NBA

Embiid goes off as 76ers top Heat in OT thriller, LeBron's Lakers roll on

By Sports Desk January 13, 2021

Joel Embiid was the headline act as the Philadelphia 76ers held on to beat the Miami Heat 137-134 in overtime, while NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers won again.

Embiid went berserk with a 45-point, 16-rebound double-double, and a career-high five steals and four assists, in a dominant performance to help the 76ers past the shorthanded Heat in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

The three-time All-Star had 10 points in the first half before carrying the 76ers with a stellar third quarter and clutch buckets in OT against the Heat, who were missing the likes of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic.

Embiid sent the game into overtime with a pull-up jumper 4.3 seconds from the end in the fourth period, while Dakota Mathias' only basket of the game – a go-ahead three-pointer with 26.1 seconds remaining – ensured the 76ers prevailed.

Philadelphia's Embiid became the first 76ers player with 45 points, 16 rebounds, five steals and four assists in a game in franchise history since 1973-74, while he became the first NBA player with those stats since 1983-84.

In Houston, LeBron James starred as the in-form Lakers took down the Rockets for the second time in three days, winning 117-100.

James posted a game-high 26 points, eight rebounds and five assists to help the Lakers improve to 9-3 atop the Western Conference.

Anthony Davis contributed 19 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks for the Lakers.

 

Green sets career high

Danny Green had a game to remember for the 76ers. He set a new career high with nine three-pointers against the Heat. It also tied a franchise record for the most three-pointers in a game, joining Dana Barros in 1995. The two-time NBA champion finished with 29 points and 10 rebounds.

Kevin Durant flexed his muscles again, scoring 34 points, tallying 13 assists and grabbing nine rebounds as the Brooklyn Nets trumped the Denver Nuggets 122-116. Nikola Jokic had 23 points and 11 assists for the Nuggets.

 

Harden – out of shape and out of sorts

James Harden's uninspiring start to the season continued amid ongoing trade rumours. The former MVP – looking out of shape – made just five of 16 shots from the field, while he only nailed one of his six three-point attempts for 16 points in 31 minutes.

Rudy Gobert got paid in the offseason, signing a stunning contract in excess of $200million. He was far from convincing in the Utah Jazz's 117-87 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the 2020 All-Star collected 10 rebounds, he finished with just four points on two-of-seven shooting from the field in 25 minutes. Gobert also had two turnovers.

 

LeBron trolls Rockets

As a four-time champion and NBA MVP, James has faith in his ability. The Lakers superstar took it to another level when he nailed a no-look three-pointer against the Rockets.

Tuesday's results

Philadelphia 76ers 137-134 Miami Heat (OT)
Brooklyn Nets 122-116 Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz 117-87 Cleveland Cavaliers
Los Angeles Lakers 117-100 Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs 112-102 Oklahoma City Thunder
Indiana Pacers 104-95 Golden State Warriors
Boston Celtics-Chicago Bulls (postponed)

 

Nets at Knicks

Bragging rights will be on the line when the New York Knicks (5-6) host city rivals the Brooklyn Nets (6-6) on Wednesday.

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    John Stones has explained his decision to go "back to basics" in a bid to rediscover his form for Manchester City.

    Stones scored twice – his third brace for club and country – in City's 4-0 Premier League victory over Crystal Palace on Sunday.

    The win, City's fifth in succession in the top flight, sent Pep Guardiola's team into second place above defending champions Liverpool, who could only draw with leaders Manchester United at Anfield.

    Though Palace, shorn of the injured Wilfried Zaha, were hardly a threat, Stones and his centre-back partner Ruben Dias were rock solid as City gave boss Guardiola an early birthday present the day before he turns 50.

    City are the first team to record five consecutive victories in the Premier League this season, while in the 10 games Stones and Dias have started together in all competitions, Guardiola's side have claimed nine wins, one draw and conceded just once.

    Stones, a big-money signing from Everton in 2016, appeared to be surplus to requirements after an injury-hit 2019-20 campaign, with the 26-year-old handed just 12 league starts.

    However, his first Premier League goals for City – and his first in the top flight since he netted for Everton against United in April 2015 – have capped off a remarkable turnaround in fortunes.

    "We knew it was a tough game today. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get goals. I need to contribute by getting those goals," Stones told Sky Sports.

    "I'm just trying to keep improving, building day by day on the training pitch, give a platform for the lads to express themselves up the pitch and get some goals.

    "We're taking great pride in it, keeping clean sheets, it's what we're there to do. Hopefully we can keep the run going, keep as many clean sheets as we can because we know how vital they are in big games and in games like today.

    "We know what'll happen if we keep getting them. We don't have to go out and score four or five goals every week. We've done it when it's 1-0 and we've fought right until the 90th minute. We kind of take the credit at the back but we've got to give credit to the whole team."

    Asked how tough it had got when he was out of the side, Stones replied: "Very. It's always tough when you're not playing and you don't get a run of games, and when you do you don't perform to what you can do because maybe you've put too much pressure on yourself.

    "I've gone back to basics, looked at myself first, looked at what I can improve on in every aspect. 

