NBA

NBA: Mavericks, Nuggets stay unbeaten

By Sports Desk October 31, 2023

Luka Doncic amassed 35 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to help the Dallas Mavericks continue their strong start to the NBA season with Monday's 125-110 road win over the slumping Memphis Grizzlies. 

Coming off a 49-point effort in a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, Doncic followed up by making 6 of 12 attempts from 3-point range and going 11 of 22 overall from the field to lead the way as the Mavericks improved to 3-0.

Derrick Jones added 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 points on a night Dallas played without its other star guard, Kyrie Irving, due to a left foot sprain.

Memphis, which had the Western Conference's second-best record at 51-31 last season, fell to 0-4 despite 30 points each from Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane. The Grizzlies also got 23 points and nine assists from Marcus Smart in a losing cause.

The short-handed Grizzlies have opened the season without a pair of starters in All-Star Ja Morant and center Steven Adams. Morant is serving a 25-game suspension by the NBA for conduct detrimental to the league, while Adams is not expected to play in 2023-24 after recently undergoing knee surgery.

 

Jokic powers 4-0 Nuggets past Jazz

Nikola Jokic recorded the 107th triple-double of his illustrious career with 27 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists to lead the unbeaten Denver Nuggets to a 110-102 win over the Utah Jazz.

Jokic made 12 of 16 field-goal attempts and added a pair of blocks while tying LeBron James and Jason Kidd for fourth on the NBA's all-time list in triple-doubles. 

Denver also got an efficient shooting night from Aaron Gordon, who finished 12 of 16 from the field while compiling 21 points and seven rebounds. Jamal Murray chipped in 18 points and 14 assists as the defending NBA champions moved to 4-0.

Lauri Markkanen paced Utah with 27 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, while Walker Kessler tallied 22 points on 10-of-11 shooting along with 13 rebounds.

The Jazz led for just 16 seconds and trailed by as many as 17 points to fall to 1-3.

 

Curry's hot hand sparks Warriors' rout of Pelicans

Stephen Curry drained seven 3-pointers and finished with 42 points as the Golden State Warriors continued their recent roll with a 130-102 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans.

With long-time backcourt mate Klay Thompson unavailable with a sore right knee, Curry carried the Warriors' offence by going 15 of 22 from the floor and 7 of 13 on 3-point tries. The two-time NBA MVP added five assists to help the Warriors to a third straight victory following a season-opening loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Curry has now made 24 3-pointers during the Warriors' 3-1 start, the most by any player through four games of a season in NBA history. 

Moses Moody started in place of Thompson and scored 13 points, with Chris Paul and rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis also contributing 13 points off the bench in a game Golden State broke open in the second half.

The Warriors held a slim 59-57 advantage at half-time before outscoring the Pelicans by a 39-21 margin in the third quarter.

New Orleans had a two-game winning streak to begin the season snapped while playing without second-leading scorer Brandon Ingram, who was held out with a sore right knee.

Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum led the Pelicans with 19 points each.

 

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    The Miami Heat are desperate to silence their doubters and are using outside criticism as fuel in their first-round playoff series against the Boston Heat, having levelled it up at 1-1.

    That is according to forward Bam Adebayo, who had 21 points and was nine of 13 shooting in the Heat's 111-101 win at TD Garden on Wednesday.

    Miami buried their hosts under a mountain of 3-pointers in Game 2, setting a franchise record for a postseason game by shooting 23 of 43 (53.5 per cent) from the field.

    Speaking after the game, Adebayo said the way in which the Eastern Conference's eighth seeds have been written off by neutrals was spurring them on.

    "We've been doubted a lot through our playoff runs, people saying we couldn't do a lot of stuff that we eventually did," Adebayo said.

    "So for me and my team, why lose belief now? Our backs are against the wall. Everybody's against us. So just use that as fuel.

    "Our guys believe we can win. So, let's make it mano a mano… a cage fight. Let's hoop!"

    Caleb Martin joined Adebayo on 21 points with five 3s, being booed by the Boston crowd every time he touched the ball following his heavy collision with Jayson Tatum in Game 1.

    Jaime Jaquez Jr. contributed 14 points with three 3s, Nikola Jovic added a trio of 3s and Haywood Highsmith came off the bench to sink three 3s.

