NBA

Harden leads Nets to seventh straight win and clutch Doncic lifts Mavs as Jokic scores 41

By Sports Desk February 24, 2021

James Harden's triple-double fuelled the streaking Brooklyn Nets to a 127-118 win over the Sacramento Kings in the NBA.

Harden recorded his sixth triple-double since joining the Nets from the Houston Rockets in January, finishing with 29 points, 11 rebounds and 14 assists as Brooklyn extended their winning streak to seven games on Tuesday.

The former MVP is averaging 27.7 points, 9.4 rebounds and 11.1 assists per game with a .500 field goal percentage during Brooklyn's seven-game winning run. Per Stats Perform, the last NBA player to reach all those numbers over a seven-game span was Magic Johnson in 1988.

Bruce Brown scored 13 of his career-high 29 points in the final quarter, while Nets team-mate Kyrie Irving put up 21 of his own at home to the slumping Kings – who have lost eight games in a row.

 

Jokic goes off in Denver, Giannis stars

Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic scored 41 points to inspire his team to a 111-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers.

Two-time reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo helped the Milwaukee Bucks past the Minnesota Timberwolves 139-112 thanks to his 37 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two blocks and two steals.

The Golden State Warriors topped the New York Knicks 114-106 behind Stephen Curry's game-high 37 points on the road.

Kawhi Leonard (32 points) and Paul George (30 points) combined as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Washington Wizards 135-116.

 

Baptism of fire for debutant Finch

How big is the challenge facing new Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch? Look no further than the loss to the Bucks. Minnesota have lost five consecutive games and nine of their last 10 to own the NBA's worst record of 7-25. Former Raptors assistant Finch replaced Ryan Saunders on Monday.

Fred VanVleet was just four of 14 from the field for 12 points in the Toronto Raptors' 109-102 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers. Joel Embiid had a double-double of 18 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers, but he was only three-of-13 shooting from the field.

 

Doncic calls game

Luka Doncic delivered in a clutch moment for the Dallas Mavericks, who edged the Boston Celtics 110-107. Doncic nailed a three-pointer with 0.1 seconds remaining to break a tie against Boston. He posted 31 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

 

Tuesday's results

Cleveland Cavaliers 112-111 Atlanta Hawks
Detroit Pistons 105-93 Orlando Magic
Brooklyn Nets 127-118 Sacramento Kings
Golden State Warriors 114-106 New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers 109-102 Toronto Raptors
Dallas Mavericks 110-107 Boston Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks 139-112 Minnesota Timberwolves
Denver Nuggets 111-106 Portland Trail Blazers
Los Angeles Clippers 135-116 Washington Wizards

 

Lakers at Jazz

It is the hunted against the hunters on Wednesday. Defending champions the Los Angeles Lakers travel to the NBA-leading Utah Jazz midweek. A run of three consecutive losses has left the Lakers (22-10) third in the Western Conference, behind the Jazz (25-6) and neighbours the Clippers (23-10).

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    Bradley entered the week ranked 44th in the FedEx Cup standings, outside the top-30 who will qualify for next week's Tour Championship, but put himself in a great position thanks in large part to his work on the greens.

    He collected six birdies on the front nine, and according to Data Golf's strokes gained stats, Bradley was the top overall putter in the opening round, picking up 4.00 strokes with the flat stick, while also coming in seventh in the approach category (2.02 strokes gained).

    It was a similar story for Adam Scott in outright second at six under, finishing third in putting (3.30 strokes gained) and 11th in approach shots (1.82 strokes gained).

    In a tie for third at five under is the trio of Harold Varner III, Shane Lowry and Justin Thomas – but they all made it there in different ways.

    Varner excelled in the tee-to-green category, putting a gap on the field as he gained 5.28 strokes, with Lowry in second-place at 3.32. While Varner was the third-best driver on the day, Lowry was actually a negative off the tee, but led the field in the approach category.

    Meanwhile, Thomas was solid just about everywhere, finishing on the fringe of the top-10 in tee-to-green, around the green and putting categories – despite lipping out a four-footer for his only bogey on the 15th hole.

    The logjam at four under includes Collin Morikawa, Xander Schauffele and Cameron Young, and there is a star-studded group one further back at three under featuring Patrick Cantlay, Scottie Scheffler, Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth. McIlroy will be left ruing a calamitous showing at the par-three 15th hole, where he found the water to triple-bogey when he was one stroke off the lead.

    U.S. Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick headlines the group at two under, Hideki Matsuyama and Will Zalatoris are at one under, and recent 20-year-old winner Joo-hyung 'Tom' Kim is at even par.

    Viktor Hovland and Jon Rahm will be disappointed with their rounds at two over, and the previously red-hot Tony Finau is likely out of the hunt as only two players shot worse than his six-over 77.

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    Jarrod Bowen and Michail Antonio were also on target for the hosts at the London Stadium, with Jakob Bonde's header providing a consolation for the visitors ahead of next week's return leg in Denmark.

    The Hammers' fortunes were overseen by first-team coach Billy McKinlay, with manager David Moyes serving a touchline ban following his red card in last season's Europa League semi-final defeat by Eintracht Frankfurt.

    Vladimir Coufal wore the captain's armband in the absence of Declan Rice and Aaron Cresswell – both also serving continental suspensions – but the hosts took the lead in the 24th minute; Scamacca rising to head home Maxwel Cornet's inviting cross.

    They doubled their lead after 64 minutes as Bowen collected a loose ball, before brilliantly drilling low past Lucas Lund from 30 yards. The visitors halved the deficit five minutes later when Bonde arrived at the far post to nod home Christian Sorensen's centre.

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    United followed up a 2-1 home loss against Brighton and Hove Albion in their opening Premier League game of the campaign with a heavy 4-0 defeat at Brentford last weekend.

    The Red Devils find themselves bottom for the first time since August 1992, which is the only previous occasion they lost their opening two games in the competition.

    Erik ten Hag is the first United manager to lose his opening two games in charge since John Chapman in 1921 and the Dutchman's task does not get any easier.

    United face fierce rivals Liverpool on Monday, when Van Dijk expects the home side to be extra motivated to get off the mark in front of their own fans.

    "It's massive, but it's not about making a statement. We want to win and do everything that's possible to win there," Van Dijk said. 

    "This year they've had a difficult start and we've not had the best start that we wanted either, so it will be interesting. 

    "Obviously they're not in the best situation confidence-wise probably, but it's the perfect game to turn it around for them."

    Liverpool finished one point behind champions Manchester City last season, but they have started the 2022-23 campaign with draws against Fulham and Crystal Palace.

    That makes Monday's encounter the first time that United and Liverpool have been winless in the Premier League heading into this fixture.

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    "Over the years it’s proven tough for us to win there, though last year was a great result, we can't deny it," Van Dijk said.

    "This week we showed a lot of good spirit and fight in training, and we've got to bring that to the game on Monday."

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