    "You need to look yourself in the mirror and ask if I'm doing everything for myself and for the team and I did that, kept working hard, kept the faith and grinding away, keep trying to improve and I still am now. I don't think you ever stop improving yourself."

    Stones' first goal was a glancing header from Kevin De Bruyne's sensational outside-of-the-boot cross – the Belgium midfielder's 100th assist for City.

    "Kevin's done it over the seasons that I've been here," Stones said.

    "I remember a few, off the top of my head, to Leroy [Sane] when he was here, some outrageous passes that you just don't know how he's done it.

    "As he's put the ball in I knew it was coming straight to me. It's something we can only dream of and Kev can just do it when he wants."

  • Harden comments didn't impact trade plans – Rockets GM Harden comments didn't impact trade plans – Rockets GM

    Rafael Stone insisted James Harden's comments after two losses to the Los Angeles Lakers did not impact the Houston Rockets' trade plans.

    Harden was traded to the Brooklyn Nets days after saying he had done everything he could in Houston.

    After back-to-back losses to the Lakers, the eight-time All-Star also said: "This situation is crazy. It's something that I don't think can be fixed."

    But Stone said Harden's comments, which drew criticism from team-mates John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, were irrelevant to the Rockets' plans.

    "They did not affect me at all. In a trade there are multiple parties so I have no idea if it affected other teams," Stone told a news conference on Sunday.

    "But I can guarantee you it did not affect us."

    The Rockets acquired Victor Oladipo from the Pacers, sending former Nets guard Caris LeVert to Indiana.

    As part of the Nets trade that involved the Cleveland Cavaliers, Houston also brought in Rodions Kurucs and Dante Exum, plus four first-round picks, to go with four first-round pick swaps.

    Stone is happy with the deal the Rockets ended up with as he lauded two-time All-Star Oladipo.

    "I don't think it's appropriate to talk about the other deals," Stone said.

    "I would say what is super exciting about this deal is it gives us flexibility and in the NBA, picks, especially high picks, are the best currency. Everybody likes them, everybody values them, so that was great organisationally, it gave us flexibility to do different types of deals as they come up this year, next year, whatever.

    "We were able to get Victor Oladipo as part of it along with Rodi and Dante, but Victor is a guy we're really excited about. I think he's excited to be here and we think he's very talented so that was not insignificant from our perspective."

    The Rockets hold a 4-7 record this season and are 14th in the Western Conference.

  • Inter 2-0 Juventus: Vidal and Barella dent Pirlo's title defence Inter 2-0 Juventus: Vidal and Barella dent Pirlo's title defence

    Inter dealt a blow to Juventus' Serie A title defence and moved level on points with leaders Milan by securing a 2-0 victory at San Siro on Sunday.

    Former Juve midfielder Arturo Vidal opened his Inter account with a 12th-minute header and Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku wasted chances to increase the Nerazzurri's lead.

    The Bianconeri were unable to make the most of those reprieves as an emphatic finish at the end of a route-one move saw Nicolo Barella double Inter's advantage.

    It was enough to give Antonio Conte a first Serie A win against Juve – the club he led to three straight Scudetti at the start of their ongoing run of dominance – and move the hosts level with Milan, who play their game in hand against Cagliari on Monday.

    Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal correctly ruled out for offside but there was no doubt about Vidal's opener a minute later, as the Chile international rose above Danilo to nod Barella's delivery into the left corner.

    Martinez should have doubled Inter's lead in the 23rd minute when he blazed over with the goal gaping after Wojciech Szczesny parried Lukaku's shot straight to him.

    Striker Martinez again failed to hit the target with his next opening, while Lukaku placed an effort from Barella's cutback too close to Szczesny before half-time.

    Inter finally had a second goal in the 52nd minute, Barella surging into a huge gap in the Juve defence and firing Alessandro Bastoni's ambitious pass into the roof of the net.

    Andrea Pirlo responded by sending on Dejan Kulusevski, Federico Bernardeschi and Weston McKennie but Federico Chiesa had their best effort in the 87th minute.

    Samir Handanovic kept out Chiesa's powerful drive with a superb reaction as Inter held on for an important victory.

    What does it mean? Juve with ground to make up

    Juve would have closed to within a point of Inter if they triumphed at San Siro, and they would have still had a game in hand on Conte's men and Milan.

    However, they missed their chance to make up ground and are now seven points adrift of Inter.

    They will find themselves 10 points off the top if Milan win on Monday, meaning winning their game in hand would still not put them firmly in the title picture.

    Brilliant Barella

    Italy international Barella put in a livewire performance against the reigning champions, creating a game-high three chances – including the assist for Vidal's goal – and producing an emphatic finish early in the second half. After managing one goal and four assists in Serie A last season, he has already scored twice and set up five more in the league in 2020-21.

    Vidal sparks controversy

    Pre-game footage showed Vidal embracing Giorgio Chiellini and kissing the Juve badge on his warm-up top. He may have followed it up by scoring his first Serie A goal since clinching the title for Juve in May 2015, but his muted celebrations led to much discussion about where his loyalties lie.

    What's next?

    Juve face Napoli in the Supercoppa Italiana on Wednesday, while Inter travel to Udinese in Serie A on Saturday.

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