NBA

Irving drops 40 after Harden re-injury, Doncic ends Jazz's winning streak

By Sports Desk April 05, 2021

Kyrie Irving stepped up with 40 points after James Harden went off injured early in the Brooklyn Nets' 114-112 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday.

In his first game back following hamstring tightness, Harden left the court after four minutes with an issue with the same hamstring and did not return.

The Nets were already without Kevin Durant, Tyler Johnson, Landry Shamet and Blake Griffin but their star point guard lifted when his side needed him, improving Brooklyn's record to 35-16 and moving them top in the East.

Irving finished with 40 points, including five three-pointers and seven assists, while Jeff Green contributed 23 points.

The Utah Jazz's nine-game winning run was halted by Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in a 111-103 win.

Doncic went close to a triple-double, finishing with 31 points along with nine rebounds and eight assists for the Mavs.

Booker on fire, Westbrook dominates in defeat

Devin Booker dominated again with 36 points for the Phoenix Suns, who won 133-130 over the Houston Rockets to move to 35-14.

Booker has had a hot hand lately and delivered when it mattered, with 18 final-quarter points getting the Suns past the Rockets.

Chris Paul had 11 assists for Phoenix, becoming the fifth player in NBA history to reach 10 or more assists 500 times.

Russell Westbrook had another triple-double with 23 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists but the Washington Wizards lost 103-101 to the Toronto Raptors after Gary Trent Jr's buzzer-beater.

Darius Garland scored a career-high 37 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers won 125-101 over the San Antonio Spurs.

 

Harden hurt again

Brooklyn's MVP candidate Harden did not last long in his return game after hamstring tightness, failing to score before being benched and tested in the locker room for a re-injury. Nets coach Steve Nash said: "Very similar to last time. He's got an awareness that something isn't right in his hammy."

 

Trent's buzzer-beater

Trent hit a clutch three-point buzzer-beater to earn the Toronto Raptors a dramatic victory over the Washington Wizards, completing a 19-point comeback.

Monday's results

Minnesota Timberwolves 116-106 Sacramento Kings 
Detroit Pistons 132-108 Oklahoma City Thunder
Cleveland Cavaliers 125-101 San Antonio Spurs
Toronto Raptors 103-101 Washington Wizards
Dallas Mavericks 111-103 Utah Jazz
Brooklyn Nets 114-112 New York Knicks
Phoenix Suns 133-130 Houston Rockets

 

76ers at Celtics

There are a bunch of big match-ups on Tuesday but the biggest is in the East when the Boston Celtics (25-25) host the Philadelphia 76ers (34-16), who have Joel Embiid back from injury.

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    The Miami Heat are desperate to silence their doubters and are using outside criticism as fuel in their first-round playoff series against the Boston Heat, having levelled it up at 1-1.

    That is according to forward Bam Adebayo, who had 21 points and was nine of 13 shooting in the Heat's 111-101 win at TD Garden on Wednesday.

    Miami buried their hosts under a mountain of 3-pointers in Game 2, setting a franchise record for a postseason game by shooting 23 of 43 (53.5 per cent) from the field.

    Speaking after the game, Adebayo said the way in which the Eastern Conference's eighth seeds have been written off by neutrals was spurring them on.

    "We've been doubted a lot through our playoff runs, people saying we couldn't do a lot of stuff that we eventually did," Adebayo said.

    "So for me and my team, why lose belief now? Our backs are against the wall. Everybody's against us. So just use that as fuel.

    "Our guys believe we can win. So, let's make it mano a mano… a cage fight. Let's hoop!"

    Caleb Martin joined Adebayo on 21 points with five 3s, being booed by the Boston crowd every time he touched the ball following his heavy collision with Jayson Tatum in Game 1.

    Jaime Jaquez Jr. contributed 14 points with three 3s, Nikola Jovic added a trio of 3s and Haywood Highsmith came off the bench to sink three 3s.

    Martin said Miami's new shoot-on-sight mentality was part of a plan drawn up by Erik Spoelstra, saying: "I think it was about realising that being passive hurts us. 

    "We'd just be playing into their gameplan. We're too good of a shooting team to hesitate from 3."

    Spoelstra himself said the Heat had taken the decision to be more proactive after being sunk by Boston's 3-point shooting in Game 1.

    "I understand the math of it," the Miami coach said. "We're not going to shoot 50 of them. That's not realistic."

