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NEW YORK -- Brook Lopez had 30 points and 11 rebounds, and the Brooklyn Nets kept up their playoff push by beating the Los Angeles Lakers 107-99 on Sunday for their third straight victory.

Joe Johnson added 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Nets, who entered play a half-game behind Boston for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics hosted the Los Angeles Clippers later Sunday.

Brooklyn won for the fifth time in six games to give itself a chance at a third straight postseason berth after an underwhelming first half of the season.

The schedule is favorable for a late-season run, with the Nets two games into a stretch that sees them play seven of nine at home -- with another just across the river at the league-worst Knicks.

Reserve Jordan Hill had 22 points and 16 rebounds for the Lakers.


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With Steve Nash announcing his retirement, we're down to only 12 active NBA players who were drafted in the previous millennium.

Sans Nash, 1990s club now down to 12

March, 29, 2015
Mar 29
3:26
PM PT
Stein By Marc Stein
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive

videoWe've had a week to digest the official retirement of future Hall of Fame point guard Steve Nash.

Which means we've also had a week to digest how small the pool of players who were drafted in the 1990s is getting.

We're down to 12 active NBA players, in fact, who were drafted in the previous millennium. According to the list compiled by ESPN.com's tireless Adam Reisinger:

1995: Kevin Garnett (No. 5 overall pick)

1996: Kobe Bryant (No. 13)

1997: Tim Duncan (No. 1)

1998: Vince Carter (No. 5), Dirk Nowitzki (9), Paul Pierce (10), Nazr Mohammed (29)

1999: Elton Brand (No. 1), Andre Miller (8), Shawn Marion (9), Jason Terry (10), Manu Ginobili, (57)

You'll note that the three most-tenured players on this list can be found today with their original teams, although KG's circumstances are obviously different from Kobe's and Timmy's. While Bryant and Duncan, like Nowitzki, have played for only one franchise throughout their entire careers, Garnett took a detour from Minnesota of nearly eight years before the Timberwolves reacquired him in February on trade deadline day.

There are five current players in the NBA, meanwhile, who were born after Garnett was drafted. They are: Dante Exum, James Young, Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon and Bruno Caboclo.

And there are two players in the top 20 of Chad Ford’s Big Board for 2015 -- Devin Booker and Malik Pope -- were born after Kobe and Nash were drafted in 1996.

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TORONTO -- The Toronto Raptors clinched their second straight Atlantic Division title, beating the Los Angeles Lakers 94-83 on Friday night behind 18 points from Lou Williams and 19 from Jonas Valanciunas.

James Johnson had 17 points, Amir Johnson 11 and Terrence Ross 10 as the Raptors snapped a two-game skid and beat the Lakers for the first time since Dec. 8, 2013.

Jeremy Lin scored 18 points and Jordan Clarkson had 14 for the Lakers, who lost for the 11th time in 14 games.

Toronto's DeMar DeRozan scored six points, making just one of his 10 field goal attempts and missing a dunk in the fourth quarter, but he had 10 rebounds and seven assists, both team highs.


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Shaq: Should have been more patient

March, 27, 2015
Mar 27
3:47
PM PT
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- It's been nearly two decades since Shaquille O'Neal left the Orlando Magic to pursue the championship that eluded him during his first four seasons in the NBA.

He returned Friday to be inducted into the Magic's Hall of Fame, a moment he said was an "unexpected" celebration of his contributions to the franchise. It was also a reunion that prompted O'Neal to acknowledge regrets about leaving his original NBA team.

"It's unexpected because I came here to win. We won games, and then I made a business decision," said O'Neal, who becomes the third member of the Magic's hall, joining co-founder Pat Williams and first-ever draft pick Nick Anderson. "It's never personal. The [team owner Rich] DeVos family knows that. And I accomplished [a championship] somewhere else. It's not like I didn't think they weren't going to be upset or anything. But it's business. It was all business.

