NBA

Giannis dominates in Bucks win, Lillard drops 39 as Blazers beat 76ers

By Sports Desk November 21, 2021

Giannis Antetokounmpo's monster performance helped the Milwaukee Bucks top the Orlando Magic 117-108 in the NBA on Saturday.

Antetokounmpo posted 32 points and collected 20 rebounds to fuel the NBA champions at home to the lowly Magic in Milwaukee.

The Finals MVP became the fifth player to reach 32 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, two steals and three blocks in a game over the past 40 season, following in the footsteps of DeMarcus Cousins, Tim Duncan, David Robinson and Hakeem Olajuwon.

Bobby Portis added a season-high 24 points along with 15 rebounds as the streaking Bucks (9-8) celebrated their third consecutive victory.

 

 

Lillard leads Blazers

Damian Lillard had a season-high 39 points as the Portland Trail Blazers outlasted the Philadelphia 76ers 118-111. Portland improved to 8-1 at home to his season. The 76ers, who continue to be without MVP runner-up Joel Embiid (COVID protocol), were led by 28 points apiece from Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey.

All-Star pair Rudy Gobert (21 points and 14 rebounds) and Donovan Mitchell (26 points) inspired the Utah Jazz to a 123-105 victory away to the Sacramento Kings.

 

Lowry struggles from the floor

The Miami Heat's prized recruit, Kyle Lowry had an off night in the team's 103-100 loss at Eastern conference rivals the Washington Wizards. The NBA champion was just three-of-12 shooting – making one of only seven three-pointers in a seven-point display.

The Charlotte Hornets had their five-game winning streak snapped by the Atlanta Hawks, who prevailed 115-105. Charlotte tasted defeat, despite big performances from Miles Bridges (35 points and 10 rebounds) and LaMelo Ball (15 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds).

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    Erik ten Hag is not concerned by Wout Weghorst's lack of goals since joining Manchester United on loan as he believes the striker is helping to get more out of other players.

    Weghorst has started all six of United's matches since arriving from Burnley last month but has scored only once, in the 3-0 EFL Cup semi-final first-leg win at Nottingham Forest.

    The 30-year-old has also yet to assist a goal in his 439 minutes on the field and was substituted off shortly before the hour mark in Saturday's 2-1 league win over Crystal Palace.

    However, United have scored 13 goals across the six games Weghorst has played in, winning four of those, and he has received the backing of manager Ten Hag.

    "He is the one who makes players around him play better," Ten Hag said ahead of Thursday's Premier League meeting with Leeds United.

    "As a team we have to work better to anticipate his movements because his movements are good, and quite a lot of times he was close [to scoring]. 

    "He had many good actions and already a lot of good contributions to our results. He will score, but in the meantime he will do the other stuff, and do it good."

    Weghorst has an expected goals (xG) value of 1.66 since making his debut against Crystal Palace on January 18, which is the fourth most of any United player across that time.

    By comparison, United team-mate Marcus Rashford has scored three goals from an xG of 1.98 in that period.

    "It is not just about scoring as an individual but scoring from the team," Ten Hag added. "The team has to win. He is doing a very good job at this moment in several aspects."

    Weghorst is set to start against Leeds – the first of two league meetings between the sides in the space of four days – as Anthony Martial is once again ruled out with a hip injury.

    Martial has not played a full 90 minutes for United in the Premier League since January 2021 against Sheffield United and has started only six games in the competition this term.

    Ten Hag has been impressed by what he has seen from Martial, though, and insists the France international is working hard to return to full fitness.

    "He is not always available, but also I see the other side when he is available," Ten Hag said. 

    "He was never 100 per cent this season but he had a big impact every time he is available, even when he is at 80, 85, 90 per cent.

    "I think Anthony Martial is the player who has spent the most hours at Carrington this season, to return to recover, to get back, it is really so a pity for him that he is disappointed.

    "He's not always available and we want him to be always available as that will improve our game and because routines can't become routines when you're not always available."

    United are unbeaten in their past 17 home league games against Leeds, stretching back to a 1-0 loss in February 1981.

  • 'We will never see another LeBron' – Magic Johnson and Joe Biden lead 'King James' tributes 'We will never see another LeBron' – Magic Johnson and Joe Biden lead 'King James' tributes

    United States president Joe Biden has praised LeBron James for "inspiring the nation" after surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time regular season NBA scoring record.

