NBA

LeBron scores 46 as Clippers continue domination over Lakers, Jokic records 15th triple-double

By Sports Desk January 25, 2023

LeBron James scored 46 points but the Los Angeles Clippers continued their recent dominance over the Los Angeles Lakers with a 133-115 victory on Tuesday.

The Clippers have now won 10 straight against the Lakers and are 36-9 in recent seasons. The win moves the Clippers up to fifth spot in the west with a 26-24 record, while the Lakers are 22-26 and 13th in the west.

Paul George top scored for the Clippers, who made 19 three-pointers at 50 per cent as a team, leading the way with 27 points on 11-of-20 shooting while adding nine rebounds and four assists.

Kawhi Leonard chipped in 25 points with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks as the Clippers found form with a third straight win, and they could receive further reinforcements soon as Luke Kennard (calf) and John Wall (abdominal strain) close in on returns.

James was exceptional for the Lakers, shooting 16-of-29 from the field with nine-of-14 triples, along with eight rebounds, seven assists, two steals and one block.

The four-time NBA MVP's 46-point haul moves him to within 177 of tying Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time scoring record at 38,387.

James appeared set for a 50-point game, scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter, before the Clippers put the game to bed on an 8-0 run and send James to the bench for good with five minutes remaining.

Another triple-double as Jokic calls game

Nikola Jokic scored the game-winner with 16.2 seconds left as he recorded his 15th triple-double of the season in the Denver Nuggets' 99-98 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans.

Jokic and Jamal Murray were disconnected down the stretch before linking up for the crucial two-pointer, capping the Serbian's game with 25 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, adding further weight to his claims for a third straight MVP, which would be the first occurrence since Larry Bird from 1984-86.

Murray added 25 points on 11-of-21 shooting with seven assists for Denver, while C.J. McCollum top scored for the Pels with 20 points, but he went zero-of-eight from three-point range.

Celtics suffer back-to-back defeats

The short-handed Miami Heat fought back from 14 points down to inflict back-to-back defeats on the Boston Celtics with a 98-95 victory.

Bam Adebayo top scored with 30 points and 15 rebounds for Miami, who were without Jimmy Butler due to a back injury. The Heat squared the game up at 87-87 in the fourth quarter on a 10-0 run, before going on to win their sixth straight game at home.

Jayson Tatum, who scored 31 points with 14 rebounds, threw a pass that was intercepted by Tyler Herro in the final minute, before Payton Pritchard missed a desperation three-point attempt on the buzzer.

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    Novak Djokovic defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets in Sunday's final to land a record-extending 10th Australian Open title and draw level with Rafael Nadal on 22 grand slams.

    The 35-year-old resisted a fightback from Tsitsipas by saving a set point in the second set on his way to a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) victory at Rod Laver Arena as he made it 10 wins from 10 Melbourne finals.

    Djokovic, who was blocked from defending his crown last year after being deported from the country over his COVID-19 vaccination status, dropped just one set across his seven matches and has now won 28 matches in a row in his favourite tournament.

    The Serbian consequently reclaims the world number one spot, as well as equalling Nadal for the most singles slams won by a male player.

     

    Tsitsipas was aiming to become the 27th male singles champion in the opening major of the year, but he was under relentless pressure right from the off and a double fault in the fourth game handed his opponent the first break of serve.

    Djokovic, backed by a crowd that occasionally became too vociferous amid warnings from the umpire, served out the opening set with relative ease and continued to trouble Tsitsipas with some strong serving in the second set.

    World number four Tsitsipas slowly grew in confidence and, after a string of unforced errors from Djokovic – who exchanged some strong words with coach Goran Ivanisevic – he forced set point.

    But an excellent forehand winner from Djokovic prevented Tsitsipas from levelling up the match, and the Serbian went on to edge the tie-break in what was a big moment in the contest.

    He had the occasional blip, with Tsitsipas earning his first break of serve in the opening game of the third set, but Djokovic responded instantly with another backhand winner to level up.

    There was little to separate the two in the next 10 games as another set went the distance, and once again it was Djokovic who held his nerve in an entertaining tie-break to wrap up the victory in a time of two hours and 56 minutes.

  • 'The best player on Earth can't get a call' – Lakers fume after game-defining missed foul 'The best player on Earth can't get a call' – Lakers fume after game-defining missed foul

    The Los Angeles Lakers are furious after an obvious foul on LeBron James' potential game-winner was missed, with the Boston Celtics going on to secure a 125-121 victory in overtime.

    Playing in Boston, James was spectacular with a game-high 41 points on 15-of-30 shooting, adding nine rebounds and eight assists, but the game was tied at 105-105 after Jaylen Brown's and-one with four seconds remaining.

    The four-time MVP and four-time NBA Finals MVP would be the player entrusted with the last shot for the Lakers, and after driving left and getting all the way to the rim, James was smacked on his shooting arm by Jayson Tatum with under one second on the clock.

    But the foul went un-whistled, with James, All-NBA team-mate Anthony Davis and the entire Lakers bench erupting in fury as the game was sent to overtime.

    Los Angeles guard Patrick Beverley was issued a technical foul after bringing over a camera to the referee in an effort to show crew chief Eric Lewis the clearly botched call, and the Celtics went on to score 20 in the extra period, led by Brown with 11 of his 37 total points.

