Referee Lee Mason was criticised for making a "horrendous decision" after controversially ruling out a Brighton goal in an eventful Premier League clash with West Brom.

The battle between two teams struggling at the bottom end of the table was settled in favour of West Brom thanks to Kyle Bartley's goal in the 11th minute.

However, Lewis Dunk's quickly taken free-kick appeared to have drawn Brighton level in the first half, his attempt coming with goalkeeper Sam Johnstone still situated by his post while lining up a defensive wall for the home team. 

Mason, who had appeared to blow his whistle to allow the game to be restarted, initially awarded the goal, then disallowed the strike instead.

A further delay in proceedings then followed when the on-field official was told to check the pitchside monitor following communication with video assistant referee (VAR) Simon Hooper.

The check appeared to be concerning the possible presence of an attacking player in an offside position, though it was then announced the goal had been ruled out as Mason had actually sounded his whistle for a second time before the ball crossed the line.

Dunk, however, was far from impressed by the eventual outcome.

"It's embarrassing, it's a horrendous decision," the Brighton captain told Sky Sports. "I said to the referee, 'Can I take it?'. He blew his whistle and I took it.

"I don't think he knew what he was doing. He gave the goal, why did he give it? I don't know why VAR was getting involved, he said: 'Goal'. You can look on the video, if you want."

Asked if Mason lost control of the game, the defender replied: "Yeah he did. Fact."

Brighton slipped to defeat at the Hawthorns despite having just over 70 per cent of possession and 15 attempts.

They also contrived to waste not one but two penalties, in the process becoming the first team in Premier League history to miss two spot-kicks by hitting the woodwork in a single game.

Pascal Gross squandered the first opportunity from 12 yards out in the opening half, while Danny Welbeck was also unsuccessful in the 75th minute having taken over penalty duties for the visitors.

The Seagulls will return south wondering quite how they managed to come away without anything from the fixture, but victory for West Brom boosts their survival hopes.

Sam Allardyce's side remain 19th in the table but have closed the gap down to eight points on 17th-placed Newcastle United, who sit a point and a place below Brighton ahead of hosting Wolves later on Saturday.

Offering his version of events over the free-kick goal that never was, match-winner Bartley told Sky Sports: "The ref blew his whistle he said to speak to someone in the wall, there was a bit of pushing.

"There was a bit of confusion but Lee Mason dealt with it really well and came to the right conclusion. It was a bit confusing, I don't think it would have been right for them to score like that."

Kylian Mbappe scored twice and Moise Keane was also on target as Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 with a 4-0 victory at bottom side Dijon.

PSG suffered their sixth league loss of the campaign at home to Monaco last weekend but were good value for their win in Saturday's clash at Stade Gaston-Gerard.

Mbappe tucked away a penalty awarded for handball against Bersant Celina after Kean had opened the scoring for the reigning champions with his 15th goal of the campaign.

Prolific forward Mbappe doubled his tally in the second half and Danilo Pereira headed in a late fourth to help PSG move to within a point of leaders Lille, who play their game in hand at home to Strasbourg on Sunday.

Dijon had failed to keep a clean sheet in their previous 11 top-flight meetings with PSG, losing 10 of those, and were behind inside six minutes of this latest encounter.

Kean feinted one way and opened up his body before picking out the bottom-right corner with a poked finish from seven yards to maintain his good run in front of goal.

PSG added a second just past the half-hour mark through Mbappe's composed penalty after Thilo Kehrer's powerful drive hit the outstretched hand of Celina inside the box.

Julian Draxler had a goal disallowed before half-time for offside against Mbappe in the build-up but the latter scored with a fine first-time finish five minutes into the second half.

Mauricio Pochettino's men had another Draxler strike ruled out after the attacker timed his run a little too early, while Pablo Sarabia had a shot saved, but Danilo climbed highest to nod in his first goal for the club eight minutes from time.

Johnny Sexton says Ireland are "on a journey" and praised the team's character to bounce back from consecutive Six Nations defeats to hammer Italy in Rome.

Andy Farrell's side had started the tournament with defeats to Wales and France, the first by five points and the second by only two.

Ireland outclassed a poor Italy side on Saturday, though, with the Azzurri now having lost 30 straight Six Nations matches following the 48-10 reverse – the longest losing streak in the competition's history. 

