coach better. We have to play better.''

TOUGH LEAGUE

The Big 12's teams keep beating each other up.

The Sooners and freshman star Trae Young lost twice on the road, first at Kansas State on Tuesday and then in overtime at Oklahoma State on Saturday despite Young's 48 points.

Then there were the Red Raiders with their own set of road league losses. They fell at Texas on Wednesday and at Iowa State on Saturday.

''We're going to have to fight and get back up,'' Texas Tech coach Chris Beard said. ''This is life in the Big 12.''

MARQUEE WIN

Speaking of the Big 12, No. 10 Kansas had the week's best win by beating sixth-ranked West Virginia 71-66 on the road.

2-LOSS WEEKS

No. 18 Kentucky and No. 19 Seton Hall were the other ranked teams to lose twice this week.

Both of the Wildcats' losses came to unranked teams, first at South Carolina and then at home to Florida to snap a 30-game home winning streak against Southeastern Conference foes. It raises the question of whether the Wildcats could slide out of Monday's new poll.

''As a team, there is no lack of confidence,'' Wildcats sophomore Sacha Killeya-Jones said. ''We understand that we have work to do. We can't go out there and mess around. We have to go out there and fight.''

As for the Pirates, they lost at Creighton - which has been ranked in four polls this season - and then at home to No. 11 Xavier in the Big East.

BOILING

No. 3 Purdue (19-2, 8-0 Big Ten) has won 15 straight games and has won three straight Big Ten games by at least 23 points for the first time in school history. The Boilermakers beat Wisconsin by 28 points and Iowa by 23 this week.

SCHEDULED TO APPEAR?

St. Mary's (19-2, 8-0 West Coast Conference) is rolling and could go from ''Others Receiving Votes'' to ranked by Monday.

The Gaels won at No. 13 Gonzaga on Thursday, then won at Pacific for a 14th straight victory - the second longest streak in school history - behind 32 points from Jock Landale, who stands as one of college basketball's top performers with Selection Sunday less than two months away.

Then there's Kansas State (14-5, 4-3 Big 12), which followed its win against Oklahoma by beating No. 24 TCU . The Wildcats rank 24th in KenPom's adjusted offensive efficiency rankings (115.7 points per 100 possessions), but held both opponents to 42 percent shooting while forcing the Sooners into 20 turnovers.

''They've grown up,'' Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said after the TCU win. ''We have good leadership. And they're guarding.''

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Clemson's Grantham out for season with torn ACL

CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) Clemson forward Donte Grantham will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee.

The 20th-ranked Tigers are trying for their first NCAA Tournament berth in seven years, but the loss of Grantham is a major blow. The 6-foot-8 senior was second on the team with 14.2 points and 6.9 rebounds per game.

Grantham was driving to the basket during Clemson's win over Notre Dame on Saturday when his right leg appeared to buckle after getting fouled from behind. An MRI revealed the torn ligament.

The Tigers (16-3, 5-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) announced Grantham's injury on Sunday.

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