NBA

Giannis' Bucks roll on, Lakers stay hot without LeBron & Davis

By Sports Desk January 12, 2020

The NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks were too good for the Portland Trail Blazers 122-101, while the depleted Los Angeles Lakers extended their winning streak.

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the way with 32 points and 17 rebounds as the Bucks won their third consecutive game and improved to 35-6 for the season.

Khris Middleton posted 30 points and team-mate Eric Bledsoe contributed 29 for the high-flying Bucks in Portland on Saturday.

The Lakers celebrated their eighth successive victory by topping the Oklahoma City Thunder 125-110 without a host of stars on the road.

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Danny Green were all absent for the trip to Oklahoma City, but Western Conference leaders the Lakers still won thanks to a season-high 36 points from Kyle Kuzma.

 

Career night for Tatum

A career-high 41 points from Jayson Tatum led the Boston Celtics past the New Orleans Pelicans 140-105, snapping a three-game skid in the process.

James Harden passed 20,000 career points in the Houston Rockets' 139-109 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves. He scored 32 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists in three quarters.

Triple-doubles from Tristan Thompson (18 points, 13 rebounds), Kevin Love (19 points, 15 rebounds) and Cedi Osman (11 points, 12 rebounds) helped the Cleveland Cavaliers shock the Denver Nuggets 111-103.

 

Shooting struggles for Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers had plenty of looks but were woeful from the floor in their 109-91 loss away to the Dallas Mavericks. Philadelphia tallied 98 shots but finished at 38 per cent. The 76ers were also nine of 37 from three-point range.

 

Celtics sizzle

The Celtics were red-hot in this team move that stunned the Pelicans and set up Enes Kanter.

 

Saturday's results

Houston Rockets 139-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
Boston Celtics 140-105 Orleans Pelicans
Chicago Bulls 108-99 Detroit Pistons
Los Angeles Lakers 125-110 Oklahoma City Thunder
Dallas Mavericks 109-91 Philadelphia 76ers
Cleveland Cavaliers 111-103 Denver Nuggets
Milwaukee Bucks 122-101 Portland Trail Blazers

 

 

Clippers at Nuggets

The Los Angeles Clippers (27-12) – riding a two-game winning streak – can cement second spot in the west on Sunday. The Nuggets (26-12) will host the Clippers after being shocked by the Cavs.

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  • 'Frustrated' Lillard moves on from George-Beverley spat with 51-point game 'Frustrated' Lillard moves on from George-Beverley spat with 51-point game

    Damian Lillard was determined not to let another game slip away as he bounced back from defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers with a 51-point game against the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Portland Trail Blazers point guard Lillard missed a pair of free throws and also a three-pointer in the closing seconds of his team's reverse to the Clippers on Saturday.

    The five-time NBA All-Star then became involved in a social media spat with Clippers duo Paul George, who had waved from the bench after the finish to the game, and Patrick Beverley, but was back down to business on the court on Sunday.

    His performance helped the Blazers move to within half-a-game of the eighth-placed Memphis Grizzlies - who lost to the Toronto Raptors - in the race to make the playoffs in the Western Conference.

    "After the game, I was irritated with myself, I was frustrated. But it is what it is," Lillard said of Saturday's setback.

    "I talked to one of my best friends and he said, 'It is what it is, this happened for a reason. You've had a lot of big moments and you usually come out on top, so you've got to expect to be some kind of balance, you've got to expect to come up against some adversity'.

    "I knew we had a chance to get back on the court today, so I moved on from it faster than if it wasn't a back-to-back."

    He later added during the post-match media call: "Definitely coming into tonight after yesterday, I knew how important it was to win the game. 

    "We let one slip yesterday that we should have had and I'm a big part of why it got away from us. Tonight, I said that wasn't going to happen."

    Lillard went 16-for-28 from the floor and hit 15 of his 16 free throws, helping the Blazers prevail 124-121 against a Philadelphia team who lost Joel Embiid during the first quarter.

    "I don't think anyone thinks anything less of Dame because he missed free throws," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said of Lillard's performance.

    "Tonight, he showed his determination and will that he's shown throughout his career."

    Portland are back in action on Tuesday, as they take on the Dallas Mavericks. 

  • Stephen Curry offers to be US PGA Championship winner Morikawa's caddie Stephen Curry offers to be US PGA Championship winner Morikawa's caddie

    Stephen Curry offered to be Collin Morikawa's caddie after the American's US PGA Championship success.

    Morikawa fired a six-under 64 in the final round at TPC Harding Park in San Francisco to win his first major by two strokes on Sunday.

    Golden State Warriors star Curry was in attendance and went to the 23-year-old's media conference afterwards.

    After asking the first question, Curry – whose Warriors endured a poor 2019-20 NBA season and did not head to the bubble in Florida – followed up by asking to replace Morikawa's caddie J.J. Jakovac.

