NBA

Durant stars again to inspire shorthanded Nets, Suns share NBA's best record

By Sports Desk December 17, 2021

Kevin Durant was the hero again for the Brooklyn Nets after lifting the shorthanded Eastern Conference leaders past the Philadelphia 76ers 114-105.

The Nets have been ravaged by COVID-19, with superstar James Harden among the absentees after entering the NBA's health and safety protocols.

But Durant carried the Nets on Thursday, scoring 34 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists to help see off the rallying 76ers in Brooklyn.

With the game tied less than two minutes from the end, Durant came up big via a four-point play, having been fouled on a three-point attempt.

Durant was coming off an NBA season-high 51 points, nine assists and seven rebounds, and 34 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists in his previous two games.

Joel Embiid put up 32 points, nine rebounds and six assists but the slumping 76ers still fell to their third consecutive defeat.

 

Suns do their thing

The Phoenix Suns capped a balanced performance with a 118-98 victory at home to the Washington Wizards. All five starters, and eight players in total, had double-digit points. Thanks to the win, the Suns moved level with the Golden State Warriors for the NBA lead at 23-5.

The New York Knicks snapped a four-game losing streak via a 116-103 triumph over the Houston Rockets, behind Immanuel Quickley (24 points), Evan Fournier (23 points) and Julius Randle (21 points).

 

Sorry Pistons lose… again

The less said about the Detroit Pistons right now, the better. Detroit were condemned to a 13th successive loss, the Pistons beaten 122-113 by the Indiana Pacers. Detroit (4-23) own the NBA's worst record.

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    The Boston Celtics were indebted to Jrue Holiday after they moved one win away from reaching the NBA Finals with Saturday's victory against the Indiana Pacers.

    Holiday converted a three-point play with 38 seconds remaining, then made a game-saving steal as the Celtics overcame an 18-point deficit to beat the Pacers 114-111 for a 3-0 Eastern Conference finals lead.

    Indiana's Andrew Nembhard seemed set to claw the Pacers back into Game 3 late on, yet Holiday stepped across for a "trademark steal" to guide his side over the line.

    "That's a trademark steal that he always gets with the inside hand," Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla said of Holiday.

    "He gets that a lot usually when a guy is coming down the sideline, but he got it in transition. He made a big-time play."

    As Nembhard looked to cut inside the court, Holiday suggested he always knew what was coming.

    "He's a right-hand driver," the Celtics hero said after the game, "and he'd been very, very aggressive all night."

    Nembhard managed 32 points and nine assists but even that brilliance was not enough to outsmart one of NBA's best defensive players.

    "I was trying to get a shot up," said Nembhard. "He got in front of me. I lost the ball, slipped. Turnover."

    Jayson Tatum impressed for Boston with 36 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists and no turnovers in 44 minutes, yet he put all the focus on the match-winning Holiday.

    "I mean, can't speak highly enough about Jrue," said Tatum. "The ultimate teammate competitor, obviously a champion, wasn't at shootaround today, he was sick.

    "Dealing with chills and stuff like that. And we've all been there, how tough that is, to fight through it, and for him to come out there and lay it all on the line for us, make the game-winning play essentially, especially on the defensive end.

    "Jrue is just a big-time player, and he made a tremendous play."

    The Celtics can clinch their second NBA Finals appearance in three seasons with a win in Game 4 on Monday in Indianapolis.

  • NBA: Celtics erase 18-point deficit for 3-0 lead in East finals NBA: Celtics erase 18-point deficit for 3-0 lead in East finals

    Jrue Holiday converted a three-point play with 38 seconds remaining, then made a game-saving steal as the Boston Celtics overcame an 18-point deficit to beat the Indiana Pacers 114-111 for a 3-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night.

    The Celtics can clinch their second NBA Finals appearance in three seasons with a win in Game 4 on Monday in Indianapolis.

    Jayson Tatum matched his playoff career high with 36 points to go with 10 rebounds and eight assists. Jaylen Brown added 24 points and Al Horford had 23 points with seven 3-pointers to help Boston win its sixth straight playoff game and improve to 5-0 on the road.

    Andrew Nembhard scored a career-high 32 points, but Holiday, who was questionable before the game due to an illness, stole the ball from him with 3.3 seconds remaining and Indiana down 112-111.

    Indiana had a chance to tie the game but Aaron Nesmith's 3-pointer was off the mark. 

    T.J. McConnell had 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists, while Myles Turner and Pascal Siakam added 22 points apiece for the Pacers, who played without All-NBA guard Tyrese Haliburton (left hamstring).

    His presence was sorely missed as the Celtics closed the game on a 13-2 run to send Indiana to its first loss in seven postseason home games.

    The teams combined to make six 3s in the fourth quarter, with Horford’s seventh of the night drawing Boston within 111-109 with 1:12 to play. Holiday then converted his 3-point play to give the Celtics their first lead since early in the second quarter.

  • Pacers star Haliburton reportedly out for Game 3 vs. Celtics Pacers star Haliburton reportedly out for Game 3 vs. Celtics

    The Indiana Pacers reportedly won't have star Tyrese Haliburton for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics on Saturday.

    Haliburton exited in the third quarter of Thursday's 126-110 loss at Boston due to a left hamstring injury, and won't be able to play in the first game in Indianapolis, according to Shams Charania and Joe Vardon of The Athletic.

    Thursday's defeat dropped the Pacers to 0-2 in the series.

    Haliburton experienced pain in the same hamstring earlier this season, missing 10 games in January.

    The two-time All-Star had 25 points, 10 assists and made six 3-pointers in 40 minutes in the series opener before playing only 28 minutes in Game 2. He had 10 points on 4-of-8 shooting and eight assists before departing.

    With Haliburton out, the Pacers will likely again rely on Pascal Siakam for offence and need Andrew Nembhard and T.J. McConnell to step up.

     

     

     

     

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