NBA

LeBron's Lakers complete biggest comeback of the season, Lillard explodes for equal season-best 71

By Sports Desk February 27, 2023

The Los Angeles Lakers came back from 27 points down on Sunday against the Dallas Mavericks to produce the largest comeback of the season.

Early in the second quarter the Lakers trailed 48-21, before going on to escape with a 111-108 victory for their third win in a row, and their biggest comeback since 2002.

Trade deadline acquisition Malik Beasley announced his arrival with a 25-point outburst in Thursday's win against the Golden State Warriors, and this time around it was Jarred Vanderbilt showing why he has forced his way into the Lakers' starting line-up.

The rangy six-foot-eight defensive menace was everywhere, working as the primary defender on Luka Doncic on his way to 15 points (six-of-eight shooting), 17 rebounds (eight offensive) and four steals in his 27 minutes.

Anthony Davis was the star of the show on the offensive end, scoring a game-high 30 points on 12-of-20 shooting with 15 rebounds and four assists, and the league's active leader for career blocked shots per game swatted away three Maverick attempts.

LeBron James had an injury scare, and while he is still not out of the woods, he stayed in the game and put up 26 points on 10-of-23 shooting with eight rebounds.

For the Mavericks, Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving shot a combined 18-of-44 (40 per cent) from the field for 47 points, while the other three members of the starting line-up combined for 18 points.

With the win, the Lakers improved their record to 29-32 and now sit just one game out of the Play-In Tournament placings, while they are also just 2.5 games away from the Mavericks in the sixth seed.

Lillard puts on a show

Damian Lillard matched Donovan Mitchell's season-best 71 points as he scored 13 three-pointers in the Portland Trail Blazers' 131-114 win over the Houston Rockets.

The Blazers guard's 71-point mark was both a franchise and career high, topping his previous record of 61.

Lillard had 41 points with eight triples by half-time, the most points of any player in a half this season. He shot 13-of-22 from beyond the arc for the game, having a perfect 14-of-14 from the line.

Klay stays hot

After 42 points and 12 three-pointers on Friday's win, Klay Thompson led the Golden State Warriors to a 109-104 home win against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The future Hall of Fame sharpshooter hit another six threes on his way to a team-high 32 points, shooting 12-of-23 from the field and six-of-14 from deep. Donte DiVincenzo was strong in a supporting role, chipping in 21 points (seven-of-13 shooting), eight rebounds, five assists and four steals.

After shooting a red-hot 43.1 per cent on a gaudy 11.6 three-point attempts per game in the month of January, Thompson has elevated even further this month, getting up 12.1 attempts per game and connecting at 45.9 per cent.

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    Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving have proved any doubters wrong after leading the Dallas Mavericks to a seventh straight win.

    That is the opinion of coach Jason Kidd, whose Dallas team overcame the Phoenix Suns 123-113 on Thursday.

    Doncic had 41 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists, while Irving finished with 29 points.

    Dallas have been without at least one of Doncic or Irving in 27 games this season due to injuries, but the duo have now started in the last seven games.

    "I think it answers the questions that those two co-exist quite well," Kidd said.

    "I think it just shows again, our health, our energy, everything's positive right now. I think the guys are having fun. You can see that energy on the floor.

    "They want to win, and you can see that energy on the floor. Those guys are cheering for one another.

    "There's going to be mistakes, there's going to be missed shots, but it's on to the next play.

    "You can see that. We were on a roll and then we go on [the All-Star] break. Sometimes you can come out flat, but I thought the guys did a great job tonight."

    Devin Booker led the Suns with 35 points, though Phoenix were unable to keep Doncic or Irving down.

    "You just have to know that, especially after he makes one, that the next one is coming up," Booker said of Irving.

    "He's a great player and hard to guard. We definitely could have limited some of those transition looks."

    The Suns have lost two of their last four games, and are now one place below the Mavericks in the Western Conference.