The visitors ran in six tries while Sexton, returning to the side from a head injury, was eight from eight from the tee. That represents the most by any Ireland player while maintaining a 100 per cent success rate from the tee since Paddy Jackson kicked nine of nine against Italy in 2017.

With games against Scotland and England to come, Sexton is keen to ensure Ireland build on a promising display.

"We need to keep our performance levels like that against two very good sides," Sexton told ITV Sport after his 50th Six Nations appearance.

"Scotland have been very impressive in the first two rounds and if not for a red card would have been top of the table, probably. 

"This group is on a journey together, we're a year into it and we'd have liked to have had that performance earlier. 

"It's not for the want of trying, it's just little mix-ups along the way. Thankfully we put them right.

"We played very well, all of our forwards did – they've been very impressive over the first two rounds. 

"We've felt as a team that us backs have let them down at times. We improved on a lot of those areas today and thankfully got the victory we were desperate for. 

"We spoke about how close we were in the first two – both very different games but just very proud of the boys, the way we bounced back, it's a real sign of character when things have been going the way they have in the last few weeks, just to stick together and to show the work we've been doing behind the scenes."

Ireland have now won 21 of their 22 games against Italy in the Six Nations, while the 38-point margin of victory was their biggest in any Test match since beating the same opposition 63-10 in February 2017.

Barcelona claimed a deserved 2-0 LaLiga win at Sevilla on Saturday in the first of the sides' two crunch clashes.

The Blaugrana will host Sevilla in their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg in midweek but first took care of business in the league thanks to strikes from Ousmane Dembele and Lionel Messi.

A display of similar dominance will now be required at Camp Nou, as Barca trail 2-0 from the first leg of their Copa tie.

Ronald Koeman's men will certainly not be short of confidence, though, after climbing to second, only two points behind leaders Atletico Madrid having played two games more.

[17:09] bensprattjourn (Guest)

Barca had initially lacked a focal point, playing a 3-5-2 formation without a natural striker, yet their unorthodox front two combined to great effect for the opener after 29 minutes.

As Messi dropped deep to collect the ball, Dembele tore away on the shoulder of the last defender and met a pinpoint pass to fire under Yassine Bounou.

That was the only moment of real quality in a low-key first half, but Barca twice in quick succession should have added to their advantage after the break.

Sergino Dest blasted against the post when the ball broke his way following a patent move, before Dembele raced away again and teed up Messi, who blazed over.

Clement Lenglet then had a header ruled out for offside, yet Messi settled any nerves as he played a smart one-two with Ilaix Moriba and prodded in the rebound when Bounou blocked his dinked attempt five minutes from the end.

Only an apparent injury to Ronald Araujo, 15 minutes after his return to action, put a dampener on Barca's day.

Bayern Munich returned to winning ways in the Bundesliga as Robert Lewandowski and Serge Gnabry both scored twice in a convincing 5-1 win over Cologne.

After returning to domestic duties following their Club World Cup success in Qatar with a home draw against Arminia Bielefeld, the reigning champions slipped to a 2-1 loss away at Eintracht Frankfurt last weekend.

However, a 4-1 thrashing of Lazio in Champions League action in midweek proved the catalyst for a first league triumph at their Allianz Arena home since January 30.

Lewandowski's first goal helped Bayern ease into a 2-0 half-time lead and while Cologne briefly threatened a comeback, the returning Thomas Muller made an immediate impression off the bench, providing the assist that allowed the competition's leading scorer to take his tally for the campaign to 28.

Like Muller, substitute Gnabry had an impact on his comeback, the Germany international tucking away a pair of routine finishes as the hosts eased clear in the closing stages.

Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting had opened the scoring with his first league goal for the club, heading in an inviting cross from Leon Goretzka, who then went on to set up his side's second before the break.

The midfielder waltzed his way beyond Rafael Czichos before laying the ball off as goalkeeper Timo Horn came towards him, allowing the ever-ready Lewandowski to roll it into the net.

Cologne failed to even muster an attempt as the first half proved to be one-way traffic, yet they were gifted a route back into the game when hesitation between centre-back pairing Jerome Boateng and David Alaba allowed Ellyes Skhiri in to produce a delicate lofted finish over the advancing Manuel Neuer.

