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NBA

Suns get early jump on Pacers

– As one of the NBA’s elite teams, the Indiana Pacers have a target on their backs.

The Phoenix Suns came out firing in the first half and held the Pacers off in the second to hand Indiana just its second home loss of the season, 102-94 Thursday night.

“This year they’re not the underdogs anymore,” Suns forward Channing Frye said. “Teams come out and give it their best shot. For them to expect us to come in and lay down, for any team to lay down, it’s not going to happen.”

Goran Dragic had 28 points and seven assists for the Suns.

Roy Hibbert had 26 points and David West added 18 for the Pacers, who have lost three of five games.

“We came out, got ourselves back in it in the second half with defense, but couldn’t get up over the hump,” Hibbert said. “They outplayed us.”

All-Star reserves

Portland and Houston each had two players picked as reserves for the NBA All-Star game, while Indiana had to settle for just Hibbert despite the league’s best record.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard made it from the Trail Blazers, who have been among the Western Conference leaders.

Dwight Howard, who was passed late in fan voting for a starting spot, was chosen along with Houston teammate James Harden.

KNICKS 117, CAVALIERS 86: In New York, Carmelo Anthony and rookie Tim Hardaway Jr. each scored 29 points, and J.R. Smith scored 19 as New York won its fourth in row.

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