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Butler calls struggling Heat 'soft'

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

MIAMI (AP) The Miami Heat are losing, and their highest-paid player isn't happy.

Jimmy Butler labeled the reigning Eastern Conference champions as "soft" after a loss in Minnesota on Friday night, Miami's third straight defeat and one that dropped the Heat to 28-28 with 16 games left in the regular season.

It was Miami's 10th loss in its last 16 games.


Celtics, Warriors enter matchup red-hot

Lengthy winning streaks collide Saturday night when the Golden State Warriors visit the Boston Celtics in a nationally televised game.

Golden State has won four in a row, including two straight to open a five-game trip. Boston, meanwhile, is coming off a 3-0 Western Conference road swing that ran their winning streak to five.


Mitchell sprains ankle in Jazz's win

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Tough team defense rescued the Utah Jazz after Donovan Mitchell went down with an ankle injury.

The NBA-leading Jazz rallied to beat the Indiana Pacers 119-111 on Friday after Mitchell the left game with a sprained ankle in the second half. He scored 22 points on 7-of-15 shooting before spraining his right ankle with 8:18 left in the third quarter.


Embiid has 36-14, 76ers snap Clips' run

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid had 36 points and 14 rebounds and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Clippers 106-103 on Friday night, snapping Los Angeles' seven-game winning streak.

Furkan Korkmaz added 18 points and Ben Simmons had 12 points and nine rebounds for the Eastern Conference-leading Sixers, who have won four in a row.


Dwyane Wade joins Jazz ownership group

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Dwyane Wade is an NBA owner.

The Utah Jazz announced Friday that the 13-time NBA All-Star will join the youngest ownership group in the league.


Randle scores 44, Knicks win 5th in row

DALLAS (AP) Julius Randle scored 44 points in his best game in his hometown, leading the New York Knicks to a 117-109 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Friday night for a five-game winning streak, their longest in seven years.

RJ Barrett had 24 points and eight rebounds. Derrick Rose added 15 points with fellow backup guard Alec Burks sidelined by COVID-19 protocols.


Jokic, Porter help Nuggets rout Rockets

HOUSTON (AP) Nikola Jokic scored 29 points, Michael Porter Jr. added 21 and the Denver Nuggets cruised to a 128-99 victory over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

Jokic dominated in the paint, hitting 10 of 12 field goals and adding 16 rebounds. Jokic fell three assists shy of his 16th triple-double of the season and second in as many games. He played just 27 minutes in the game and not at all in the fourth quarter.


Durant, Harris lead Nets over Hornets

NEW YORK (AP) Kevin Durant had 25 points and 11 assists, Joe Harris scored 26 points and the Brooklyn Nets beat the Charlotte Hornets 130-115 on Friday night.

Landry Shamet added 20 points for the Nets. Kyrie Irving had 12 on the day after LaMarcus Aldridge retired after experiencing an irregular heartbeat in a game Saturday.


Spurs miss 3 late shots, Blazers escape

SAN ANTONIO (AP) CJ McCollum scored 29 points and the Portland Trail Blazers escaped with a 107-106 victory Friday night over the San Antonio Spurs, who missed three shots on their final possession.

Portland overcame a 16-point deficit in the second half despite not having Damian Lillard, who missed the game after straining his right hamstring during practice on Thursday.


Brooks scores 32, Grizzlies defeat Bulls

CHICAGO (AP) Dillon Brooks scored a season-high 32 points and the Memphis Grizzlies took control in the second half to beat the Chicago Bulls 126-115 on Friday night.

Brooks had 15 points in the third quarter to lead Memphis' charge. The game was tied at the end of both the first and second quarters before the Grizzlies pushed ahead to beat the Bulls for the second time this week.

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