NBA

LeBron drives Lakers to bounce-back win, Harden lifts Nets in Irving's absence

By Sports Desk February 17, 2021

LeBron James' double-double fired the Los Angeles Lakers back to winning ways, while James Harden stepped up to rally the Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets past the high-flying Phoenix Suns.

James put up 30 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists as the reigning NBA champions leaned on their defense in the 112-104 victory over the last-placed Minnesota Timberwolves.

Without the injured Anthony Davis, Dennis Schroder played the supporting role for James, posting 24 points, while the Lakers battled to claim eight steals and seven blocks in a closely fought contest.

After taking a two-point lead into the fourth quarter at Target Center, the road side pulled away in the closing stages to improve to 22-7 in second place in the Western Conference.

Harden pulled out the stops with a double-double to lead the Nets to a sensational 128-124 comeback win against the Suns, despite playing without Irving after the star guard felt tightness in his lower back.

Nets coach Steve Nash revealed Irving received treatment at half-time of Brooklyn's win against the Sacramento Kings on Monday but expects the six-time All-Star to only be sidelined in the short term.

The Nets surged, scoring 40 fourth-quarter points to turn around a 24-point deficit, with Harden (38 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds) backed up by Joe Harris (22 points) as they halted the Suns' six-game winning streak.

Jokic burns Celtics but Nuggets fall short, Zion on target for Pelicans

Nikola Jokic lit up the Boston Celtics, scoring 43 points, but the Denver Nuggets could still not make triple-digits as their three-game winning stretch was ended in a 112-99 loss.

Zion Williamson shot an efficient 31 points, sinking 13 of his 16 field-goal efforts and going four-of-four from the free-throw line, as the New Orleans Pelicans snapped a three-match losing run with a 144-113 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Meanwhile, Damian Lillard’s 31-point, 10-assist double-double led the Portland Trail Blazers past the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 115-104 win, while centre Enes Kanter pulled down 21 rebounds.

 

Bazley struggles to take his chances

The Thunder never recovered against the Blazers after falling 34-21 behind in the first quarter and forward Darius Bazley was one player that could not find his range.

Bazley shot four from 16 from the field for 14 points during his 36 minutes on court, only dropping one his seven efforts from three-point range.

 

Giannis powers up but the Raps edge the Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo proved unplayable at times, scoring 34 points in the Milwaukee Bucks' 124-113 loss against the Toronto Raptors, as he ghosted past three defenders for one of his buckets.

Tuesday's results

Boston Celtics 112-99 Denver Nuggets
Portland Trail Blazers 115-104 Oklahoma City Thunder 
Los Angeles Lakers 112-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans 144-113 Memphis Grizzlies 
Toronto Raptors 124-113 Milwaukee Bucks 
Brooklyn Nets 128-124 Phoenix Suns

 

Jazz at Clippers

There has been no stopping the Utah Jazz, who have won eight straight and 19 of their past 20 games to establish a lead in the Western Conference, but a tough challenge awaits when they go on the road to face the third-placed Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Related items

  • Embiid shows no fear as Sixers get better of Gobert and Jazz Embiid shows no fear as Sixers get better of Gobert and Jazz

    Joel Embiid took on his critics after a stunning display helped the Philadelphia 76ers edge the NBA-leading Utah Jazz after overtime.

    Embiid hit a game-tying three-pointer with 5.3 seconds remaining to force OT and finished the game with 40 points and 19 rebounds as the 76ers earned a 131-123 win.

    He dominated against Rudy Gobert, in a duel between two players likely to be fighting for end-of-season honours, and was quick to aim a jibe at a local reporter.

    Keith Pompey, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, recently noted how Embiid had missed a number of head-to-heads with top-class centers.

    Embiid showed he was fearless up against Gobert, a fellow Defensive Player of the Year contender.

    "First of all, according to Keith Pompey I'm scared of [Gobert] and I'm afraid of top centers," Embiid said in a post-game news conference.

    "Man, as we saw tonight it looks like I was very, very scared of them, so yeah, keep talking.

    "But going up against them, one of my goals is to also be Defensive Player of the Year."

    Embiid is now averaging 11.6 rebounds and 30.2 points per game this season, while the Eastern Conference-leading Sixers improved to 24-12 for the season.

    Gobert had nine rebounds and 12 points.

    "When you go against those type of guys, he's a great player, he does a lot of things that don't show up on his stat-sheet," Embiid said.

    "When you go against those guys, he brings something else to the rest of my game. I want to dominate, on the offensive line but mainly on the defensive line because that's the goal I set for myself at the beginning of the year.

    "Those are the matchups that you want to go out there and just dominate, and prove to everyone that we have a great team and individually that you should be up there when it comes to those rankings, so hopefully that came through."

  • Embiid lifts 76ers over Jazz in thriller and Harden enjoys winning return to Houston as LeBron-less Lakers lose Embiid lifts 76ers over Jazz in thriller and Harden enjoys winning return to Houston as LeBron-less Lakers lose

    Joel Embiid enhanced his MVP credentials with a monster double-double as the Philadelphia 76ers trumped the NBA-leading Utah Jazz in a thrilling battle, 131-123 after overtime.

    Embiid hit a game-tying three-pointer with 5.3 seconds remaining to force OT – Eastern Conference leaders the 76ers outscoring the Jazz 13-5 in the additional period to reign supreme in Philadelphia on Wednesday.

    MVP candidate Embiid finished with 40 points and 19 rebounds to fuel the 76ers to back-to-back wins heading into the break, with the All-Star Game scheduled for Sunday.

