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Spurs' Leonard to make debut vs. Mavs

(Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

(TSX / STATS) -- DALLAS -- The Dallas Mavericks have already lost twice this season to the San Antonio Spurs without All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard.

Now the Mavs (7-20) look to be the first team to face the Spurs with Leonard, who has yet to play this season because of an injury that the team has only labeled as left quadriceps tendinopathy.

If Leonard does make his debut, it will be his first action since May 14, when he sprained his ankle in San Antonio's Game 1 defeat of the Western Conference finals. The Golden State Warriors ended up sweeping the series with Leonard out.

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Rockets beat Pelicans, win streak at 10

(TSX / STATS) -- HOUSTON -- The Houston Rockets did little to thwart the New Orleans Pelicans' red-hot shooting before their small-ball lineup paid dividends in the fourth quarter.

Guards James Harden and Chris Paul choose that same closing stretch to kick into gear offensively, fortuitous timing for Houston.

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Bulls blow out Celtics as Irving sits

(TSX / STATS) -- CHICAGO -- Not that long ago, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis couldn't even share the same practice space. Now, the pair has helped spark the Chicago Bulls' three-game winning streak.

Mirotic scored 24 points in his first start of the season, and Portis scored a career-high 23 as the Bulls beat the Boston Celtics 108-85 on Monday night.

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Short-handed Warriors top Blazers, run 7

(TSX / STATS) -- OAKLAND, Calif. -- With the Warriors coming off a historic road trip, focusing against a team they dominated in the recent past might have been a concern for Golden State on Monday night.

Until the Warriors found out that Draymond Green would be joining Stephen Curry on the sideline, that is.

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Clippers end Raptors' win streak at 6

(TSX / STATS) -- LOS ANGELES -- Just because Blake Griffin will miss at least another month due to a sprained left knee does not mean he is incapable of providing a little inspiration.

After Griffin went through workouts and took shots on the Staples Center court before the Monday game, the Los Angeles Clippers went out and held one of the NBA's better offenses in check during a 96-91 victory over the Toronto Raptors.

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Heat send Grizzlies to 15th loss in 16

(TSX / STATS) -- MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- In the Miami Heat locker room, guard Goran Dragic was standing in front of his locker and talking about his team's ever-improving defense.

"These last two games, we've really felt comfortable with our defense," said Dragic, who led the Heat with 19 points in a 107-92 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night at FedExForum. "We're in the right position every time."

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Howard's 23 points lift Hornets past OKC

(TSX / STATS) -- OKLAHOMA CITY -- With his team just on the receiving end of a thunderous Russell Westbrook dunk that the Oklahoma City Thunder star finished with a sneer toward the bench, Charlotte Hornets acting coach Stephen Silas went to work.

Silas, coaching in his fifth consecutive game as head coach Steve Clifford continues to deal with an undisclosed medical condition, tweaked both his rotation and what the Hornets were doing on the offensive end.

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Barnes retires after title with Warriors

(TSX / STATS) -- Matt Barnes posted on social media that he is retiring from the NBA.

Barnes completed his NBA career last season with the Golden State Warriors, appearing in 12 playoff games as the team went on to win its second title in three years.

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Oladipo has 47, Pacers top Nuggets in OT

(TSX / STATS) -- INDIANAPOLIS -- Pacers guard Victor Oladipo shrugged off the MVP chants from the Indiana crowd.

"I don't care about stuff like that," he said. "I got a lot of work to do."

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Towns helps Timberwolves hold off Mavs

(TSX / STATS) -- MINNEAPOLIS -- When Minnesota faced the Dallas Mavericks in two earlier meetings this season, the Timberwolves coasted to a pair of double-digit victories.

That wasn't the case Sunday as Minnesota had to grind out a close game that went down to the wire at Target Center. While it wasn't pretty, the Timberwolves escaped with a 97-92 win to beat Dallas again.

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