NBA

Embiid and Harden down the Nets, Doncic and Irving lose first outing together for Mavs

By Sports Desk February 12, 2023

Joel Embiid and James Harden led the Philadelphia 76ers to a hard-fought 101-98 win against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on Saturday.

The Nets, now shorn of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, had to face another of their former stars in Harden, who had no problem showing them the kind of form he rarely displayed in Brooklyn on his first appearance there since leaving last year, scoring 29 points with six rebounds and six assists.

Embiid had an even better outing, with the Cameroonian finishing with 37 points and 13 rebounds, making 12 of his 18 field-goal attempts.

Mikal Bridges scored 23 on debut for Brooklyn after his arrival as part of the Durant deal with the Phoenix Suns, with fellow debutant Cam Johnson adding 12, while Joe Harris managed 18 points from just over 16 minutes on court.

The two players the Nets acquired as part of the Irving deal, Dorian Finney-Smith and Spencer Dinwiddie, struggled against the Sixers.

Finney-Smith made just two of his eight field-goal attempts, while Dinwiddie fared even worse with two from 10, and zero from four shots from beyond the arc.

Dinwiddie thought he had forced overtime at least when a three-pointer finally went in, but it was ruled out of time after a review as Philadelphia secured the victory.

 

Doncic and Irving outfoxed by De'Aaron

In their first outing together for the Dallas Mavericks, Luka Doncic and Irving could not get the W as De'Aaron Fox helped the Sacramento Kings to an overtime victory.

Both Doncic and Irving spent more than 40 minutes on the court, scoring 27 and 28 points respectively in a tight game in which neither team ended a quarter with more than a two-point lead.

Fox particularly shone in the latter stages as he recorded 26 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, including six free throws in the final 18.4 seconds to help seal a 133-128 win at Golden 1 Center.

Jokic makes history, Young's assist bonanza

Nikola Jokic became only the fifth player in NBA history to record 20+ triple-doubles in a single season as he led the Denver Nuggets to a 119-105 win at the Charlotte Hornets.

The two-time MVP scored 30 points, with 16 rebounds and 10 assists, while Trae Young also had a productive game as the Atlanta Hawks beat the San Antonio Spurs 125-106.

Young provided an impressive season-high 17 assists for his team to go with his 24 points to make it a 12-game losing streak for the Spurs, their longest since 1988-89 (13).

A much-changed Los Angeles Lakers pulled off a 109-103 victory against the Golden State Warriors, with Dennis Schroder top-scoring with 26 points, while the returning D'Angelo Russell added 15 and Anthony Davis recorded 16 rebounds.

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    The San Antonio Spurs will be without Victor Wembanyama for their final game of the season on Sunday.

    San Antonio face the Detroit Pistons in their last fixture of the 2023-24 campaign.

    The Spurs have a 21-60 record on the season, and sit 14th in the Western Conference.

    Wembanyama has nevertheless enjoyed a fine rookie season in the NBA, having been selected as the No.1 overall pick in last year's Draft.

    The seven-foot-four French youngster will sit out against the Pistons due to an ankle injury, meaning he ends his rookie campaign with 21.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and an NBA-leading 3.6 blocks per game.

    Wembanyama has played 71 times for the Spurs, who he helped to overcome the Denver Nuggets on Friday, finishing with 34 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

    After that game, the 20-year-old said: "As a growing team, a young team, it's big for us.

    "We're going to need these kind of wins in the future. We're going to need any win. But big-time wins against big teams, first seeds, we're going to need those in the future.

    "We've got the potential to be great. The fact that we have the chance to live this, with the fans, I can only hope it's as incredible as it can be."

    Wembanyama became the first rookie to accumulate 1,500 points, 250 assists and 250 blocks across the season, while he is only the fourth player in the history of the NBA to do so, after Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.

  • Hart highlights Madison Square Garden factor as Knicks battle Bucks for second seed Hart highlights Madison Square Garden factor as Knicks battle Bucks for second seed

    The New York Knicks are under no illusions as to the importance of securing home-court advantage for the Eastern Conference playoffs, with Friday's win over the Brooklyn Nets keeping them in the hunt for the second seed.

    The Knicks drew level with the Milwaukee Bucks at 49-32 with their 111-107 win at Madison Square Garden, boosting their chances of playing at the iconic venue through the postseason.

    Jalen Brunson put up 30 points and added 11 assists as the Knicks made it four straight victories, with Josh Hart adding 16 and Mitchell Robinson tacking on 15.

    The result saw New York secure a top-four seed, with the Bucks' subsequent 125-107 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder keeping their chances of finishing second in the East alive.

    With the Bucks possessing the head-to-head tiebreaker, the Knicks must beat the Chicago Bulls in their season finale on Sunday and hope Milwaukee lose on the road against the Orlando Magic. If both teams lose, the Cleveland Cavaliers could yet usurp them.

    Asked about the importance of playing at home, Hart said: "I heard the lights are really bright at MSG during that time, so it's really big for us."

    Coach Tom Thibodeau, though, said the team cannot control anything other than their own results, saying: "We want to go through the finish line so that's the way we're looking at it. We want to improve and play our best."

    With Giannis Antetokounmpo sidelined by a left calf injury and Damian Lillard missing out due to pain in his left adductor, the short-handed Bucks let the Knicks into the race with their loss at Paycom Center.

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander had 23 points and Chet Holmgren added 22 as the Thunder eased to victory, establishing a 17-point halftime lead which they never looked likely to surrender.

    Asked about Milwaukee's failure to wrap up second place, Bucks coach Doc Rivers said: "I don't have much of a reaction. We've got to run to the finish line.

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  • 'Every seed matters' for LeBron James as Lakers outlast Grizzlies 'Every seed matters' for LeBron James as Lakers outlast Grizzlies

    LeBron James said "every seed matters" for the Los Angeles Lakers after he combined with Anthony Davis to power them past the Memphis Grizzlies and go eighth in the Western Conference.

    The Lakers entered Friday's game – their penultimate outing of the regular season – on a two-game losing streak and jockeying for position with the Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors. 

    However, James put up 37 points, nine rebounds and five assists, while Davis added 35 points as the injury-hit Grizzlies failed to hold on after going 118-117 up with one minute and six seconds left.

    James sank six points in the final minute to lift Los Angeles one game clear of Sacramento and Golden State, both of whom suffered defeats later on Friday.

    "Every game matters. Every seed matters. Wherever you fall, you can't play in the past," James said.

    "I can't say I would much rather be where we are today than be the number one seed. That would be a lie. Seeds matter, and wherever you fall, you take that challenge."

    The Lakers emerged from the Play-In Tournament to reach the Western Conference Finals last year before being dispatched by the eventual NBA champions, the Denver Nuggets.

    With coach Darvin Ham plotting a route through the postseason, he left James out on the court for 41 minutes on Friday, while Davis played 43 minutes on his return from a left eye injury which kept him out of Tuesday's loss to the Warriors. 

    Asked about the risks of keeping the duo out there, Ham said: "In the moment, you're not worried about that. You're worried about securing the victory you came to get. 

    "Everyone knows what time it is. It's that time of the year. Everyone knows what's at stake. 

    "Whatever we need, and however long we need to push guys, we've got to have it, and they understand that."

    Memphis are guaranteed to end a frustrating campaign 13th in the West, and Scotty Pippen Jr. said they were simply playing for future opportunities after scoring a career-high 28 points.

    "The emphasis going into the game was to play hard," Pippen said. "We knew they were playing for something, and they probably thought we were playing for nothing. 

    "But a lot of guys here are playing for opportunities. That's our motivation."

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