NBA

LeBron top scores upon return as Lakers beat Cavs, Harden finds form as Nets win

By Sports Desk October 30, 2021

LeBron James returned from injury with 26 points as the Los Angeles Lakers overcame a slow first half to defeat his former team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, 113-101 on Friday.

James had missed the Lakers' past two games with a sore ankle but marked his return by top scoring, adding eight assists and three rebounds.

The four-time MVP only shot 10 from 22 from the field and one from 10 from three-point range, draining a three-quarter time buzzer beater from almost halfway.

Carmelo Anthony added 24 points off the bench for the Lakers while Anthony Davis had 15 points, nine rebounds and three assists.

The Cavs, who have beaten contenders the Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers this season, led by as much as 11 points at one stage, including holding a one-point lead into the fourth quarter.

James played a lead role in steadying the ship for the Lakers, who scored 25-16 in the fourth quarter to win by 12 points and improve their record to 3-3.

 

Harden finds his scoring touch

James Harden re-discovered some form with a season-high 29 points, including 21 in the first half, in the Brooklyn Nets' 105-98 win over the Indiana Pacers. LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points off the bench to reach 20,000 career NBA points, while Kevin Durant dominated with 22 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists.

Jimmy Butler starred with 32 points, 10 rebounds and five assists while Bam Adebayo added 26 points and 19 rebounds as the Miami Heat downed the in-form Charlotte Hornets 114-99.

Damian Lillard hit five from seven three-pointers, finishing with 25 points as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 111-92. Paul George finished with 42 points for the Clippers, who are 1-3.

 

Doncic wayward as Mavs routed

Luka Doncic had an off-night, with 16 points, shooting five from 18 from the field as the Dallas Mavericks were brushed aside 106-75 by the Denver Nuggets.

Hornets guard LaMelo Ball's bright start to the season has stalled, managing only six points in their loss to the Heat, shooting none from five from beyond the arc.

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  • Kerr accepts blame for shock defeat to Pacers: 'This was my night to stink it up' Kerr accepts blame for shock defeat to Pacers: 'This was my night to stink it up'

    Steve Kerr has accepted the blame for the Golden State Warriors' shock defeat to a depleted Indiana Pacers side, saying "this was my night to stink it up".

    Stephen Curry's 39 points were not enough for the Warriors as they lost 121-117 in overtime on Thursday to go 32-13 for the season.

    The Warriors gave away 21 turnovers against a Pacers side without Domantas Sabonis (ankle), Caris LeVert (calf) and Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles).

    Kerr's side led by three points in regulation time, making the decision not to foul in the build-up to the Pacers' game-tying shot all the more surprising.

    Speaking on the back of arguably the Warriors' worst defeat this season, Kerr said: "I'm normally a fouler, so I take the hit on that one. Tonight was my night to stink it up.

    "I blame myself, number one. I don't think I prepared my team to be ready to play. I did not do a good job of preparing the group."

    Curry's 39 points are the most he has managed in a game since before Christmas, with his season average of 26.4 down on last term's career-high 32.0.

    The 33-year-old failed to score in overtime, while Klay Thompson missed all seven of his 3-point tries in a day to forget for the Warriors.

    "It wasn't a great game in terms of our execution," Kerr said. "It just felt like we were scattered out there and in a rush for sure."

    Thursday's defeat was a chastening one for the Warriors and leaves them second in the Western Conference with a .711 win percentage.

    And like coach Kerr, Curry felt he could have done more to get his side over the line in regulation time by fouling Justin Holiday or Isaiah Jackson for the shot that tied the game.

    "I looked at the ball for like two seconds," Curry said. "Holiday made a good cut and made a shot. I know there's that conversation, should we have fouled and all. 

    "I was just a step slow and that one gave him too wide-open of a look. Trying to guard the inbounds and I got caught looking."

    The shorthanded Pacers have moved to 17-29 for the season after beating LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers and Curry's Warriors in successive games.

