NBA

LeBron drives Lakers to bounce-back win, Harden lifts Nets in Irving's absence

By Sports Desk February 17, 2021

LeBron James' double-double fired the Los Angeles Lakers back to winning ways, while James Harden stepped up to rally the Kyrie Irving-less Brooklyn Nets past the high-flying Phoenix Suns.

James put up 30 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists as the reigning NBA champions leaned on their defense in the 112-104 victory over the last-placed Minnesota Timberwolves.

Without the injured Anthony Davis, Dennis Schroder played the supporting role for James, posting 24 points, while the Lakers battled to claim eight steals and seven blocks in a closely fought contest.

After taking a two-point lead into the fourth quarter at Target Center, the road side pulled away in the closing stages to improve to 22-7 in second place in the Western Conference.

Harden pulled out the stops with a double-double to lead the Nets to a sensational 128-124 comeback win against the Suns, despite playing without Irving after the star guard felt tightness in his lower back.

Nets coach Steve Nash revealed Irving received treatment at half-time of Brooklyn's win against the Sacramento Kings on Monday but expects the six-time All-Star to only be sidelined in the short term.

The Nets surged, scoring 40 fourth-quarter points to turn around a 24-point deficit, with Harden (38 points, 11 assists and seven rebounds) backed up by Joe Harris (22 points) as they halted the Suns' six-game winning streak.

Jokic burns Celtics but Nuggets fall short, Zion on target for Pelicans

Nikola Jokic lit up the Boston Celtics, scoring 43 points, but the Denver Nuggets could still not make triple-digits as their three-game winning stretch was ended in a 112-99 loss.

Zion Williamson shot an efficient 31 points, sinking 13 of his 16 field-goal efforts and going four-of-four from the free-throw line, as the New Orleans Pelicans snapped a three-match losing run with a 144-113 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Meanwhile, Damian Lillard’s 31-point, 10-assist double-double led the Portland Trail Blazers past the Oklahoma City Thunder in a 115-104 win, while centre Enes Kanter pulled down 21 rebounds.

 

Bazley struggles to take his chances

The Thunder never recovered against the Blazers after falling 34-21 behind in the first quarter and forward Darius Bazley was one player that could not find his range.

Bazley shot four from 16 from the field for 14 points during his 36 minutes on court, only dropping one his seven efforts from three-point range.

 

Giannis powers up but the Raps edge the Bucks

Giannis Antetokounmpo proved unplayable at times, scoring 34 points in the Milwaukee Bucks' 124-113 loss against the Toronto Raptors, as he ghosted past three defenders for one of his buckets.

Tuesday's results

Boston Celtics 112-99 Denver Nuggets
Portland Trail Blazers 115-104 Oklahoma City Thunder 
Los Angeles Lakers 112-104 Minnesota Timberwolves
New Orleans Pelicans 144-113 Memphis Grizzlies 
Toronto Raptors 124-113 Milwaukee Bucks 
Brooklyn Nets 128-124 Phoenix Suns

 

Jazz at Clippers

There has been no stopping the Utah Jazz, who have won eight straight and 19 of their past 20 games to establish a lead in the Western Conference, but a tough challenge awaits when they go on the road to face the third-placed Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday.

Related items

  • 'Anything is possible' with Steph Curry 15 shy of Ray Allen's three-point record 'Anything is possible' with Steph Curry 15 shy of Ray Allen's three-point record

    Golden State Warriors superstar Stephen Curry is just 15 three-pointers shy of Ray Allen's all-time record after sinking seven more in Monday's 126-95 win over the Orlando Magic.

    The three-time NBA champion and two-time MVP is chasing down Allen's regular season benchmark of 2,973 made threes and moved to 2,958 against the Magic.

    Curry was successful with seven of his 13 attempts from beyond the arc, including a stunning half-court buzzer-beater at the end of the first quarter, finishing with 31 points and eight assists in the game.

    With Allen's record moving into view, Curry was asked if he could match that mark in Wednesday's home game against the Portland Trail Blazers and simply replied: "Anything is possible."

    If he were to achieve the feat by making 15 in one game, Curry would also top team-mate Klay Thompson's single-game record of 14 threes made.