The goal caused a brief wobble, yet the 64th-minute arrival of Muller - back after overcoming coronavirus - helped steady Bayern, the substitute teeing up Lewandowski to restore the two-goal cushion with a shot on the turn.

Dominick Drexler hit the post from a tight angle after robbing possession from Neuer before Gnabry's four-minute brace, the second of which was set up by the outstanding Goretzka with another delightful delivery into the area, added a touch of gloss to the final scoreline.

 

What does it mean? Bayern remain clear at the summit

Bayern's recent blip had allowed the chasing pack – led by RB Leipzig – to close the gap at the top of the table. Flick's side have already lost more Bundesliga games in 2021 (two) than they did across the entirety of the previous year.

This win is therefore most welcome in what has suddenly become a tighter-than-expected title race, but Flick – who made 44 appearances for Cologne during his playing career - will be concerned at the careless defensive lapse that allowed Skhiri to give the visitors a slither of hope.

Duo back to boost Bayern

While COVID-19 had kept Muller away, Gnabry had not featured since the Club World Cup final due to a thigh issue. The latter only had 13 touches during his goalscoring cameo, but the availability of the pair helps add further strength in depth, even if the fixture congestion eases in March.

Defensive cracks raise concerns

Bayern had conceded 31 goals prior to this game, their highest tally through 22 league games in a campaign since 1991-92. The chance of a clean sheet disappeared when Boateng and Alaba dithered over who was going to attack a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area, in the end neither bothering to take control of the situation.

What's next?

Bayern have a rare week between fixtures, giving them time to prepare for the visit of Borussia Dortmund next Saturday. Cologne, meanwhile, will be hosting Werder Bremen the following day.

Ireland kick-started their Six Nations campaign as they beat Italy for an eighth successive time in the competition, claiming a 48-10 bonus-point victory in Rome.

Having gone down to Wales and France in their opening matches – the first time Ireland had lost their first two games of a Six Nations campaign – Andy Farrell's men got their first win of the 2021 campaign on Saturday.

The returning Johnny Sexton was typically influential, on point with his kicking and integral to slick attacks as Ireland made it 21 wins from their last 22 Six Nations meetings with Italy.

Garry Ringrose, Hugo Keenan and Will Connors propelled Ireland to a 27-point haul in the first half, Ireland's best first-half total in a Test since February 2018, with CJ Stander and Keith Earls also getting in on the act to seal a routine triumph.

Welcomed back into Ireland's line-up after missing the defeat to France due to a head injury, Sexton marked his 50th Six Nations appearance with a simple three-pointer five minutes in, moments after Paolo Garbisi nosed Italy ahead.

Sexton was adding two more points to his tally five minutes later, with Ringrose having picked a gap in Italy's defence to score the game's first try.

Another Sexton penalty edged Ireland further in front and despite some spirited Italy attacking, the visitors struck again as Ringrose turned provider for Keenan.

Ireland had a third try before half-time, Sexton combining with Jordan Larmour to feed Connors in the corner, though Italy managed to strike back through Johan Meyer.

Yet Italy's work was undone by sloppy defending immediately after the restart – Stander bundling his way over.

Italy's issues were compounded before the hour, substitute Giosue Zilocchi sent to the bin for an attempted ball steal.

Ireland appeared to have made their advantage count when Stander found the line again, only for the try to be disallowed for a knock-on.

Luca Bigi's booking handed Ireland a further boost, though, and Connors hauled himself over from a maul before Earls piled further misery on sorry Italy.

 

Perfect comeback for Sexton

Since his Six Nations debut, Sexton has missed just seven of a possible 57 matches in the championship, including Ireland's defeat to Italy in 2013.

Sexton successfully converted all eight of his kicks on Saturday, tallying up 18 points in total to give him a pristine record. The pace of the game was ideal for the 35-year-old, who also made eight tackles and 20 passes – the last of which played in Earls late on.

More misery for whipping boys Italy

Italy's losing run in the Six Nations now sits at 30 games, the longest of any side in the competition's history. Their last win at home was back in 2013, against Ireland (22-15).

They have now conceded a try-scoring bonus point in 18 of their 22 matches since such add-ons were introduced to the Six Nations in 2017.

