NBA

NBA playoffs 2021: Jokic frustrated at himself despite rare 30-20-10 playoffs performance

By Sports Desk June 12, 2021

MVP Nikola Jokic became the third player in playoffs history with a 30-20-10 performance but says he was not even at the top of his game as the Denver Nuggets lost 116-102 to the Phoenix Suns.

Jokic joined elite company with his performance in the defeat, scoring 32 points, with 20 rebounds and 10 assists.

Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1970 for the Milwaukee Bucks and Wilt Chamberlain in 1967 for the Philadelphia 76ers had achieved the feat before in a playoffs game.

Jokic, who received his MVP award pre-game, was downbeat about the result which leaves the Nuggets trailing 3-0 in the series but also his own display, paying credit to Deandre Ayton's defense.

"I'm frustrated with myself because I missed shots and I think I didn’t play on top of my game, especially shooting wise," Jokic said at his post-game video conference.

"I think it'll be much easier for us if I start making shots. Of course, they're making it tough to make those shots."

The Nuggets need to create history to reach the Western Conference final, with no team in NBA history having overcome a 3-0 deficit in the playoffs. Denver hosts Game 4 on Sunday.

"We need try to leave everything out there," he said. "The fourth game if we lose we're out, we go home. We need to go there and fight. That's the mindset."

Jokic added: "Just focus on Sunday. We need to do a much better job, shooting 50 per cent [from the field] and 40 from three.

"Getting to the free-throw line, they're making theirs. We're not getting there enough and we're not even making those."

The Nuggets shot at 41.1 per cent from the field and 34.1 per cent from three-point range in Friday's defeat.

Jokic also said accepting his MVP award pre-game was special moment but paid tribute to others.

"It was a special moment," he said. "This is my trophy but it's because of all of them. I have to thank them. My family, coaches, players, medical staff and the front office."

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    The Netherlands had reason to celebrate and cause for concern at the Izu Cycling Centre on Thursday, while Great Britain's Matthew Walls stormed to victory in the omnium.

    Olympic debutant Shanne Braspennincx capped an incredible comeback from a heart attack six years ago to take gold in the women's keirin final, as the Netherlands defended the title Elis Ligtlee won in Rio 2016.

    However, her triumph came after team-mate Laurine van Riessen had crashed out in the quarter-finals, taking Team GB's Katy Marchant with her.

    Van Riessen was knocked unconscious and had to be taken off the track on a stretcher before she was transferred to hospital for further checks.

    "Coach Hugo [Haak] said that our team doctor is with her. I sent her a message but it all went so fast and I had to go on," Braspennincx said when asked about Van Riessen's injury.

    "Hugo does that. He told me she's in good hands; you have to focus on your own race now. I was worried about her, she went to the hospital, but at that moment I had to make the switch and focus on myself.

    "It's tough to see. I know it's part of [racing] but this is what you really don't want and she was in very good shape as well."

    Van Riessen clipped the wheel in front of her as she was about to enter the final lap, sliding straight into the unfortunate Marchant in the process.

    "I think that’s just bike racing, wrong place, wrong time, I just hope everyone's okay that was in the crash. I think I'm okay, just a bit battered and bruised but I'm alright," Marchant told BBC Sport.

    "I needed to finish the race in case there was something that came up on the results. I'm not really sure what happened, wrong place, wrong time, I just got caught up it in it."

    A SURREAL SUCCESS

    Braspennincx's triumph is made even more remarkable by the heart attack she suffered in 2015.

    The Netherlands have now won the women's keirin event on two of the three times it has been held at the Olympic Games, and it brought up the nation's 10th gold medal on the track.

    She finished ahead of Ellesse Andrews – the second woman from New Zealand to win an Olympic medal in the velodrome after Sarah Ulmer in 2004 – and Canada's Lauriane Genest. 

    "I'll have to let it sink in first, it feels surreal," Braspennincx said. "I can't believe it. I don't know what it was like. I went in the moment, I had to go and I held it. 

