NBA

Giannis' triple-double lifts Bucks, Mavs snap losing streak

By Sports Desk February 04, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Milwaukee Bucks to a convincing win in the NBA on Wednesday, while the Dallas Mavericks snapped their losing streak.

Antetokounmpo posted a triple-double of 21 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists as the Bucks cruised past the Indiana Pacers 130-110.

Milwaukee had seven players in double-figures for points, with Bryn Forbes chipping in with 20 off the bench.

The Bucks improved to 13-8 despite another good performance by Pacers star Domantas Sabonis (33 points and 12 rebounds).

The Mavericks ended a run of six straight losses by overcoming the Atlanta Hawks 122-116.

Luka Doncic led Dallas with a double-double of 27 points and 14 assists as they improved to 9-13.

Embiid, George star

Joel Embiid starred with 34 points and 11 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers claimed a fourth straight win by beating the Charlotte Hornets 118-111.

Paul George posted 36 points for the Los Angeles Clippers, who eased past the Cleveland Cavaliers 121-99.

Bradley Beal had 32 points as the Washington Wizards edged the Miami Heat 103-100. Beal has had 25-plus points in 17 straight games to start the season, which is the most since 1976-77.

Zion Williamson's 28 points, seven rebounds and six assists saw the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Phoenix Suns 123-101.

 

Oladipo can't lift Rockets

Victor Oladipo went eight-of-24 from the field, and one-of-eight from three-point range, as the Houston Rockets were well beaten by the Oklahoma City Thunder 104-87.

 

Special Zion

Williamson got on the end of an Eric Bledsoe pass for a monstrous alley-oop slam.

Wednesday's results

Milwaukee Bucks 130-110 Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia 76ers 118-111 Charlotte Hornets
Dallas Mavericks 122-116 Atlanta Hawks
Los Angeles Clippers 121-99 Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards 103-100 Miami Heat
New York Knicks 107-103 Chicago Bulls
Oklahoma City Thunder 104-87 Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs 111-108 Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans 123-101 Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings 116-111 Boston Celtics

 

Nuggets at Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers (16-6) return to action with a clash at home to the Denver Nuggets (12-8) on Thursday.

Related items

  • 49ers' latest Seattle shocker should put quarterback change back on the table 49ers' latest Seattle shocker should put quarterback change back on the table

    The San Francisco 49ers were hoping to write a new chapter in their rivalry with the Seattle Seahawks.

    It ended up being the same old story.

    Riding a three-game winning streak that had propelled them into the thick of the NFC playoff race, the Niners were expected to prevail against a 3-8 Seahawks team at their lowest ebb.

    Instead, a mistake-strewn display allowed Seattle to launch what could prove the last stand of the Pete Carroll-Russell Wilson era, the Seahawks keeping the Niners out of the endzone at the end of a last-ditch 95-yard drive to preserve a 30-23 win, their 14th in 16 games against the 49ers since the beginning of the 2014 season.

    San Francisco could not have done more to help Seattle as the Niners missed a chance to move to 7-5 and cement their grip on a playoff berth.

    It was another frustrating day in an up-and-down campaign for a team that two seasons ago was the unquestioned elite of the NFC and, while the defeat was the product of a multitude of failures, the 49ers' rollercoaster 2021 is emblematic of a quarterback akin to a thrill ride many are eager to escape from.

    Talent across the board

    Examine the 49ers' roster and you will find top-level talent in almost every area.

    George Kittle's monstrous performance in Seattle was yet another illustration of the playmaking capability at their disposal.

    Racking up 189 yards and two touchdowns on nine catches, Kittle produced a big play on five of his 12 targets against the Seahawks, thriving as the focal point of the Niners' offense with Deebo Samuel out with a groin injury.

    It is Samuel who was the catalyst of that three-game winning run, the 2019 second-round pick compiling an Offensive Player of the Year resume with his exploits as both a wide receiver and a running back.

    With two rushing touchdowns in Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings, Samuel became the first wide receiver in the Super Bowl era to score on the ground in three straight games. He is tied for the league lead with 14.9 scrimmage yards per touch and has 10 total touchdowns to his name.

    The first Niners wideout to surpass 1,000 receiving yards since 2014, Samuel leads all players at his position with 9.5 yards after catch per reception. Kittle is sixth among tight ends with 222 yards after catch, a tally padded by his incredible 48-yard catch and run for his second touchdown on Sunday.

