Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid's 41 points in Saturday's 133-120 win over the Indiana Pacers has ensured he will average 30 points this season and he has already set his sights on his next goal.

Embiid becomes the first center to average 30 points in a season since 1981-82 when Moses Malone averaged 31.1 per game for the Houston Rockets.

The 76ers center's achievement further enhanced his credentials to be this season's MVP but he was already eyeing off Malone's mark.

"Well, that’s the challenge for next year," Embiid joked with reporters after the game. "So, next year, I gotta come out and average more than him.

"But it’s great. Obviously, he's a legend. Especially as a big in this era, it’s been a long time, 40 years it hasn’t been done. That’s something that I think is great.

"I hope guys coming up more, especially bigs coming up, are able to do even more. I think the biggest thing with me is that I feel comfortable with it because I feel like I didn’t force anything. I feel like I just played within the flow of the offense.

"Before we had James (Harden). Obviously, I had a much larger role in the offense whether it was playmaking or scoring and since we added him, I try to share the load which has been great. Great stats and I guess I’m happy about it."

Embiid's 30.4 points per game is a career-best for the 28-year-old, shooting at 49.5 per cent. He is also averaging 11.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists this season.

The All-Star also became the first player this season to have 40 or more points and 20 or more rebounds in a game against the Pacers.

"It's methodical and historical. Whatever the calls you want to put on it, it's what's he's been," 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said.

Embiid sits atop the NBA scoring charts this season, ahead of LeBron James (30.3) and Kevin Durant (30.1) for points per game and Pacers head coach Rick Carlisle added to the plaudits.

"We haven’t seen a guy like this in the history of the league who has this kind of power and skill,” Carlisle said about Embiid.

"He's able to score on all three levels effortlessly. He's an amazing player and it will be interesting to see what teams do in the playoffs to try to slow him down."

The 76ers are fourth in the east but can still finish above the third-placed Boston Celtics pending the final regular-season results.

Philadelphia will face either the Toronto Raptors or Chicago Bulls depending on where they finish but Embiid had no preference.

"I just want to win tomorrow [against the Detroit Pistons]," Embiid said. "I don’t really care who we play. I feel pretty confident about both match-ups."

Joel Embiid made his closing statement for the MVP award and all but wrapped up the NBA scoring title in the Philadelphia 76ers' 133-120 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday.

Embiid put up monster numbers of 41 points, 20 rebounds and four assists, while going 14-of-17 from the floor and 11-of-15 from the free-throw line. It was the first time this NBA season that a player scored 40 points or more and had 20 or more rebounds in a game.

The 28-year-old is currently the league's scoring leader, averaging an astounding 30.6 points per game, just ahead of LeBron James' 30.3 and Kevin Durant's 30.1 points per game.

James Harden had 22 points and 14 assists for Philadelphia, who had a healthy spread of scorers with Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey both scoring 18 points, and Danny Green adding 15.

The Sixers remain in the hunt for the Eastern Conference's third seed with the win, moving to the same record as the Boston Celtics at 50-31, while the Milwaukee Bucks are second at 51-30.

A win over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday combined with a Boston loss to the Memphis Grizzlies would move the Sixers into the third seed.

Morant makes timely return for Grizzlies

Ja Morant returned to action after a nine-game absence on Saturday night, as the Memphis Grizzlies secured a comfortable 141-114 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Morant finished with 21 points off seven-of-14 shooting, along with nine assists and four rebounds, while Jaren Jackson Jr. contributed a solid 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks.

The Grizzlies are set to finish second in the Western Conference, to face the winner of the 7-8 matchup in the play-in between the Minnesota Timberwolves and Los Angeles Clippers.

Warriors continue winning run

The Golden State Warriors claimed their fourth consecutive victory despite an off shooting night from Jordan Poole, defeating the San Antonio Spurs on the road 100-94.

With Stephen Curry yet to return from injury and Klay Thompson rested, Poole had to take on more offensive responsibility and went three-of-19 from the floor in win.

A combined 30 points at nine-of-14 shooting off the bench from Jonathan Kuminga and Nemanja Bjelica was able to counteract it, along with 12 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists from Draymond Green.

