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Hayward breaks ankle in Celtics debut

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

CLEVELAND (AP) Just five minutes into his Boston career, new Celtics star forward Gordon Hayward gruesomely broke his left ankle, an injury that may end his season.

Hayward, who signed a four-year, $128 million free agent contract this summer, went up for an alley-oop pass midway through the first quarter and collided with LeBron James. Hayward's leg twisted underneath him as he came back to the floor. The 27-year-old collapsed under the basket and looked in horror as his left foot was pointing outward.

He put his hands to his face and dropped back to the floor as a hush fell over the charged sellout crowd inside Quicken Loans Arena, which had come to boo Kyrie Irving in his return to Cleveland after being traded to Boston this summer.

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James has 29, Cavs win Irving's return

CLEVELAND (AP) Gordon Hayward's face was etched in pain and shock.

Of all the juicy subplots for this hyped homecoming and a season opener between heated rivals, a serious injury to Hayward wasn't on the list.

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Bulls' Mirotic hurt in fight with Portis

CHICAGO (AP) The Chicago Bulls say forward Nikola Mirotic suffered multiple broken bones in his face as well as a concussion in a fight with teammate Bobby Portis during practice.

The team says Mirotic will likely need surgery and is out indefinitely. They say they are "evaluating disciplinary action" after Tuesday's incident.

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76ers' Fultz makes debut close to home

WASHINGTON (AP) Markelle Fultz gets to start the next chapter of his career in a familiar setting.

The No. 1 pick in the draft will make his NBA debut for the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night at the Washington Wizards, about a half-hour from home. Fultz grew up in nearby Upper Marlboro, Maryland, in Prince George's County and played at DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville and will have many friends, family members and former coaches in attendance.

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Popovich: Trump 'a soulless coward'

SAN ANTONIO (AP) San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has called President Donald Trump "a soulless coward who thinks that he can only become large by belittling others" in response to Trump's comment Monday that former President Barack Obama and other commanders in chief "didn't make calls" to families of fallen soldiers.

Former Obama staffers and a spokesman for former President George W. Bush pushed back on Trump's comments. The White House press secretary said that Trump wasn't criticizing his predecessors.

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Paul's free agency becomes documentary

Chris Paul had a new home in Los Angeles and the potential for a $200 million contract if he stayed with the Clippers.

He also had reason to doubt a championship would ever come there.

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Jefferson, Nuggets agree to 1-year deal

DENVER (AP) Michael Malone knows all about Richard Jefferson. Just not Tuesday, with the deal for the veteran forward still waiting on official word.

"Who's Jefferson?" the Denver Nuggets coach coyly said after practice.

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Spurs give Aldridge 3-year extension

LaMarcus Aldridge and the San Antonio Spurs have at times seemed an ill-fitting pair, with a player who spent nine years in another franchise before landing with Gregg Popovich not always looking comfortable in the NBA's most well-established system.

The kinks the two sides have been trying to work through had league observers believing Aldridge might not be long for San Antonio. Just as they have for more than 20 years, the Spurs care little about what others think.

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76ers set for debuts from Simmons, Fultz

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid braided his hair for a fashion statement and got his basketball shorts in a bunch over his latest minutes restriction on opening night.

Embiid styled his hair like former Philadelphia 76ers great Allen Iverson and was as outspoken as him, too, using some profanities describe coach Brett Brown's decision to confine his minutes to the teens in the opener Wednesday against the Washington Wizards.

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Cavs, Warriors begin title quests again

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) Minutes after LeBron James lost the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors four months ago, he vowed to return to the gym right away with plans to get back to the big stage. To win another ring.

Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant heard it yet already knew it - and everybody on the defending champs and King James' Cleveland Cavaliers realizes these teams could be destined for another championship showdown at the end of this season.

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