    Between that duo and the resurgent Brandon Aiyuk, whose big-play rate of 39.7 per cent is ninth among wideouts with at least 25 targets, the 49ers possess three significant passing-game threats whose versatility is a constant problem for defenses.

    In addition to Samuel's exploits as a runner, the Niners' rushing attack also features arguably the top rookie running back in the league in Elijah Mitchell, whose 84.3 yards per game on the ground are the most among first-year tailbacks.

    That ground game is aided significantly by the play of the man most consider the league's elite left tackle in 2021. Trent Williams headed into Week 13 with a run-block win rate of 84.91 per cent and a pass-block win rate of 89.32 per cent that are both a long way above the respective league averages of 73.16 per cent and 78.60 per cent for the tackle position.

    On the other side of the trenches, defensive end Nick Bosa is third in the league in sacks with 12 and tied for the NFL lead with 16 tackles for loss, serving as the undoubted star of a defense that held Seattle to 4.8 yards per play and forced three turnovers despite the absence of All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner.

    Even without Samuel, the 49ers objectively had enough talent at their disposal to prevail and improve to 7-5, especially with a strong effort from the defense. Their failure to stretch the winning run to four games was not down to the injury to Samuel, but an infuriating lack of execution that has been a recurring problem in 2021.

    Turnovers, penalties a continuing plague

    While sections of the box score reflect the dominance the Niners enjoyed for long periods against Seattle, it is easy to identify the areas where it went wrong.

    They committed three turnovers, were called for 10 penalties and went three for 10 on third down, losing the time of possession battle against a team that ranks last in that category.

    It was a frustratingly familiar tale for the Niners, who lost to Seattle in Week 4 in strikingly similar fashion and have frequently been plagued by turnovers and penalties this season.

    The Niners are 23rd in the NFL with a turnover differential of minus 4, while they have given up the fourth-most penalty yardage per game in the NFL (65.25).

    Miscues on defense and on their special teams, which gave up a fake punt touchdown and lost a fumble as Travis Benjamin dropped the opening kickoff of the second half, contributed to the Niners continually gifting free plays and extra possessions to the Seahawks.

    Yet, beyond the obvious poor discipline in other areas, the 49ers' latest Seattle horror show was an encapsulation of the pitfalls of trusting your offense to a quarterback as volatile as Jimmy Garoppolo.

    Garoppolo's limitations again laid bare

    The Niners' winning streak had quieted most of the questions surrounding when Kyle Shanahan would bench Garoppolo for rookie third overall pick Trey Lance, San Francisco's starter having largely played well across each of those victories.

    And Garoppolo was, for the most part, accurate against the Seahawks. He delivered a well-thrown ball on 90 per cent of his pass attempts, trailing only Derek Carr and Gardner Minshew for Week 13.

    However, two of the Niners' three turnovers came as a result of brutal interceptions from Garoppolo. San Francisco's defense prevented the first, on which Garoppolo failed to spot the underneath coverage of Bobby Wagner and threw the ball right to the Seattle linebacker, from resulting in points.

    They could not do the same following the second, however, Garoppolo inexplicably trying to force a ball to Kittle despite double coverage when he had Trent Sherfield open on a corner route, with that pick followed by the ultimately decisive touchdown pass from Russell Wilson to Tyler Lockett.

    Intercepted eight times in 2021, Garoppolo has thrown a pickable pass on 14 of his 300 attempts, that ratio of 4.67 per cent inferior to the league average of 3.78 per cent.

    With a passer rating of 83.2 on passes of 21 air yards or more that is 23rd among quarterbacks with at least 10 attempts of that distance, the book on Garoppolo remains the same. At his best, he can execute Kyle Shanahan's offense to a high level, but he consistently limits its potential by struggling to push the ball downfield, committing mind-boggling interceptions and failing to create outside the pocket.

    Exacerbating the frustration around Garoppolo's consistent inconsistency is that Lance, an athletic dual-threat quarterback and a more gifted downfield thrower, would theoretically remove those two limiting factors with which his more experienced team-mate continues to shackle the offense.

    The 49ers are not short of their problems elsewhere on the roster. The right side of the offensive line is a major issue and the lack of depth at cornerback has been frequently exposed.

    Yet those concerns are exacerbated when a team has a quarterback who cannot create for himself when the pocket breaks down and who regularly puts the defense under pressure with ill-advised throws that are all too often a part of his repertoire.

    Though the penalties and mistakes from his team-mates have been too common to simply label Sunday's performance in Seattle as an aberration, the more common thread in losses for the 49ers this season has concerned Garoppolo and the limitations to his game that have long since been apparent.

