NBA

Irving leads Nets to summit as Harden sits out, Jazz players feared 'the end' during flight

By Sports Desk April 01, 2021

Kyrie Irving was the hero for the Brooklyn Nets after James Harden exited due to hamstring tightness as he inspired a 120-108 win over the lowly Houston Rockets.

The Nets trailed by as many as 18 points, while NBA MVP hopeful Harden sat out the fourth quarter against his former team the Rockets with right hamstring tightness.

Harden finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 27 minutes on Wednesday.

But star team-mate Irving picked up the slack, posting 31 points and a season-high 12 assists to guide the Nets to the top of the Eastern Conference.

The Nets, who have won 19 of their past 22 games, are a half-game clear of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Meanwhile, the NBA-leading Utah Jazz feared 'the end" before their 111-107 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Utah's charter flight was forced into an emergency landing after the plane collided with a flock of birds, causing an engine fire and failure.

After scoring 26 points to lift the Jazz, All-Star Mike Conley told reporters: "For a good 10 or 15 minutes, I think all of us on that flight were questioning if we were going to be here today.

"That's how serious it was for us. I can't speak for everybody, but I know that guys were trying to text family just in case, you know? It was that kind of situation."

"It got to that point where we were all on the plane like, 'This might be really the end'," Utah's Jordan Clarkson added in the absence of Donovan Mitchell. "I mean, it was a crazy situation. I understand fully why Don didn't come."

 

Giannis and Bucks take down Lakers, Booker has Suns sizzling

Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and three blocks as the Milwaukee Bucks beat the injury-hit Los Angeles Lakers 112-97. Jrue Holiday top-scored with 28 points for the Bucks, who snapped a three-game losing run.

Devin Booker put up a season-high 45 points in the Phoenix Sun's 121-116 victory against the Chicago Bulls. Chris Paul added 19 points and 14 assists.

Luka Doncic had a game-high 36 points as the Dallas Mavericks held on to defeat the Boston Celtics 113-108. Doncic is now tied with Nikola Jokic for the most NBA games with 30-plus points, five-plus rebounds and five-plus assists this season – 15.

The Portland Trail Blazers were 124-101 winners over the Detroit Pistons thanks to a double-double of 33 points and 10 assists from Damian Lillard.

 

Painful debut for Drummond

Andre Drummond's Lakers debut did not go according to plan. Acquired by the defending champions after clearing waivers on Sunday, the two-time All-Star hobbled off the court with a toe injury. Drummond was two-for-six shooting, while he missed both of his free throws prior to exiting after 14 minutes.

 

Family time

It was a special moment as the three Antetokounmpo brothers took to the court in Los Angeles. Two-time reigning MVP Giannis was joined by brother and team-mate Thanasis and Lakers forward Kostas post-game.

 

Wednesday's results:

Portland Trail Blazers 124-101 Detroit Pistons
Miami Heat 92-87 Indiana Pacers
Dallas Mavericks 113-108 Boston Celtics
Brooklyn Nets 120-108 Houston Rockets
Utah Jazz 111-107 Memphis Grizzlies
Minnesota Timberwolves 102-101 New York Knicks
Oklahoma City Thunder 113-103 Toronto Raptors
San Antonio Spurs 120-106 Sacramento Kings
Phoenix Suns 121-111 Chicago Bulls
Milwaukee Bucks 112-97 Los Angeles Lakers

 

76ers at Cavaliers

The 76ers (32-15) will look to snap a two-game losing streak and keep up with the Nets when they visit the Cleveland Cavaliers (17-30) on Thursday.

Related items

  • Comeback win proves Nets' mentality as Vaughn confirms Irving call Comeback win proves Nets' mentality as Vaughn confirms Irving call

    Jacque Vaughn believes the Brooklyn Nets proved what they want to be by fighting back to defeat the Washington Wizards on Saturday.

    Cam Thomas scored 44 points from the bench as the Nets overturned a 23-point deficit at Barclays Center.

    The Nets were without star players Kevin Durant, Ben Simmons and Kyrie Irving, the latter missing with a calf issue having this week requested a trade.

    Irving was not in attendance, with Vaughn saying "we were all in agreement on him not being here", as the Nets coach hailed his team's mental fortitude.

    "We stacked the deck, I think, at mentally challenging them tonight," he told reporters. 

    "We didn't get off to the start that we wanted to, but we responded. We talked about it at half-time that it was more than the physical piece of this game that we were missing, it was the mental piece of this game.

    "Definitely a shift in our mentality. And we got rewarded for it.

    "It's proof, it's evidence of who we want to be as a team. We talked about what day of the week, what state we're in, how many guys are available.

    "It just doesn't matter. You have the ability and the choice to lock in and play and the group that we had did that."

    Thomas' points haul was a career-best tally for the 21-year-old, who has played 35 times this season but is yet to make a start.

    Edmond Sumner added 29 points but used his post-match press conference to laud his team-mate's match-winning efforts.

