NBA Capsules

NBA Capsules

NEW YORK (AP) Jeremy Lin won again at Madison Square Garden - and for the first time this season, the New York Knicks didn't.

Lin had 22 points and eight assists in his return to New York, leading the Houston Rockets to a 109-96 victory Monday night that ended the Knicks' 10-game home winning streak to open the season.

Cheered then jeered, and later clobbered, Lin added another masterpiece to the ones he put together last season during the height of Linsanity. No longer the fan favorite he was when wearing the home uniform, Lin got a mixed reception when he left the game with 2:25 remaining and Houston leading by 16.

James Harden had 28 points and 10 rebounds for the Rockets, who blew out the Knicks for the second time this season. They have won the last seven meetings, including a 131-103 rout in Houston on Nov. 23.

Rookie Chris Copeland scored a career-high 29 points for the Knicks, who played without leading scorer Carmelo Anthony and had their four-game winning streak snapped.

THUNDER 107, SPURS 93

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Serge Ibaka tied his career best with 25 points and grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds, and Oklahoma City beat San Antonio for its 11th straight win.

The Thunder took control with a string of 11 straight points during the third quarter, punctuated by Nick Collison's putback that made it 71-56 with 4:27 remaining in the period.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich kept his starters parked on the bench throughout the fourth quarter, even as San Antonio cut an 18-point lead in half with about 5 1/2 minutes left.

Tony Parker and Nando De Colo had 14 points apiece to lead the Spurs, who could have created a virtual tie for the best record with a win.

Manu Ginobili did not play for the Spurs because he bruised his left quadriceps in Saturday's win at Boston.

Russell Westbrook chipped in 22 points and nine assists, Kevin Martin scored 20 and Kevin Durant had 19 as Oklahoma City maintained sole possession of the best record in the NBA.

It was the teams' first meeting in Oklahoma City since the Thunder overcame a 2-0 deficit in the Western Conference finals by winning the next four games. The Spurs drew a measure of revenge in the season opener by beating Oklahoma City on Parker's jumper as time expired.

GRIZZLIES 80, BULLS 71

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Mike Conley had 17 points, Zach Randolph added 10 points and 15 rebounds, and Memphis overcame a poor start to beat Chicago.

Conley was 6 of 12 from the field and had four assists. Rudy Gay scored 12 points for the Grizzlies but shot 5 of 13, continuing his slump. Wayne Ellington scored all 11 of his points in the second quarter, when the Grizzlies reserves provided a lift after Memphis shot poorly in the first period.

Carlos Boozer led the Bulls with 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Marco Belinelli finished with 13 points.

Both teams shot just better than 37 percent. But Memphis was 6 of 11 from 3-point range compared to the Bulls hitting only 2 of 11 long-range shots.

CLIPPERS 88, PISTONS 76

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) - Jamal Crawford scored 15 points and Chris Paul added 14 to lead Los Angeles past Detroit for its 10th straight win.

Blake Griffin had 15 points for the Clippers, who had five players in double figures. Griffin had two breakaway dunks in the last 30 seconds, one on a pass banked off the backboard by Crawford.

Brandon Knight led the Pistons with 16 points and Tayshaun Prince added 15. Detroit has lost five straight.

MAGIC 102, TIMBERWOLVES 93

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - Glen Davis scored 28 points and J.J. Redick had 18 points and seven assists as Orlando beat Minnesota.

The Magic won their third straight and stopped the Timberwolves' four-game winning streak. Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 11 rebounds for his third consecutive double-double, and Arron Afflalo scored 13 points.

Kevin Love led Minnesota with 23 points and 15 rebounds. Nikola Pekovic had 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who led by 15 in the middle of the third quarter but couldn't hang on.

SUNS 101, KINGS 90

PHOENIX (AP) - Shannon Brown scored 14 of his 22 points in the third quarter, Jared Dudley added 20 points and the Phoenix Suns pulled off another big rally to beat Sacramento.

