NBA-National Basketball Association roundup

Dec 3 (The Sports Xchange) - Cleveland Cavaliers All-Star guard Kyrie Irving is nearing a return to action after being fully cleared to resume practicing on Thursday. Irving suffered a broken left kneecap in Game Two of the NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors last June. He had been practicing on an individual basis in recent weeks. Irving has not revealed a target date for his return but speculation persists that he is aiming for the Christmas Day game against the Warriors. The three-time All-Star declined to speak with reporters after Thursday's practice. - - - Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat will miss at least two games after leaving the team due to a family emergency. Gortat traveled to Poland on Thursday to visit his ailing mother, who is hospitalized in his native country. Gortat learned of his mother's condition before Tuesday's game against Cleveland. Gortat played that night against the Cavaliers and had 15 points, 11 rebounds and four blocked shots. He scored a season-high 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in Wednesday's game against the Los Angeles Lakers. - - - Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Indiana Pacers forward Paul George were named Western and Eastern Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in October and November. Curry averaged 31.6 points and made 94 3-pointers as the Warriors won all 19 of their games. The reigning NBA MVP scored 40 or more points five times, including a 53-point outing against the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 31. George displayed he is fully recovered from a gruesome broken leg suffered in the summer of 2014. He averaged 27.2 points and made 51 3-pointers as Indiana won 11 of 16 games. New York Knicks center Kristaps Porzingis was named Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month and Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns won Western Conference honors. - - - The Atlanta Hawks sent guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and center Edy Tavares to Canton of the NBA Development League. Hardaway, a third-year pro, has played in just four games for the Hawks this season and averaged 2.5 points and 1.3 rebounds. The former Michigan standout started 30 games for the New York Knicks last season and averaged 11.5 points before he was acquired by Atlanta in a draft-night trade in June. Tavares has played in three games for Atlanta this season and has one point, one rebound and one assist. The D-League assignment is his second of the season. He averaged 16.0 points, 14.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks in two games for Austin. - - - Detroit Pistons backup center Aron Baynes underwent surgery to repair a broken nose, the club announced. Baynes suffered the injury in a game against Oklahoma City last Friday but doctors cleared him to continue playing. He played 11 minutes in Wednesday's overtime victory over the Phoenix Suns. Baynes is averaging 4.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. - - - (Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)