"Do I regret it? I never fully answer it. I regret it sometimes. Is this where I started and should have stayed? I actually wish they made it a law that whoever drafts you, you gotta stay there your whole career."

O'Neal was just a potential-filled 20-year-old when he arrived from LSU as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1992 draft. Almost immediately, the 7-footer commanded the attention of the entire league with his dominant presence on the court and gregarious personality off it.

It all helped him take the Magic from an infant expansion team to their first NBA Finals appearance in 1995.

So it's not lost on O'Neal why the backlash was so strong when he joined the Los Angeles Lakers, where he would go on to win three of his four NBA championship rings.


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3 Points: On Steve Nash's legacy

March, 26, 2015
Mar 26
11:00
PM PT
By ESPNLosAngeles.com
ESPNLosAngeles.com

NashHarry How/Getty ImagesSteve Nash finally announced his retirement, but should his final years define his legacy in any way?


Each week, ESPN.com Lakers beat writer Baxter Holmes, along with ESPN.com NBA writers Ramona Shelburne and Arash Markazi, will weigh in on three questions that are on the minds of Los Angeles Lakers followers.

1. Will Steve Nash's tenure with the Lakers influence how you will remember his career?

SportsNation

How will you remember Steve Nash?

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    49%

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    37%

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    3%

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    11%

Discuss (Total votes: 588)

Holmes: Not really. He was hurt, and it didn't work out. But Nash will be defined as one of the greatest point guards ever to play the game, a player who beautifully ran a revolutionary Phoenix Suns offense that many teams today try to mimic in ways big and small. There are so many incredible statistical achievements on his résumé -- too many to name. I'll remember all that, not these last few years.

Shelburne: No. I've already forgotten he was a Laker. Nash will be remembered for his time with the Suns. That's where he made his mark and had his greatest years. These last three years in Los Angeles are just the unsatisfying postscript to a Hall of Fame career. Now, if I were Lakers management, it wouldn't be so easy to forget his tenure in L.A. The draft picks they gave up -- and the salary they committed to him -- set the franchise back in immeasurable ways. They'll be digging out from that trade for at least another year or two. But that's the Lakers' issue, not Nash's. He can retire with his legacy intact and head held high.

Markazi: No. Like Michael Jordan's time with the Washington Wizards at the end of his career, I don't think anyone will really focus on it years down the line when we talk about his Hall of Fame career. It would be nice if he could have ended his career on a better note, but it doesn't take away from everything he did in Dallas and Phoenix that made him one of the best point guards ever.


2. Have we reached the point where we can we say Jordan Clarkson is the real deal?

Jordan Clarkson
David Sherman/NBAE/Getty Images Jordan Clarkson is showing he belongs in the NBA, but will he be a long-term solution for the Lakers?

Holmes: I think we've reached the point where Clarkson has definitely proved he can play in this league and has the potential to be a rotation player for the Lakers going forward. Is he a starting point guard in the NBA? Not at the moment. He might be one day, but that's maybe the most stacked position in the league right now. Either way, he has proven he belongs. That's pretty impressive for a second-round pick.

Shelburne: Yes. The kid just keeps getting better and better each game. I think he has established himself as part of the Lakers' future. It's still debatable how big a role he will play. On this team, in this season, you can't really tell if Clarkson is a future starter or a future backup. But he's clearly a player the Lakers will want to keep around long enough to find out.

Markazi: Yes. I think Clarkson is a solid player who could have a long future for the Lakers, but I still don't see him being the long-term answer as the starting point guard. I still think the Lakers eventually will end up with Russell Westbrook but until then, maybe Clarkson can keep his seat warm.


3. If the Lakers keep their protected draft pick, is there a player or position on which they should focus their attention?

Jahlil Okafor
Brad Penner/USA TODAY SportsIf Jahlil Okafor is available, the Lakers might be wise to zero in on picking him in the draft.

Holmes: If Duke's Jahlil Okafor or Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns is there, I'd take one of those two above all others simply because good big men are hard to find. If not, Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell looks as if he could be a point guard of the future for some lottery team. He has been very, very impressive.