    In doing so, they become the second side in NBA history to beat different multi-time former MVPs on the road in back-to-back games.

    Chris Duarte, who led the way for the Pacers with 27 points and seven rebounds to tie his career-best return, hailed the significance of his side's surprise victory.

    "Golden State is a great, great team," he said. 

    "They got two of the best players – two of the best shooters that you've ever seen in this game – so I think us coming out with the win, it's a huge, huge win for us."

  • Doncic 'sore' but optimistic that neck injury is not serious Doncic 'sore' but optimistic that neck injury is not serious

    Luka Doncic is hopeful of playing against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday despite suffering a neck injury in Thursday's defeat to the Phoenix Suns.

    Doncic, star man for the Dallas Mavericks, sustained the injury when he fell to the court after contact with Suns center Bismack Biyombo in the third quarter of the 109-101 loss.

    The two-time NBA All-Star was seen clutching the back of his neck after the fall and had to apply a heat pack to the area.

    The 22-year-old Slovenian made his way back onto the court to play out the final seven minutes, though he could not inspire the Mavs to victory as a four-game winning streak was snapped.

    Doncic is confident he will be fine to return against the Grizzlies, however. 

    "It's my neck. It's the spine," Doncic explained to reporters after the game. "When I fell down, I hit my back. It's pretty sore right now.

    "I think it's a little worse because it's the spine. But it'll be OK in a couple of days."

    Doncic, who registered 28 points against the Suns, played with a neck injury in last season's playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers.

    He has averaged 25.2 points per game this season, 5.1 more than any other Mavs player, while he also leads the team for rebounds (8.8) and assists (8.7).

    Across 31 games so far in 2021-22, Doncic's points average is down on last season (27.7 across 61 appearances).

    The Mavs sit fifth in the Western Conference with 26-20 record and .565 win percentage. 

    Thursday's defeat was only their second in 12 games, but the Suns simply had too much. Phoenix hold the NBA's best record so far this season, sitting on 35-9 with a .795 win rate.

    Devin Booker led the Suns with 28 points, five rebounds and six assists, and claimed trust within the Phoenix roster has been crucial to their success so far.

    "We all trust each other," Booker told reporters.

    "We had a lot of learning curves last year, but having that time and that experience together, I know put us in a situation where we never hit the panic button.

    "We never get flustered or out of whack. We just stick with what we do."

  • Curry hits 39 as Warriors shocked by depleted Pacers, table-topping Suns down Mavs Curry hits 39 as Warriors shocked by depleted Pacers, table-topping Suns down Mavs

    Stephen Curry scored 39 points but it was not enough as the Golden State Warriors were shocked by a depleted Indiana Pacers 121-117 in over-time on Thursday.

    The Pacers were without Domantas Sabonis (ankle), Caris LeVert (calf) and Malcolm Brogdon (Achilles) yet found a way to win led by Chris Duarte with 27 points and seven rebounds.

    Curry hit six three-pointers in his 39-point haul with five rebounds and eight assists while Kevin Looney had 13 points and 15 rebounds.

    The two-time MVP shot 12 of 27 from the field, while Klay Thompson shot six of 17 from the field and zero of seven from beyond the arc.

    The Warriors gave away 21 turnovers for the game which was costly as the Pacers claimed rare back-to-back road wins.

     

    Suns clinch fifth straight win

    The table-topping Phoenix Suns stormed home with a 35-19 fourth quarter to knock off Luka Doncic's Dallas Mavericks 109-101.

    Devin Booker finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, while Chris Paul had 20 points and 11 assists. The Suns enjoyed a 22-6 run to finish the game, with Paul underlining their clutch status with a late three-pointer.

    Phoenix improve to 35-9 on the back of a five-game winning run. Doncic, who nursed a minor neck issue, had 28 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the Mavs.

     

    Knicks clipped by Pelicans

    Julius Randle shot one-of-nine from the field as the New York Knicks were humbled 102-91 by the New Orleans Pelicans. Randle only managed four points, while Kemba Walker also struggled with only five points.

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