NBA

Durant leads Nets' franchise-record rout of Warriors, Siakam ends Knicks win streak

By Sports Desk December 22, 2022

The Brooklyn Nets scored the third most first-half points in NBA history on their way to a 143-113 rout of the short-handed Golden State Warriors at the Barclays Center on Wednesday.

The Nets led 91-51 at half-time, which was also a franchise record first half, led by Kevin Durant who scored 21 of his 23 points before the main break as they claimed their seventh straight win.

The result compelled the Warriors to back-to-back 30-point losses for the first time since 2001 and extended their poor road record to 3-16, leaving them 15-18 overall.

Brooklyn's 46-17 quarter-time lead, which equated to a 29-point differential, was the largest in any period this NBA season.

The Nets were ruthless in the first half, capitalizing on turnovers from the Warriors, who were without Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins and playing the second game in a back-to-back after losing 132-94 to the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Brooklyn, who were without Kyrie Irving due to calf tightness, also matched a franchise record with nine players reaching double-figure scoring, including Edmond Sumner (16), Royce O'Neale (14) and Ben Simmons (10).

James Wiseman offered some positivity for Golden State, with 30 points from 28 minutes off the bench, while Jordan Poole struggled on four-of-17 shooting with seven turnovers.

The Nets, who have won 11 of their past 12 games, improved to 20-12, while the Warriors end their six-game road trip with a 1-5 record but can look forward to an eight-game home stand.

Knicks win streak over after Siakam domination

The New York Knicks' eight-game winning streak was ended by the struggling Toronto Raptors as Pascal Siakam scored a career-high 52 points in a 113-106 win.

Siakam scored 34 through the second and third quarters, shooting 17-of-25 from the field along with 16-of-18 from the free-throw line as the Raptors halted their own six-game losing run.

Fred VanVleet added 28 points for Toronto, while Julius Randle scored 30 with 13 rebounds for the Knicks, with R.J. Barrett draining four triples in his 30-point haul.

Mitchell's Cavs down Giannis' Bucks

Not even a trademark Herculean Giannis Antetokounmpo performance was enough for the Milwaukee Bucks, who went down 114-106 to Donovan Mitchell's Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Greek forward scored a season-high 45 points with 14 rebounds, four assists and two blocks as the Bucks rallied in the fourth quarter but fell short.

Mitchell was key for the Cavs with 36 points, four rebounds, six assists and two steals, while Darius Garland added 23 points and Jarrett Allen had 19 points with eight rebounds.

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    Jokic and Murray became the teammates in NBA Finals history to record triple-doubles as the Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat 109-94 on Wednesday to take a 2-1 lead in the series.

    Two-time NBA MVP Jokic had 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists for the first such game in Finals history, or at least the first since assists were tracked.

    The triple-double was his 10th this postseason and 16th of his career, a number that trails only LeBron James (28).

    Murray had 34 points and 10 assists and completed his first career playoff triple-double with a rebound with nine seconds remaining, and Jokic lauded his teammate for leading the Nuggets through the playoffs so far.

    "He's playing phenomenally, I think, the whole playoffs," Jokic said of Murray.

    "We're just following him and he's a really good leader. His energy is amazing, and we are just following.

    "He's reading the game really well. He's getting guys involved, and I think he's mature, if that makes any sense, and he knows where to find the guys and how to control the game.

    "It's not just us, it's the team, and like I said even before the series started, the Denver Nuggets need to beat Miami, not me and Jamal and whoever is on the other side. We as a group need to beat them."

    Asked how proud he was of his record-achieving performance, Jokic replied: "To be honest, I just think it's a win because if you lose, nobody is going to even mention it. I don't care. It's just a stat."

    The Nuggets' win came after they had lost Game 2 of the series at home.

    Jokic added: "When you lose the game, of course it's a bad atmosphere, whatever, it's a bad momentum. But maybe it helped us to refocus and just be better in the details. But that doesn't mean that we can relax now or whatever. We need to have the same effort because they're going to be even better."

