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Durant, Nets rout Knicks after making Vaughn head coach

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NEW YORK (AP) — Kevin Durant had 29 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists, becoming the first player since Michael Jordan to score at least 25 points in his team’s first 12 games, and the Brooklyn Nets routed the New York Knicks 112-85 on Wednesday night after making Jacque Vaughn their head coach.

Durant beat the Knicks for the 13th straight time, and he’s had triple-doubles in the last two. His rebounds and assists were both season highs, and his usual scoring extended a streak that is the longest since Jordan opened the 1988-89 season with 16 consecutive games of 25 points.

New York’s basketball rivalry remained no rivalry at all, with the Nets beating the Knicks for the eighth straight time. It matches their second-longest winning streak against the Knicks, three shy of an 11-game run from 1984-86.

Seth Curry added a season-high 23 points and Edmond Sumner, in his fourth straight start in place of the suspended Kyrie Irving, finished with a season-best 18.

The Nets decided to stick with Vaughn earlier in the day after showing signs of progress since he replaced Steve Nash following a 2-5 start.

They are 3-2 since and have held their last four opponents below 100 points, the first time Brooklyn has done that since an eight-game stretch in the 2014-15 season.

Julius Randle had 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Knicks, who trailed by as much as 35.

CLIPPERS 114, LAKERS 101

LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James scored 30 points before leaving the court with pain in his left leg late in the Los Angeles Lakers’ loss to the Clippers.

James felt discomfort in his leg and groin shortly after he backed down Paul George to draw a foul in the paint with less than five minutes to play. James sat out Monday at Utah to rest the persistent pain in his left foot, but was having one of his best games this season before his latest physical setback.

James, on pace to pass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar this season to become the NBA’s career scoring leader, hit four 3-pointers and added eight rebounds and five assists against the Clippers while finishing one shy of his season high in points.

George scored 29 points as the Clippers extended their recent domination of their arena roommates with their ninth consecutive victory over the Lakers. Norman Powell added 18 for the Clippers, who had seven scorers in double figures during their fifth victory in the past six games without injured star Kawhi Leonard, who missed his 10th game this season.

The Clippers are unbeaten in the city rivalry since July 2020 and still perfect against the Lakers under coach Tyronn Lue, who took over in October 2020.

Anthony Davis had 21 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who dropped to 2-9 with their fourth consecutive defeat.

CELTICS 128, PISTONS 112

BOSTON (AP) — Jayson Tatum had 31 points and five assists as Boston beat Detroit for its fourth straight victory.

Jaylen Brown had 30 points and seven rebounds. Sam Hauser added a career-high 24 points off the bench for the Celtics, led by 24 in the fourth quarter.

Jaden Ivey had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Pistons, who have lost four of five. Saddiq Bey added 18 points and Bojan Bogdanovic finished with 17.

Cade Cunningham was 1 of 11 from the field and finished with a season-low four points. It was the first time this season he’s failed to reach double figures. He was averaging a team-best 21.4 points per game.

JAZZ 125, HAWKS 119

ATLANTA (AP) — Lauri Markkanen scored a season-high 32 points and Utah recovered after blowing a 15-point lead to beat Atlanta.

Jordan Clarkson had 23 points, his fifth straight game with at least 20, to give the Western Conference-leading Jazz (10-3) their fourth straight win.

The Jazz made 17 3-pointers, including six by Malik Beasley, who had 18 points, and six by Markkanen.

Dejounte Murray scored 26 points and Trae Young added 22 for the Hawks, who took a 90-85 lead into the final period. Atlanta (7-4) had its three-game winning streak snapped.

NUGGETS 122, PACERS 119

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Nikola Jokic scored 24 points in 21 minutes to help Denver erase an 18-point deficit in the second half against Indiana.

Jokic was in foul trouble most of the night and sat from the 11:02 mark of the third quarter until early in the fourth with five fouls. But when the Nuggets needed him most, the two-time NBA MVP pulled them through.

Denver has won four straight and six of seven. Aaron Gordon had 18 points and tied a career best with 17 rebounds.

Indiana led most of the second half but struggled to stop Jokic and Denver’s 3-point shooters down the stretch. Myles Turner missed a 3 at the buzzer that would have forced overtime.

Bennedict Mathurin led the Pacers with 30 points, including 23 in the first half. Tyrese Haliburton had 21 points and 11 assists.

RAPTORS 116, ROCKETS 109

TORONTO (AP) — Fred VanVleet scored 12 of his season-high 32 points in the fourth quarter to lead Toronto past Houston.

O.G. Anunoby matched his season best with 27 points and added 10 rebounds for the Raptors. Otto Porter Jr. scored 14 points, Scottie Barnes had 13 and Gary Trent Jr. 11 as Toronto improved to 5-1 at home.

