NBA

LeBron leads Lakers past Spurs again, Bucks crush Bulls

By Sports Desk January 02, 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers made it back-to-back wins in the NBA, while the Milwaukee Bucks thrashed the Chicago Bulls on Friday.

LeBron James posted a triple-double of 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists as the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs 109-103.

Anthony Davis had a game-high 34 points, to go with 11 rebounds, as the Lakers enjoyed a second win in three days over San Antonio.

Keldon Johnson (26) and DeMar DeRozan (23) combined for 49 points for Spurs.

Giannis Antetokounmpo (29 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists) helped the Bucks crush the Bulls 126-96.

Milwaukee had seven players in double-digits and the Bucks hit 22 three-pointers.

No team has hit more threes through the first six games of a season than the Bucks' 108 to begin 2020-21.

 

Doncic lifts Mavericks, Leonard's Clippers lose

Luka Doncic finished with 27 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in the Dallas Mavericks' 93-83 win over the Miami Heat.

Kawhi Leonard fell just short of a triple-double as he posted 20 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists, but the Los Angeles Clippers went down to the Utah Jazz 106-100.

The Portland Trail Blazers eased past the Golden State Warriors 123-98 thanks largely to 34 points from Damian Lillard. Lillard joined Clyde Drexler as the only players to score 15,000 points with the Trail Blazers.

Deandre Ayton's double-double of 22 points and 11 rebounds helped the Phoenix Suns improve to 5-1 with a 106-103 victory against the Denver Nuggets.

 

Nets slip to 3-3

Kyrie Irving struggled from the field, shooting six-of-21 for 18 points, as the Brooklyn Nets were beaten by the Atlanta Hawks 114-96. Kevin Durant finished with 28 points.

 

Grant delivers huge dunk

Jerami Grant produced a huge dunk as part of his 24 points in the Detroit Pistons' first win of the season – a 96-93 victory over the Boston Celtics.

Friday's results

Memphis Grizzlies 108-93 Charlotte Hornets
Detroit Pistons 96-93 Boston Celtics
Dallas Mavericks 93-83 Miami Heat
Atlanta Hawks 114-96 Brooklyn Nets
Milwaukee Bucks 126-96 Chicago Bulls
Washington Wizards 130-109 Minnesota Timberwolves
Los Angeles Lakers 109-103 San Antonio Spurs
Phoenix Suns 106-103 Denver Nuggets
Utah Jazz 106-100 Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers 123-98 Golden State Warriors

 

Kings at Rockets

The Sacramento Kings (3-2) take on James Harden and the Houston Rockets (1-2) on Saturday.

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    Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes both refused to dwell on Manchester United's come-from-behind win against Arsenal as the Red Devils look ahead to life under interim manager Ralf Rangnick.

    With Rangnick watching in the stands, Ronaldo scored twice to lead United past Premier League rivals Arsenal 3-2 on Thursday before caretaker boss Michael Carrick announced his departure from Old Trafford.

    Carrick – who was placed in temporary charge after Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's sacking, overseeing wins against Villarreal and Arsenal, and a draw at Chelsea – revealed he would not be staying on and serving as a coach under Rangnick.

    After helping to snap United's three-game drought in the Premier League, superstar Ronaldo quickly switched focus as Rangnick prepares to see the embattled giants through until the end of the season.

    Ronaldo, who scored the 800th and 801st goals of his illustrious career, wrote via his social media pages: "Our minds are already set on the next game, there's no time to celebrate!

    "Today's win was very important to get back on track, but there's still a long road to go until we reach our destination… Congrats to all my team-mates, great spirit tonight."

    United – seventh in the standings and 12 points behind leaders Chelsea – scored three goals in a home Premier League game against Arsenal for the first time since February 2016, with Carrick completing all 90 minutes that day.

    The Red Devils were forced to come from behind following Emile Smith Rowe's 13th-minute opener – Fernandes restoring parity a minute before half-time.

    Fernandes made his 100th competitive appearance for United. Since his club debut in 2020, he has been directly involved in more goals in all competitions than any other player for Premier League sides (79 - 45 goals, 34 assists).

    Ronaldo put United ahead seven minutes into the second half, only for Martin Odegaard to equalise two minutes later, though the Portuguese superstar sealed United's victory via a 70th-minute penalty.

    "Every win is important for us at this moment," Portuguese star Fernandes told Amazon Prime post-match.

    "We know that we have been through a lot of ups and downs, and it has been hard for us to come out of that.

    "Today we got a great win, but we cannot stop here and be satisfied because we beat Arsenal. The next game is coming quick, so we have to put our heads on that straight away and be ready for that one."

    On countryman and team-mate Ronaldo, Fernandes added: "What can you say about that? It's incredible.

    "He's proving game by game, year by year, season by season, that he wants to keep being the best, he wants to be the best and that's what he did.

    "He doesn't need anyone to motivate him, he knows how to do it and how to carry on scoring goals."

    Before players were told of Carrick's decision to step down, Fernandes hailed the former United midfielder.

    Carrick, winner of five Premier League titles and a Champions League crown among other honours during his 12 years as a player in Manchester, made 464 appearances for United between 2006 and 2018 before stepping into coaching.