    With the stars they have on both sides of the ball, the 49ers should be much more than a 6-6 team scrapping for a Wild Card and coming up short against the worst Seahawks team of the Carroll-Wilson era. The likelihood is San Francisco will make the playoffs but, for them to have hope of and making any noise in the postseason, it would require a switch to a quarterback with the potential to be much more than Garoppolo.

  • Guardiola hails 'fantastic' Olmo while discussing RB Leipzig philosophy Guardiola hails 'fantastic' Olmo while discussing RB Leipzig philosophy

    Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola labelled Dani Olmo a "fantastic player" ahead of Tuesday's Champions League meeting with RB Leipzig.

    City have breezed through Group A as they prepare to head to Leipzig, having previously gone 14 games unbeaten against German opposition in the competition.

    The Bundesliga outfit can only make the Europa League after a disappointing group-stage showing, are still without a home win in Europe this term and parted ways with head coach Jesse Marsch on Sunday amid a poor run of form.

    Guardiola, though, heaped praise on Leipzig as he hailed Olmo as a standout star, although he dismissed any speculation of a reported move for the Spain international.

    Asked about a potential transfer for forward Olmo, Guardiola responded: "[The] answer is no. He is a Leipzig player.

    "If we are interested, I'm sure City will contact Leipzig. Saying that, he is a fantastic, fantastic player.

    "I'm happy he had the courage to leave Barcelona to develop his skills and then arrive at Leipzig."

     

    Olmo caught the headlines at Euro 2020 as he became just the third player – after Cesc Fabregas (2008) and Dejan Kulusevski (2021) – to assist two goals after being substituted on at the European Championship.

    But the former Barcelona man has made only three starts this season across all competitions, assisting just one goal, and he is yet to find the net after struggling with a muscle injury.

    Leipzig have felt the absence of one of their key players and are down in 11th in the Bundesliga, 16 points behind reigning champions Bayern Munich at the top.

    While speculation persists over who will succeed Marsch, Guardiola took the opportunity to praise the environment that has been developed at Leipzig.

    "Leipzig has a culture, they won't sign a manager who doesn't want to play their way," he added. "They want to play a specific way, pressing, gegenpressing, attacking, live, sleep, eat. 

    "This is the culture, and the new manager will be similar like that. The impact of a new manager is clear, players open their eyes and play for the Europa League, an incredible competition, the money from UEFA. 

    "We won at home, it was difficult, what they did in Bruges [a 5-0 win over Club Brugge]. There are highs and lows this season but the philosophy, the way they play versus Paris Saint-Germain, they should win 2-0,3-0. 

    "They play their style. We have to be careful, impose our game. Play to improve. We don't play for the points, we play to improve. It's a perfect training game for us. We go to Leipzig [and then] do a good dinner tonight to celebrate our qualification."

  • Masuaku topples Blues while Rangnick makes history – the Premier League weekend's quirky facts Masuaku topples Blues while Rangnick makes history – the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

    Chelsea slipped from first to third in the Premier League over the weekend after a costly defeat at West Ham, which included a bizarre late winner for the hosts.

    Divock Origi was told to "Be Divock" by Jurgen Klopp, so duly went and scored a 94th minute winner for Liverpool at Wolves, while Ralf Rangnick achieved something his fellow German didn't in his first game as interim boss at Manchester United.

    Antonio Conte and Steven Gerrard also continued their positive starts to respective gigs at Tottenham and Aston Villa in a sentence that feels like it's straight from your favourite football management simulation game rather than real life.

    With all that and more, here are some of the weekend's quirky stats from the Premier League...

     

    Chelsea Hammered

    Did he mean it? Arthur Masuaku says no but your West Ham supporting mates say yes.

    Masuaku's kick of the ball in the 87th minute at the London Stadium flew past Edouard Mendy to inflict Chelsea's second league defeat of the season, toppling them from the summit of the Premier League.

    It was the Frenchman's first Premier League goal in his 96th appearance for the Hammers, from his 29th attempt at goal, if you can even call it that.

    The 3-2 defeat was Chelsea's first in the Premier League after leading at half-time since December 2018 against Wolves under Maurizio Sarri – they had been unbeaten in 48 league games when ahead at half-time before Saturday (W40 D8).

    It is no time to panic for Blues fans, though. The future looks bright with all their talented young players, accompanied by Brazil's answer to Steve Buscemi with a skateboard over his shoulder.