    "I'm watching him score after score. Cam's a guy that once he gets that type of rhythm, you've just got to let him go," Sumner said.

    "He can run off 10, 15, 20 straight. In the fourth quarter, he really picked it up and got it. Get it going, Cam. Go to work my guy. I love it."

    Saturday's game marked an 11th start of the season for Sumner, who can empathise with Thomas when it comes to a lack of opportunities.

    Sumner added: "People don't see what we really go through every day.

    "It's hard not playing games when you're busting your butt every day – it's hard. For you to always stay mentally happy, it's tough.

    "I know how hard he works, how talented he is. We stay ready every day, we compete against each other almost every day, so that was huge.

    "I love that everybody on this team was happy for him and then we let him go to work."

  • Curry injury a 'concern' as Warriors await MRI results Curry injury a 'concern' as Warriors await MRI results

    Stephen Curry's knee injury suffered during Saturday's win over the Dallas Mavericks is a "concern" for Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr.

    The reigning NBA champions had enough to close out the game, beating the Mavs 119-113 at Chase Center.

    But Curry – who recorded 21 points, seven assists and six rebounds – was forced off in the third quarter.

    Defending a drive, Curry was involved in a collision that instantly caused him obvious discomfort and prevented him from continuing.

    The Warriors confirmed X-ray results came back negative, but more examinations are required to understand the full nature of the injury.

    "Any time a guy's going to get an MRI there's a concern level, for sure," Kerr said. "So we'll just have to wait and see the results.

    "This has happened many, many times over the years. So, fingers crossed he's OK."

    Curry hurt the same knee only two days before against the Denver Nuggets, though Kerr was unsure if the two injuries had any form of relation.

    If Curry does require a spell on the sidelines, Kerr and the Warriors can at least study their game from his last prolonged absence earlier this season when a shoulder injury forced him to miss 11 games.

    "If he's out, then we move forward and we do have some games to look at, some game film to look at," Kerr added. "We'll be ready, regardless."

    Curry's exit coincided with a significant drop-off for the Warriors, who went from 20 points up to having just a five-point lead with a little over 90 seconds left.

    It is not the first time the Warriors have been unconvincing when trying to close a game out, with Draymond Green suggesting the players need to take more responsibility.

    "When we get down the stretch, we stop doing the things that work," he said. "When the game is going down the stretch, it's hard for Steve [Kerr] to get a call in every time.

    "You're under pressure, it's intense, you're in the game, you're not really focused on what's coming from the sidelines. We've got to do a better job closing down the stretch."

    This victory took the Warriors to 27-26 for the season, leaving them seventh in the Western Conference.

  • LeBron on potential Irving trade: That's a 'duh' question LeBron on potential Irving trade: That's a 'duh' question

    LeBron James said it was a "duh" question when asked if Kyrie Irving is a player the Los Angeles Lakers should move for before the trade deadline.

    Irving has requested a trade away from the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the deadline next week.

    The eight-time All-Star did not feature for the Nets on Saturday due to a calf issue, though his absence was not felt too keenly in a comeback win over the Washington Wizards.

    James scored 27 points to edge closer to breaking Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record, yet it was not enough to help the Lakers avoid a 126-131 reverse to the New Orleans Pelicans.

    While the Lakers sit a lowly 13th in the Western Conference, with a 25-29 record for the season, they might still harbour hopes of a championship push should they get on a run and make the playoffs.

    In January, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said "there's no resource we'll hold onto" if an opportunity to win a championship was there, and a possible trade for Irving might just fall into that category.

    For James, it is a no-brainer, though he emphasised it is not his call.

    "That's a Rob question," James said when asked about the possibility of reuniting with Irving, whom he reached three NBA Finals with while at the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

    "You've got to see [Pelinka] when you all get back to L.A. I don't speak for our front office.

    "My mindset is whatever line-up or whatever group that we have is to make sure we prepare ourselves the best way we can to go out and win. 

    "Obviously, that's a – what's the word you use – 'Duh' question when you talk about a player that like that."

    One player who could be used as a makeweight in a potential trade is Russell Westbrook.

    The 2017 NBA MVP had 15 points, four assists and four rebounds from the bench on Saturday, though was not called upon by Darvin Ham in the final quarter.

    There is plenty of speculation over his future, but asked if he was feeling extra pressure, Westbrook replied: "I do not.

    "That's not up to me. I've known this was a business since I was 18, 19-years old, since I got into it.

    "My dad taught me that at that age, getting to this league is a business, and people make whatever decision they make, that's up to them.

    "I've been all in since day one. I'm very supportive of my team-mates. I compete every night. I'll make sure I'm ready and professional, like I always have been and always will be."

    James echoed the sentiment, adding: "It shouldn't be an issue. The trade deadline happens every single year.

    "You go out and focus, no matter what happens. You're still a professional."

    As for making history, James could break the points record on Tuesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

    "I just want to win, you know. You play the game the right way and see what happens," he said.

    "I'm tired as hell, [but] I'll be ready to go on Tuesday."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.