    Thompson shot 14 of 24 from deep against the Chicago Bulls in October 2018, taking that record from Curry, who had made 13 of 17 against the New Orleans Pelicans in November 2016.

    "What is it, 15?" Curry said of tying Allen's record. "That's funny because I know what that means is Klay's record and all that, too. So we will see. 

    "If you've seen the way I've played, especially recently, I'm not shy about shooting the ball, so the game will dictate what that looks like. I'm not coming out with that as the true goal of how I play, but crazier things have happened."

    When asked the same question, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said: "I'm guessing he's going to shoot a lot against Portland on Wednesday.

    "He's Steph Curry, so anything's possible."

    Curry has averaged career highs in three-point shots attempted (13.2) and made (5.5) per game this season, although he has yet to reach double-figures for made threes in a single game in 2021-22, four times finishing on nine – each of those coming over a sensational six-game stretch in November.

  • LeBron James defends Lakers coach Frank Vogel LeBron James defends Lakers coach Frank Vogel

    Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James has defended coach Frank Vogel after an inconsistent start to the NBA season.

    The Lakers, one of the pre-season favourites for the championship, are 12-12 after Friday's defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers and sit seventh in the Western Conference.

    With a roster that boasts talent such as James, Anthony Davis, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, more was expected from the 2020 champions, with coach Vogel coming in for recent criticism.

    "I think criticism comes with the job, you know?" James said after practice on Monday. "Frank is a strong-minded guy. He has a great coaching staff. And we as his players have to do a better job of going out and producing on the floor.

    "We're a team and an organization that don't mind some adversity, that don't mind people saying things about us, obviously, because it comes with the territory."

    Vogel has an overall record of 106-61 (.635) with the Lakers, the sixth-best winning percentage of any coach in their history with at least 100 games.

    James was back in the Lakers line-up for the Clippers game after returning two negative COVID-19 tests, posting 23 points and 11 rebounds in the 119-115 loss.

    The 36-year-old entered the NBA's health and safety protocols last week, sitting out the 117-92 win over the Sacramento Kings due to a positive coronavirus test, but cleared the league's COVID protocols after additional testing confirmed the four-time champion and MVP was not a positive case.

    "We have a lot of guys on this team that have been bulletin-board material for quite a long time, so it don't quite bother us," James added. "Everything that we do stays in house when it comes to our preparation and how we prepare for our next opponent and how we prepare to get better.

    "Frank doesn't care and we don't either about what people are saying."

  • Embiid 'not even close' to full fitness despite season-high 43 Embiid 'not even close' to full fitness despite season-high 43

    Joel Embiid is "not even close" to feeling fully fit despite producing his best performance of the season to inspire the Philadelphia 76ers past the Charlotte Hornets on Monday.

    Last season's MVP runner-up posted a season-high 43 points, 15 rebounds and seven assists in his fifth game back following a three-week spell on the sidelines with COVID-19.

    Embiid scored six of Philadelphia's eight points in the 127-124 overtime win as he recorded his 10th career 40-point, 15-rebound game for the 76ers – only Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain (30) has more in franchise history.

    He took 20 shots in total from the field and missed just five of them, while also knocking down 12 of his 14 attempts from the foul line, but the 27-year-old feels he still has more to give once fully over his recent bout with coronavirus.

    "I'm not even close," he said in his post-game interview when asked if he is now feeling 100 per cent. "I'm still feeling it. I get tired easily, feel pretty weak, but every single day I'm slowly getting better. 

    "I've just got to keep pushing myself. My teammates, they push me. They want me to be making all the plays offensively and defensively, so as long as I got that trust I'm still going to keep pushing."

    The returning Tobias Harris had 21 points and 11 rebounds as the 76ers moved to 13-11 for the season with their first back-to-back wins in a month.

    Harris was particularly impressed by the performance of team-mate Embiid, who is averaging 23.9 point per game in 2020-21, down on the 28.5 across 51 games last time out.

    "He's so dominant out there, especially when he is able to get his position on the floor," Harris said. "He's able to punish a team.

    "They threw different guys at him, but he's so much bigger and stronger."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.