VanVleet made a season-high seven 3-pointers, going 7 for 16 from long range.

Jabari Smith Jr. had 15 points and 10 rebounds, and Kevin Porter Jr. had 12 points and 11 assists but the Rockets lost for the seventh time in eight games. Jalen Green scored 21 points.

TRAIL BLAZERS 105, HORNETS 95

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Damian Lillard overcame a slow start to finish with 26 points, including six 3-pointers, and Portland handed Charlotte its sixth straight loss.

Anfernee Simons scored 19 points and Shaedon Sharpe had 17 off the bench for the Trail Blazers. They shot 53.3% and rallied from a 12-point deficit in the third quarter to improve to 3-1 on their six-game trip.

Terry Rozier led the Hornets with 18 points. Mason Plumlee had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

MAGIC 94, MAVERICKS 87

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Franz Wagner scored 22 points and Orlando held Dallas star Luka Doncic under 30 points for the first time this season.

Doncic, the NBA’s leading scorer, finished with 24 points after scoring 30 or more in each of the Mavericks’ first nine games. He shot 9 for 29 overall and 2 of 11 from 3-point range.

Spencer Dinwiddle had 29 points for the Mavericks, who were outrebounded 49-29.

The Magic played for the first time without rookie Paolo Banchero, who sprained his ankle Monday night. Wendell Carter Jr. had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Orlando.

The start of the game was moved up by 90 minutes due to the approach of Hurricane Nicole.

PELICANS 115, BULLS 111

CHICAGO (AP) — Brandon Ingram scored 18 of his 22 points in the second half, including seven straight late in the fourth quarter, and New Orleans pulled out a victory over Chicago.

Ingram hit a 3-pointer that gave the Pelicans a 109-107 lead. DeMar DeRozan’s dunk tied it, but Ingram countered with a mid-range basket and the Bulls committed a turnover with 17.4 seconds left.

DeRozan, who scored a season-low nine points Monday, led the Bulls with 33. Zach LaVine added 23.

GRIZZLIES 124, SPURS 122, OT

SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Ja Morant and Desmond Bane scored 32 points apiece as Memphis defeated San Antonio in overtime.

The Grizzlies handed the Spurs their fifth consecutive loss and won their seventh straight over San Antonio.

Dillon Brooks added 13 points and Steven Adams had 19 rebounds and seven points. In a back-and-forth game, Bane scored six straight points in the final 2 1/2 minutes to help force overtime.

Devin Vassell’s 3-pointer for the Spurs hit the side of the rim as overtime ended. Vassell and Jakob Poeltl had 22 points each.

SUNS 129, TIMBERWOLVES 117

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Devin Booker had 32 points and a season-high 10 assists, and Mikal Bridges scored 31 as Phoenix topped Minnesota.

Despite playing without Chris Paul (right heel soreness) and starting forward Cameron Johnson, the Suns led by 27 to rebound from a disappointing loss at Philadelphia two nights earlier.

Cameron Payne added 23 points while starting in place of Paul. Landry Shamet had 16 off the bench for Phoenix, which had lost two of three.

Rudy Gobert returned to the lineup for Minnesota after missing two games in health and safety protocols. But he and Karl-Anthony Towns were limited due to early foul trouble.

Gobert scored 13 of his 25 points in the third quarter. Towns finished with 11. Jaden McDaniels had a career-high 24 points to lead the Timberwolves.

BUCKS 136, THUNDER 132, 2 OT

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Jevon Carter had career highs of 36 points and 12 assists as Milwaukee outlasted Oklahoma City in double overtime.

The short-handed Bucks were missing their top two scorers. Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out with a sore left knee and Jrue Holiday was sidelined with a sprained right ankle. Carter filled the scoring void by making 15 of 27 field goals, including 5 of 10 3-pointers.

Brook Lopez added 24 points, 13 rebounds and five blocks for the Bucks, who were coming off their first loss this season after starting 9-0.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 39 points and Josh Giddey added 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Thunder, who lost their fourth straight.

KINGS 127, CAVALIERS 120

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Domantas Sabonis scored 21 points and Sacramento overcame another big performance by Donovan Mitchell to beat Cleveland.

Mitchell scored 38 points on 16-of-28 shooting as the Cavaliers lost their second in a row following an eight-game winning streak. He began the game averaging 31.2 points per game this season.

Harrison Barnes had a season-high 19 points for the Kings. He had zero points in their loss to Golden State on Monday.

De’Aaron Fox added 15 points and eight assists for Sacramento.

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LeBron’s off-court legacy complements his basketball success

Mya Smiley is a student at the University of Akron thanks to an assist from LeBron James, and she is determined upon graduation to become a social worker that helps foster kids.

