NBA

Antetokounmpo, Holiday help the Bucks remain undefeated, Harden dishes 17 assists in 76ers win

By Sports Desk October 31, 2022

Big performances from Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Brook Lopez carried the Milwaukee Bucks to a 110-108 victory against the Detroit Pistons on Monday.

With their win, the Bucks are now 6-0, and the NBA's last remaining unbeaten team.

Two-time MVP Antetokounmpo led the way with a game-high 31 points on 12-of-23 shooting, and he delivered in an important stretch of the game.

After the Bucks came out of halftime with a 60-52 lead, the Pistons got on a quick run, cutting the margin to one at 62-61, before Antetokounmpo scored his team's first 10 points of the third quarter to steady the ship.

He was supported well by Holiday, who scored 25 points with an efficient long-range shooting performance, finishing seven-of-15 from the field while hitting five of his 11 three-point attempts. He also added 10 assists and seven rebounds

Meanwhile, Lopez was a force in the middle of the paint, scoring 26 points (10-of-16) with nine rebounds and two blocks.

For the Pistons, Cade Cunningham was excellent with 27 points (11-of-23), seven assists and six rebounds, while the fifth overall pick from this year's NBA Draft, Jaden Ivey, had seven of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to make it a game down the stretch.

Harden narrowly misses career-high 

James Harden was one assist shy of his career-high as he dished out 17 in the Philadelphia 76ers' 118-111 win over the Washington Wizards.

His 17 assists matched his regular-season high, becoming the 10th time he has reached that figure, while he had 18 assists in a playoff game for the Brooklyn Nets against the Boston Celtics in the first round of 2021.

Against the Wizards, Harden also added 23 points (eight-of-17 shooting) and seven rebounds, with Tyrese Maxey finishing as their top-scorer with 28 on 12-of-22 shooting.

Washington's Kristaps Porzingis was the game's highest scorer with 32 points (10-of-17), nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.

Durant and the Nets get back in the win column

The Brooklyn Nets snapped a four-game losing streak when they defeated the Indiana Pacers 116-109.

Superstar duo Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving led the way as Ben Simmons missed the game with swelling in his knee.

Durant finished with a game-high 36 points on 13-of-22 shooting, while adding nine rebounds and seven assists. Irving was not far behind, posting 28 points (nine-of-19) with six rebounds, six assists and four steals.

Second-year wing Chris Duarte was impressive for the Pacers, scoring 30 points on 10-of-15 shooting, hitting five-of-10 from long range.

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  • LeBron and Giannis named NBA All-Star captains, Kyrie and Zion among starters LeBron and Giannis named NBA All-Star captains, Kyrie and Zion among starters

    LeBron James is set to tie the record for the most All-Star Game appearances in NBA history after being announced as one of the two team captains on Thursday.

    James, who will match Kareem Abdul-Jabbar when he suits up for his 19th All-Star Game in Salt Lake City next month, will be joined by Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo as the captains. 

    In a league-first, the captains will draft their reserves live in the lead-up to tip-off, as opposed to previous years when the draft was conducted via a pre-recorded segment and aired weeks before the game.

    While most of the expected names were announced as starters – including reigning back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic and Golden State Warriors icon Stephen Curry – there were also some surprises.

    The two head-scratchers were New Orleans Pelicans franchise player Zion Williamson and controversial Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving.

    Williamson is averaging the highest points per game figure (26.0) for any player shooting at least 60 per cent from the field this season, but has only played in 29 of the Pelicans' 49 games so far. He is also scheduled to miss at least two more weeks, meaning he will have only played in roughly half of the possible games by the time All-Star Weekend arrives.

    Meanwhile, Irving has a stronger case as he averages 26.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.2 assists, but his addition as a starter in the East means relegating reigning scoring champion and back-to-back MVP runner-up Joel Embiid to the bench.

    After James' 19th appearance, the next-most among the starters belongs to Kevin Durant, who has missed some time with injury in his own right but was playing at an MVP level prior to earn his 13th All-Star nod. Curry will play in his ninth edition, while Irving now has eight and Antetokounmpo has made seven consecutive.

