Andrew Wiggins scored 25 of his 28 points in the first half, helping the Minnesota Timberwolves take charge from the opening tipoff and breeze by the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers for a 108-86 victory on Sunday, the last game for coach Tom Thibodeau.,RAPTORS 121, PACERS 105

TORONTO (AP) — Norman Powell scored a season-high 23 points, Pascal Siakam had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Toronto snapped Indiana's six-game winning streak.,NETS 117, BULLS 100 read more

Andrew Wiggins scored 25 of his 28 points in the first half, helping the Minnesota Timberwolves take charge from the opening tipoff and breeze by the LeBron James-less Los Angeles Lakers for a 108-86 victory on Sunday, the last game for coach Tom Thibodeau.,RAPTORS 121, PACERS 105

TORONTO (AP) — Norman Powell scored a season-high 23 points, Pascal Siakam had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Toronto snapped Indiana's six-game winning streak.,NETS 117, BULLS 100 read more

Jan 6, 2019Nick DePaulaESPN

In a week filled with debuts and surprises, Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry led the way with a custom hand-painted edition of his latest Under Armour sneaker -- a joking nod to his "moon landing" controversy weeks ago.,Join on Facebook » read more

Most teams would be reeling after losing four games in a row to fall below .500 for the first time in five weeks, but somehow, it still feels like the Kings are on the rise as they enter another pivotal portion of their schedule.,The Kings fought the two-time defending-champion Golden State Warriors to the end for the third time this season before falling 127-123 in a wildly entertaining game Saturday night at Golden 1 Center.,Sacramento’s last three losses came against three of the top seven teams in the Western Conference.,That stretch included eight games against teams currently in the top eight, including two against the Warriors, two against the Los Angeles Lakers and one against the Trail Blazers, Nuggets, Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Clippers.,The Kings will play their next eight games against six teams with a combined record of 137-168, five of them against an opponent on the second night of a back-to-back.

Nor is it likely to end well for a lot of Lakers, some of whom could be New Orleans-bound in a trade for Anthony Davis … or cut for salary cap space, like the eight of them who are on one-year deals, to bring in more free agents like Klay Thompson … or unemployed like Coach Luke Walton if Magic Johnson holds him responsible for any shortfall.,I don’t see a second-round loss going over well with Johnson, not after he read Walton the riot act seven games into the season, then, in as close as he felt like coming to reassuring everyone publicly, said Luke would, “finish this season unless something drastic happens, which it won’t.”,It’s still emerging with last week’s report by ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski that Magic has wanted a new coach since he took over, but has yet to convince Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Walton.,Despite his cachet, James hasn’t been a behind-the-scenes schemer … aside from all his player recruiting … although Riley, whom LeBron left high and dry, late revealed that LeBron hinted that he would like him to fire Coach Erik Spoelstra during LeBron’s first season in Miami without coming out and actually asking him to do it.,A recent report from ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has wanted a new coach since he took over in February of 2017, but has yet to convince team owner Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Luke Walton, left.

Gortat had not played in the fourth quarter in the first 36 games of the season until the calendar turned, and he responded with his first double-double of the season when the Clippers extended their dominance of the Phoenix Suns with a 121-111 victory Friday night.,Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams scored 21 points apiece and four other Clippers finished in double figures as they won their third straight against the Suns this season and their 11th straight in the series.,Suns center Deandre Ayton had four points, tying a season low set in the first game against the Clippers on Nov. 28.,They entered the game averaging a league-high 52.4 Williams and Harrell have not started a game this season, and Beverley flip-flopped with Avery Bradley on Nov. 20.,All average at least 25 minutes a game, and Williams (18.2) and Harrell (15.7) are the Clippers' third- and fourth-leading scorers.

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Firing Steve Alford was the easy part.Finding a marquee replacement for a once-proud program that has become ignored and irrelevant is going to be the hard part.UCLA axed its embattled basketball coach in a rare midseason change Monday, two days after a 15-point loss to Liberty in front of fans who filled Pauley Pavilion with boos.,While the move mercifully ended Alfords five-plus year tenure, one marked by consistent underachievement despite three Sweet 16 appearances, the Bruins real challenge lies ahead.They have to convince a worthy candidate they can provide an environment that will empower him to restore glory to a championship culture that has clearly lost its way.I never thought I would write this, but the stark reality is that coaching the UCLA mens basketball team is not a great job.Your bosses seem to care more about football.,The schools support of the program has lagged such that when the Bruins traveled to Dayton, Ohio, for an NCAA Tournament play-in game last March, the pep band didnt even make the trip.In ways that stretch far beyond the current 23-year national championship drought the longest since before Wooden stepped on campus the reality is as chilling as the malaise that often runs through Pauley when the team occupies the floor.UCLA basketball is no longer UCLA basketball.The most important, yet trickiest, task of Dan Guerreros tenure as UCLA athletic director will be to find somebody with the coaching chops and public charisma to change all that.They need a John Calipari type, but they dont operate in John Caliparis neighborhood.,Then you need to pay Chip Kelly prices, offer Chip Kelly-style control, and install Chip Kelly-style bells and whistles.In hiring Kelly, Guerrero took the kind of big swing he had never taken before, broadening his vision with the nudging of booster Casey Wasserman and former Bruins quarterback Troy Aikman.In this new hire, which UCLA says will be conducted with the help of another former Bruin, Golden State Warriors general manager Bob Myers, Guerrero needs to swing with the same launch angle.In other words, he cant hire a coach from New Mexico who, in 18 years of Division I coaching, had reached the Sweet 16 only once.That was Steve Alford, and, lets face it, his biggest problem was that he never should have been hired in the first place.From his messy opening news conference in 2013, during which he made comments about a rape charge against one of his former players at Iowa for which he later apologized, Alford never seemed comfortable here.It was like he took the job not because he wanted it, but because he felt he couldnt turn it down.,He never sold the program through either entertaining regular seasons or deep tournament runs.I supported him in this space because of his and his staffs great recruiting they had seven NBA first-round draft picks and because of those three Sweet 16 appearances in five years, an underrated and difficult task.But in each of those Sweet 16 games they were badly outclassed, losing by double digits.

All times are listed in Eastern Standard Time; check local listings for details.,BOWL GAMES

Peach Bowl at Atlanta: Florida vs. Michigan, Noon read more

Lakers superstar LeBron James arrived to Staples Center in style on Friday night for the Lakers game against the Clippers.,James is out with a left groin strain injury that is expected to sideline the superstar for at least a few games.,After routing the two-time NBA Champion Golden State Warriors on Christmas Day in a game James didn't return the Lakers lost their first full game without their floor general 117-116 on a last second buzzer beater to the Sacramento Kings on Thursday.,James streak of 156 consecutive games played (regular season and postseason) was snapped, and 14-time NBA All-Star did not make the trip to Sacramento.,After his arrival, James sat at the end of the Lakers bench, cheering on his teammates during the game known as the NBA's "Battle for LA," between the two Staples Center co-tenants.