NBA

Knicks conquer LeBron-less Lakers, Nuggets skid reaches five games

By Sports Desk November 24, 2021

The Los Angeles Lakers were without suspended superstar LeBron James and not even a Russell Westbrook triple-double could fuel the title hopefuls as they were beaten 106-100 by the New York Knicks.

James was not on the court because of a ban handed down – the first of his illustrious career – for his ejection against the Detroit Pistons, the four-time NBA champion struck Isaiah Stewart in the face and drew blood, sparking a melee.

Since James joined the Lakers in 2018, the team had been averaging 113.0 points and with a winning percentage of 64.6 when he plays heading into the matchup, while averaging 107.4 points with a 39.7 winning percentage when he does not.

In his absence, former MVP Westbrook had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists but the Lakers still lost on the road against the Knicks on Tuesday.

Westbrook posted 18 points in the third quarter to tie the game after the Lakers (9-10) had fallen in a 25-point hole, however, the Knicks recovered to beat the storied franchise for the ninth time in 11 games.

Anthony Davis put a pre-game illness aside to battle for 20 points, six rebounds and three assists in 34 minutes.

Julius Randle inspired the Knicks (10-8) with 20 points, 16 rebounds and five assists, while Evan Fournier contributed a team-high 26 points.

 

 

Porzingis achieves career first as Mavs win

For the first time in his career, Kristaps Porzingis (30 points) scored 20 or more points in seven straight games after helping the Dallas Mavericks trump the Los Angeles Clippers 112-104 in over-time.

 

Denver's slide continues as Jokic sits out again

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic missed his third straight game due to a right wrist sprain and the Denver Nuggets went down 119-100 to the Portland Trail Blazers. The Nuggets have lost five consecutive games – their worst run since a five-game skid in January 2017.

The number one pick in the NBA Draft, it is safe to say Cade Cunningham's rookie season has been a baptism of fire. The first-year Pistons teenager has been criticised for his performances. In a 100-92 loss to the Miami Heat, he was just two-of-10 shooting – making one of seven three-pointers – for six points in 29 minutes, while he had four turnovers.

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    Kevin Durant did not look to use a contentious timeout call as an excuse after the Phoenix Suns slipped to a 106-103 defeat to the Los Angeles Lakers.

    The Suns were left furious after the referee elected to call a timeout following LeBron James' call, when the ball appeared to be loose, late in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's in-season tournament quarter-final.

    With 15 seconds remaining, Davin Booker dispossessed Austin Reaves, with James swiftly requesting a timeout, which was granted.

    Suns coach Frank Vogel fumed: "It's a loose ball, and you can't call a timeout on a loose ball.

    "The whistle blows. I don't know why. Everything in the league is reviewable. I don't know why that can't be reviewable.

    "We've got the trap, we've got the turnover, [and the] damn whistle blows. It's just frustrating."

    Durant, though, did not share his coach's anger.

    "That's not the ballgame," said Durant, who led the Suns with 31 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

    "That's one play. It's a 48-minute game. I don't like to complain about calls.

    "Sometimes the ref isn't going to get it right all the time. Sometimes it's on us to play through all that stuff and not worry about putting the game in the ref's hands."

    Reaves added: "There was no call, and LeBron made a high-IQ play he's made a million times.

    Vogel did, however, echo Durant's sentiment that the Suns did not do enough to win the tie and progress to Las Vegas.

    "We didn't do enough early in the game," Vogel said. "The turnovers and on the glass, if we do a better job, we're not talking about a close game like that."

    The Lakers will now face the New Orleans Pelicans for a place in the final of the inaugural in-season tournament, with the winner taking home the NBA Cup.

    "You've got some of the most alpha male competitors in the world, and if you give us an opportunity to play for something meaningful or an incentive, then you get what you're getting," said James, who finished with 31 points and 11 assists.

    "The in-season tournament is what it is, and we have an opportunity to play on a big stage, be on national television, represent our families, our communities, where we come from."

  • Bucks hint at offensive dominance in Knicks rout Bucks hint at offensive dominance in Knicks rout

    The Milwaukee Bucks will not always hit the height of their potential, but Damian Lillard suggested Tuesday's big win over the New York Knicks can be a sign of what is to come.

    The Bucks ran out 146-122 winners over the Knicks in their NBA in-season tournament quarter-final.

    Giannis Antetokounmpo had 35 points and 10 rebounds, while Lillard contributed 28 points, as the Bucks, who are second in the Eastern Conference, teed up a semi-final against the Indiana Pacers in Las Vegas.

    Lillard warned it was too much to expect the Bucks to perform like that in every game, but he said the team have laid down a marker.

    "I thought this was probably our best offensive game," said Lillard.

    "That doesn't mean we're going to turn into a team that does that every night, but I do think we have that type of explosiveness.

    "We can't depend on having these types of nights every time, but it's definitely a look at the kind of nights we can have offensively.

    "It's been some bumps in that process where we don't play so great some nights but we're still able to win those games.

    "I think now is just starting to get a little smoother, knowing where we should be on the floor, knowing how to give each other outlets, knowing how to help each other be who we are.

    "It's not perfect, but I just like that we're showing improvement and it's carrying over and you can see it on the floor."

    Lillard added that winning the in-season tournament would be a statement of intent.

    "You come out of this thing on top, the last team standing, I think it's a pretty strong statement," he said. "It's something that everybody around the league has to respect."

    "Tonight was a huge step. We wanted to get to Vegas," Bucks coach Adrian Griffin said.

    "But when we get to Vegas, we've got to take care of business. We still got two games to win there."

  • Lakers, Bucks advance to In-Season Tournament semifinals Lakers, Bucks advance to In-Season Tournament semifinals

    The Los Angeles Lakers secured a spot in the In-Season Tournament semifinals on Tuesday with a 106-103 win over the Phoenix Suns, as LeBron James scored 15 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter.

    James had 15 of the Lakers’ first 19 points in the final quarter and got the assists on his teammates’ other two baskets as Los Angeles pulled ahead.

    Anthony Davis tallied 27 points and 15 rebounds and Austin Reaves added 20 points, including a key 3-pointer with 15 seconds left to extend the Lakers’ lead to 105-101.

    Los Angeles advances to face New Orleans on Thursday in Las Vegas.

    Kevin Durant scored 31 points for the Suns but came up short on a potential tying 3-pointer at the buzzer.

    Bucks handle Knicks to reach semifinals

    Giannis Antetokounmpo had 35 points and 10 assists to help the Milwaukee Bucks book a spot in the semifinals of the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament with a 146-122 victory over the New York Knicks.

    Damian Lillard added 28 points and Malik Beasley had 18 for the Bucks, who improved to 5-0 in tournament play with their ninth consecutive home win.

    They set a season high in scoring, shooting 60.5 percent (23 of 38) from 3-point range and 60.4 percent overall to set up a matchup with Indiana in Las Vegas on Thursday.

    Julius Randle scored a season-high 41 points on 14-of-19 shooting, and Jalen Brunson had 24 points, but the Knicks had a three-game win streak stopped.

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