NBA

Dort matches Durant and Westbrook as Thunder roll past Spurs

By Sports Desk February 25, 2021

Luguentz Dort finds himself in illustrious company after his game-winning shot lifted the Oklahoma City Thunder to victory over the San Antonio Spurs. 

With the game tied at 99-99, Dort received the ball in the corner and successfully drained a three-pointer, sealing the win in dramatic fashion before falling to the court as he was mobbed by team-mates. 

The 21-year-old is just the third player in franchise history to hit a game-winning attempt from beyond the arc as time expired. The others? Kevin Durant (twice) and Russell Westbrook (three times).

"It felt good when it left my hand," said Dort. "I was just staring at the ball and when it dropped in, I dropped too."

Having gone undrafted in 2019, Dort joined the Thunder initially on a two-way contract. He featured in 36 games last season, averaging 6.8 points per game while shooting 29.7 per cent from deep, building a reputation for his defensive abilities. 

However, he has had a larger role on offense in his second campaign in the NBA, nearly doubling his output in terms of points per game (12.5) while improving to 31.8 per cent from three-point range. 

"Lu's changed it around, obviously, changed the narrative," Thunder team-mate Shai Gilgeous-Alexander said after the Spurs game.  

"It's just him working hard, not getting down on himself, being confident. When you work hard, confidence comes with it because you believe in yourself." 

Gilgeous-Alexander also excelled against San Antonio, setting a new career high for points as he contributed 42 to Oklahoma City's cause. 

"I just wanted to be aggressive, try to put the defense on their heels, and from there, make the right play," said Gilgeous-Alexander, who scored 21 points alone in the third period.

Dort's clinching shot lifted him to 16 points, while Al Horford also managed the same.

Dejounte Murray had 27 in a losing cause for the Spurs, who were beaten for just the fourth time in 13 games on the road this season. 

Related items

  • Rodgers says Packers' 9-3 run has defied expectations amid adversity Rodgers says Packers' 9-3 run has defied expectations amid adversity

    Reigning MVP Aaron Rodgers says the Green Bay Packers have defied expectations amid more injuries than ever, meaning their 9-3 record "feels pretty good".

    The Packers are top in the NFC North ahead of their Week 13 bye where Rodgers, who has thrown 2,878 yards for 23 touchdowns this season, will get the chance to rest a niggling toe issue.

    Green Bay's impressive run has come amid injury issues to cornerback Jaire Alexander, center Josh Myers, outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith and offensive tackle David Bakhtiari, while star wide receiver Davante Adams tested positive to COVID-19 last month.

    "I think we've been dealing with as many injuries as we've had throughout the years," Rodgers said during an appearance on The Pat McAfee show. "A lot of important players, starters on IR, no chance to return and some with a chance.

    "Bakhtiari obviously had an opportunity, not sure when that will do. Jaire, hoping him. Za'Darius who knows? Josh Myers up in the air.

    "There's a lot of those and then you have the weekly injuries we've had with Kevin King and Aaron Jones. [The bye] definitely comes at a good time.

    "For us to be 9-3, not many people expected that looking at our schedule and what we've dealt with this year with Davante being out with COVID and all the injuries up front and on the defensive side of the ball, that feels pretty good."

    Rodgers has been in the thick of the news, with his immunisation revelation before testing positive to COVID-19, along with his tongue-in-cheek remark about "COVID toe", all the while his side have claimed good wins against the likes of the Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals and San Francisco 49ers.

    "It hasn’t been a quiet 12 weeks," he added. "I'm very happy with where we're at. Very happy to have gotten off to the star that we've gotten off to. Happy we've faced some adversity and we're moving through it and close to the other side of it."

    The Packers defeated the Rams 36-28 on Sunday, with Rodgers throwing two touchdown passes, as well as completing one rushing TD.

    Adams, who has five touchdowns for the season including two in Week 11 in the 34-31 loss to the Minnesota Vikings, had eight receptions against the Rams for 104 yards but no touchdowns.

    "He has a lot of freedom which he should because he has such a great release pattern and he's such a smart guy," Rodgers said about Adams. "It's not like he's going outside the schematic things but he's making decisions that might not be the expected paper decisions, when you’re looking at it on paper.

    "There's paper routes and there's do-whatever-you-want routes for Davante. He did it last week against Minnesota on the second touchdown, he ad-libbed that route, that's why I was a bit late getting to him.

    "Normally I have a pretty good sense. You've got to read body movements. Also our conversations are very high level when it comes to those situations."

  • LeBron set to miss several games after entering NBA's health and safety protocols LeBron set to miss several games after entering NBA's health and safety protocols

    Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James has entered the league's health and safety protocols.

    The 36-year-old was set to line up for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday but was ruled out ahead of tip-off.

    James is likely to be out for several games, having already missed 11 of the Lakers' 22 games this season with ankle and abdominal injuries along with a one-game suspension.

    The NBA mandates a minimum of 10 days of isolation away from a player's team if they have tested positive to COVID-19, before mandatory cardiac screening and reconditioning to be cleared to return. James confirmed in September that he has been vaccinated from COVID-19.

    The Lakers, who are 11-11 across the 2021-22 NBA season, are 4-7 without James in the team this campaign.

    James is averaging 25.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game from 11 games this season.

  • Chiellini: Juventus has given us all so much, it is time to give back Chiellini: Juventus has given us all so much, it is time to give back

    Giorgio Chiellini insists he and his team-mates are determined to repay the faith shown in them by Juventus and help put their recent struggles behind them.

    The Bianconeri bounced back from successive defeats by Chelsea and Atalanta with a routine 2-0 win over bottom side Salernitana in Serie A.

    Goals from Paulo Dybala and Alvaro Morata sealed victory for the visitors at Stadio Arechi. Juve dominated, enjoying 73.9 per cent of the ball, having 18 attempts, with seven on target, and finishing the match with a 92.9 per cent passing accuracy in contrast to their hosts' completion rate of 75.9.

    Dybala sliced a late penalty over the bar – his first spot-kick miss for Juve since 2017 – but the three points were already assured. 

    But despite the win, Juve remain seventh in the Serie A table and seven points off the top four after their opening 15 matches.

    Massimiliano Allegri has claimed Juve cannot be considered as title contenders, though Chiellini is still driven to improve.

    "It was a good performance, but the coach used the right words yesterday and today to let us realise what we need to do," Chiellini told DAZN.

    "We need a sense of responsibility, don't do anything extraordinary, just do it with the right mentality. 

    "We played it clean today; it doesn't always work, but we managed it this evening. We knew it would be difficult, but we held out.

    "Juventus have given so much to me and all my team-mates, so this is the time to give back. 

    "We must all stay close to this club and together, we'll get out of this situation."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.