All-Star guard Ja Morant was content with his return ahead of the playoffs after missing the past three weeks with knee soreness.

Morant had not played since March 18 for the Memphis Grizzlies but returned with 21 points, four rebounds and nine assists in a 141-114 win over the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 56-25 Grizzlies are locked into the second seed in the Western Conference, with Morant's return coming with the playoffs around the corner.

"[I] felt like I needed a game or two to get my legs back under me," Morant told reporters.

"Get the game-type feel, nothing compares to a game, whether its practice or whatever. Just wanted to be ready to go.

"Obviously been in and out of the line-up, my teammates were playing a lot of basketball without me. I was just going out there to adapt."

Despite his All-Star status, the Grizzlies have a remarkable 20-4 record without Morant this season.

The 22-year-old point guard said it was important he developed synergy with his teammates, likely with two games fielding their preferred starting line-up ahead of the playoffs of Morant, Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, Jaren Jackson Jr and Steven Adams.

Morant has only played 12 games alongside Brooks this season, while he has had limited opportunities alongside Steven Adams who moved to Memphis from the Pelicans in the off-season.

"One hundred per cent," Morant said about the significance of developing connection among the starting five. "Obviously I've played with Dillon since I've been here and most of the other guys I've played with before, so I know their game.

"Being out there at the same time as Steveo [Adams] to get that chemistry, it's basically the starting line-up I felt like we did a very good job tonight."

Morant continued: "Tonight I felt like we looked damn good. Look at that third quarter [55-33 points]. Obviously there's some stuff we've still got to correct."

The 2019 NBA Draft second pick added that he had no preference on second seed Memphis' playoffs opponents, with the side to face either the Los Angeles Clippers or Minnesota Timberwolves via the play-in tournament.

"I really don’t care who we play," he said. "I'm focused on us getting better and being ready to play. No matter who it is, we go out in the games the same way."

Scottie Scheffler will head into the final round of the Masters with a three-stroke lead from Cameron Smith, after a volatile back nine on Saturday at Augusta National.

The world number one opened moving day with a five-shot lead, and charged out the gate on Saturday with four birdies over the opening nine holes.

Seeking his first major title, Scheffler then delivered three bogeys on four holes on the back nine, before taking a penalty for an unplayable lie on the par-four 18th.

Yet he salvaged what could have been an even worse outcome, gambling with a long iron and making a tricky up-and-down to finish with just a bogey and an eventual one-under 71.

In windy and icy conditions at Augusta, Smith emerged as the likeliest challenger with a second four-under 68 to finish Saturday on six-under-par.

The Australian world number six will be paired with Scheffler despite trailing by seven shots midway through the third round, claiming three birdies in six holes on the back nine.

Like Scheffler, Smith also skewed his tee shot into the trees on the 18th, but was eventually able to scramble for par.

Smith's Presidents Cup teammate Im Sung-jae is in outright third, shooting a one-under-par 71 in the third round.

Meanwhile, Tiger Woods' six-over-par 78 was his worst in 93 rounds over his career at Augusta, leaving him at seven-over-par.

Massimiliano Allegri launched an impassioned defence of his Juventus side after they came from a goal down to beat Cagliari 2-1 in Serie A.

Juve have come in for heavy criticism of late following their Champions League elimination at the hands of Villarreal and their Derby d'Italia loss to Inter last week.

But Allegri, who saw his side move within five points of Serie A leaders Milan with a hard-fought victory in Sardinia, believes such critics are overly focused on results.

"I don't like losing, so I prefer criticism when we play badly, but still win. Nobody remembers the performance last Sunday, they only remember Inter marching towards the Scudetto, not how anybody played," Allegri told Sky Sport Italia.

"You never know, they might transform tonight's game too. The comical thing is that you in the media are always going on about beautiful football, but are also the first to focus only on the result!

"I was told that until the 75th minute against Villarreal, all the websites and social media were praising the Juventus performance. Once we conceded, Juventus were called a disaster.

"That doesn't make sense. The performance remains the same, the only thing that changed was the result. I enjoy myself hearing the criticism, but every now and then some go a bit over the top and that irritates me.

