NBA

Jazz stay hot with NBA's best record as Kings upstage Kawhi's Clippers

By Sports Desk February 07, 2021

The NBA-leading Utah Jazz won for the 15th time in 16 games after defeating the Indiana Pacers 103-95.

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell fell just one rebound shy of a triple-double – finishing with 27 points, 11 assists and nine boards to inspire Sunday's victory.

The Jazz improved their NBA-best record to 19-5 as the slate of five league games took place before the NFL's Super Bowl LV, despite the absence of injured star Mike Conley.

Rudy Gobert contributed 16 points and 16 rebounds for the in-form Jazz, while Domantas Sabonis led the slumping Pacers with 20 points.

Elsewhere, the Los Angeles Clippers were upstaged by the Sacramento Kings 113-110.

The Clippers had won both games against the Kings this season by a combined 56 points. Since the start of 2010-11, the Clippers were 33-7 against the Kings – the best record by any team against a divisional opponent in that span, per Stats Perform.

But Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers were stunned in Los Angeles, where De'Aaron Fox's 36 points, seven assists and four rebounds fuelled the Kings to a fourth successive victory.

Kings team-mate Buddy Hield added 22 points and nine rebounds, while Richaun Holmes put up 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Leonard's double-double of 20 points and 10 rebounds was not enough for the Clippers, who suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season.

 

Beal stars again but Wizards fall

It was a familiar story for Bradley Beal. The star guard led the way with 31 points however the struggling Washington Wizards went down 119-97 to the Charlotte Hornets. Terry Rozier (26) and Gordon Hayward (25) combined to score 51 points for the Hornets.

The Miami Heat topped the New York Knicks 109-103 thanks to Bam Adebayo (24 points and 11 rebounds) and Jimmy Butler (17 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists).

 

Inefficient Walker

The 2020-21 season has not gone according to plan for Kemba Walker. He was just four-of-20 shooting from the field, while making only four of 11 three-point attempts for 14 points in the Boston Celtics' 100-91 loss to the Phoenix Suns.

Knicks star Elfrid Payton had seven points on three-of-12 shooting against the Heat. He also missed both of his efforts from beyond the arc.

 

Butler and Bam combine

There has been a hangover in Miami following the Heat's memorable run to last season's NBA Finals. But Butler and Adebayo provided a reminder of what they are capable of with a powerful dunk – the former the architect against the Knicks.

 

Sunday's results

Utah Jazz 103-95 Indiana Pacers
Miami Heat 109-103 New York Knicks
Charlotte Hornets 119-97 Washington Wizards
Phoenix Suns 100-91 Boston Celtics
Sacramento Kings 113-110 Los Angeles Clippers
Portland Trail Blazers-Charlotte Hornets (postponed)

 

Thunder at Lakers

The Oklahoma City Thunder (10-12) will make the trip to defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers (18-6) on Monday. LeBron James and the Lakers have won four games in a row.

Related items

  • Harris on 76ers team-mate Embiid: 'What he's doing is special' Harris on 76ers team-mate Embiid: 'What he's doing is special'

    Tobias Harris is in awe of team-mate Joel Embiid, who continues to scale new heights for the Philadelphia 76ers.

    Embiid, a four-time NBA All-Star, is having an MVP-worthy season and finished with a double-double of 38 points and 12 rebounds in the 76ers' 115-109 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday.

    The 27-year-old has now surpassed 1,000 points for the season, becoming the 10th player to do so in the NBA this campaign.

    Only LeBron James (29.0) and Kevin Durant (29.3) are averaging more points per game than Embiid (28.7) across the league.

    After his efforts on Sunday, when he shot 16 for 32 from the field in 32 minutes, Embiid has now scored 25 points or more in 14 successive games, earning the high praise of Harris.

    "What he's doing is special," Harris told reporters.

    "We rely on him night in and night out. He's the anchor for our team. The anchor for our offensive flow out there.

    "I thought tonight he just did a great job of picking the game apart. Really getting everyone involved out there in their spots and still being able to get the shots that he wanted."

    Harris also contributed 18 points as the 76ers claimed a seventh straight win over the Spurs.

    Jakob Poeltl was San Antonio's standout performer with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Harris acknowledged the 76ers still gave up too many opportunities defensively.

    "We still had too many defensive mistakes in the fourth quarter," Harris added.

    "We've got to clean that up. We've got to be able to really make a stand and hold our ground there."

  • LeBron James 'in one of the best zones' of his career despite latest Lakers loss LeBron James 'in one of the best zones' of his career despite latest Lakers loss

    LeBron James does not plan on halting his scoring run after he finished with 25 points or more for a 17th straight game.

    James had a double-double but it was not enough for the fast-finishing Los Angeles Lakers to overcome his former side the Miami Heat on Sunday.