    "Michael can be a really good manager in the future if he gets the chance," said Fernandes. "He knows how to speak, he knows a lot about football.

    "He was one of those great players that not a lot of people talk about but from what I know and what I have seen, he can be a top coach."

  • Grizzlies savour record-breaking 152-79 victory over Thunder: It feels great Grizzlies savour record-breaking 152-79 victory over Thunder: It feels great

    De'Anthony Melton and the Memphis Grizzlies could not hide their delight after embarrassing the Oklahoma City Thunder by 73 points to set an NBA record.

    The merciless Grizzlies broke the record for the largest margin of victory in league history thanks to Thursday's devastating 152-79 triumph.

    Oklahoma City were without star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Rookie of the Year contender Josh Giddey away to the Grizzlies in Memphis.

    The Grizzlies, who were without a star of their own in Ja Morant, took full advantage as they eclipsed the 1991 Cleveland Cavaliers (68 points) for the largest winning margin.

    "Man, it feels great. It feels great to be in the history books, especially in front of our home crowd,'' said Melton, who put up 19 points for the Grizzlies.

    "And we did it one through 15. Everybody contributed, everybody played hard and we all got to get in the game. So, it's always a blessing.

    "We knew with [Morant] going down what we had to do. We had to step up.''

    According to Stats Perform, 152 is the most points in NBA history by a team missing a player who was leading the team in total points and assists entering the game following Morant's absence.

    Jaren Jackson Jr. picked up the slack with Morant sidelined, pouring in 27 points for the Grizzlies – who shot 62.5 per cent from the field.

    Melton, Santi Aldama (18), John Konchar (17), Dillon Brooks (11), Jarrett Culver (11), Xavier Tillman (11), Brandon Clarke (11) and Tyus Jones (10) all had double-digit points for the Grizzlies.

    Memphis, who have beaten the Thunder in four straight games for their best winning streak against the franchise since 2013-16, were also 52.8 per cent from three-point range as Jackson made six of his seven attempts from beyond the arc.

    "Franchise records are obviously great. Obviously proud of our guys that they don't think about that,'' Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins said.

    "We're just motivated by what are our standards every single night. Tonight was on pretty full display both offensively and defensively.''

    Lu Dort was the pick of the Thunder players with 15 points on three-of-eight shooting in 25 minutes – Oklahoma City are now amid an eight-game losing streak.

    The Thunder (6-16) – in the process of a rebuild – were just 32.9 per cent from the floor in a forgettable display.

    "Tonight is not necessarily who we are,'' Thunder head coach Mark Daigneault said. "I think we've definitely shown that from a competitive standpoint. This isn't indicative of who our team is.''

    "Obviously, it was a combination of things,'' Daigneault said. "They played with great force and pace. They made some shots. We didn't shoot it well early and just really couldn't get a grip on the game. Any part of the game.''

    Daigneault added: "When you compete, you have exposure to the highs and lows of competition. And competition comes with great joy, and it also comes with grief and frustration and anger. And when you step in that ring, that's what you expose yourself to is all of those things.

    "It's why the joy feels so good, because when you get punched and you taste your own blood, it doesn't feel right.''

  • Suns make franchise history with 18th straight win as merciless Grizzlies break NBA record Suns make franchise history with 18th straight win as merciless Grizzlies break NBA record

    The Phoenix Suns celebrated a franchise-record 18th consecutive win after taking down the lowly Detroit Pistons 114-103 in the NBA on Thursday.

    Phoenix – who reached last season's NBA Finals – eclipsed the 17-game record set during the 2006-07 campaign, despite the absence of All-Star Devin Booker.

    Leading scorer Booker sat out for the first time this season after suffering a hamstring injury in Tuesday's win over the Golden State Warriors, however, the Suns were still too good for the Pistons.

    The NBA-leading Suns – who improved to 19-3 – were fuelled by 19 points apiece from Cam Johnson and Cameron Payne, while Deandre Ayton had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 12 points and 12 assists.

    Phoenix also celebrated back-to-back wins over Detroit for the first time since 2014.

    Jerami Grant put up a game-high 34 points for the Pistons, who have lost eight straight games for their worst skid since 2017-18.

     

    Grizzlies in historic humbling

    The Memphis Grizzlies broke the record for the largest victory in NBA history after humiliating the shorthanded Oklahoma City Thunder 152-79. Memphis surpassed the 1991 Cleveland Cavaliers (68 points) for the largest winning margin thanks to their 73-point demolition. The Grizzlies were without star Ja Morant. According to Stats Perform, 152 is the most points in NBA history by a team missing a player who was leading the team in total points and assists entering the game.

    DeMar DeRozan (34 points), Zach LaVine (27 points) and Nikola Vucevic (27 points) combined to lead the Chicago Bulls past the New York Knicks 119-115. Julius Randle's double-double of 30 points and 12 rebounds was not enough for the Knicks.

     

    Milwaukee's streak over as Giannis sits out

    Giannis Antetokounmpo was held out by the Milwaukee Bucks due to a calf problem. In his absence, the defending champions lost 97-93 at the Toronto Raptors as their eight-game winning run was halted. Milwaukee shot just 37.6 per cent from the field.

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