What's next?

Italy welcome Wales to the Stadio Olimpico on March 13, with Ireland facing Scotland in Edinburgh a day later.

Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has been impressed by Thomas Tuchel's work at Chelsea but is determined to "spoil" the Blues' unbeaten run when the sides meet on Sunday.

Chelsea have drawn two and won six of their eight matches in all competitions since Tuchel replaced Frank Lampard in the Stamford Bridge dugout on January 26, scoring 10 goals and conceding just twice.

Tuchel's men have moved to within six points of second-placed United, who enter the clash at Stamford Bridge on a club-record 19-game unbeaten streak on their travels in the Premier League.

That run started with a victory in this fixture 12 months ago and Maguire is hopeful of picking up another triumph in west London this weekend, with United going in search of back-to-back league wins at Stamford Bridge for the first time since 1995.

"Chelsea's obviously going to be a tough game but we went there last year and won and we will be looking to do that again," he told the club's official website. 

"They are keeping their position very nicely and build up really well and not conceding many goals, so it is a good start. We are hoping to spoil that.

"It is a great reaction [to the change of manager]. They are a great group of players with tons of talent and the money they spent in the summer, they are starting to gel, starting to tick, but we have got to look at ourselves, first and foremost.

"We go into the game full of confidence, full of belief. We will make sure we play to the ability of what we are capable of and go and get the three points."

Maguire was an unused substitute for the goalless draw with Real Sociedad on Thursday - a result that saw United advance to the last 16 of the Europa League as 4-0 aggregate winners.

The England international has started every league game for United this term and is eager to help his side prolong their eight-match unbeaten run in all competitions.

"Every three or four days you've got to be focused and mentally prepared to go and get the three points," he said.

"You have got to be prepared to keep winning, winning, winning and finding that consistency to enable us to get to where we want to be. If you want to get to where we want to be, you have got to be consistent."

United have won their last three away games against Chelsea in all competitions, having also prevailed at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup and EFL Cup, but they have never previously won four on the spin.

Donny van de Beek is back in contention to feature after missing United's last two matches through injury, but Scott McTominay has been ruled out while Edinson Cavani and Daniel James are major doubts.

John Stones was on target after Ruben Dias scored his first Manchester City goal as the Premier League leaders extended their winning run to 20 matches with a 2-1 victory over West Ham.

Dias opened the scoring with a first-half header, before Michail Antonio levelled just before the break with the first goal City have conceded at the Etihad Stadium since December.

Fourth-placed West Ham were proving to be hard to break down but Stones joined his central defensive partner Dias on the scoresheet to put City back in the lead 22 minutes from time.

The Hammers were unable to respond as City moved 13 points clear of Manchester United and Leicester City, extending their unbeaten run to 27 matches.

Ederson was called into action to block an Antonio header in an encouraging start from the well-drilled Hammers, operating with three centre-backs, but City were in front with their first attempt on the half-hour mark.

Kevin De Bruyne was the architect, delivering a majestic pinpoint left-footed cross for an unmarked Dias to nod beyond Darren Randolph, who until then had been untroubled after stepping in to replace the injured Lukasz Fabianski.

Antonio scuffed a shot against the outside of the post, although Jesse Lingard appeared to be offside, but the Hammers striker equalised two minutes before the break.

Lingard failed to get a clean contact on a cutback from the marauding Vladimir Coufal, but the on-loan Manchester United midfielder's shot was turned in by the alert Antonio.

Randolph continued despite picking up an injury while taking a goal kick, and the Hammers breathed a sigh of relief when there was no City player on hand to turn in De Bruyne's cross at the end of a surging run down the left.

Gabriel Jesus replaced a rusty Sergio Aguero, starved of service in his first start since October, with an hour played, but it was another centre-back who put Pep Guardiola's men back in front.

Riyad Mahrez teased Ben Johnson in the penalty area and picked out Stones, who drilled clinically beyond Randolph after 68 minutes.

Visiting boss David Moyes introduced Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma in a bid to salvage a point, which Issa Diop failed to do when he headed wide from close range right at the end as City took another stride towards regaining the title.

Antonio Conte has claimed Romelu Lukaku would not be out of place playing American Football, as he hailed the Inter star's "atypical" style of play.