    "I think every athlete can say it's a very long [journey], especially this one. In Rio I was a spare rider because I had an injury. I had a long way to come back, and to celebrate it like this is worth it.

    "There is amazing medical stuff still behind me. They tested me through, through and through in order to get the green light. In January 2016 I got to be an athlete again. My journey started again, really, really slow, and with a lot of stuff back. And now I am here in 2021, all good."

    TEAM GB'S WONDER WALLS

    Despite Marchant's disappointment, there was joy for Team GB in the men's omnium, as 23-year-old Olympic debutant Walls claimed gold in dominant fashion.

    Walls, who tested positive for COVID-19 in March, accumulated 153 points across the four disciplines – with the entire event condensed into the space of three hours – to finish ahead of Campbell Stewart and defending champion Elia Viviani.

    It brought up Team GB's first track cycling gold at Tokyo, adding to their successes in the BMX and mountain biking events.

    Team GB have now won 16 golds and 50 medals overall at the close of racing at the velodrome. Ed Clancy (2012) and Mark Cavendish (2016) have previously taken bronze and silver in the men's omnium, while Laura Kenny goes into Sunday's women's event as the two-time defending Olympic champion.

    "I managed to get a good lead coming into the end. It's been a hard day but I came into that points race with a bit of a lead and breathing room," Walls told BBC Sport.

    Britain are the first nation to win three Olympic medals in the men's omnium, while Team GB have now won gold in nine of the current 12 events held on the cycling track at the Games.

    Stewart's silver, meanwhile, means New Zealand have taken 19 medals in Tokyo, surpassing their record tally of 18, set five years ago in Rio.

    WORLD CHAMPION LAVREYSEN ENDS KENNY'S DEFENCE

    Jason Kenny's defence of his Olympic gold in the men's sprint came to an end as he was overcome by Dutch world champion Harrie Lavreysen.

    Kenny took gold in London and Rio, but the 33-year-old's reign is now over, and Lavreysen looks good to push on for the biggest prize.

    The Dutchman was pushed hard in his two races against Kenny, however, with the Team GB rider forcing a two-lap sprint in the second quarter-final heat before Lavreysen pulled away on the final turn.

    Lavreysen must get past another Briton in the semi-finals, with Jack Carlin up next.

    Carlin looked sharp and showed complete control in his quarter-final win over Maximilian Levy of Germany.

    "Another day in the bag, see what happens tomorrow but the legs are feeling good, it's all to play for tomorrow," Carlin told BBC Sport.

    "My legs are feeling alright, they're sore but everyone's are sore at this point of the week. I think we take each race as it comes, stick to our principles, keep calm and what will be, will be."

    Asked about Kenny's valiant effort, Carlin added: "I think you saw today he was struggling a bit from fatigue. He still went out there and gave it his all, that's what Olympic champions do."

    The other semi-final will see Denis Dmitriev face the Netherlands' Jeffrey Hoogland, meaning the Dutch are guaranteed a medal.

  • Tokyo Olympics: Durant and Team USA roll with the punches to bring gold closer Tokyo Olympics: Durant and Team USA roll with the punches to bring gold closer

    Kevin Durant admitted Team USA were caught with "a nice haymaker" from Australia before clambering to their feet and reaching another Olympic final.

    The Americans scored a 97-78 victory at the Saitama Super Arena, putting a fourth successive gold medal at the Games within reach.

    But at one stage in the second quarter Durant and co trailed 41-26, with the Australian Boomers making a fast and purposeful start to the semi-final that they could not maintain.

    It was at the point the USA side fell 15 points behind that they took a timeout, and from that stage onwards they dominated, Durant leading the team with 23 points and nine rebounds.

    Australia shot just 25 of 61 – 41 per cent – from the field, whereas USA managed 38 of 74 and dominated the boards 44-29 in what became a convincing victory.