    "We didn't start the third quarter with enough attentiveness," Suns coach Frank Vogel said.

    "We did get a little too stagnant offensively. We had some breakdowns with what we were supposed to do. That led to some tough possessions."

  • NBA: Jokic notches triple-double with perfect shooting in Nuggets' win NBA: Jokic notches triple-double with perfect shooting in Nuggets' win

    Nikola Jokic registered his 16th triple-double of the season and was 10-for-10 from the floor in the Denver Nuggets’ 130-110 win over the reeling Washington Wizards on Thursday.

    Jokic had 21 points, 19 rebounds and 15 assists to become the third player in NBA history to record at least one triple-double against every opponent in the league. He had 10 points, 14 boards and nine assists in the first half alone.

    LeBron James and Russell Westbrook are the only other players with a triple-double against every opponent.

    Michael Porter had 22 points and 11 rebounds and Jamal Murray added 18 points and eight assists as the Nuggets returned from the All-Star break and snapped a season high-tying three-game skid.

    Kyle Kuzma tallied 31 points and 13 rebounds, but Washington dropped its ninth straight to match a season high.

    The Wizards shot 38.8 percent from the field and fell to 1-34 against opponents with winning records.

     

    Doncic powers streaking Mavericks

    Luka Dončić scored 41 points and fell a rebound shy of a triple-double as the Dallas Mavericks defeated the Phoenix Suns, 123-133, for their seventh straight win.

    Doncic handed out 11 assists and grabbed nine boards while shooting 14 of 27 from the field and 6 of 11 from long range. He just missed his 11th triple-double of the season.

    Kyrie Irving scored 13 of his 29 points in the first quarter and restored a double-digit lead for Dallas early in the fourth with a nifty behind-the-back dribble and spin move for a layup.

    Devin Booker scored 35 points and Kevin Durant had 23 but was 9 of 22 from the floor and 2 of 8 on 3-pointers. Phoenix lost for the second time in seven games.

     

    Celtics extend winning streak to seven

    Derrick White scored 28 points and Jayson Tatum added 25 to lead the Boston Celtics to their season-high seventh consecutive win, 129-112 over the Chicago Bulls.

    Jaylen Brown had 21 points and White and Tatum each made five of Boston’s 23 3-pointers as the Celtics padded their lead atop the NBA’s overall standings.

    Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 14 rebounds for the Bulls, who have lost all three meetings against the Celtics this season.

  • LeBron James to sit out Warriors clash due to ankle problem LeBron James to sit out Warriors clash due to ankle problem

    LeBron James has been ruled out of the Los Angeles Lakers' road game against the Golden State Warriors on Thursday as he continues to nurse an ankle problem.

    James has been suffering from peroneal tendinopathy in his left ankle, and the issue caused him to miss the Lakers' 138-122 road win over the Utah Jazz before the All-Star break.

    The NBA's all-time leading scorer did feature in Sunday's All-Star Game, but he was limited to just 14 minutes on the court as the Western Conference All-Stars lost 211-186 to their Eastern Conference counterparts.

    James said before Sunday's game that he would use the break to undergo treatment on his ankle, also suggesting his status for Thursday's trip to Chase Center was uncertain.

    On Wednesday, the Lakers announced he had officially been downgraded to out, causing him to miss his eighth game of the season.

    James had 36 points, 20 rebounds and 12 assists as the Lakers beat the Warriors in a double overtime classic last month, and the 39-year-old is averaging 24.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game this season.

    Prior to the trade deadline earlier this month, the Warriors reportedly enquired about James' availability, only to be knocked back by Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka.

    James said last week that he wishes to finish his glittering career in Los Angeles, though he is yet to decide whether to take up his $51.4million player option for 2024-25.

    Thursday's matchup could prove crucial to the playoff hopes of both teams, with the Lakers emerging from the mid-season hiatus at 30-26 and the Warriors having a 27-26 record. 

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