    Nuggets coach Michael Malone eulogised over the performances of his star players.

    "I think it's the first time in Finals history or maybe NBA history that two guys have 30, 10 triple-doubles, so that's incredible right there," Malone said.

    "Regarding Nikola, nothing he does surprises me ever. This guy has shown time and time again that he's built for these moments. He thrives in these moments, the biggest stage. He did that once again tonight.

    "I'm really proud of Jamal, and I could tell speaking to him yesterday, being around him the last 48 hours, that he was putting a lot of Game 2 on him, and it wasn't just him. It was me and every one of our players. It was collective.

    "But that's what champions do. That's what warriors do. They battled back. I felt his presence all day long. Forget the stats for a second. I felt Jamal's presence, his energy, and he was here in the moment and for him and Nikola to do what they did tonight in a game that we needed to take, regain home-court advantage of the series was special to watch."

    Reflecting on his performance in Game 2, Murray said: "I felt like I didn't bring the intensity that the moment called for. Even though I didn't play terrible, I felt like I could have done a lot more.

    "Most people that have watched the Nuggets play, when I have a game like that, I'm most likely going to bounce back. Just one of those days. I think not just me but everybody bounced back. Everybody brought the energy. 

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  • Denver stars rewrite the record books as Nuggets take series lead Denver stars rewrite the record books as Nuggets take series lead

    Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray created a piece of NBA Finals history as they inspired the Denver Nuggets to a 109-94 win over the Miami Heat and a 2-1 lead in the series.

    The pair became the first teammates in finals history to chalk up triple-doubles – Murray finishing with 34 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists while Jokic added 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists in Miami.

    “I’m just glad that we won the game,” Jokic said. “It was a big one for us because they won in our arena. We just didn’t want to go down 2-1. We were more locked in, more focused.”

    Jimmy Butler scored 28 points for the Heat and Bam Adebayo finished with 22, but the hosts were unable to produce one of the comebacks which have been their trademark during the play-offs.

    Seven times in the post-season they have rallied from at least 12 points, but down by 14 heading into the final quarter they were unable to produce another late rally.

    The lead, which Denver had taken after sharing the first quarter and never surrendered in the second half, stretched out to 21 and even though Miami got it back to nine inside the final 90 seconds, they would get no closer.

    Jokic finished with 12 for 21 from the floor as he extended the single-season record with his 10th triple-double of the play-offs and became only the seventh player to have more than one in the same finals series – only Magic Johnson and LeBron James have managed three.

    Miami’s Udonis Haslem, who turns 43 on Friday, came off the bench in the final 30 seconds to become the oldest player in the NBA Finals, taking the record of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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    Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray became the teammates in NBA Finals history to record triple-doubles and the Denver Nuggets defeated the Miami Heat 109-94 on Wednesday for a 2-1 lead.

    Jokic had 32 points, 21 rebounds and 10 assists for the first such game in Finals history, or at least the first since assists were tracked. The triple-double was his 10th this postseason and 16th of his career, a number that trails only LeBron James (28).

    Murray had 34 points and 10 assists and completed his first career playoff triple-double with a rebound with nine seconds remaining.

    Christian Braun provided Denver with a lift off the bench, scoring 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting in 19 minutes. Aaron Gordon had 11 points, nine rebounds and five assists to help Denver win its fourth straight postseason road game.

    The Nuggets took the lead for good late in the first half and outscored the Heat 29-20 in the third quarter for an 82-68 advantage heading into the final quarter. The lead ballooned to as big as 21 points before Miami whittled it down to 103-94 with just over a minute left.

    Jimmy Butler scored 28 points, but Bam Adebayo was the only other Heat player with more than 10 points, adding 22 and 17 rebounds. Miami lost its third straight home playoff game after winning six in a row there.

    Game 4 is Friday in Miami.

     

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