    Martin said Miami's new shoot-on-sight mentality was part of a plan drawn up by Erik Spoelstra, saying: "I think it was about realising that being passive hurts us. 

    "We'd just be playing into their gameplan. We're too good of a shooting team to hesitate from 3."

    Spoelstra himself said the Heat had taken the decision to be more proactive after being sunk by Boston's 3-point shooting in Game 1.

    "I understand the math of it," the Miami coach said. "We're not going to shoot 50 of them. That's not realistic."

  • NBA: Heat get even with Celtics; Thunder roll Pelicans for 2-0 lead NBA: Heat get even with Celtics; Thunder roll Pelicans for 2-0 lead

    Tyler Herro had 24 points and 14 assists and hit six of Miami’s franchise playoff-record 23 3-pointers as the Heat defeated the Boston Celtics, 111-101, to even their first-round series at a game apiece on Wednesday.

    Bam Adebayo had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Caleb Martin added 21 points with five 3s for the Heat, who shot 53.5 percent (23 of 43) from long range to break the franchise playoff record of 20 3s, set against Milwaukee in 2021.

    Jaime Jaquez Jr. contributed 14 points with three 3s, Nikola Jovic added a trio of 3s, nine rebounds and six assists and Haywood Highsmith came off the bench to hit three 3s.

    The series shifts to Miami for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.

    Jaylen Brown scored 33 points and Jayson Tatum added 28 for the top-seeded Celtics, who cut Miami’s lead to 102-96 with three minutes left. But Martin hit a 3 and Herro made a driving layup to essentially seal the win.

    Tatum scored 14 points in the first quarter and showed no ill effects after he was undercut by Martin while going after a rebound in the final minute in Game 1.

     

    Gilgeous-Alexander, Holmgren power Thunder

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points and Chet Holmgren added 26 to lead the hot-shooting Oklahoma City Thunder to a 124-92 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans and a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.

    Jalen Williams had 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, who shot 59 percent (46 for 78) from the floor and made 14 of 29 (48.3 percent) from 3-point range.

    Game 3 will be Sunday in New Orleans.

    Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and Herbert Jones and Brandon Ingram each added 18 as the Pelicans continued to struggle offensively without injured star Zion Williamson (strained left hamstring).

    New Orleans missed 19 of 26 from beyond the arc and made 33 field goals to 46 for Oklahoma City.

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    The NBA has acknowledged numerous refereeing errors after the Philadelphia 76ers were on the wrong end of late decisions in a chaotic defeat to the New York Knicks.

    Nick Nurse, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey all voiced 76ers frustration after the Knicks came back from 101-96 down to win 104-101 on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series.

    Philadelphia coach Nurse suggested his timeout calls were ignored on two separate occasions in the frantic finale, while Maxey and Embiid were left aggrieved with foul decisions during the same period.

    In its Last Two Minute Report, the league concurred with the 76ers claims after admitting Maxey was fouled in the build-up to Jalen Brunson's 3-pointer that cut Philadelphia's lead to just two.

    The same report also found that Maxey was illegally felled by Josh Hart, turning over for Donte DiVincenzo missing a decisive go-ahead 3-pointer before making the winning shot with 13 seconds remaining.

    "[Maxey] did his job," Embiid said after the game when asked about the turnover in the closing seconds. "That's on the league. That's on the NBA.

    "That's on the referees. I hate to put the game on them. But I am sure the two-minute report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened."

    Maxey blamed himself and refused to dwell on the matter after the 76ers fell 2-0 down in the best-of-seven series, while Nurse was also left disappointed on the sidelines by the officiating.

    Nurse claimed he twice attempted to call timeout, with the league's report acknowledging one of those should have been granted when 76ers point guard Kyle Lowry was inbounding the ball.

    "I guess I got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure and get his attention, but I needed a timeout there to advance it," Nurse lamented after the game.

    The Last Two Minutes Report reviewed two other errors in officiating, having missed an Embiid foul on DiVincenzo before Brunson's 3-pointer and a defensive violation by Knicks forward OG Anunoby.

    Though the NBA acknowledged the mistakes, no replay will be granted – a decision the Knicks are all too familiar with.

    New York wanted a replay earlier this season after referee Jacyn Goble made an incorrect call for a foul on Houston Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, though that call was labelled as human error.

    Both teams will be hoping for less drama when Games 3 and 4 come on Thursday and Sunday in Philadelphia.

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