    Sixers team-mate Tobias Harris scored 11 of his 22 points in overtime as the 76ers improved to 24-12.

    Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, who was ejected with 30.8 seconds remaining in OT, recorded 33 points in the road loss – Utah (27-9) suffering back-to-back losses.

    James Harden showed no mercy in his first game against the Houston Rockets since January's blockbuster trade to the Brooklyn Nets.

    Former MVP Harden had 29 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds for his eighth triple-double since joining the Nets, who downed the injury-hit Rockets 132-114.

     

    McConnell makes history

    T.J. McConnell put up 16 points on eight of eight shooting, 13 assists and 10 steals off the bench in the Indiana Pacers' 114-111 win at the Cleveland Cavaliers. McConnell became the first player in NBA history to record 10-plus steals and make 100 per cent of his field-goal attempts in a game, per Stats Perform. He also became only the 10th player with a 10-plus steal triple-double since steals began being tracked in 1973-74.

    Trae Young ended the game with 32 points as the Atlanta Hawks edged the Orlando Magic 115-112.

    The Chicago Bulls trumped the New Orleans Pelicans 128-124 behind Zach LaVine's 36 points.

    Triple-doubles from Mason Plumlee (14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists) and Dennis Smith Jr. (10 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists) inspired the Detroit Pistons to a 129-105 win over the Toronto Raptors. Norman Powell had a game-high 36 points for the Raptors.

     

    Lakers' poor form continues

    Playing without LeBron James for the first time this season and with Anthony Davis already sidelined, defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers went down 123-120 to the Sacramento Kings. The Lakers have lost six of their last eight games, falling into a tie for third place in the Western Conference heading into the All-Star weekend.

    The Rockets have lost 13 games in a row – the franchise's longest skid since dropping 15 straight in 2001.

     

    Lillard sinks Warriors

    Damian Lillard (22 points) scored the final eight points for the Portland Trail Blazers, including the game-winning three with 13.7 seconds remaining, in a 108-106 win against the Golden State Warriors. Stephen Curry's 35 points were not enough for the Warriors.

     

    Wednesday's results

    Indiana Pacers 114-111 Cleveland Cavaliers
    Philadelphia 76ers 131-123 Utah Jazz (OT)
    Detroit Pistons 129-105 Toronto Raptors
    Brooklyn Nets 132-114 Houston Rockets
    Atlanta Hawks 115-112 Orlando Magic
    Charlotte Hornets 135-102 Minnesota Timberwolves
    Chicago Bulls 128-124 New Orleans Pelicans
    Dallas Mavericks 87-78 Oklahoma City Thunder
    Portland Trail Blazers 108-106 Golden State Warriors
    Sacramento Kings 123-120 Los Angeles Lakers

     

    Clippers at Wizards

    The Los Angeles Clippers (24-13) will look to snap a run of back-to-back defeats before the All-Star break when they visit the lowly Washington Wizards (13-20) on Thursday.

  • Nets' Harden has triple-double to down former team Rockets: I wasn't trying to show off Nets' Harden has triple-double to down former team Rockets: I wasn't trying to show off

    James Harden said he was not trying to show off after his triple-double fuelled the high-flying Brooklyn Nets in the former NBA MVP's first game against the Houston Rockets since his blockbuster trade.

    Harden showed no mercy on Wednesday, his 29 points, 14 assists and 10 rebounds guiding the Nets to a 132-114 victory over the Rockets in Houston.

    The former Rockets star received a mixed response from fans at Toyota Center midweek following the "drama" surrounding his January exit, having demanded a trade after more than eight seasons.

    After condemning the struggling and injury-hit Rockets to a 13th consecutive defeat, Harden reflected on his return to Houston.

    "I'm excited," Harden said. "We got a win. We've been playing very, very good basketball, and to finish out strong like this to in the All-Star break means a lot to us. Hopefully we can get guys healthy; KD [Kevin Durant], Jeff [Green], TLC [Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot], and after the break just keep rolling.

    "As far as playing in Houston, a lot of mixed emotions from the fans, but knew that was gonna happen. I just wanted to come out here and give them a show."

    Led by Harden, the Rockets reached two Western Conference Finals, while Houston earned three semi-final appearances after the nine-time All-Star was acquired from the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012.

    The Rockets are planning to retire Harden's number 13 jersey in Houston.

    "Hopefully I did something right," Harden said. "Obviously I came up short of a championship, but the work on and off the court that I put in over the past eight years was elite you know.

    "I think that's the only thing I didn't do, or didn't accomplish is a championship, which is difficult to attain, but as far as bringing excitement to this city, taking care of the fans on and off the court is something that I try to contribute, so hopefully that outweighs that."

    Harden has starred since joining Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, where he has already tallied eight triple-doubles in a Nets uniform – second in franchise history behind Jason Kidd.

    On Wednesday, Harden ensured the Nets closed out the first half of the NBA season with their 10th win in 11 games heading into the All-Star break.

    The Nets, who have recorded seven straight road wins, are 24-13 ahead of Sunday's All-Star Game in Atlanta – only half a game behind the Philadelphia 76ers in the Eastern Conference.

    "So far, so good. Everything that I signed up for," added Harden. "Top to bottom, it's been great. Adversity has hit us as far as not missing any games, so we've been playing every other day schedule wise and then we're affected by injuries, guys in and out of the line-ups, crazy, weird things happening, but I think we've fought through adversity and we're in a really good position.

    "Now we know each other a little bit better. Now it's time to get some rest, take care of your body and be ready to go. Second half is gonna be huge for us in the sense of how fast we can get off to a great start. Everybody goes through the same thing. There’' no excuses, and we're not here to make any."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.