The New Orleans Hornets are moving ahead with plans to change their name to the Pelicans next season, people familiar with the decision...

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NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Hornets are moving ahead with plans to change their name to the Pelicans next season, people familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the Hornets have not announced the name change. The people said that is expected to come Thursday, when club also will unveil the proposed new color scheme of blue, gold and red.

Hornets owner Tom Benson has said since buying the NBA club last spring that he wanted a new name representing New Orleans and Louisiana.

The brown pelican is the state bird and has become symbolic of efforts to restore Louisiana’s fragile coast.

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Kobe confronts Howard

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Los Angeles Lakers held a clear-the-air team meeting before Wednesday morning’s shoot-around, with Kobe Bryant very directly asking Dwight Howard if he disliked playing with the longtime Lakers star.

“Guys went at each other a little bit,” said a person who witnessed the meeting told The Los Angeles Times.

Bryant acknowledged he could be “hard to play with” and asked Howard if that bothered him.

Howard’s answer was unclear, though he did not engage Bryant in nearly as vocal a manner as Bryant engaged him.

“He didn’t go back at Kobe,” said the person who witnessed the meeting.

Howard aggravated his right-shoulder injury against the Grizzlies and missed the second half. The Grizzlies beat L.A. 106-93, handing the Lakers their fourth straight loss and 10th in 12 games.


Luis Scola scored 21 points and the Phoenix Suns won their first game under new coach Lindsey Hunter, beating the host Sacramento Kings 106-96.

Stephen Curry had 31 points and seven assists and former Cougar Klay Thompson had 19 points as the host Golden State Warriors outlasted the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-99.

Dwyane Wade scored 35 points, LeBron James got his 34th career triple-double and the host Miami Heat rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat Toronto 123-116 in overtime. James finished with 31 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds.

• Former Husky Nate Robinson had 11 points and seven assists in 21 minutes off the bench, leading a furious fourth-quarter comeback that carried the host Chicago Bulls past the Detroit Pistons 85-82.

Tony Parker had 24 points and 13 assists as San Antonio rallied past New Orleans 106-102, overcoming the absence of Tim Duncan (knee) and coach Gregg Popovich (illness) for its 15th straight win at home.

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and the host Portland Trail Blazers beat the Indiana Pacers 100-80 to snap a six-game losing streak.

• The New York Knicks have surpassed the Los Angeles Lakers as the most valuable team in the NBA, according to Forbes’ annual study. Boosted by renovations to Madison Square Garden, the Knicks’ value increased 41 percent to $1.1 billion. The Lakers were second at $1 billion.

• The Milwaukee Bucks extended the contract of general manager John Hammond through the 2015-16 season.

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