    "I'm free for the next three months if you need a caddie or replacement. No, J.J. is a great guy, but if you need me, I'm available," Curry said.

    Morikawa responded: "Perfect. I can't wait. I want to see your game."

    Morikawa produced a brilliant final round to win his first major, becoming the third-youngest winner of the US PGA since World War II, behind only Rory McIlroy and Jack Nicklaus.

    A three-time winner on the PGA Tour, Morikawa was proud to be alongside the greats.

    "It's great company. It's been crazy, because this entire start of my professional career, I see all the things comparing to Tiger [Woods] and doing all this and then Tiger is on a completely different level. I think we all know that," he said.

    "But any time you're in the conversation of the greats, Jack, Rory, Tiger, no matter who it is, if you're in that conversation, you're doing something well.

    "So to know that, yeah, what I've done, what I did my four years in college, was obviously worth it, but there's just that extra sense of feeling good in my heart, to finish out, get my business degree, graduate, come out here knowing I'm prepared, and knowing that it's possible.

    "You know, when you feel you're ready, you're ready, but to be in the conversation with those guys, it's very special and yeah, you know, I'm ready for the next."

  • Nets stun Kawhi's Clippers, Lillard scores 51 as Blazers take down 76ers Nets stun Kawhi's Clippers, Lillard scores 51 as Blazers take down 76ers

    The Brooklyn Nets upstaged the Los Angeles Clippers 129-120, despite Kawhi Leonard's big performance in the NBA on Sunday.

    Leonard posted a game-high 39 points for the Clippers but it was not enough against the Nets in Orlando, Florida.

    Caris LeVert put up 27 points and 13 assists as the Nets clinched the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference.

    Joe Harris added 25 points of his own for the Nets at Walt Disney World Resort, where team-mate Jarrett Allen (16 points, 16 rebounds) finished with a double-double.

    Damian Lillard, meanwhile, dropped 51 points to inspire the Portland Trail Blazers to a 124-121 win over the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Lillard made 16 of 28 shots and 15 from 16 free throws to lift the Trail Blazers past the 76ers and within a half-game of the Memphis Grizzlies for eighth place in the Western Conference.

    It was Lillard's fifth game of 50-plus points this season – tying Houston Rockets star James Harden – with all of those performances coming against teams that made the playoffs last year

    Per STATS, the last player to have five 50-point games against postseason teams from the previous campaign was Michael Jordan (6) in 1986-87.

     

    Career-high night for Rivers

    Austin Rivers had a game to remember as the Rockets soared past the Sacramento Kings 129-112. The Rockets guard registered a career-high 41 points off the bench. Rivers is the first player in NBA history to score 40-plus points, make six or more three-pointers and shoot 70.0-plus per cent from the field off the bench in a game, per STATS. Harden contributed 32 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for the Rockets.

    Gordon Hayward's 31-point display helped the Boston Celtics top the Orlando Magic 122-119 in overtime. Jayson Tatum scored 29, including the tying basket with 4.2 seconds remaining in regulation.

    Defending champions the Toronto Raptors secured the Eastern Conference second seed and their fifth consecutive season with at least 50 wins after outlasting the Grizzlies. Pascal Siakam had 26 points.

    The San Antonio Spurs and their hopes of becoming the first team in NBA history to reach the playoffs for 23 straight seasons remain alive after emerging 122-113 winners against the New Orleans Pelicans. San Antonio are 10th in the west, half a game adrift of Portland for the ninth spot, which would secure a play-in series.

     

    Pelicans eliminated from postseason race, Wizards winless in bubble

    Zion Williamson will have to wait another year for playoff basketball after the Pelicans lost to the Spurs. Despite 31 points and a season-high eight three-pointers from JJ Redick, the Pelicans – coupled with Portland's win – were eliminated from postseason contention.

    The Washington Wizards' woes continued after falling to a 121-103 defeat against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Washington are the only winless team remaining in Orlando, having gone 0-6 since the restart.

     

    Dame with the four-point play!

    After struggling against the Clippers, Lillard came up big for the Trail Blazers in their meeting with the 76ers. A spectacular four-point play with less than three minutes remaining catapulted the Blazers into the lead.

    Sunday's results

    Houston Rockets 129-112 Sacramento Kings
    Portland Trail Blazers 124-121 Philadelphia 76ers
    Boston Celtics 122-119 Orlando Magic (OT)
    San Antonio Spurs 122-113 New Orleans Pelicans
    Toronto Raptors 108-99 Memphis Grizzlies
    Oklahoma City Thunder 121-103 Washington Wizards
    Brooklyn Nets 129-120 Los Angeles Clippers

     

    Raptors face Bucks

    It will be an epic encounter as the Eastern Conference's two best teams meet on Monday. Giannis Antetokounmpo and the top-ranked Milwaukee Bucks take on the in-form Raptors.

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