NBA

LeBron not enough as Suns sizzle against Lakers, Beal sets Wizards record

By Sports Desk March 03, 2021

LeBron James' performance was not enough as defending NBA champions the Los Angeles Lakers lost 114-104 at home to the Phoenix Suns.

James posted a game-high 38 points, but the Lakers still went down to the Suns, who ended the team's run of back-to-back wins on Tuesday.

The Lakers had won 10 of their last 12 games against Phoenix – including sweeping the season series 3-0 last term – but a season-high 21 points from Dario Saric off the bench gave the Suns a rare victory.

Aside from Dennis Schroder (17 points), Talen Horton-Tucker (16 points) and Markieff Morris (12 points), James did not have much support as the Lakers continue to play without injured star Anthony Davis.

With the result, Phoenix extended their winning streak to three games.

 

Beal makes franchise history, Jokic dominates

Bradley Beal became the fastest player to reach 1,000 points in a season in Washington Wizards history – his 31st game of the campaign, surpassing the 33-game record held by Gilbert Arenas (2006-07) and Bernard King (1990-91). Wizards star Beal had 23 points in Washington's 125-111 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Memphis' Ja Morant went off for 35 points and 10 rebounds.

Nikola Jokic produced another masterclass to inspire the Denver Nuggets' 128-97 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks. Jokic put up 37 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds for his ninth triple-double of the season and 50th of his career – the third-fastest player to the half-century mark in NBA history. A 27-point performance from two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo was not enough to prevent the Bucks from having their five-game winning streak snapped.

Paul George stepped up in the absence of injured team-mate Kawhi Leonard with a game-high 32 points, but the Los Angeles Clippers still lost 117-112 to the Boston Celtics.

Double-doubles from Trae Young (18 points and 10 assists) and Clint Capela (10 point and 17 rebounds) gave the Atlanta Hawks a 94-80 victory over the Miami Heat in Nate McMillan's debut as interim head coach following Lloyd Pierce's exit.

 

Heat fizzle out

It was a forgettable outing for the Heat in Miami. Their six-game winning streak ended abruptly on the back of a woeful shooting display. Miami shot just 37 per cent from the field, while they were only 27.3 per cent from three-point range. Tyler Herro was three-of-12 shooting as he converted just three of seven attempts from beyond the arc.

 

LeBron says no!

There was no way past James as he denied Phoenix's Deandre Ayton at the rim in the second quarter on Tuesday.

 

Tuesday's results

Memphis Grizzlies 125-111 Washington Wizards
Boston Celtics 117-112 Los Angeles Clippers
San Antonio Spurs 119-93 New York Knicks
Atlanta Hawks 94-80 Miami Heat
Denver Nuggets 128-97 Milwaukee Bucks
Phoenix Suns 114-104 Los Angeles Lakers
Detroit Pistons-Toronto Raptors (postponed)

 

Jazz at 76ers

The NBA-leading Utah Jazz (27-8) will travel to face Eastern Conference pacesetters the Philadelphia 76ers (23-12) in a blockbuster showdown on Wednesday. Both teams are coming off losses.

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    Stephen Curry broke Wilt Chamberlain's franchise points record in the Golden State Warriors' 116-107 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday, with coach Steve Kerr convinced he is setting a new standard.

    Curry finished with 53 points for the Warriors, surpassing Chamberlain's franchise landmark of 17,783 in the first quarter when he reached 19 points for the match.

    The 33-year-old may have played 745 games for the Warriors compared to Chamberlain's 429, but he was visibly overjoyed with the achievement.

    Curry, whose 53 was the ninth 50-plus score of his career, was also later drenched during a post-game interview by team-mate Kent Bazemore with ice cold water.

    But while the record itself and Curry's longevity will attract much of the focus, Kerr was keen to emphasise just how well his star man is playing at the moment.

    "I mentioned his work ethic, focus, passion for the game, he sets the tone for us every day," Kerr said of Curry after the win.

    "What he's doing is ridiculous. No one has ever shot the ball like this. The fact he does it off the catch or dribble, most guys are one or the other. 

    "He can shoot anywhere, anytime, any situation, any defender on him. It's kind of crazy what he does out there. It's hard to fathom sometimes watching him make those shots.

    "It was kind of surprising to see him break that record in the first quarter. We all figured he'd find a way to get 19 points tonight, but maybe not in the first quarter!