Her education and career path would not have been possible, the sophomore says, were it not for a scholarship and counseling that she received from the LeBron James Family Foundation. “He’s life-changing,” Smiley said.

For all his accomplishments on the basketball court — four championships, 19 All-Star Game nominations and an imminent coronation as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer — it is James’ ambitious pursuits off-the-court that may ultimately distinguish his legacy from other superstar athletes’.

James co-founded a successful media and entertainment company, bought stakes in storied professional baseball and soccer franchises and, with a big assist from product endorsements, his net worth is estimated to have grown above $1 billion. The off-court achievement that James is most proud of, he says, is working to uplift the lives of people like Smiley in his hometown of Akron.

Many athletes have excelled in one or more of these areas. But few have done all of them as well as James, who is closing in on passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the NBA’s career scoring record.

“His goal, I believe, is to have 10% of his wealth go to causes and support communities, which is an amazing goal,” said Lisa Delpy Neirotti, a professor of sports management at George Washington University. “I would say he’s maybe above and beyond others, just on that aspiration alone.”

James is, by any measure, an overwhelming success. And he makes Smiley — one of the many people in Akron who have received financial support from his foundation — believe that she can be a success as well.

“If I did not have the LeBron program, I probably wouldn’t have ever gone to college. I would be living in a not-so-positive environment,” said the 19-year-old Smiley.

“His ability to help people’s futures,” she added, “is what makes LeBron a great person.”

James, who entered the NBA straight after high school in 2003, planned early on to use his talents, fame — and, yes, his growing financial resources — to have on impact on the world beyond basketball.

“Even before I got into the NBA, I knew I wanted to find a way to give back to my community,” said James. Although James bounced from home to home during his childhood, and experienced financial insecurity for many of those years, he also was given enormous support from friends, neighbors and educators.

The LeBron James Family Foundation, founded in 2004, at first gained local attention by giving away bikes and backpacks. Then it began looking at after-school programs, with students scattered across several dozen schools, and eventually created a public school currently serving about 575 third through eighth graders. Today the school includes a family resource center that provides a wide-range of services to parents, including mental health, financial literacy, legal aid and GED courses.

Just down the street from the school, the foundation provides rent-free housing to as many as 16 different families — when needed — and it has plans to build 50 units of affordable housing.

“I couldn’t have guessed how much it would grow,” James said in late January. “But we got here by listening and responding to our community and what they need.”

James has made over $400 million in NBA salary during his time with Cleveland, Miami and the Los Angeles Lakers. Another $100 million is on the way in the next 2-1/2 years or so.

James is a pitchman for Nike, GMC, AT&T and many more multinational companies. He owns a piece of the Boston Red Sox and Britain’s Liverpool football club. His entertainment company, SpringHill — named after the modest apartment complex he grew up in — is valued at $725 million and has produced movies for HBO and Netflix.

“He’s been a brilliant example for millions of kids, especially kids with lesser opportunity and haven’t had the same advantages as others,” San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said in 2018, a sentiment he’s repeated many times since. “They see in this guy somebody who has consistently exhibited excellence in the workplace and gives them a voice and lets them know that you can speak about anything.”

James puts so much focus on giving back to Akron because of the help people there gave to him and his family. “He’s never lost sight of that,” said Michele Campbell, the executive director of James’ foundation. “I think that keeps him grounded.”

Just how down to earth “King James” really was got called into question in 2010. That’s when he went on television to announce that he was leaving Cleveland to play in Miami. Billed as “The Decision” — and broadcast on ESPN — the live event was widely ripped as egotistical. But from James’ perspective, the broadcast raised around $4 million for charity, a fact was largely overlooked.

Just a couple of years later, James would use his star power to help draw attention to a cause bigger than himself.

In the aftermath of the 2012 death of Trayvon Martin — a Black Florida teen who was wearing a hoodie when he was fatally shot by a neighborhood watch volunteer — James tweeted a photo of Heat players wearing hoodies and bowing their heads that included the hashtag “WeWantJustice.”

In 2020, James helped lead the “More Than A Vote” movement, which included registration and early-vote drives and stressed the need for people — particularly Black voters — to get to the polls to fight disenfranchisement.

Also in 2020, in the aftermath of the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd, James was one of the players calling for an end to racial inequality and police brutality.

“Everything I do,” James said late last year, “has to have a purpose.”

James has all the money and all the fame that he ever wanted or needed. His NBA records, including the scoring title, are going to last for a very long time.

As will his off-court endeavors.

“His ability to help others and put others first is what makes him a great person,” Smiley said. “Not the baskets he shot.”

