Best of NBA: Tempers flare in Warriors' rout of Thunder

Best of NBA: Tempers flare in Warriors' rout of Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Klay Thompson scored 34 points to help the Golden State Warriors beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 111-95 on Monday night in a heated matchup filled with trash talking, physical play and technical fouls.

It was Golden State's second visit to Oklahoma City since former Thunder star Kevin Durant signed a free agent contract with the rival Warriors last summer. Durant has been out since February with a left knee injury and sat on the bench with his team.

Even with Durant out, the negative energy from the first meeting was still there. Stephen Curry exchanged shoves with Oklahoma City's Semaj Christon just before halftime, and both were issued technical fouls. Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook and Golden State's Draymond Green also got technical for their roles in the skirmish.

The Warriors controlled the game, leading by as many as 27 points (see full recap).

Harden hits game-winning layup in final seconds
HOUSTON -- James Harden drove the length of the floor for a layup with 2.4 seconds left to lift the Houston Rockets over the Denver Nuggets 125-124 on Monday night.

Harden had 39 points, 11 assists and was three rebounds shy of his 20th triple-double of the season. Houston outlasted Denver in a duel between the second- and third-highest scoring teams in the NBA.

Harden likely saved the game for Houston, too, when he batted down an inbounds pass to Mason Plumlee near the basket following his layup.

Will Barton gave Denver a one-point lead on a three-point play with less than a minute left. On the following possession, Harden missed a layup, but he got it back on the other end of the floor when he rebounded Jameer Nelson's air-ball.

Harden took the ball the full length of the court and scored on a finger-roll, go-ahead layup (see full recap).

Thomas returns in Celtics’ win over Wizards
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas scored 25 points after missing the previous two games with a bruised right knee, leading the Boston Celtics to a 110-102 victory over the Washington Wizards in another testy matchup Monday night between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Avery Bradley added 20 points and nine rebounds, and Jae Crowder and Al Horford each scored 16 with nine boards for Boston, which moved 2 games ahead of the Wizards for second place in the East. The Celtics trail first-place Cleveland by two games.

Bradley Beal led Washington with 19 points, and John Wall had 16 points with eight assists.

Behind Thomas' 12 third-quarter points, Boston pushed an 11-point halftime lead to 92-75 after three (see full recap).

Sixers' Joel Embiid, Dario Saric beat out by Malcolm Brogdon for Rookie of the Year

Sixers' Joel Embiid, Dario Saric beat out by Malcolm Brogdon for Rookie of the Year

Updated: 10 p.m.

Joel Embiid and Dario Saric had standout rookie years, but in the end, Malcolm Brogdon was named the 2016-17 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year.

The Bucks guard beat out the pair of Sixers at the NBA Awards held Monday night in New York. Brogdon was a 1/4 favorite to win, according to Bovada (see story).

“This is a testament to guys that are underestimated,” Brogdon, the 36th pick in the 2016 draft, said while accepting the award. “Guys that are second-round picks, guys that are undrafted every year that get looked over regardless of the work they put in, regardless of what they do.”

The voting could have gone in various directions without a clear checklist of criteria. 

The trio played different positions, voiding out an equal statistical comparison. Would the three-point shooting of a guard outweigh the rebounding of a big man?

Embiid was the clear favorite until he was sidelined. Would 31 games of dominance be enough?

Even though this is an individual award, the Bucks (42-40) had a better team record than the Sixers (28-54). Would the fact Brogdon was a contributor on a playoff team overshadow the games in which Embiid and Saric put the Sixers on their backs?

Different variables were in play, creating a case for and against each player (see story).

See how the rookies stacked up:

Joel Embiid
• Games played: 31 (31 starts)

• Minutes: 25.4

• Points: 20.2

• Shooting: 46.6 percent FG, 36.7 percent 3PG, 78.3 percent FT

• Rebounds: 7.8

• Assists: 2.1

• Blocks: 2.45

• Double-doubles: 9

Dario Saric
• Games played: 81 (36 starts)

• Minutes: 26.3

• Points: 12.8

• Shooting: 41.1 percent FG, 31.1 percent 3PG, 78.2 percent FT

• Rebounds: 6.3

• Assists: 2.2

• Double-doubles: 10

Malcolm Brogdon
• Games played: 75 (28 starts)

• Minutes: 26.4

• Points: 10.2

• Shooting: 45.7 percent FG, 40.4 percent 3PG, 86.5 percent FT

• Rebounds: 2.8

• Assists: 4.2

• Steals: 1.1

•  Double-doubles: 2

• Triple-doubles: 1

Brogdon and Saric were unanimously voted to the All-Rookie first team on Monday. Embiid was also on the first team, receiving seven second-team votes (see story).

The Sixers could claim this award next season with 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz or 2016 No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons.

Final look at Sixers' Rookie of the Year odds with awards announced tonight

Final look at Sixers' Rookie of the Year odds with awards announced tonight

NBA awards will finally be announced tonight during a special ceremony at 9 ET on TNT.

The Sixers have two of the three finalists for Rookie of the Year in Dario Saric and Joel Embiid.

But it's Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon who enters tonight as the favorite.

Brogdon is 1/4 to win Rookie of the Year, meaning it would require a $400 bet to win $100. 

Saric is next at 3/1, while Embiid is 9/1, per Bovada. 

Both Saric and Embiid made the All-Rookie First Team (see story).

Embiid obviously would have won the award had he stayed healthy this season. He averaged 20.2 points. 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks but played just 31 games.

Saric took off during the second half with Embiid sidelined and Ersan Ilyasova traded. Over his last 30 games, Saric averaged 17.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists.

For the season, Saric averaged 12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists. 

Brogdon averaged 10.2 points and 4.8 assists and shot 40.4 percent from three for a playoff team. His second-half surge coincided with Milwaukee's improved play, which is why he's the favorite. It should be noted, though, that Embiid won Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month in November, December and January, and Saric won in February and March. The only other player to claim the award was the Knicks' Willy Hernangomez in April.

Here are the odds for the rest of tonight's awards:

MVP odds
Russell Westbrook (Thunder): 1/50
James Harden (Rockets): 6/1
Kawhi Leonard (Spurs): 33/1

Coach of the Year
Mike D'Antoni (Rockets): 1/11
Gregg Popovich (Spurs): 7/1
Erik Spoelstra (Heat): 7/1

Sixth Man
Eric Gordon (Rockets): 1/7
Andre Iguodala (Warriors): 6/1
Lou Williams (Lakers/Rockets): 6/1