TODAY’S ZAMAN – Ajinca, Pondexter shine mer hits double-double as Pelicans peck Nets

Ajinca, Pondexter shine mer hits double-double as Pelicans peck NetsAlexis Ajinca and Quincy Pondexter each scored 17 points and the New Orleans Pelicans moved within percentage points of eighth place in the Western Conference by beating the Brooklyn Nets 111-91 in the NBA on Tuesday night.Turkish center mer AIIk had 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Pelicans in their third straight victory.

Anthony Davis scored 15 points, a night after tying his career high with 43 in a win at Milwaukee.Brook Lopez had 15 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who broke to an early 14-point lead before losing their fourth straight.

Ajinca had 11 points during a four-minute stretch of the second quarter as the Pelicans took a 55-46 lead into halftime. They are 2 percentage points behind Oklahoma City for the Westand#39s final playoff spot.

New Orleans extended the lead to 78-61 by the end of the third quarter as Asik and Davis dominated Brooklynand#39s frontcourt. The pair combined for 13 of New Orleansand#39 23 points in the third.

Pondexter had 14 points in the fourth. Davis was hit in the face and returned to the locker room to be checked out early in the period.

By the time he was cleared to return, the Pelicans were well ahead and didnand#39t need himThe Nets lost Alan Anderson, Markel Brown and Sergey Karasev to injuries in the finale of a five-game homestand in which they went 1-4. Brooklyn fell three games out of the final playoff spot and into 11th in the East.

James helps Cavs rout MavsEven without his trademark headband, LeBron James had 27 points and took over sole possession of the Cavaliersand#39 career assists record as Cleveland beat the Dallas Mavericks 127-94. James was one of four players with more than 20 points for the Central Division-leading Cavaliers, who have won 12 of their last 13 games against Western Conference opponents and broke a 14-game losing streak in Texas.

Kyrie Irving scored 22 points, while Kevin Love had 21 points and 14 rebounds. JR Smith also scored 21 points and Timofey Mozgov, the other starter, had 17.

Chandler Parsons led Dallas with 18 points, while Monta Ellis had 17 and Amare Stoudemire 15. Dirk Nowitzki scored 13 points on only 3-of-10 shooting.

San Antonioand#39s Kawhi Leonard had 24 points, 11 rebounds and matched a career high with five steals, as the Spurs withstood a second-half letdown to beat the Toronto Raptors 117-107 for their sixth straight victory. Tony Parker added 23 points and nine assists, and Danny Green was 5 for 6 on 3-pointers in scoring 19 points for San Antonio.

Toronto lost its fourth straight despite 32 points from Kyle Lowry and 21 for DeMar DeRozan. Amir Johnson had 16 points and 14 rebounds.

In Indianapolis, reserve Rodney Stuckey had 34 points, six rebounds and seven assists as the Indiana Pacers beat the Orlando Magic 118-86 for their sixth straight victory. Damjan Rudez scored 17 points, and Luis Scola added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the surging Pacers (29-34), who moved into sole possession of seventh place in the Eastern Conference.

Tobias Harris had 22 points and six rebounds, and Elfrid Payton finished with 14 points for the Magic, who have lost five of seven games.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman