NBA

Suns sizzle as Celtics cool Heat, Thunder stun LeBron-less Lakers

By Sports Desk November 05, 2021

Last season's NBA Finals runners-up the Phoenix Suns took down the Houston Rockets 123-111 for their third consecutive win on Thursday.

Devin Booker inspired the Suns with 27 points while Landry Shamet added 19 points off the bench in Phoenix.

Chris Paul contributed 13 assists, nine points and five steals for the Suns (4-3), who moved above .500 for the first time this season.

Paul is averaging 12.0 assists and 2.4 steals per game in 2021-22. Entering the contest, this season had marked the fifth time in the last 25 years a player has averaged at least 11.0 assists and 2.0 steals over his first six games of a season – the Suns All-Star has been responsible for four of the five, per Stats Perform.

 

Christian Wood (18 points and 15 rebounds) and Kevin Porter Jr. (20 points) starred but the lowly Rockets (1-7) dropped their fifth straight game.

 

Celtics cool red-hot Heat

The Boston Celtics (4-5) have struggled for form this season, though they made a statement with a 95-78 win over the Miami Heat (6-2). Miami – top of the Eastern Conference prior to the game – had their worst scoring performance since January 2016.

The Philadelphia 76ers (7-1) moved to the top of the east thanks to a 109-98 win at the struggling Detroit Pistons (1-7). Seth Curry produced another stellar shooting display – going nine of 14 from the field – for 23 points. MVP runner-up Joel Embiid had 19 points and nine rebounds as he collected his 3,000th career board in his 268th game – the only 76er in history to reach the mark sooner was Hall of Famer Charles Barkley (253 games).

 

Lakers streak snapped

Playing without injured superstar LeBron James, the Los Angeles Lakers (5-4) had their three-game winning streak ended after being stunned 107-104 by the Oklahoma City Thunder (2-6).

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    For Milwaukee coach Doc Rivers, however, the focus is squarely on preparing for the postseason as the Bucks eye their third NBA Championship.

    Antetokounmpo surpassed the 40-point mark for the eighth time this season, also adding 16 rebounds and six assists, as the Bucks recorded their fifth straight victory.

    The win was the 489th of Antetokounmpo's Bucks career including both regular-season and playoff games, taking the two-time NBA MVP clear of Sidney Moncrief as the winningest player in franchise history.

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    "Hopefully, we can keep it up. Right now, it's just about trust. We've just got to trust one another. That's it, win or lose, we have to have the same trust."

    For coach Rivers, who has led the team to an 8-7 run since replacing Adrian Griffin in January, all that matters is ensuring Milwaukee are ready for the postseason.

    "We're winning games, but for us, it's not about that right now," Rivers said. "Our whole key is getting ready. That's the first thing I told the players. 

    "We still have work to do, we're still pushing, we've got to get better. It's nicer to get wins than to lose, but we're not where we want to be yet."

    Milwaukee, who sit third in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, are back in action against the 38-20 Los Angeles Clippers on Monday. 

    They then embark on a four-game California road stretch on Wednesday, when they face the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center. 

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    Russell Westbrook has been sidelined indefinitely after fracturing his left hand during the Los Angeles Clippers' 140-115 win over the Washington Wizards on Friday.

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    Westbrook was the last remaining Clipper to have not missed a single game all season, but the team handled his absence well, improving to 38-20 with a dominant win.

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    Jaylen Brown had 25 points and Kristaps Porzingis added 24 as seven Celtics scored in double figures.

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    Giannis Antetokounmpo poured in 46 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks defeated the Chicago Bulls 113-97 for their fifth consecutive win.

    Antetokoumpo shot 16 of 22 from the field, made 2 of 3 from long range and sank 12 of 16 free throws in his eighth 40-plus point game this season.

    Patrick Beverley scored 14 points and Brook Lopez added 12 for the Bucks, who improved to 8-7 under Doc Rivers and moved into a virtual tie with Cleveland for first place in the Central Division.

    Chicago’s DeMar DeRozan became the 35th player in NBA history to accumulate 23,000 points. He scored 12 points – all but two in the second half – and was 5 of 13 from the field after missing his first six shots.

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    Warriors win again on road

    Stephen Curry scored 25 points and Jonathan Kuminga added 24 to lead the Golden State Warriors to their eighth straight road win, 120-105 over the Toronto Raptors, who lost All-Star Scottie Barnes.

    Moses Moody had 17 points and Klay Thompson was next with 14 as the Warriors won their third straight and 13th in 15 games.

    Barnes broke his left middle finger late in the first half and the Raptors said he would be out indefinitely. He had 10 points and six rebounds in 16 minutes, ending a career-best streak of five consecutive double-doubles.

    Golden State overcame some troublesome travel after it had to switch planes following Thursday night’s win over New York. The Warriors endured a long wait on the tarmac, finally arriving at its Toronto hotel shortly after 7 a.m. Friday morning.

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