Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge reversed his previous decision to have thumb surgery and turned out for the Trail Blazers on Saturday, helping them to a 103-96 win against Washington.
The Blazers pushed their lead in the NBA Northwest Division back out to nine games, while the Wizards, second in the Eastern Conference, slipped further behind runaway leaders Atlanta.
Among other games, Memphis had a comfortable win against lowly Philadelphia, while Milwaukee used accurate perimeter shooting to easily beat Detroit.
Aldridge had said he was expected to miss from six to eight weeks for ligament surgery, but just hours before the game, the Blazers announced the three-time All-Star would play.
He had 26 points and nine rebounds, while Damian Lillard added 20 points and seven assists for the Blazers, who had to work hard to see off the persistent Wizards.
Scores were tied midway through the last quarter and Portland led by only two points with 3 minutes, 28 seconds left. The gap was at three points when Meyers Leonard sank three straight free throws with 1:07 left to push the lead out to six.
John Wall led Washington with 25 points and nine assists.
Memphis notched their sixth win in seven games by downing Philadelphia 101-83, opening their Southwest Division lead to one-and-a-half games.
Zach Randolph had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Jeff Green scored 18 for the Grizzlies, who led by 25 points in the second half before resting their starters in the fourth quarter.
Rookie Jerami Grant scored 16 points to lead the Sixers, who shot 38 percent and committed 24 turnovers.
Milwaukee hit 11 of their 17 three-point attempts to beat Detroit 101-86.
O.J. Mayo scored 20 points, including three three-pointers in just 47 seconds to spark an 18-2 run in the second quarter that turned a deficit into a 14-point lead.
Milwaukee also opened the second half with a 17-2 run. The Bucks led by as much as 30 in the third quarter of a rare easy victory.
Detroit’s Brandon Jennings scored 16 points before leaving late in the third with a lower left leg injury.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward scored 24 points to lead the Jazz to a 108-73 rout of Brooklyn.
Charlotte kept up their recent strong form with a 76-71 win against the New York Knicks, who have struggled all season yet won their previous three games.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
MONEY MATTERS: While COVID-19 played a major role in the decision, the CTBA also found it hard to secure sponsorship, and ticket sales would have been affected The Yonex Taipei Open badminton tournament has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a funding shortfall, the CTBA said yesterday. This was the first time that the tournament, a Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 300-level competition, has been canceled since it began in 1980. The Taipei Open has been held annually since 1980. The tournament was to be played at the Taipei Arena from Sept. 1 to Sept. 6, with total prize money of US$500,000. The CTBA said that it was deeply concerned about whether the Taipei Open would proceed as scheduled after the BWF announced changes