NBA

NBA: Embiid outplays Jokic in 76ers' win

By Sports Desk January 17, 2024

Joel Embiid had 41 points and 10 rebounds and got the best of fellow superstar Nikola Jokić in the Philadelphia 76ers’ 126-121 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday.

In a matchup of the last two NBA MVPs, Embiid had his 18th straight 30-point game, tying Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor for the sixth-longest streak in NBA history.

Jokic had 25 points and 19 rebounds, including 11 offensive boards.

Embiid converted a 3-point play with 5:30 remaining to extend Philadelphia’s lead to 118-113 and followed with his third 3-pointer of the game for an eight-point advantage.

Tyrese Maxey scored 25 points and Tobias Harris added 24 for the 76ers, who have won three straight after a three-game skid.

Michael Porter Jr. had 20 points and Jamal Murray finished with 17 and 10 assists for the Nuggets.

 

Suns stun Kings with furious comeback

Kevin Durant made two free throws with 1.8 seconds left and the Phoenix Suns stunned the Sacramento Kings with a game-ending 23-4 run in a 119-117 victory.

Grayson Allen matched a franchise record with 9 3-pointers and scored 29 points for the Suns, who faced a 113-96 deficit with just over five minutes to play.

Allen sparked the run with a 3-pointer and Durant hit a pair from deep before Eric Gordon drained consecutive 3-pointers to forge a 115-all tie.

Durant’s free throws with 30 seconds to play put the Suns ahead 117-115 but De’Aaron Fox tied it with a jumper with 19 seconds remaining. But he then fouled Durant, who was attempting a long jumper.

Domantas Sabonis notched his 11th triple-double of the season with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for Sacramento.

 

George scores 38 in Clippers’ win

Paul George scored 18 of his season-high 38 points in the fourth quarter and the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 128-117 for their ninth win in 11 games.

Kawhi Leonard each added 16 points and Mason Plumlee had a season-best 14 in his first start of the season for the Clippers, who won their sixth straight at home.

Jalen Williams scored 25 points and Lu Dort and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander contributed 19 apiece as Oklahoma City dropped its second in a row after a 9-3 stretch.

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    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.

    "The good news is, no matter what, we'll be at home for game one. That we do know."

    That result was also an important one in the race to top the Western Conference, with the Thunder now locked in a three-way tie with the Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets.

    It's in Oklahoma City's hands going into their season finale against the Dallas Mavericks, with Mark Daigneault's team edging the three-way tiebreaker.

    "I think the big exponential jumps come from small incremental steps," Daigneault said after Friday's game. "I talk all the time about stacking and we really are trying to live that out. 

    "We just try to have a good day in the day that's in front of us, have a good possession in the possession that's in front of us, a good game in the game that's in front of us and just be very present in the process of improving and competing."

  • '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. 

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  • NBA: Embiid returns from injury scare, scores 32 to lead streaking 76ers NBA: Embiid returns from injury scare, scores 32 to lead streaking 76ers

    Joel Embiid shook off an apparent injury to finish with 32 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists and the Philadelphia 76ers extended their winning streak to seven with a 125-113 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday.

    Embiid had 21 points, nine boards and seven assists in the first 17 minutes but appeared to land awkwardly on his left knee late in the first half. He limped to midcourt and gave up on the play.

    After coach Nick Nurse called timeout, Embiid went straight to the locker room. But he returned for the second half and promptly hit a 3-pointer on his first touch of the third quarter.

    Orlando, Indiana and Philadelphia are all 46-35 after the Pacers lost to Cleveland and are fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively, in the Eastern Conference.

    Franz Wagner scored 24 points and Paolo Banchero added 22 for Orlando, which dropped its third straight game. The Magic can win the Southeast Division with a victory over Milwaukee on Sunday.

    Spurs rally to stun Nuggets

    Devonte’ Graham scored on a floater in the lane with 0.9 seconds remaining and the San Antonio Spurs rallied from a 23-point deficit for a 121-120 win over the Denver Nuggets, who may have suffered a potentially damaging loss.

    The loss dropped Denver out of sole possession of first place in the Western Conference and into a tie with Minnesota and Oklahoma City. After tiebreakers, the Timberwolves are first, the Thunder and second and the Nuggets are third heading into the final day of the regular season on Sunday.

    Victor Wembanyama had 34 points and 12 rebounds for the West-worst Spurs, who trailed 76-53 early in the third quarter and were still down 17 early in the fourth.

    Jamal Murray scored 35 points and Nikola Jokić had 22 and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets, who close the regular season Sunday at Memphis.

    Thunder handle depleted Bucks

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 23 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder boosted their chances at capturing the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a 125-107 win over the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks.

    Chet Holmgren had 22 points and nine rebounds and Aaron Wiggins added 19 points for the Thunder, who won their fourth straight and ended the night tied for the top seed in the West after Denver lost to San Antonio and Minnesota beat Atlanta.

    Milwaukee played without superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (strained left calf) and All-Star Damian Lillard (sore left adductor) and dropped into a tie with the Knicks for the No. 2 seed in the East. The Bucks can still finish second with a win at Orlando on Sunday or a New York loss to Chicago.

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