NBA

Rockets snap 20-game skid behind Wall's first triple-double in five years, Bucks stay hot without Giannis

By Sports Desk March 23, 2021

The Houston Rockets snapped their 20-game losing streak after John Wall posted his first triple-double since 2016 in a 117-99 win against the slumping Toronto Raptors.

Houston were in the midst of a franchise-record drought – the Rockets' skid tied for the ninth-worst in NBA history and the worst since the Philadelphia 76ers and their record-setting 28-game losing streak across the 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns.

But the Rockets recorded an overdue victory on Monday, celebrating their first win since February 4 behind Wall's 19 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists.

It was Wall's first triple-double since March 2016 as the Raptors crashed to a ninth consecutive defeat – now the league's longest active losing streak.

Giannis Antetokounmpo sat out due to a sprained left knee, but the Milwaukee Bucks still routed the Indiana Pacers 140-113 in the absence of the two-time reigning MVP.

Jrue Holiday led the way with 28 points and 14 assists to guide the Bucks to a seventh consecutive victory at home to the Pacers.

 

Gobert enjoys career-high game

Rudy Gobert had 21 points, 10 rebounds and a career-high nine blocks as the NBA-leading Utah Jazz eased past the Chicago Bulls 120-95. The All-Star became the first Jazz player to record nine-plus blocks in a game since Andrei Kirilenko in 2006. Gobert fell just short of becoming the first Jazz player to post a triple-double since 2008. Donovan Mitchell added 30 points for the visiting Jazz.

Luke Kennard was flawless in the Los Angeles Clippers' 119-110 win against the Atlanta Hawks. He was eight-of-eight shooting, while he also made all four of his three-point attempts for 20 points off the bench in 18 minutes. Kawhi Leonard scored 25 points and Terance Mann contributed a season-high 21 points as the Clippers rallied from a 22-point deficit in the second half, snapping Atlanta's eight-game winning streak.

The Oklahoma City Thunder topped the Minnesota Timberwolves 112-103 thanks to 31 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Oklahoma City set a season high with 21 three-pointers in just 37 attempts (56.8 per cent).

 

George struggles

The Clippers won but star Paul George struggled. In 33 minutes, George had eight points on just three-of-12 shooting. He was also just two-of-seven from three-point range.

Chris Boucher had a forgettable outing for the out-of-form Raptors. He was one-of-seven shooting, while missing all four of his attempts from beyond the arc in a four-point display.

 

From inside his own half!

Danuel House Jr. nailed a stunning half-time buzzer-beater from beyond half court against the Raptors.

 

Monday's results

Sacramento Kings 119-105 Cleveland Cavaliers
Oklahoma City Thunder 112-103 Minnesota Timberwolves
Charlotte Hornets 100-97 San Antonio Spurs
Utah Jazz 120-95 Chicago Bulls
Houston Rockets 117-99 Toronto Raptors
Memphis Grizzlies 132-126 Boston Celtics (OT)
Milwaukee Bucks 140-113 Indiana Pacers
Los Angeles Clippers 119-110 Atlanta Hawks

 

76ers at Warriors

The Eastern Conference-leading 76ers (30-13) – riding back-to-back wins – travel to the Golden State Warriors (22-21) on Tuesday. Golden State will be without star Stephen Curry (back).

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    Andy Murray bowed out in the opening round of what is likely to be his final French Open appearance, following a straight-sets defeat by Stan Wawrinka.

    The Swiss ran out a commanding 6-4 6-4 6-2 victor in two hours and 19 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier, and could play Murray's compatriot Cameron Norrie in round two.

    Murray was facing Wawrinka for a third successive match at Roland Garros, having lost out to the latter in the 2020 first round and 2017 semi-finals.

    The 2015 champion stole an early advantage this time around, too, breaking in the opening game and subsequently holding to win the first set.

    A single break was also enough in the second set as Wawrinka doubled his lead.

    Murray has repeatedly said he is approaching the end of his career, revealing in February that he does not "plan on playing much past this summer".

    However, the 2016 runner-up's chances of extending what is potentially his French Open swansong were all but ended as Wawrinka broke twice in the third set for a 4-0 lead, before the 39-year-old rounded off a dominant win.

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    Wawrinka (39) and Murray (37) locked horns in the second-oldest match-up at Roland Garros this century, behind the 2019 first-round showdown between Ivo Karlovic (40) and Feliciano Lopez (37).

    And the Swiss was not to be denied, as he became the oldest man to win a match at the French Open since compatriot Roger Federer three years ago.

  • Leeds United 0-1 Southampton: Armstrong sends Saints marching back into Premier League Leeds United 0-1 Southampton: Armstrong sends Saints marching back into Premier League

    Southampton secured an immediate return to the Premier League after Adam Armstrong was the hero in a 1-0 victory over Leeds United in the Championship play-off final.

    Saints' top scorer Armstrong provided the decisive first-half strike at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, with his 24th league goal of the season sending Russell Martin’s side straight back into England's top division.

    The pair had scored a combined 197 goals this campaign, but just the one finish was enough to settle what was only the third second-tier play-off final between two sides relegated the previous year.

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    Daniel Farke's team settled the quicker of the two sides, who were separated by just three points during the regular season, but with little success in front of goal.

    Archie Gray – the youngest Leeds player to appear at Wembley – drilled just wide early on, while Wilfried Gnonto shot straight at Alex McCarthy.

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    Armstrong beat the offside trap after Ethan Ampadu's mindless charge out from the back, latching onto Will Smallbone’s throughball before neatly slotting past Illan Meslier.

    A shoulder injury forced a distraught David Brooks off soon after but the Saints went close to doubling their lead just before the break as Meslier parried away Armstrong’s drive.

    Crysencio Summerville curled just wide from the edge of the box within four minutes of the restart as Leeds sought an equaliser.

    Substitute James rattled the crossbar with a right-footed effort six minutes from time and was again denied by McCarthy, as Southampton held on to seal their return back to the big time.

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    Southampton were appearing in their first-ever play-off final, and they had lost on eight of their 10 previous visits to Wembley, including each of the last five.

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    Armstrong's cool finish proved the difference; his 24 goals this term is the most by a Southampton player in a single season since Rickie Lambert struck 27 in 2011-12 – their last promotion-winning campaign.

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    Spain's Alcaraz had worries over featuring at Roland-Garros, where he was defeated in the semi-final last year, due to a troublesome arm injury.

    The 21-year-old played through his first-round victory with a supportive sleeve on his right arm, though that issue did not cause Alcaraz any problems on his emphatic return.

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    "I don't need too many matches to get to 100 per cent. I think I prepared well these past two weeks before coming to Paris.

    "I felt well moving. My forearm is getting better and better. That is something good for me.

    "I think I don't need too many matches to play my best."

    Alcaraz claimed a 12th win from his opening 15 matches at Roland-Garros. Since 2000, only two players have claimed more from that opening span of matches – Rafael Nadal (15) and Juan Carlos Ferrero (13).

    The powerful Alcaraz also boasts a record of 21-1 against players ranked outside the top 50 at major events, with his only such defeat inflicted by Mikael Ymer at the 2021 Australian Open.

    "I am really happy to be back here and back here in Paris," Alcaraz added. "To compete again has been a difficult month for me. I love competing and playing tennis. To stay away from that was hurting for me.

    "I tried everything I could do to be here at 100 per cent. I think I showed my best tennis today. I'm really, really happy to show my best tennis again.

    "I love playing here in Paris. The energy from the crowd here is something special. Seeing the full stadium in the first round is amazing. It's great for tennis to have a lot of people come into the tournament. I'm trying to make the people enjoy as well."

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