Nuggets hold off Grizzlies, end 8-game skid
DENVER — Ty Lawson scored 18 points and dished out 12 assists to help the Denver Nuggets snap an eight-game skid with a 111-108 win over the Memphis Grizzlies at Pepsi Center.
Kenneth Faried and Timofey Mozgov added 16 points apiece and Nate Robinson chipped in 14 points and seven assists for the Nuggets, who also snapped a five-game home losing streak. Denver was 36-5 at home last season.
The Nuggets’ skid was their worst since dropping 10 straight in 2002-03.
Zach Randolph scored 25 points and pulled down 13 rebounds while Mike Conley added 23 points and eight assists for the Grizzlies, who had won four of their last six entering the game.
Pelicans’ Anderson leaves game on stretcher
BOSTON — New Orleans Pelicans forward Ryan Anderson was taken off the court on a stretcher following a collision with Boston’s Gerald Wallace early in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 95-92 win over the Celtics at TD Garden.
Wallace bumped into Anderson from behind as the Pelicans were attempting to inbound the ball from under their own basket with 11:02 remaining in the final period. Anderson remained on the floor for several minutes before having his neck immobilized by medical personnel and transported off the court to a local hospital.
Anderson, New Orleans’ leading scorer this season with an average of 20.1 points per game, had 13 points in 25 minutes prior to departing.
RB Thomas ruled out for Saints vs. Eagles
PHILADELPHIA — New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas will miss Saturday’s playoff game against Philadelphia because of a chest injury.
Thomas missed practice all week and was ruled out on Friday. He played in all 16 regular season games, rushing for 549 yards and two touchdowns, but was hurt in last week’s finale against Tampa Bay.
Paul to miss 3-5 weeks with shoulder injury
DALLAS — The Los Angeles Clippers may have pulled out a win in Dallas on Friday, but it came at a cost.
Chris Paul suffered a shoulder injury midway through the third quarter that Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said after the team’s 119-112 victory will keep the All-Star point guard sidelined a estimated 3-to-5 weeks.
Paul landed awkwardly on his right shoulder after tripping over Mavericks guard Monta Ellis, stayed on the ground for a moment and immediately exited for the locker room upon being helped to his feet.
He had scored 19 points and handed out six assists in 22 minutes of action prior to the injury.
Coming into the game, Paul was averaging a double-double of 19.6 points and a league-leading 11.3 assists per game.
Cavs’ Irving to miss Saturday’s game at Brooklyn
CLEVELAND — Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will miss his second straight game due to a left knee contusion.
Irving did not travel with the Cavs on Friday and will miss Saturday’s road game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Irving was held out of Thursday’s game against the Orlando Magic. An MRI on Wednesday confirmed the injury, which he suffered in Tuesday’s loss to Indiana.
Irving is averaging 22.2 points and 6.1 assists in 31 games this season.
Nuggets lift Miller suspension
DENVER — The Denver Nuggets rescinded their two-game suspension of Andre Miller on Friday, though the veteran guard will still be held out of upcoming games for what the team termed as “personal reasons.”
The Nuggets had decided to suspend Miller for both Friday’s home game against Memphis and Sunday’s road test with the Los Angeles Lakers following an on-court alteraction with head coach Brian Shaw during Wednesday’s loss to the Philadelphia 76ers.
Miller, upset with being designated as a healthy inactive for the contest, began yelling at Shaw while on the bench during the second half of the Nuggets’ eventual 114-102 home setback to the Sixers.
The 15-year pro is averaging 5.9 points and 3.3 assists over 30 games this season, though his playing time has been cut back by Shaw over the past two weeks.
Miller will now be able to continue being paid while away from the team. The 37-year-old is expected to return to the Nuggets for Tuesday’s matchup with the Boston Celtics at the Pepsi Center.
Serena tops Sharapova; Azarenka next in Brisbane final
BRISBANE, Australia — Serena Williams continued her mastery over Maria Sharapova in the semifinals of the Brisbane International and will face Victoria Azarenka for the title of the Australian Open tune-up.
The top-seeded Williams earned a 6-2, 7-6 (9-7) victory on Friday, beating Sharapova for the 14th straight time and improving to 15-2 all-time against the Russian star.
Azarenka, meanwhile, advanced with a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Jelena Jankovic. The second seed from Belarus is prepping for a run at a third straight Australian Open crown.
Friday’s match between Williams and Sharapova was the first for the pair since last year’s French Open final, which ended in a 6-4, 6-4 victory for the American superstar.
Federer rolls into Brisbane semis
BRISBANE, Australia — Roger Federer looked like his old Grand Slam champion self on Friday with a rout of Marinko Matosevic in the quarterfinals of the Brisbane International.
The top-seeded Federer needed a mere 58 minutes to dispatch the 28-year-old Aussie in a 6-1, 6-1 mauling at Pat Rafter Arena.
“Tonight I felt very good against Matosevic who can play very dangerous,” said Federer. “He’s got a good enough serve and return as well. But I was able to control most of the match except the very beginning. For that, I’m very happy.”
Federer broke serve five times and blasted nine aces in the lopsided victory. The Swiss superstar will next face eighth-seeded Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the semifinals.
Chardy knocked off Australian wild card Samuel Groth, 7-5, 6-4, and will face Federer for the first time in his career.