    "We've been down 15 in games before and came back," Durant said. "It doesn't matter what level it was at, or where it's at. A lot of guys have been in that position before. We know how to handle ourselves.

    "We kept our composure and we knew that we could get back into the game pretty fast, if we got stops and got out and ran. So we've got to give credit to Australia because they came out and hit us with a nice haymaker, but we were able to get back up and get that lead back."

    It came as no surprise to Durant that Australia began as they did.

    "We knew Australia would come out fast and hit us with a nice punch. We know that teams want to get us down early, see how we respond," said the Brooklyn Nets star.

    "A lot of these guys got continuity for years and years, so they know how to play with each other. I feel like a lot of teams are expecting us to fold early.

    "We stuck with it, stuck with our principles, made a couple of switches on defence, and we were able to get some momentum going into the half. Guys came out with that intensity, making shots as well."

    The 32-year-old Durant is chasing a third gold medal of his Olympic career, having played on the London 2012 and Rio 2016 teams.

    For Jrue Holiday, who is coming off an NBA championship-winning season with the Milwaukee Bucks, this is a first Olympic experience.

    Like Durant, he saw no need for panic after Australia began Thursday's semi-final so strongly.

    By half-time, Australia's lead had been cut to just 45-42, and a 32-10 third quarter for the USA showed their firepower.

    "I think we played the game long enough to know that there's always a chance," Holiday said. "So we took that six minutes in the second quarter and kind of ramped it up, and went into half-time in the position that we liked."

    Australia have finished fourth in Olympic men's basketball four times, never going further and claiming a medal.

    They will have a bronze-medal game to come in Tokyo and must pick themselves up to go again.

    Jock Landale scored 11 points against the USA, and the Melbourne United star accepted it was tough for Australia to keep up their early high level.

    "It's hard. It's really hard. They're great basketball players, they're smart basketball players," Landale said.

    "They figure out what you're doing and they just find ways to exploit it. I think we started turning the ball over in that third quarter and they were just living in transition, and that's tough to beat. They're the most athletic guys in the world, so I think that's probably where we lost them."

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    Max Scherzer has started life with the Los Angeles Dodgers in style, tossing down 10 strikeouts in their 7-5 victory over the Houston Astros in MLB on Wednesday.

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    The 37-year-old right-hander had 10 K's across seven innings, only allowing five hits and two runs.

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    San Francisco Giants pitcher Kevin Gausman re-captured some form as he sent down eight strikeouts across six innings as they triumphed 7-1 over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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    New recruits Adam Duvall, Jorge Soler and Joc Pederson all delivered for the Atlanta Braves, with the former pair homering and the latter with a double in their 7-4 victory over the St Louis Cardinals.

    Bryce Harper starred again with his 17th home run of the season as the Philadelphia Phillies won 9-5 over the Washington Nationals.

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    Rizzo makes Yankees history

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    Wednesday's results 

    Cincinnati Reds 6-5 Minnesota Twins
    Tampa Bay Rays 4-3 Seattle Mariners
    Milwaukee Brewers 4-2 Pittsburgh Pirates
    Oakland Athletics 5-4 San Diego Padres
    Philadelphia Phillies 9-5 Washington Nationals
    New York Yankees 10-3 Baltimore Orioles
    Toronto Blue Jays 8-6 Cleveland Indians
    Boston Red Sox 4-1 Detroit Tigers
    New York Mets 5-3 Miami Marlins
    Los Angeles Angels 2-1 Texas Rangers
    Kansas City Royals 9-1 Chicago White Sox
    Atlanta Braves 7-4 St Louis Cardinals
    Chicago Cubs 3-2 Colorado Rockies
    San Francisco Giants 7-1 Arizona Diamondbacks
    Los Angeles Dodgers 7-5 Houston Astros

     

    Mariners at Yankees

    Rizzo will look to continue his hot form for the Yankees (58-49) when they host the Seattle Mariners (58-51) in the first of their four-game series.

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