    Los Angeles Lakers forward James entered Tuesday's game with the Oklahoma City Thunder needing 36 points to break Abdul-Jabbar's record, which had stood for 39 years.

    The four-time MVP moved past Abdul-Jabbar's 38,387 career points to go outright number one with a 14-foot fadeaway jumper late in the third quarter at Crypto.com Arena.

    James' game-high 38 points on 13-of-20 shooting with three steals were not enough to prevent the Lakers from losing 133-130 to the visiting Thunder.

    But it was job done on an individual level as he strengthened his case as being the greatest basketball player of all time – a debate that will rumble on for some time.

    A number of sports stars and wider global figures have paid tribute to James, who now has 38,390 career points to go with the four NBA titles won with three different teams.

    "LeBron, congratulations. With your whole heart and soul you broke a hell of a record. You elevated the game," US president Biden said in a video message. 

    "More than that, like Kareem, Bill Russell and others who came before you, you challenged and inspired the nation to be better, do better and live up to our full promise."

    James rose with both arms in celebration after making history and posed for photos with 75-year-old Abdul-Jabbar, who was in attendance in Los Angeles.

    Fellow Lakers great Magic Johnson said: "I never thought that Kareem's scoring record would be broken by anybody. 

    "It means more to myself and to our fans because you're wearing that purple and gold and broke it as a Laker. 

    "This historic moment is so special because we will never see another LeBron James."

    James has 7,314 points across five seasons with the Lakers, having previously scored 23,119 in 859 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers and 7,919 in 294 for the Miami Heat.

    NBA commissioner Adam Silver added: "It's a towering achievement that speaks to his sustained excellence over 20 seasons in the league. 

    "And quite amazingly, LeBron continues to play at an elite level and his basketball history is still being written."

    James is averaging 30.2 points per game this season, which is the seventh-best record in the division, narrowly ahead of Kevin Durant (29.7) and Stephen Curry (29.4).

    Golden State Warriors guard Curry and Brooklyn Nets forward Durant also congratulated James on his remarkable achievement.

    "Your sustained level of play for 20 years, reaching this pinnacle of scoring in basketball, it is unbelievable," Curry said. 

    "Way down the road, when we're reflecting back on our careers, we'll be able to be at that level knowing what it was like to battle at the highest level."

    Durant added: "It's even funny to just even say that, coming from where you have come from, how hard you grinded for this long. 

    "It's been an inspiration since day one. Much love and keep setting the bar high."

  • Devin Booker's return delivers a Suns win on Cam Thomas' history-making night Devin Booker's return delivers a Suns win on Cam Thomas' history-making night

    Devin Booker's return after a month and a half layoff inspired the Phoenix Suns to a 116-112 win over the Brooklyn Nets despite Cam Thomas putting up over 40 points for a third straight game.

    Tuesday's game was Booker's first since suffering a groin injury in a defeat to the Denver Nuggets in late December, with the Suns enduring a mixed time in his 21-game absence, including a run of six consecutive losses.

    But Booker was back into the swings of things against the Nets, scoring 19 points on six-of-15 shooting while adding six assists in 26 minutes to help the Suns to another win.

    Booker was delighted to be back, telling reporters after the game: "That's all I want right there, man.

    "Just competition, being back out there with the band, feeling that energy, feeling that presence. The team has it rolling right now, so just inserting myself in a way that wasn't disruptive and try to keep the flow that they have."

    Suns coach Monty Williams feels Booker's desperation to win is the key to the positive effect he has on his team-mates, saying: "Devin's attitude is always he just wants to eat. Kill and eat. That's how he operates. And he's a winner. And he wants to do everything he can to win the game.

    "I thought the guys got a great deal of energy from him tonight just being on the floor. Everybody's excited that he's back."

    Booker's winning return to the court was nearly derailed by another spectacular effort from Thomas, who at 21-years-old became the youngest player to ever score 40 points in three consecutive games.

    The guard racked up a career-high 44 points against the Washington Wizards on Saturday and then another career-best 47 against the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday, before his 43-point effort in the defeat to Booker's Suns.

    While he was frustrated two of those games ended in defeats, Thomas is enjoying the historic form he finds himself in, stating: "It's real surreal. I'm just glad to have my name in the history books, being this young.

    "Obviously, I'd rather have the win because it sounds better when you have these 40-point games with the two [games] that we lost.

    "But it's just good to have my name in history, I'm just going to embrace it. Just be proud of all the hard work you put in."

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