    The full list of starters includes:

    Western Conference 

    LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers

    Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets

    Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks

    Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors

    Zion Williamson, New Orleans Pelicans

    Eastern Conference

    Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks

    Kevin Durant, Brooklyn Nets

    Kyrie Irving, Brooklyn Nets

    Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics

    Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Embiid approached Simmons reunion 'just like every single night' Embiid approached Simmons reunion 'just like every single night'

    Joel Embiid found the experience of facing Ben Simmons for the first time no different to any other night as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Brooklyn Nets in a thriller.

    Embiid came up against his former team-mate Simmons for the first time at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday and the 76ers came out on top, winning 137-133.

    Simmons was traded to the Nets almost a year ago in a deal that saw James Harden make the move to Philadelphia.

    Three-time All-Star point guard Simmons scored 12 points, claimed five rebounds and provided five assists as the Nets slipped to 29-18.

    Embiid finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds for a 76ers side that have won six games in a row and sit second in the Eastern Conference at 31-16 behind the Boston Celtics (35-14).

    Asked how it felt doing battle with Simmons for the first time, he replied: "Nothing. Just like every single night, [I am trying to] just freaking kill whoever is in front of me.

    "My mentality is always about scoring. If I get doubled, make the right pass, but if I get played one-on-one, or I see an opportunity to go score, I'm going to go score."

    Doc Rivers, the 76ers head coach, said: "The first play, Ben is guarding Joel and it was like it was a party.

    "It was hilarious. That's when I turned to our coaches and said, 'This is a boxing crowd tonight. They want to see them drop the basketball, turn and duke it out. And [Simmons and Embiid] went at each other, which is fun and good."

    Despite another win, Rivers felt his players could have handled the occasion better.

    He added: "I thought the team overall did. We got caught up in all the c*** going on tonight.

    "There was a lot of chippiness, and that's good, but play above it, stay above it. Keep playing. I didn't think we did that."

  • Lakers center Davis says foot felt great on return from a 'long five-and-a-half weeks' out Lakers center Davis says foot felt great on return from a 'long five-and-a-half weeks' out

    Anthony Davis felt great on his return from a foot injury but concedes it was a "long five-and-a-half weeks" on the sidelines.

    The All-Star returned for the Los Angeles Lakers for the first time since December 17 as they won 113-104 over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday.

    Davis, who had been sidelined with a fractured bone spur and stress reaction in his right foot, played 26 minutes off the bench in his return, scoring 21 points with 12 rebounds and four blocks.

    The center had been in near career-best form prior to the injury, averaging 27.4 points per game as well as a career-high 12.1 rebounds, with his successful return a major boost for the Lakers who improved to 23-26 with Wednesday's win.

    "I felt great. I felt good out on the floor," Davis told Spectrum Sportsnet after the game. "The foot feels fine. It was good to be out there with the guys battling. It was good because it was a close game. We really had to battle until the last four, five minutes, it was a good test for me going into this road trip.

    "Overall, I'm happy to be back on the court with these guys. It's been a long five-and-a-half weeks, so it feels good to come back and get the win and ultimately be back out on the floor."

    Davis checked into the game with 4:22 left in the first quarter, playing on a managed workload.

    "Anytime you come back, that first game, that first practice whatever, you're always tender," Davis said. "You want to test it out, see how it feels in live action, in a real game where it matters.

    "That's the ultimate test and for that first 30 seconds to a minute I wanted to see if I felt anything or if anything would flare up. When I didn’t feel anything, my mind was like, 'it's time to go'."

    Lakers head coach Darvin Ham reassured that they were confident Davis has fully recovered from the issue, having endured numerous injuries in recent seasons.

    "He's gone through some rigorous therapy, weight training, weight-bearing exercises, activity on the court - both individually and some group workouts," Ham told reporters prior to the game.

    "We would save him from himself if we thought there was any type of threat or harm that he could do to himself.

    "He had these boxes that he had to check, and he's checked all of them, so we feel comfortable with him appearing tonight."

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