"It's not just about us, but football in general. I hope in future years people will return to talking about the ABC of football, like the first touch, shaking off your marker, etc. Italy won the World Cup four times, we have our style, but for 15 years we've been chasing after Pep Guardiola's style and didn't realise he’s changed as well."

Goals from Matthijs de Light and Dusan Vlahovic, who netted a fortuitous 75th-minute winner, earned Juve all three points after Joao Pedro gave Cagliari a surprise early lead.

Milan and Napoli, who along with Inter are a point adrift of the Rossoneri, both play on Sunday against Torino and Fiorentina respectively.

And Allegri continues to reject talk of a late Scudetto push for Juve.

"We lost a head-to-head with Inter that would've allowed us to have Scudetto ambitions," he added. "We need to be realistic. I continue to maintain Inter are the favourites, especially with their fixture list.

"Naturally, it's going to shake a team when you chase down the light at the end of the tunnel for 16 games and then it vanishes. That is why this was a very risky match, especially with players injured and suspended.

"We needed to win this evening to consolidate fourth place, reaching the final two rounds with a good advantage."

Reilly Opelka and John Isner will meet in the US Men's Clay Court Championship final in Houston, after they claimed semi-final wins on Saturday.

Opelka kept up his strong early-season form with an imposing 6-3 7-5 victory over Nick Kyrgios in the first semi-final, getting the job done in just one hour and nine minutes.

Opelka slung down 18 aces to 11 from Kyrgios and faced only one break point across the contest.

The 24-year-old Opelka won a title in Dallas in February and followed up with a run to the Delray Beach final, with a third trophy match of the season now awaiting him.

The American world number 18 said he admired the "intangibles" from Kyrgios that "you can't teach."

"He's got one of the best serves in the world and when he turns it on he can come up with some shots that not many guys outside the top 10 can," Opelka said in his on-court interview.

Opelka enjoyed the high-tempo match with Kyrgios, who typically wastes no time between points.

"I prefer to play at that speed rather than, for example, Rafa [Nadal] where it's 50-55 seconds between points," Opelka said.

"It's a totally different speed here and I thought I did a good job managing the whole tempo of the match. I put a lot of returns into play and I came up big with my second serve."

He will face 2013 Houston champion Isner, who came from a set down to defeat defending champion Cristian Garin 4-6 6-3 6-4.

The 36-year-old's serve improved as the match went on and ultimately propelled him to victory, facing four break points in the opening set, one in the second and none in the decider.

Isner also served 17 aces on his way to the final, and won 80 per cent of points on his first serve.

"It's never easy when you have to come back from one set down," he said. "My serve certainly helped me out a lot. I didn't have to hit too many balls there in the end, and I didn't want to.

"I'm so happy to be in the final again here. At my age you never really know when you can get back to a final of a tournament like this."

Carlo Ancelotti praised Gareth Bale's professionalism after the Welshman was subjected to boos from sections of the Real Madrid fanbase during Saturday's win against Getafe.

Bale was a 74th-minute substitute during the 2-0 victory at the Santiago Bernabeu, completing four of five passes and hitting two shots, one of which tested Getafe goalkeeper David Soria from distance.

The 32-year-old has been a divisive figure in the Spanish capital, scoring crucial goals and winning four Champions League trophies in his time there, but he has missed a lot of football through injury in recent years.

Bale has also made it known he prefers to play for Wales than for his club, and is expected to bring his nine years at Madrid to an end when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Ancelotti refused to criticise the fans, but did praise Bale and insisted he will continue to play if fit.

"The fans are very important, such as against PSG," he said, referring to the recent dramatic 3-2 aggregate turnaround in the Champions League round of 16 against Paris Saint-Germain. 

"Bale has been whistled but he's a serious professional and if he's well, he can play."

Goals from Casemiro and Lucas Vazquez sealed the win, which restored Madrid's 12-point lead at the top of LaLiga, and Ancelotti was satisfied with his team's performance, but insisted the title race is not yet over.

"We're closer [to the title]," he said. "It's a good run but it's not over yet, we have to keep fighting, we have two away games now with Sevilla and Osasuna."

Los Blancos' next game is on Tuesday when Chelsea come to Spain for their Champions League quarter-final second leg, where Madrid will have a 3-1 aggregate lead.