Shelburne: No. Just take the best player available. You don't know yet what you really have in Julius Randle or Clarkson. Both are talented, but it's too soon to know where their ceilings are. The most important thing for a franchise with as many holes to fill as the Lakers is to draft the best player available. Worry about position later. Talent is what matters now.

Markazi: I don't think there's a particular position. They need help at a lot of positions. It's hard to say who they'll pick without knowing where they'll be picking, but I obviously think Okafor would be the prized pick followed by Emmanuel Mudiay and Towns.

2015 front-office rankings: Owners

March, 26, 2015
Mar 26
6:53
PM PT
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Our front-office rankings conclude with a look at the NBA's 30 owners.

We asked our ESPN Forecast panel to rate every team's ownership group. In particular, we asked the voters to rate each team's ownership in terms of their performance in guiding the franchise to overall on-court success, both in the short and long term.

On Tuesday, we unveiled our overall front-office rankings. On Wednesday, we broke down our rankings of team presidents and GMs. And on Thursday we revealed our coach rankings.

Here's how the 30 owners rank, according to our panel:

Owner rankings

RELATED CONTENT

Overall rankings | GM rankings | Coach rankings

Windhorst: Gilbert's growing influence on Cavs »

Q&A: Bob Myers on how Warriors' front office works »


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At a news conference introducing Metta World Peace as a member of Italy's Pallacanestro Cantu, he discusses how he has matured over the years.
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A look back at Jeremy Lin's meteoric rise, and the subsequent fall.

2015 front-office rankings: Coaches

March, 26, 2015
Mar 26
7:09
AM PT
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Our front-office rankings continue with a look at the NBA's 30 current head coaches -- the league's on-court decision-makers.

We asked our ESPN Forecast panel to rate every team's coach. In particular, we asked the voters to rate each coach on his guidance and leadership in terms of how it affects overall on-court success, both in the short and long term.

(On Tuesday, we unveiled our overall front-office rankings. On Wednesday, we broke down our rankings of team presidents and GMs. On Friday, we'll reveal our owner rankings.)

Here's how the 30 coaches rank, according to our panel:

Coach rankings

RELATED CONTENT

Overall rankings | GM rankings | Owner rankings

MacMullan: Brad Stevens' poise key to C's progress »

Arnovitz: Top NBA head-coaching prospects »

TrueLA: The trouble with Doc as Clippers GM »


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MINNEAPOLIS -- Jordan Clarkson hit two free throws with 0.3 seconds left in overtime to send the Los Angeles Lakers over the Minnesota Timberwolves, 101-99 on Wednesday night.

Clarkson scored eight points in overtime and finished with 20. Jeremy Lin added 19 points for the Lakers, who snapped a five-game road losing streak and won for the second time in three games.

Andrew Wiggins had 27 points for Minnesota.

Chase Budinger scored 22 and sent the game into overtime with a 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left in regulation as the Timberwolves erased a 13-point, second-half deficit.


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Lakers start first Asian-American backcourt

March, 25, 2015
Mar 25
3:33
PM PT
Holmes By Baxter Holmes
ESPNLosAngeles.com
Archive

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Though it would end up just another loss in a trying season, the Los Angeles Lakers made history in Wednesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The duo of Jordan Clarkson and Jeremy Lin became the first-ever Asian-American starting backcourt in the NBA.

"Proud to make history tonight with [Jordan Clarkson]," Lin wrote in a caption of a photo of him and Clarkson on his Instagram account."First ever starting Asian-American backcourt in the NBA!! Proud of rook for that 30-piece too! #asianinvasion#halfasiancounts"

Clarkson scored a career-high 30 points in the 127-117 loss to the Thunder, and Lin scored 19 points. Each guard added seven assists.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Kobe Bryant
PTS AST STL MIN
22.3 5.6 1.3 34.5
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Hill 8.0
AssistsK. Bryant 5.6
StealsR. Price 1.6
BlocksE. Davis 1.3