Lukaku has been in sensational form throughout his Inter career. Last season – his first campaign with the Serie A giants – he finished with 23 league goals; only Ronaldo (25) and Istvan Nyers (26) have scored more in their debut seasons with the Nerazzurri. 

The 27-year-old Belgium forward also netted 30 times across all competitions for the first time in his career, and equalled Ronaldo's record from 1997-98 of 34 goals for Inter.

Lukaku has also struck up a brilliant relationship with fellow forward Lautaro Martinez.

Indeed, across the opening 23 Serie A games this term, the duo have combined for 30 goals – Lukaku scoring 17 times and Martinez adding another 13. It is the first time Inter have a pair of players having combined for as many goals after as many matches since 1958-59.

Lukaku made his mark in last week's Milan derby, setting up Martinez's opener before sealing a dominant 3-0 victory with a sublime solo goal.

"It's too easy to say that," Conte told Il Corriere della Sera when it was put to him that some fans had described Lukaku as "unstoppable".

"I wish Lukaku and Lautaro were given more space inside the box. I don't think it's a good thing for defenders."

Lukaku, through his time with both Everton and Manchester United prior to his move to Inter, was often at his best driving at goal from deep.

In particular at Everton, his now-international boss Roberto Martinez occasionally used him on the right flank to good effect, giving Lukaku the freedom to burst inside at pace onto his stronger left foot.

And Conte believes Lukaku would have been able to make a career in American Football, such is his physique and power.

"Lukaku is an atypical player, he is a speedy centre forward, he could play American Football," Conte added.

Earlier in the week, Belgium boss Martinez spoke highly of Lukaku, who he managed for three seasons at Everton before his departure in 2016, though the Spaniard swiftly landed a job in charge of the striker's national team.

"He scores like few others," Martinez told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "Create and score, create and score, create and score…

"He arrived in Milan at the perfect moment. He became a complete player, obviously thanks to Conte. Today, at his age, there are no strikers as strong as him.

"In the past, Romelu always had the potential to be able to do what he is demonstrating in Milan. For me it's not a surprise."

Mackenzie Hansen crossed for a hat-trick as the Brumbies ran in nine tries to thrash the Waratahs 61-10 in a lopsided Super Rugby AU clash at GIO Stadium in Canberra. 

The hosts made it 17 wins in 18 games at home, scoring 35 points without reply in the second half of proceedings. 

Waratahs actually opened the scoring through a Will Harrison penalty, yet Rob Valetini, Hansen, Noah Lolesio and Connal McInerney all grabbed tries to make it 26-10 to the hosts at the interval. 

Harry Johnson-Holmes had gone over for a score after 30 minutes that Harrison also converted, yet the overwhelmed Waratahs were ripped apart after the break. 

Wing Hansen crossed again in the 56th minute before completing his treble with nine minutes remaining. There were also tries for Nic White, Lachlan Lonergan and Tom Banks, while Lolesio kicked five conversions to give the fly-half a personal haul of 15 points. 

Replacement Ryan Lonergan took over kicking duties to land three conversion attempts following his introduction, helping the Brumbies claim their biggest ever win over their domestic rivals. It is also their biggest margin of victory in a Super Rugby fixture over a fellow Australian team.

Lautaro Martinez has confirmed he previously held talks with Barcelona but reaffirmed his desire to now sign a new contract with Inter.

The Argentina striker was heavily linked with a big-money move to Camp Nou prior to the 2020-21 season after starring in Serie A with the Nerazzurri.

Martinez admits he was in discussions with Los Cules; however, a move failed to materialise and with Barca's financial woes becoming a huge discussion point in European football the chances of them imminently renewing their interest looks slim.

Instead, Martinez is focused on committing his future to Serie A leaders Inter, where he has a deal that runs until 2023 with Antonio Conte's side.

Speaking to La Gazzetta dello Sport, he said: "It's true, I was in negotiations with Barcelona. I was clear with Conte, I told him: 'I think about Inter only, this is not going to affect me.'

"However, it all belongs to the past, I am going to sign a contract extension with Inter. I don't know when there will be an official announcement. Meanwhile I play. My future is here, I see myself in Milan for a long time.

"I like everything about this city. The food, the fans, the team. I only have positive feelings."