The Blues warmed up for the clash with an emphatic 6-0 win at Southampton on Saturday, and Ancelotti remains wary of his former club, saying: "It will be a difficult game, we have to prepare it as if we don't have that advantage.

"Today, [Chelsea] won by many goals. We are going to have to be very focused."

Kylian Mbappe regretted only getting a chance to click with Neymar and Lionel Messi late in Paris Saint-Germain's season and was guarded on how it would affect his future.

Mbappe and Neymar scored hat-tricks as PSG claimed a 6-1 victory over Clermont on Saturday, sending Mauricio Pochettino's men 15 points clear at the Ligue 1 summit.

It was the first time two team-mates have scored trebles in the same top-flight game since Mbappe and Edinson Cavani did so for PSG against Guingamp in January 2019. The most recent occasion prior to that was Albert Gemmrich and Gerard Soler for Bordeaux against Valenciennes in August 1979.

Neymar and Mbappe set one another up once each, while Messi had a trio of assists to become the first player to achieve that on three occasions in a single Ligue 1 season since Opta began collecting the data in 2006-07.

However, it was only the 14th match the trio have started together in all competitions this season. Last weekend's 5-1 success at Lorient was the first time they had all found the back of the net in the same game.

It remains to be seen whether Mbappe will continue to play with Messi and Neymar next season, as his contract is due to expire at the end of the campaign and he has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Mbappe admitted it was frustrating the trio were only getting a chance to meet expectations with the Ligue 1 title the only trophy available to them. 

"It's a shame it's only happening now. There were a lot of circumstances and events that caused us to be delayed a little," Mbappe told Canal+. 

"We feel that we are three quality players and try to help the team as much as possible. 

"We are happy. We had a lot of fun and I think we gave the fans some too. We remain on the road to the 10th title, which is not very far away." 

However, Mbappe refused to be drawn on whether his relationship with Messi and Neymar would encourage him to stay at the Parc des Princes. 

"I've already answered," he said. "Neymar and Messi have been here since July. I've seen them many times. I've already answered." 

PSG were eliminated from the Coupe de France on penalties by Nice in January and failed to get past Real Madrid in the last 16 of the Champions League. 

Mbappe added: "Life is like this. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. You always have to look ahead. 

"It's gone now. We had pain, it is still present but we must be positive, show we are a great club, a great team and we are here to win trophies." 

Belinda Bencic wondered if she would ever be able to compete for titles on clay but will do exactly that on Sunday.

The Swiss reached her first ever WTA Tour final on the red dirt of the Charleston Open, beating semi-final opponent Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 6-3.

Although she has four WTA titles to her name, this was only Bencic's third last-four appearance on clay – losing the prior two, including a 2014 Charleston challenge as a 17-year-old.

But she finally has glory in her sights, and the omens are good for the final, facing Ons Jabeur having won their only prior meeting in 2021 at the Madrid Open, another clay-court event.

"I'm happy this moment came," Bencic said. "I didn't think it would, but I'm super happy with how I played today. I thought it was a great match in tough conditions."

Bencic needed only 78 minutes to complete the job, but Jabeur found life tougher, forced to rally from a set down to Amanda Anisimova.

The 20-year-old American had herself recovered to eliminate top seed Aryna Sabalenka earlier in the tournament but was now on the wrong side of such a comeback.

Jabeur, who lost in the final of the WTA 250 Charleston Open II last year, prevailed 2-6 6-1 6-4.

Meanwhile, at the Copa Colsanitas, there will be no repeat win for Camila Osorio after the defending champion and top seed lost to Laura Pigossi in straight sets in the semis.

Tatjana Maria is now Pigossi's opponent in the title match.

Cristiano Ronaldo apologised after he appeared to smash a fan's phone following Manchester United's 1-0 loss at Everton on Saturday. 

Anthony Gordon's deflected first-half strike consigned United to a second straight Premier League away defeat for the first time since January 2020. 

It was a significant blow to the Red Devils' hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, with Tottenham's victory over Aston Villa later in the day leaving Ralf Rangnick's side six points adrift of the top four. 