    "He was extra special tonight, obviously. You can feel it when he's really got it going, and we could feel it early tonight."

    Kerr also spoke extensively on the subject just before the game and took the opportunity to laud Curry for his legacy, which stretches far beyond a specific points total.

    "Passing Wilt in anything statistically is sort of remarkable because his name is all over the record books," he said.

    "So, the fact that Steph is about to break that record is just incredible and obviously a testament to what he's done here in his 12 years and impact he's made.

    "I don't know if breaking that record even tells the story because what Steph brings goes so far beyond points. It's the impact on his teammates, the community, the organisation, the style of play, just how unique he is.

    "As an individual, he has changed the game, inspired all the young NBA point guards who have come up to be much better shooters. He has changed the game, so as awesome as this accomplishment is, passing Wilt, it's just one of many for Steph."

    Curry was unsurprisingly swamped post-game, with Kerr suggesting he gave as many as 17 interviews before being able to join up with his team-mates in the locker room again.

    Among the soundbites, Curry suggested he has found it quite intimidating being mentioned in the same breath as Chamberlain and his record.

    "Anytime you hear [Chamberlain's] name, it's kind of daunting because some of his records are so hard to eclipse," Curry added.

    "To be anywhere near him on any record book, or now be on top, it's surreal and it's wild. If you grow up in the game of basketball and you hear his name, you know it's something extremely special, no matter what it is."

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    Paris Saint-Germain are 90 minutes away from avenging their Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich.

    The Ligue 1 champions go into the return leg of the quarter-final with Bayern at the Parc des Princes with a one-goal advantage and with their talisman eyeing a slice of history in Europe's elite club competition.

    If PSG complete their task and ensure there is to be a different name on the trophy this year, then in-form Chelsea will fancy their chances of lifting club football's most sought-after prize.

    Led by the man who guided PSG to the showpiece last season, the Blues hold a comfortable lead in their last-eight encounter with Porto.

    All the evidence points to Chelsea going through to the semis as they look to replicate their team of 2011-12, who overcame Bayern in a penalty shoot-out in the final.

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    Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich - Omens against holders as Mbappe eyes record

    The holders must score at least twice if they are to keep their hopes of retaining the trophy alive, having lost the home leg of this rematch of last season's final 3-2 at the Allianz Arena.

    And history is against Hansi Flick's side turning it around. 

    PSG have won all four previous games when they have hosted Bayern in European competition between 1994 and 2017.

    Bayern have been eliminated on each of the most recent four occasions they have lost the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie, while only three of the past 50 teams to lose the first leg at home in the competition have progressed.

    However, one of those teams did so against PSG, Manchester United coming from behind to knock out the Ligue 1 side at the Parc des Princes in the last 16 in 2018-19.

    If PSG are to unseat the champions, they will likely look to Kylian Mbappe.

    Mbappe was on target twice in the first leg and has eight goals in as many appearances for PSG in the Champions League this season. If he nets again on Tuesday, he will set a new record for the most goals by a French player in a single Champions League campaign, surpassing David Trezeguet in 2001-02 and Wissam Ben Yedder in 2017-18.

    Should he score against Bayern once more, he will have netted in four consecutive knockout appearances for the second time in his career, having done so with Monaco in 2017, and would become the first PSG player to achieve that feat. 

     

    Chelsea v Porto - Seville shock unlikely to be on the cards

    Thomas Tuchel's Blues will not have the benefit of any home comforts when Chelsea attempt to finish the job and reach the last four having won 2-0 in the first match.

    As with the opening leg, Chelsea and Porto will do battle in Seville due to coronavirus restrictions, with the odds firmly in the London club's favour.

    Indeed, there have been only four previous instances of a team progressing after losing the home leg of a Champions League knockout tie without scoring – Ajax in 1995-96 v Panathinaikos, Inter in 2010-11 v Bayern, United in 2018-19 v PSG and Tottenham in 2018-19 v Ajax.

    Porto pulled off one of the shocks of the Champions League when they knocked out Juventus in the last 16, however, they will need to reverse a worrying trend if they are to do the same to Chelsea.

    Since beating Leicester City 5-0 in the group stages of this competition in December 2016, Porto are winless in seven matches against English sides in the Champions League (D2 L5), scoring only twice while conceding 16 goals themselves.