    Miami turned up the heat on Lakers coach Frank Vogel, with Los Angeles having now lost five of their last seven games after the 113-107 reverse.

    There was at least one bright note for the Lakers, who charged home with 37-24 points down the stretch to reduce the deficit.

    James finished with 33 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. The veteran is averaging 29.0 points per game this season for the Lakers, who sit eighth in the Western Conference with a 23-24 record. That ranks him second in the NBA, behind Kevin Durant (29.3).

    A knee injury for Anthony Davis earlier in the season meant James has had to deliver, and he has certainly held up his end of the bargain. Indeed, across the last 17 games, only Joel Embiid (33.9) has averaged more than the 37-year-old's 32.5 points.

    "I don't need to score 30 a night, but I'm in one of the best zones offensively I've been in, in my career," James told reporters. 

    "And I don't plan on stopping. That's just how I feel. I feel fantastic. Shooting the ball extremely well. I didn't shoot the three-ball well tonight, but all eight of them felt great.

    "I'm shooting efficiently from the free-throw line, shooting efficiently from the field. I was very efficient at the rim. So I don't go into the game saying you got to score 30 or you guys don't have a chance to win the game. I just play the game. The scoring has been happening organically."

    Russell Westbrook provided able support on Sunday with 24 points and nine rebounds, but Vogel is looking forward to welcoming Davis back from injury, having said before the game that it will help share the workload.

    For his part, however, James has his eye on another milestone. The big one, in fact – Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time points record of 38,387.

    "As I've continued to climb the ranks, it's natural, human to look at it and see where you are and see if it's even possible. See if you're capable," added James, who is 2,006 points behind the record.

    "Obviously health plays the most important part and then just continuing to give your everything to the game. I've never cheated the game. I've never wanted to feel like I was content.

    "I wanted to continue to get better and like you said, I will be within 2,000 points, when did you say? Soon? Well, listen, we'll see what happens. I've never chased a record in my life."

  • Harden frustrated by lack of consistency from officials in Nets' loss to Timberwolves Harden frustrated by lack of consistency from officials in Nets' loss to Timberwolves

    James Harden hit out at what he perceives to be a lack of consistency from the officials following the Brooklyn Nets' 136-125 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    The nine-time NBA All-Star endured a frustrating time at Target Center as he got to the line only four times and scored 13 points.

    Only once this season, against the Phoenix Suns in November (12), has Harden – who shot four-of-13 – ended a game with fewer points.

    But Harden feels as though he has been on the end of some tough treatment from referees.

    "I don't know. I don't even want to talk about it," he told reporters. "But it's definitely – when I get to the basket, it's the same calls the guys are getting. 

    "Obviously, you can't call all of them. But there's ones where there's clearly stiff-arms and trips and things like that. On the other end, there's no consistency. So it's frustrating."

    Asked what explanation he has had regarding certain calls going against him, Harden said: "Nothing. Honestly, nothing. 

    "Like [officials say], 'I didn't see it,' or 'I didn't think it was a foul.' But it's clear. It's extremely clear. I don't want to talk about it. I just got to keep going. It's not going to stop me. 

    "I'll keep on going to the basket, keep being aggressive and keep making plays for my team."

    The Timberwolves were awarded 31 free throw attempts compared to 15 for the Nets, who had 29 personal fouls called against them compared to 17 for their opponents.

    Nets Head coach Steve Nash echoed Harden's complaints as he also took aim at the officials.

    "I think there's nights where it's fair, and even including the points of emphasis this year," Nash said. "Then there's other nights where it feels like he gets targeted a little bit. 

    "It just automatically gets lumped into that point of emphasis where he is creating the foul, which is not always the case at all."

    NBA officials have clamped down on offensive players who attempt to create contact and draw fouls from opponents, which Nash claims Harden has become the biggest victim of.

    "I think it's been well-documented that he's a poster child," Nash said. "I think the start of the year was rough – they were really trying to correct the point of emphasis. 

    "I think they overcorrected. Now we [have] come back to the middle, but tonight was one of those nights where I felt like some of the calls that should go his way didn't."

    The Nets allowed 30 points in every quarter for the second time in 10 days, when losing 130-109 to Oklahoma City, as they fell behind the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference.

    Harden's treatment was the big talking point from the Timberwolves loss, but Kyrie Irving backed his team-mate to adapt.

    "I think teams have made adjustments, the referees have made adjustments, and now we have to make adjustments," said Irving, who led the Nets with 30 points.

    "He goes to the paint aggressively and we want him to continue doing that. He's going to be James. We know who James is – we know he's going to be himself.

    "But the whistle can go either way night to night. And depending on the [officiating] crew we have, I think that also has an effect on it.

    "We just want to start off the game with a consistent whistle. And when he's going in there and he's creating some contact, we feel like he deserves that respect."

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