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Watch Rudy Gobert get ejected for tripping Thunder’s Williams Watch Kawhi Leonard score two clutch buckets, including game-winner, in his return James Harden returns to 76ers Monday night, is on minutes restriction Trae Young frustrated ‘private conversations get out to the public’ about missed game Nike, Kyrie Irving part ways, making him a sneaker free agent

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Already without Karl-Anthony TownsThe Timberwolves were away from the second twin tower for most of Saturday night. Rudy Gobert was exiled for kicking and tripping Grom Kenrich Williams.

Early in the second quarter, Williams was riding towards the basket and Gobert was there to fight him and on contact Williams fell to the ground, then Gobert tripped over him and fell. As Williams began to get up and attempt to walk down the court, Gobert kicked Williams’ legs out from under him, tripping Williams. A short scuffle ensued.

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The judges reviewed the game (it didn’t take long), and in the end, Gobert was given a flagrant 2 and sent off, while Williams got a technical. The referees got it right.

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The game was tight throughout the game, but faced with a smaller Timberwolves front line, the Thunder were victorious 135–128, trailing 33 of Shay Gilgeus-Alexander.

Kawhi Leonard looked rusty in his return for the first 47 minutes on Monday night: 5 of 13 shots, 0-3 from three.

But this last minute was special.

First, there was a great fuss from Paul George – also coming back – it passed the ball to Leonard to tie him up.

Then, after the stoppage, the Clippers got what they wanted, went overboard and let Leonard handle the winning game.

Los Angeles went on to a 119–117 road win. Not exactly beautiful, but for a team that was just starting to recover and build teamwork, they showed resilience and won. Leonard finished with 16 points on 7 of 15 shooting and George looked brilliant en route to 19 on 8 of 15 shooting from the floor. It was the Clippers’ balanced offense that Tyronne Liu is trying to build.

Kelly Obre Jr. scored 28 and PJ Washington added 26 for shorthanded Hornets.

The 76ers were able to keep their heads above the water. For 14 games James Harden out of action with right leg tendon sprain – both Joel Embiid as well as Tyrese Maxi missed games this stretch too (Maxi stayed out) and Philadelphia went 8-6 with a +2.9 net rating and the best defense in the NBA this stretch.

Harden returns to Houston on Monday night.

This was not a surprise, nor was the fact that Doc Rivers did not confirm that Harden would be limited in minutes at first.

Harden was averaging 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds per game prior to the injury, and although his three-point shooting percentage was down (33.3%), he was still effective and found his footing as more of an assistant than a scorer.

The 66ers are 12-11 this season and are fifth in the East (tied with the Pacers and Raptors). If Harden can provoke a Philadelphia offense, they’ll have plenty of time to move up to the top four, have a first-round playoff game, and prepare for a deep playoff run. But it all starts with their starting quarterbacks getting healthy again.

Harden is ready to take it.

Rumors and chatter about tension in Atlanta – about how Trae Young adapted to playing with Dehonte Murray, and his opposition to coach Nate McMillan and his attempts to get the ball moving more have been all over the league since the start of the season. A bit of information leaked out over the weekend: On Friday, Young decided not to come to the arena after McMillan gave him the choice of participating in a shootout or missing the game.

Young turned to the report and seemed to be more concerned about what it was made known to than about the contents of the report.

“I mean, it was just a situation. I mean, we’re all grown men here, and sometimes we don’t always agree. And it’s very unfortunate that personal situations and personal conversations become public, but I think this is the world we live in now. Yes, I’ll just focus on basketball and helping my team win. And that’s what I have to pay attention to…

– As I said, this is a private matter, again, made public, which is very regrettable. And if it had been kept private, it probably wouldn’t have mattered as much. But like I said, it’s not good for my job and my goal is to win championships. And that’s what I’m focusing on.”

On Monday, Young got through the shootout and is set to play against the Thunder.

Murray was a pro throughout this whole situation, saying he didn’t see anything at Friday’s shootout and backed Young and McMillan when asked.

Bringing in Murray should have taken some of the pressure off Young and spread more wealth on offense, ideally allowing Young to be more effective. Instead, Young’s usage rate is almost identical to last season, shooting just 30.3% of 3, and his real shooting percentage has fallen below the league average. As a team, the Hawks have the fewest assists per game of any team in the league (statistics at The Hawks still have a lot of young players on offense, but they are not as effective as they were in years past.

Atlanta is still 13-10 on the season, has a top 10 defense and is fourth in the East – they don’t struggle. But they also didn’t make the leap to become a team that could threaten Boston or Milwaukee at the top of the conference, which is what the Hawks expected.

Personnel reshuffle in Atlanta John Collins available again via a trade – but unless the Hawks can iron out their internal, existing problems (and make Collins and DeAndre Hunter healthier), other roster changes will be purely cosmetic.


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