    Aged 37 years and 73 days, Thiago Silva became the oldest player to score for Chelsea in the Premier League, breaking Didier Drogba's record from April 2015 against Leicester City (37 years, 49 days).

    The Late Late Show with Divock Origi

    You could say there was an air of inevitability about it as Divock Origi arrived on the Molineux pitch in the 68th minute on Saturday.

    The Belgian is a man who arguably deserves a statue more than a starting place at Anfield, having scored just once in the league prior to this game since the last day of the 2019-20 season, but who has famously bagged late goals just when his team has needed them.

    His dramatic strike in the closing seconds of this game was Liverpool’s 39th winner scored in 90+ minutes in the Premier League, at least 13 more than any other side. It was also his 10th as a substitute in the Premier League for the Reds, with no player having netted more from the bench for the club in the competition.

    It felt harsh on Wolves, though they had hardly done much to bother their opponents at the other end of the pitch, having just three shots in this game, their fewest in a Premier League match since March 2019 (two vs Chelsea).

    One particularly sore loser will have been skipper Conor Coady. Although a former Liverpool player, he will have been hoping his heroic goal-line block of Diogo Jota's effort, with an xG of 0.604, would have at least secured a point for his team, particularly as the ball hit him square in the Divocks.

     

    King Ralf

    There had not been such anticipation about the future of Manchester United since that bloke Ole was at the wheel. Remember him?

    United's interim gaffer Ralf Rangnick became the sixth German to manage in the Premier League as he stood in the Old Trafford dugout to see his new team beat Crystal Palace, and he was the first to win his debut game in charge in the competition (Felix Magath, Klopp, Jan Siewert, Daniel Farke and Thomas Tuchel all failing to do so before him).

    Following the 1-0 success, six of the last seven managers (including caretakers) have won their first game in charge of the Red Devils in all competitions, with Louis van Gaal being the only exception (he suffered a 2-1 loss against Swansea City at Old Trafford in August 2014).

    United also kept their first clean sheet at home in all competitions since April against Granada in the Europa League, having conceded in 15 consecutive home matches prior to Sunday.

    Fred's impressive winner was his second goal of the season in 12 Premier League matches, as many as he scored in 76 appearances in his first three seasons in the competition beforehand.

    More capital chaos for Canaries

    After their 3-0 defeat at Tottenham, Norwich City have now lost 12 of their past 13 Premier League games in London (W1), conceding 29 goals and scoring just three.

    Antonio Conte became the third Spurs manager to win his first three Premier League home games, after Ryan Mason and Harry Redknapp, but will be hoping that Kane will start to find the net again soon, with the England captain having only scored once in 13 league games this season.

    Norwich manager Dean Smith felt his team were hard done by, and perhaps he had a point when you consider how close the xG of the contest ended, with Norwich's 1.33 only just behind Spurs' 1.52. It was little surprise that Conte's men were more deadly in their finishing though, particularly with Son Heung-min about.

    The South Korea forward has been directly involved in 50 per cent of Tottenham’s league goals this season (six goals, two assists), with only Teemu Pukki (63 per cent) and Emmanuel Dennis (55 per cent) being involved in a higher share of their side's tally.

    Son both scored and assisted in a single Premier League game for the 19th time. Since 2015-16, only Mohamed Salah (22) has done so more often in the competition.

     

    Steve Gerrard, Gerrard, seems management isn't hard

    Doing a stellar job at Rangers is one thing, but Steven Gerrard's management capability was really going to come under the microscope when he moved south to the Premier League.

    It is still early days of course, but so far, the former Liverpool and England midfielder must be wondering what all the fuss was about as he saw his Aston Villa side win again with a 2-1 victory against Leicester City and his former boss Brendan Rodgers.

    Having only won three of their first 11 Premier League games of the season under Dean Smith (D1 L7), Villa have since won three of their first four under Gerrard, with the only failure coming in the narrow 2-1 defeat at home to champions Manchester City.

    Gerrard emphasised on his arrival that he wanted to improve the defence, but Ezri Konsa must have thought he meant at the other end as he bagged a brace on Sunday. In his 216th professional appearance in all competitions, Konsa scored twice in a game for the first time. In doing so, he was the first defender to score a brace for Aston Villa in a Premier League match since Ciaran Clark against Arsenal in November 2010.

    Leicester, meanwhile, are now the first side to both score and concede a goal in 15 consecutive away games in England's top flight since Burnley from April 1961 to March 1962 (16 in a row).

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.