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Kyrgios pleads guilty to assault, has no conviction recorded

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Nick Kyrgios had suffered severe depression, suicidal ideation and insomnia in the past, a psychologist told a court on Friday when the Australian tennis star pleaded guilty to pushing a former girlfriend to the ground two years ago.

The 2022 Wimbledon runner-up pleaded guilty in the Australian Capital Territory Magistrates Court to assaulting Chiara Passari during an argument in his hometown of Canberra in January 2021.

Magistrate Jane Campbell didn’t record a conviction against Kyrgios for reasons including that the offense was at the low end of seriousness for a common assault, and was not premeditated.

Campbell described it as an act of “stupidity” and “frustration.”

Kyrgios, who was using crutches following recent surgery on his left knee, didn’t speak to reporters as he left court but issued a statement through a management company.

“I respect today’s ruling and am grateful to the court for dismissing the charges without conviction,” Kyrgios said. “I was not in a good place when this took place and I reacted to a difficult situation in a way I deeply regret. I know it wasn’t OK and I’m sincerely sorry for the hurt I caused.

“Mental health is tough. Life can seem overwhelming. But I’ve found that getting help and working on myself has helped me to feel better and to be better.”

Kyrgios’ psychologist, Sam Borenstein, said in a written report and testimony by phone that Kyrgios had suffered major depressive episodes in the past and had used alcohol and drugs to cope. Kyrgios’ mental health led to impulsive and reckless behavior.

His recent knee injury had resulted in mild to moderate symptoms of depression, but his mental health was improving, Borenstein said.

“He’s doing very well,” Borenstein said. “His mental health has improved significantly.”

Lawyers for Kyrgios had sought to have an assault charge stemming from events two years ago dismissed on mental health grounds but the application was unsuccessful.

Kyrgios had been attempting to leave Passari during an argument at 10 p.m. on Jan. 10, 2021, outside her apartment in the inner-Canberra suburb of Kingston. He called an Uber but Passari stood in the way of him closing the front passenger side door. The driver wouldn’t leave with the door open.

Kyrgios eventually pushed Passari’s shoulders backward with open palms, causing her to fall to the pavement and graze her knee, according to agreed facts read to the court.

Passari signed a police statement alleging the assault 11 months later, after her relationship with Kyrgios had ended.

His current partner, Costeen Hatzi, wrote in a character reference that she had no concerns of violence in her relationship. Hatzi was among Kyrgios’ supporters who sat behind him in court.

Kyrgios, wearing a dark suit and using the crutches for support, first spoke in court when the magistrate asked him if he could stand to enter a plea.

Kyrgios replied: “Yep, no worries, Your Honor,” as he rose to plead guilty.

In February last year, Kyrgios opened up about his performance at the 2019 Australian Open, saying what appeared to be a positive time in his life had been “one of my darkest periods.”

“I was lonely, depressed, negative, abusing alcohol, drugs, pushed away family and friends,” he wrote on Instagram. “I felt as if I couldn’t talk or trust anyone. This was a result of not opening up and refusing to lean on my loved ones and simply just push myself little by little to be positive.”

Kyrgios made further references to his mental health struggles during his runs last year to the final at Wimbledon and the quarterfinals at the U.S. Open.

After ending Daniil Medvedev’s U.S. Open title defense last September to reach the quarterfinals, Kyrgios expressed pride at lifting himself out of “some really tough situations, mentally” and “some really scary places” off the court.

The 27-year-old Kyrgios had a career setback last month when he withdrew from the Australian Open because the knee injury which later required arthroscopic surgery.

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Bengals’ Joe Mixon charged with pointing gun at woman

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cincinnati Bengals running back Joe Mixon has been charged in a warrant with pointing a gun at a woman and threatening her, according to court documents.

Mixon faces a misdemeanor charge of aggravated menacing, according to the documents, which were filed Thursday in Hamilton County Municipal Court and obtained by The Associated Press. No attorney is listed for him in court records.

According to the warrant, Mixon pointed the gun at the woman and told her, “You should be popped in the face. I should shoot you, the police (can’t) get me.”

The incident occurred on Jan. 21, the day before the Bengals beat the Buffalo Bills in a divisional-round playoff game.

The 26-year-old Mixon rushed for 814 yards and seven touchdowns this season, his sixth. He also had 60 receptions for 441 yards, both career highs, and two touchdowns.

A second-round draft pick out of Oklahoma in 2017, Mixon has spent his entire career with Cincinnati and rushed for career highs of 1,205 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2021.

In 2014, when he was 18, Mixon punched a female Oklahoma student in the face, an attack captured on surveillance video. He was suspended from the football team for a year and entered an Alford plea, in which a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is sufficient evidence for a conviction. He received a deferred sentence and was ordered to perform community service and undergo counseling.

The incident hurt his standing in the draft, with several teams saying they passed on him because of concerns about his character.

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