Following the final whistle, a video emerged on social media which claimed to show Ronaldo breaking an Everton supporter's phone by throwing it into the floor. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner subsequently took to Instagram to explain his actions and offer to host the fan at Old Trafford "as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship". 

"It's never easy to deal with emotions in difficult moments such as the one we are facing," Ronaldo wrote. 

"Nevertheless, we always have to be respectful, patient and set the example for all the youngsters who love the beautiful game. 

"I would like to apologise for my outburst and, if possible, I would like to invite this supporter to watch a game at Old Trafford as a sign of fair play and sportsmanship." 

United have now triumphed in just eight of their 17 Premier League games under Rangnick, with the German's 47 per cent win ratio the club's worst under any manager in the competition. 

Scottie Scheffler made a superb start to the third round of the Masters to extend his lead to six shots on Saturday.

The mission for the chasing pack was clear going into moving day at Augusta National: chase down the world number one, who ended day two with a five-stroke lead.

But Scheffler, seeking his first major title, made that task even harder with four birdies on the front nine.

After saving par at a tricky first hole, Scheffler produced a stunning second shot at the 575-yard second to put him on the edge of the green.

He chipped to four feet to set up a simple birdie, which was followed by another gain at the third following a superb approach shot to eight feet to move to 10 under par.

A dropped shot at the fourth gave hope to his prospective challengers, but that stroke was clawed back courtesy of an excellent 17-foot putt at the sixth.

He chipped to six feet for another gain at the eighth to improve to 11 under, with a par at the ninth leaving Cameron Smith as his closest challenger at five under through 12.

Antonio Conte hailed the killer instinct of his bloodthirsty Tottenham front three after a clinical 4-0 win at Aston Villa boosted hopes of Champions League football next season.

Son Heung-min hit a hat-trick, taking him to 17 Premier League goals for the season, and winger Dejan Kulusevski was also on target at Villa Park.

Harry Kane had two assists, meanwhile, as Tottenham's front three ran Villa ragged in the second half.

Son has the most goals in the Premier League this season when penalties are removed from the count, given none of his strikes have been spot-kicks. Mohamed Salah's league-leading 20-goal haul includes five penalties.

Villa finished the game with a higher expected goals figure than Tottenham, 1.71 to Spurs' 1.02. That reflected the golden chances Villa spurned, particularly in the first half when Danny Ings, Ollie Watkins and Philippe Coutinho all threatened.

The statistic also spoke of Tottenham's ability to sniff a half chance and snatch a goal, which is something that delights Conte.

Earlier defeats for Arsenal and Manchester United meant Tottenham had a great opportunity to tighten their grip on fourth place, and Conte said: "We have to look to ourselves. I said this to our players: a strong team, a big team, doesn't depend on the others.

"We have to understand the moment when you have to kill your opponent. Today was an important moment, especially because of other results. It was good for us, but it was good because we won. If you don't win, the result of the other teams is not useful.

"The players know very well what I said. The winner has to feel when there is blood, the blood of your opponent, and then you have to kill your opponent.

"I think we are working very hard in many aspects. I'm lucky because I have a group of players that deserve the best because they show me great commitment, great behaviour every day.

"They want to improve, and to get these kind of results in a short time makes me very happy because I know that they are very happy."

Tottenham have won six of their last seven games in the Premier League, after a previous rocky spell of results.

They have seven games remaining, including a big derby against Arsenal next month and a trip to title hopefuls Liverpool.

Tottenham appear to be growing all the time, and being able to set aside a sketchy opening 45 minutes, when Son's early goal gave them a lead they scarcely deserved by the break, showed a particular quality that pleased Conte.

Son, Kane and Kulusevski were unaffected by the battering Tottenham had taken, and came out for the second half determined to stamp a greater mark on the game.

"I think that the task of the coach is to try to exploit the characteristic of the players, to put the players in the best situation," Conte told Sky Sports.

"I think this formation is sweet for the characteristics of these players, and it is working very well. We're starting to work about the details. This is very important because don't forget that I arrived in November, not in pre-season. I think we have grown in an important way, and now we're showing that it's tough to play against us."