Since making his debut in August 2018, Martinez has scored 33 Serie A goals – which ranks 10th in the league in that time.

He has a modest shot-conversion rate of 12.55 per cent, has registered 95 shots on target and has a big-chance conversion of 36.36 per cent.

Additionally, Martinez has nine assists, and has created 79 chances for team-mates – 15 of which are defined as 'big chances' by Opta.

This season alone, he has netted 13 in 23 top-flight appearances – just one fewer than he managed in the whole of last season – to help fire Inter to the top of the table.

Conte's side are four points clear of rivals Milan having triumphed 3-0 in last week's derby, while defending champions Juventus are eight points back.

Martinez was reluctant to label Inter as "favourites" for the title but says the team's success is due to the atmosphere created by Conte.

"Favourites is a word I don't like. But we are on top of the table and this gives us positive feelings. I've never experienced having such a gap from the second-placed [team]," he added.

"It's not a coincidence. It's the result of the work we do with our coach. As he likes to say: 'We are working to leave Inter as high as possible.'

"We are a diverse team with Conte, more united, everyone fights for the others, we help each other and it's a good sign."

Since losing the first derby of the season back in October, Inter have been beaten just once in 19 Serie A matches.

Pressure had been building on Conte after a start that saw Inter win just three of their opening seven league games, while they were also knocked out of the Champions League.

Martinez pinpointed their European failure as the moment that turned Inter's season around.

"Simple, we were eliminated from the Champions League. It hurt so much and we told each other that our target should have been the Serie A title," Martinez said.

"Conte told us to take care of every little detail, on and off the pitch. That's how you win.

"That's what we tell each other in the dressing room, every day. That's how you win. We only play to win."

Victor Sanchez scored a late winner as Western United came out on top in a seven-goal thriller with Melbourne Victory, while Adelaide United held off Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday. 

Marvel Stadium was the stage for an A-League drama in the late kick-off, with Western United rallying from 1-0 down to lead 3-1 – only to then have a man sent off as Melbourne fought back to draw level.

Callum McManaman opened the scoring for the home team but Sanchez's first of the contest, plus a brace from Besart Berisha, put Western United in command. 

However, they were reduced to 10 men when Tomislav Uskok saw yellow for a second time. Jacob Butterfield closed the gap just after the hour mark and Rudy Gestede made it 3-3 in the 82nd minute, heading in a cross from Dalibor Markovic. 

Melbourne at that stage appeared favourites to get a winner, yet Sanchez was the hero when his left-footed shot found the net deep into added time.

Western United have now won four of the five meetings with Victory and are the only opponents in the competition's history to be unbeaten against them.  

Earlier on, Adelaide put an end to a three-game losing streak against Western Sydney, Craig Goodwin – who has rejoined the club on loan from Al-Wehda – opening the scoring inside two minutes before captain Stefan Mauk doubled the advantage just prior to half-time. 

Substitute Bruce Kamau pulled a goal for Western Sydney, but a first loss in eight league matches was confirmed when Mohamed Toure made it 3-1 in the 82nd minute. 

While Mitchell Duke struck late for the hosts, it turned out to be no more than a consolation effort.

The result sees Adelaide join their opponents on 13 points in the table, with Western Sydney missing out on the chance to move up to second place. 

LeBron James helped the Los Angeles Lakers end their losing streak, while Jimmy Butler inspired the Miami Heat.

James' double-double of 28 points and 11 rebounds saw the Lakers snap their four-game losing run with a 102-93 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday.

Dennis Schroder contributed 22 points, while Montrezl Harrell (17 points) and Alex Caruso (10) finished with double-digits off the bench.

Butler was in fine form as the Heat overcame the Utah Jazz, who have the best record in the NBA, 124-116.

He went 12-of-22 from the field for his 33 points, while also contributing 10 rebounds and eight assists.

Miami (16-17) had five players in double-figures for points, including Goran Dragic (26).

Donovan Mitchell finished with 30 points for Utah (26-7).

 

Green guides Warriors, Lowry shines

Draymond Green posted a triple-double of 11 points, 19 assists and 12 rebounds in the Golden State Warriors' 130-121 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Green was the first Warriors player to reach 19 assists since Baron Davis in 2008.