    Speaking after the loss, Davis made it clear he felt cheated by the referees.

    "It was bull**** at the end of the day," he said. "It’s unacceptable, and I guarantee nothing will happen to the ref. We got cheated tonight, honestly. 

    "[Beverley] got all ball on Brown, [but they] called a foul. LeBron, they smack across his arm. Unacceptable, to be honest. The refs were bad – they were bad tonight."

    James echoed those sentiments, saying this is not the first time this season he has felt disrespected by officials.

    "You saw my reaction… it’s challenging," he said. "I don’t get it. 

    "I'm attacking the paint just as much as any other guy in this league that’s shooting double-digit free throws a night. I don’t get it. I don’t understand it."

    He added: "You guys seen some of the games we lost this year, with late-game missed calls. I don’t understand what we're doing. 

    "I watch basketball every single day. I watch these games every single game, and I don’t see it happen to nobody else. It's just weird."

    Head coach Darvin Ham joined the chorus of discontent.

    "The best player on Earth can’t get a call – it’s amazing," he said. "You have to call a cat a cat, you can’t look at something and try to pretend it’s not what it is. 

    "He’s a guy that tries hard to play the right way. Doesn’t flop, plays downhill, plays a strong, physical brand of basketball. 

    "Just because he doesn’t flop or doesn’t flail and he’s not screaming when he’s shooting the ball like I see a ton of other players doing, he gets penalised for it.

    "As much as you try not to put it on officiating, it’s becoming increasingly difficult. I don't want to see another Last 2 Minute report – they can save that. It doesn't do no one any good."

    In an Instagram story, where he included a still photo of the foul, Lakers guard Dennis Schroder also voiced his frustration.

    He wrote: "The refs gotta start getting fined for their mistakes! They also giving technical fouls to people who are reacting to their mistakes.

    "The replay center should also use replay to get these calls right, especially on an important play like the OBVIOUS foul on LeBron at the end of the game.

    "This needs to stop… to lose 3-5 games this season off of referees' mistakes is really hard."

    In an uncommon occurrence, crew chief Lewis confirmed the botched call immediately after the game finished.

    "There was contact," he said. "At the time, during the game, we did not see a foul. The crew missed the play."

    The loss has the Lakers fall to 23-27, sitting 13th out of 15 teams in the Western Conference.

  • Celtics beat the Lakers in overtime despite 41 points from LeBron, Clippers win fifth in a row Celtics beat the Lakers in overtime despite 41 points from LeBron, Clippers win fifth in a row

    LeBron James' 41 points were not enough to prevent his Los Angeles Lakers from going down 125-121 in a controversial overtime loss on the road against the Boston Celtics.

    In the latest edition of the league's most decorated rivalry, James was a man on a mission, finishing 15-of-30 from the field, six-of-12 from deep and five-of-six from the free throw line as the only Lakers player to score more than 16.

    He added nine rebounds and eight assists, and he should have been awarded potential game-winning free throws after he was clearly hit on the arm while driving for a layup with under a second remaining in regulation.

    But the Celtics got the call in Boston, and it would be Jaylen Brown stepping up in the extra period to deliver a win for the home fans.

    Brown scored 11 of his team-high 37 points in overtime, finishing 13-of-23 from the field with nine rebounds, picking up the slack for team-mate and MVP candidate Jayson Tatum.

    Tatum had a respectable stat line of 30 points, 11 rebounds, four assists and two steals, but he shot a dismal eight-of-25 from the field, while Sixth Man of the Year contender Malcolm Brodgon chipped in a game-changing 25 points (eight-of-15), six rebounds, four assists and two steals off the bench.

    For the Lakers, it was Anthony Davis' second game back after five-and-a-half weeks on the sideline dealing with a foot injury, and he came off the bench again for 16 points (six-of-15), 10 rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes.

    The win snapped a three-game losing streak for the Celtics, and improved their league-leading record to 36-15. 

    The Lakers fell to 23-27, and although they sit 13th in the Western Conference, they are only three games behind the Minnesota Timberwolves in the sixth seed.

    Clippers extend winning streak to five

    The Los Angeles Clippers are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season after making it five in a row with Saturday's 120-113 victory against the Atlanta Hawks.

    The Clippers were led by their resurgent two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting while adding eight rebounds and four assists.

    There were fears Leonard's prime had been stolen from him by injuries after scoring a total of 50 points in his first five games of this campaign, but over his past 10 fixtures he sits eighth overall in points per game at 29.3.

    Over that span he is shooting 55.6 per cent from the field, 47.2 per cent from deep and 92.5 per cent from the free throw line while adding 7.0 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 1.9 steals per game, improving the Clippers' record to 28-24.

    Kyrie stays red-hot in New York showdown

    Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving posted his sixth consecutive game with at least 30 points and six assists to defeat the New York Knicks 122-115 at home.

    Irving, who was named an All-Star starter mid-week, scored a game-high 32 points on 12-of-27 shooting with nine assists, six rebounds and two steals.

    Over his past six games, his 36.3 points per game is eclipsed only by Portland Trail Blazers icon Damian Lillard (38.3), while Irving's 7.8 assists would also be a new career-high as he shoulders a massive workload in the absence of injured superstar Kevin Durant.

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