Son also spoke of the dynamic between the front three. Since Kulusevski's Premier League debut on February 9, only Kane (13) and Son (12) have been involved in more goals in the competition than the former Juventus winger (nine), taking all teams into account.

"It's all about understanding," said Son. "The first time we played together it wasn't perfect. We're still not perfect, but we improve every single day and enjoy playing together."

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar scored hat-tricks as Paris Saint-Germain brought an emphatic end to their poor away form with a resounding 6-1 victory at Clermont in Ligue 1. 

Neymar and Mbappe struck in the opening 19 minutes as PSG ended a run of four straight losses on the road in all competitions and moved 15 points clear at the summit.

Jodel Dossou pulled one back for Clermont but Neymar scored from the spot and then set up Mbappe three minutes later as Mauricio Pochettino's men showed their teeth in the closing stages.

Mbappe completed his hat-trick with 10 minutes remaining and then returned the favour for Neymar, teeing him up for his third as PSG stayed on track for the title.

The visitors took the lead in controversial circumstances, Neymar's goal being allowed to stand despite Alidu Seidu being prone in the box after having his foot stepped on by Mbappe. 

Lionel Messi controlled Neymar's pass on his chest and volleyed a throughball in behind for Mbappe to poke past Arthur Desmas, but Clermont grew into the game and halved the deficit through Dossou before half-time.

Messi had a goal disallowed for offside before Mbappe was felled by Akim Zedadka in the box and Neymar slotted home the resulting spot-kick with the utmost composure in the 71st minute 

A magnificent outside-of-the-boot throughball over the top from Neymar set Mbappe on his way to his second and the France star made it three with a powerful finish from the edge of the box.

Mbappe then raced onto a pass from Georginio Wijnaldum and squared across the face of goal for Neymar to round off the scoring with 83 minutes played.

What does it mean? PSG close in on title 

With Rennes moving level on points with Marseille in second earlier on Saturday, PSG could find themselves a point away from reclaiming their Ligue 1 crown by the end of next weekend. 

Victory over Marseille at the Parc des Princes combined with Rennes losing to Monaco would leave them 18 points clear with just six games to play. 

Magical Messi-Mbappe link-up 

His first season at PSG has not quite lived up to expectations, but Messi was at his creative best against Clermont. The Argentina captain has now combined with Mbappe for eight goals in Ligue 1 this season.

Full-backs switch off 

Achraf Hakimi was caught in possession ahead of Clermont's goal and Dossou's run to the back post was not tracked by Nuno Mendes. Neither will be pleased with their role in PSG failing to keep an away clean sheet in Ligue 1 for the first time since October. 

What's next? 

PSG have Le Classique against Marseille to look forward to next Sunday, when Clermont will hope to boost their survival hopes at 19th-placed Metz. 

Real Madrid secured victory against Getafe at the Santiago Bernabeu to restore their 12-point lead at the top of LaLiga on Saturday.

It was a relatively comfortable evening's work for Madrid, with Casemiro's first-half header and Lucas Vazquez's second-half finish sealing a 2-0 win.

Madrid controlled the game from start to finish, and Carlo Ancelotti was even able to save the legs of some of his key players.

The coach made four changes from the midweek Champions League win against Chelsea, resting Dani Carvajal, Ferland Mendy, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric with one eye on the quarter-final second leg.

Stamford Bridge hat-trick hero Karim Benzema remained in the line-up and had the ball in the net inside four minutes after a long pass from David Alaba fell kindly to him, only to see the flag go up for offside.

Madrid dominated the early stages but struggled to create chances, with Federico Valverde coming closest with a volley from a Benzema cross, forcing a tremendous save from David Soria.

The deadlock was broken in the 38th minute after Vinicius Junior put in a delightful cross with the outside of his right foot for Casemiro to head in at the far post.

The hosts knocked on the door for another soon after the break, with Valverde again going close with a free-kick from range.

But Madrid were made to wait until the 68th minute when Vazquez played a neat one-two on the right with Rodrygo before placing the ball with his left foot into the far corner of the net.

The visitors showed a brief glimpse of fight at the end, with Enes Unal hitting the post with an effort in the 90th minute, but it was merely a minor scare for the league leaders.

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