Knicks 102, Pistons 87
Back in London and back on the basketball court, Carmelo Anthony went right back to his winning ways.
The Knicks star was the main attraction at the O2 Arena on Thursday, five months after he helped the United States win the Olympic gold medal at the same venue.
This time, he led New York over Detroit in the third regular-season NBA game played in the British capital.
"It felt good out there," said Anthony, who scored 18 points in the first half as the Knicks (25-13) jumped out to a big early lead. "I definitely had some flashbacks out there. Running out there on the court, just being in the O2 Arena."
Part of Anthony's strong showing against the Pistons (14-25) may be attributed to his diet. He recently ended a two-week fasting period, and definitely seems to be getting his strength back.
"I felt better than I was the last couple of games," Anthony said. "I'm back eating right, eating what I'm supposed to be eating."
Anthony has now scored at least 20 points in 25 straight games, extending the longest such streak of his career.
Amare Stoudemire added 17 points for the Knicks and J.R. Smith scored 16. Will Bynum led the Pistons with 22 points.
Clippers 90, Timberwolves 77
Jamal Crawford scored 22 points, Blake Griffin added 20 and Los Angeles hardly broke a sweat against free-falling Minnesota.
Lamar Odom grabbed 12 rebounds and dished out six assists, and the Clippers outscored Minnesota's bench 45-23 to overcome Chris Paul's third straight missed game because of a knee injury.
Luke Ridnour scored 21 points and Ricky Rubio had four points and six assists in his first start of the season for the Timberwolves, who lost leading scorer and rebounder Nikola Pekovic to a bruised right quadriceps in the third quarter.
Bryant gets record All-Star start
Kobe Bryant has been voted to his NBA-record 15th consecutive All-Star start, leading four Los Angeles players into next month's game.
Lakers teammate Dwight Howard and the Clippers' Chris Paul and Blake Griffin will join Bryant in the Western Conference lineup for the Feb. 17 game in Houston. Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, the MVP of last year's game, rounds out the five.
Kevin Garnett held off Chris Bosh in fan balloting, giving the East two Boston Celtics and two Miami Heat players. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade will represent the defending champions and receive passes from Rajon Rondo. New York's Carmelo Anthony is the other starter.
Bryant finished with 1,591,437 votes, edging James by about 7,800 to finish as the leading vote-getter and break a tie with Shaquille O'Neal, Jerry West and Karl Malone for the most consecutive starting nods.
Hunter's actions deemed wrong, not criminal
A review of the NBA's players' association found that executive director Billy Hunter did nothing illegal with union funds, but enough wrong that players should consider whether he should remain in his position.
The report revealed that Hunter's current contract was never properly approved and he failed to disclose that information to the NBPA's executive committee or player representatives.
The eight-month review by the firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP was released Thursday.
It states that Hunter's actions were "inconsistent" with his financial obligations to the union, "displayed poor judgment, paid little attention to the appearance of impropriety. It adds that "his conduct could foreseeably create and did not properly manage conflicts of interest."
The report is also critical of Hunter's practices of hiring family members, and of misusing union funds for gifts and travel. It urges players to discuss Hunter's position at their meetings next month during All-Star weekend.
Because his contract, signed in 2010 and to run through either 2015 or 2017, was never properly approved, the report finds that players are under no obligation to keep him. If they do, they can either keep him under the current terms or may wish to hire independent counsel to negotiate new terms.
The review was sought in part by Derek Fisher, the union president who clashed with Hunter during and after the NBA lockout that lasted from July through November 2011. The union either employed or worked with many people who had ties to Hunter, who hired his daughter and nephew, permitted a daughter-in-law to remain on staff, and sought to do business with a banking firm that employed his son.
The report found that Hunter also spent more than $100,000 of union funds to purchase gifts for executive committee members, including a $22,000 watch for Fisher in June 2010.
The investigation began in April 2012 and included reviews of documents, financial records and NBPA emails, along with interviews of more than three dozen witnesses.
Hunter could be paid between $12 million and $18 million, based on the terms of the contract. But the report states he was aware it was never approved under union bylaws, and says the players would have "powerful arguments" that the contract was never legal if an attempt to remove Hunter led to litigation.
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