The Suns were out of sorts throughout the first half, scoring 43 points while trailing by up to 19. Brown helped them outscore Sacramento 31-14 in the third quarter and Dudley provided the cushion down the stretch to give Phoenix its first three-game winning streak of the season.

Marcin Gortat had 14 points and 13 rebounds, and Luis Scola gave the Suns his usual hustle while scoring 14 points and dishing out a career-high 10 assists.

The Kings played well early, but faded down the stretch to lose their fourth straight game. Jimmer Fredette had 22 points and Aaron Brooks added 12 for Sacramento.

Baker had his team rub a former player's ears for good luck vs. Cards

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Baker had his team rub a former player's ears for good luck vs. Cards

You're going to lobe this story. Wait, sorry, you're going to love this story.

Before the Nationals' weekend series against the Cardinals that started on Friday, a former player and current pal of Dusty Baker named Kirk Rueter stopped by to say hello. It was there when things took a turn for the weird, according to USA TODAY Sports' Bob Nightengale.

As a pitcher under Baker with the Giants, Rueter apparently developed a reputation for having incredibly good fortune. With that in mind,  Baker — whose team had just been swept at home by the Phillies — wanted to take advantage of his penchant for luck.

So he had his buddy walk through Washington's clubhouse and told his roster to rub his ears.

Yes, this is a thing that happened.

The bizarre superstition, of course, seemed to work, considering the Nats took all three games from St. Louis, an organization that has given them fits before. Next up is a four-game tilt in Kansas City. Rueter better bring his ears. 

MORE NATIONALS: WHY NATS PITCHERS THROWING MORE PITCHES ISN'T WORRISOME

After going undrafted, All-American Maryland kicker catches on in NFL

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After going undrafted, All-American Maryland kicker catches on in NFL

Former Maryland kicker Brad Craddock went undrafted over the weekend, but has now caught on with the Cleveland Browns, he announced via Twitter on Sunday.

Craddock, who won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's best kicker during his junior season, is a native of Australia. He came to Maryland as a punter before becoming a placekicker. 

Over the course of his four-year career at Maryland, Craddock made 57 of his 70 field goal attempts. That number includes a school-record 57-yard field goal against Ohio State in 2014. 

DeAngelo Hall on Josh Norman: 'I was all about trying to get him'

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DeAngelo Hall on Josh Norman: 'I was all about trying to get him'

The acquisiton of Josh Norman is a move that'll have far-reaching consequences across the Redskins franchise. The pass rush, for one, will benefit, as Norman should blanket opposing receivers for longer amounts of time and allow the big boys more opportunities to reach the quarterback. The offense should profit as well, as the corner will likely provide the unit shorter fields to work with as he generates some turnovers.

The transaction will also help individuals, too, like DeAngelo Hall. The 32-year-old, who will be lining up at safety in 2016 after experimenting with it near the end of last season, said as much during an appearance on 106.7 The Fan's Grant & Danny Show on Monday.

"To add a guy like Josh Norman, it's going to be amazing for us," Hall said, before adding that the All-Pro's presence will make his job much easier. "I was all about trying to get him."

As it turns out, the veteran played a minor but key role in recruiting Norman. Hall said team president Bruce Allen asked him about flying to Atlanta along with defensive coordinator Joe Barry and secondary coach Perry Fewell for the two sides' initial meeting, but Hall was already there — and had already been in touch with him.

"I had been texting Josh prior to that," he said. "I knew that they liked him... I couldn't wait to give him my spiel and my pitch."

The organization's strategy obviously worked, as Norman arrived to the team's facility a free agent and left it under contract. Now one of the premier members of the Burgundy and Gold, he'll be expected to contribute to Washington's overall progress.

In Hall's mind, that means not being satisfied with 2015's achievements. 

"We just got to keep raising the bar," he said. "We just want to follow that up with another stellar year. I definitely think we have the tools and the guys on this football team to be as good as we want to be."

MORE REDSKINS: THE 2016 DRAFT CLASS IS HYPED ABOUT JOINING WASHINGTON