    The smart money is on that streak continuing, with Chelsea unbeaten in the Champions League this season (P9 W7 D2 L0).

    They could become the first Premier League team to go unbeaten across their first 10 games in a season in the competition since Liverpool in 2017-18 (11 games).

    A solid defence has been key to their success in Europe this term, as Chelsea have kept seven clean sheets in nine Champions League matches this season, the joint-most along with Manchester City; the last side to keep more clean sheets in a single campaign in the competition was Juventus in 2016-17 (nine).

    The Blues are looking to keep a clean sheet in four consecutive matches in the tournament for the first time since a run of six ending in March 2008. 

    Great credit for that run must go to goalkeeper Edouard Mendy, who can tie the record of Fabian Barthez (eight with Manchester United in 2002-03) for the most consecutive Champions League games won by a goalkeeper for an English club with another triumph over Porto.

  • Curry breaks Chamberlain's record in 53-point domination, Embiid lifts 76ers past Doncic's Mavericks Curry breaks Chamberlain's record in 53-point domination, Embiid lifts 76ers past Doncic's Mavericks

    Steph Curry broke Wilt Chamberlain's franchise points record as he produced his ninth career 50-plus score in the Golden State Warriors' 116-107 win over the Denver Nuggets on Monday night.

    Curry finished with 53 points for the Warriors, surpassing Chamberlain's franchise all-time scoring record with 19 points in the first quarter.

    The 33-year-old may have played 745 games for the Warriors compared to Chamberlain's 429, but he was visibly overjoyed with the achievement.

    Curry was also later drenched during a post-game interview by teammate Kent Bazemore with an ice cold water.

    MVP candidate Nikola Jogic had 27 points and 12 assists for the Nuggets.

    Joel Embiid won the battle against Luka Doncic as the Philadelphia 76ers stayed top in the East with a 113-95 triumph over the Dallas Mavericks.

    Embiid only played 26 minutes but finished with 36 points, including 23 by half-time, and seven rebounds.

    Doncic scored 32 points, reaching 30-plus for the 19th time this season for the Mavs, who were without Kristaps Porzingis due to a knee complaint.

     

    Beal silences Jazz, Zion dominates again

    Ladder leaders Utah Jazz were beaten by the Washington Wizards 125-121 with Bradley Beal returning from his latest niggle to score 34 points.

    Beal was well supported by guard Russell Westbrook who had his ninth triple-double in 10 games with 25 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists.

    The Jazz move to 40-14 despite Donovan Mitchell's 42 points and center Rudy Gobert's double-double.

    Red hot Zion Williamson continued his form surge with 30 points in the New Orleans Pelicans' 117-110 victory over the Sacramento Kings.

    Williamson had scored 37 and 38 points in his past two games and delivered again, while Brandon Ingram had 34. The improved De'Aaron Fox scored 43 points for the Kings.

    The Los Angeles Lakers lost again without LeBron James as Julius Randle hit 34 points and had 10 rebounds to lead the New York Knicks to a 111-96 victory.

    The Phoenix Suns edged past the fast-finishing Houston Rockets 126-120 after equaling the NBA record for 18 three-pointers in the first half, while the Memphis Grizzlies scored 31-16 in the fourth to win 101-90 over the Chicago Bulls.

     

    Jamal injury concerns

    Emerging Nuggets guard Jamal Murray was left writhing in pain after going down with a left knee injury which had fellow players visibly concerned. Fingers crossed.

     

    Morant's monster alley oop

    Grizzlies guard Ja Morant's alley-oop finish was a sight to behold with teammate Grayson Allen's assist leaving him with plenty to do, but he did that emphatically.

     

    Monday's results

    New York Knicks 111-96 Los Angeles Lakers
    Philadelphia 76ers 113-95 Dallas Mavericks
    San Antonio Spurs 120-97 Orlando Magic
    Washington Wizards 125-121 Utah Jazz
    Memphis Grizzlies 101-90 Chicago Bulls
    New Orleans Pelicans 117-110 Sacramento Kings
    Golden State Warriors 116-107 Denver Nuggets 
    Phoenix Suns 126-120 Houston Rockets

     

    Lakers in Charlotte

    The Los Angeles Lakers (33-21) have been sliding without LeBron James and Anthony Davis and they face a tough assignment at the Charlotte Hornets (27-25) on Tuesday.

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