  • NBA: Heat get even with Celtics; Thunder roll Pelicans for 2-0 lead NBA: Heat get even with Celtics; Thunder roll Pelicans for 2-0 lead

    Tyler Herro had 24 points and 14 assists and hit six of Miami’s franchise playoff-record 23 3-pointers as the Heat defeated the Boston Celtics, 111-101, to even their first-round series at a game apiece on Wednesday.

    Bam Adebayo had 21 points and 10 rebounds and Caleb Martin added 21 points with five 3s for the Heat, who shot 53.5 percent (23 of 43) from long range to break the franchise playoff record of 20 3s, set against Milwaukee in 2021.

    Jaime Jaquez Jr. contributed 14 points with three 3s, Nikola Jovic added a trio of 3s, nine rebounds and six assists and Haywood Highsmith came off the bench to hit three 3s.

    The series shifts to Miami for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.

    Jaylen Brown scored 33 points and Jayson Tatum added 28 for the top-seeded Celtics, who cut Miami’s lead to 102-96 with three minutes left. But Martin hit a 3 and Herro made a driving layup to essentially seal the win.

    Tatum scored 14 points in the first quarter and showed no ill effects after he was undercut by Martin while going after a rebound in the final minute in Game 1.

     

    Gilgeous-Alexander, Holmgren power Thunder

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 33 points and Chet Holmgren added 26 to lead the hot-shooting Oklahoma City Thunder to a 124-92 rout of the New Orleans Pelicans and a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round series.

    Jalen Williams had 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the Thunder, who shot 59 percent (46 for 78) from the floor and made 14 of 29 (48.3 percent) from 3-point range.

    Game 3 will be Sunday in New Orleans.

    Jonas Valanciunas had 19 points and Herbert Jones and Brandon Ingram each added 18 as the Pelicans continued to struggle offensively without injured star Zion Williamson (strained left hamstring).

    New Orleans missed 19 of 26 from beyond the arc and made 33 field goals to 46 for Oklahoma City.

  • NBA acknowledges refereeing errors in 76ers chaotic loss to Knicks NBA acknowledges refereeing errors in 76ers chaotic loss to Knicks

    The NBA has acknowledged numerous refereeing errors after the Philadelphia 76ers were on the wrong end of late decisions in a chaotic defeat to the New York Knicks.

    Nick Nurse, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey all voiced 76ers frustration after the Knicks came back from 101-96 down to win 104-101 on Monday in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference quarter-final series.

    Philadelphia coach Nurse suggested his timeout calls were ignored on two separate occasions in the frantic finale, while Maxey and Embiid were left aggrieved with foul decisions during the same period.

    In its Last Two Minute Report, the league concurred with the 76ers claims after admitting Maxey was fouled in the build-up to Jalen Brunson's 3-pointer that cut Philadelphia's lead to just two.

    The same report also found that Maxey was illegally felled by Josh Hart, turning over for Donte DiVincenzo missing a decisive go-ahead 3-pointer before making the winning shot with 13 seconds remaining.

    "[Maxey] did his job," Embiid said after the game when asked about the turnover in the closing seconds. "That's on the league. That's on the NBA.

    "That's on the referees. I hate to put the game on them. But I am sure the two-minute report is going to come out and we are going to see what happened."

    Maxey blamed himself and refused to dwell on the matter after the 76ers fell 2-0 down in the best-of-seven series, while Nurse was also left disappointed on the sidelines by the officiating.

    Nurse claimed he twice attempted to call timeout, with the league's report acknowledging one of those should have been granted when 76ers point guard Kyle Lowry was inbounding the ball.

    "I guess I got to run out onto the floor or do something to make sure and get his attention, but I needed a timeout there to advance it," Nurse lamented after the game.

    The Last Two Minutes Report reviewed two other errors in officiating, having missed an Embiid foul on DiVincenzo before Brunson's 3-pointer and a defensive violation by Knicks forward OG Anunoby.

    Though the NBA acknowledged the mistakes, no replay will be granted – a decision the Knicks are all too familiar with.

    New York wanted a replay earlier this season after referee Jacyn Goble made an incorrect call for a foul on Houston Rockets guard Aaron Holiday, though that call was labelled as human error.

    Both teams will be hoping for less drama when Games 3 and 4 come on Thursday and Sunday in Philadelphia.

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