For the Hornets, Malik Monk had 25 points in 25 minutes, including five three-pointers. He has at least 20 points and four three-pointers off the bench in three consecutive games. The only other Charlotte reserve to do that in three-plus straight is Dell Curry (March 1995), as per Stats Perform.

Kyle Lowry did likewise for the Toronto Raptors, his 20 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists seeing them past the Houston Rockets 122-111.

Kemba Walker poured in 32 points as the Boston Celtics overcame the Indiana Pacers 118-112.

The Los Angeles Clippers thrashed the Memphis Grizzlies 119-99, with Kawhi Leonard (30 points, nine rebounds and seven assists) starring.

 

Rockets crash to another loss

The Rockets slumped to their 10th consecutive defeat with the loss to the Raptors. Victor Oladipo (27 points) and John Wall (21) combined for 48 points, but they went 18-of-42 from the field in total.

 

Brilliant Butler

Butler was in incredible form to get Miami past Utah.

Friday's results

Boston Celtics 118-112 Indiana Pacers
Toronto Raptors 122-111 Houston Rockets
Sacramento Kings 110-107 Detroit Pistons
Miami Heat 124-116 Utah Jazz
Phoenix Suns 106-97 Chicago Bulls
Los Angeles Clippers 119-99 Memphis Grizzlies
Oklahoma City Thunder 118-109 Atlanta Hawks
Golden State Warriors 130-121 Charlotte Hornets
Los Angeles Lakers 102-93 Portland Trail Blazers

 

Mavericks at Nets

The Brooklyn Nets (22-12) have won eight straight and will take on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks (15-16) on Saturday.

Jurgen Klopp insisted there was no need for a "massive rebuild" at Liverpool amid their struggles this season.

The reigning champions are in a fight for Champions League qualification after losing their past four Premier League games ahead of visiting Sheffield United on Sunday.

Liverpool have endured a horrid run with injuries this season, with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez missing most of the campaign, while several others have also been sidelined and captain Jordan Henderson has undergone surgery on a groin injury.

But Liverpool manager Klopp sees no need for drastic changes at Anfield.

"I don't think it is time for a massive rebuild like how I understand it," the German said.

"The squad of this year didn't have the chance to play together one time really. I think it would make sense to have a look at that [problem] but on top of that, of course little readjustments will happen.

"Reacting on the situation but planning at the same time for the future and all these kinds of things. I am not sure we can do that in the summer but that is what we will try."

Liverpool sit sixth in the Premier League table, five points adrift of fourth-placed West Ham.

While he accepted results have been below-par, Klopp believes his side's performances are improving.

"It is all about results. The table doesn't lie. Never. That is completely fine. We know that performance-wise we are not that far away, but results-wise we are," he said.

"That is what we have to change and for all the different reasons that it was a difficult season so far for us.

"We try with all we have to sort it and while you try and sort one problem another problem occurs. That is in a season when it is not going perfect, obviously."

Liverpool won 1-0 at Bramall Lane last season, with Sheffield United last losing consecutive home top-flight meetings with the Reds in September 1921.

Brooks Koepka fired a six-under 66 to grab a one-stroke lead at the halfway mark of the WGC-Workday Championship.

The four-time major champion made seven birdies and one bogey at The Concession Golf Club in Florida on Friday to move into 11 under.

Koepka holds a 36-hole lead or co-lead on the PGA Tour for the eighth time in his career as he eyes a second World Golf Championships title.

The American made three straight birdies from the 15th before dropping his only shot of the round at the last.

Koepka is a stroke clear of Collin Morikawa (64), Billy Horschel (67) and Australian Cameron Smith (66).

Morikawa, last year's US PGA Championship winner, produced the equal best round of the day, with Bryson DeChambeau – who is tied for 20th – also shooting a 64.

Overnight leaders Webb Simpson and Matt Fitzpatrick both slipped back into a tie for fifth after firing 69s, sitting at nine under alongside Tony Finau (67).

Defending champion Patrick Reed carded another 68 to be at eight under alongside Kevin Kisner (69).

Rory McIlroy shot a two-under 70 to get to five under and into a tie for 13th, with Justin Thomas (66) also among that group.

A six-time WGC winner, Dustin Johnson improved on his opening-round 77, carding a 69 that sees him sitting at two over.

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