NBA

Warriors reclaim NBA's best record behind Curry, LeBron's Lakers lose

By Sports Desk December 18, 2021

Stephen Curry posted 30 points as the Golden State Warriors reclaimed the best record in the NBA with a 111-107 victory at the Boston Celtics.

Curry – the league's all-time three-points leader – nailed five shots from beyond the arc to fuel the Warriors (24-5) on Friday.

The Warriors snapped a five-game losing streak against the Celtics as Andrew Wiggins added 27 points.

It was a milestone victory for head coach Steve Kerr, who became the third coach in franchise history to reach 400 career wins.

"We're coming off the emotional roller coaster ... a lot going on around the league," Curry said after Jordan Poole entered the NBA's COVID-19 protocols. "You try not to get distracted by all the things that are outside the locker room."

 

Lillard's 43 inspires Blazers

Damian Lillard torched the Charlotte Hornets with a season-high 43 points to help the Portland Trail Blazers end a seven-game losing streak by winning 125-116. Lillard was 12 of 19 from the field as he posted the 40th 40-point game of his career.

The San Antonio Spurs upstaged the Utah Jazz 128-126 behind Dejounte Murray's second triple-double in three games – 16 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists. San Antonio did not commit a turnover in the third quarter and registered a season-high 41 points in that period to snap Utah's eight-game winning run.

Reigning MVP Nikola Jokic fell just short of a triple-double after scoring 20 points, collecting 10 rebounds and tallying seven assists in the Denver Nuggets' 133-115 win against the Atlanta Hawks. Trae Young's 34 points and 10 rebounds were not enough for the Hawks.

 

LeBron's Lakers beaten

LeBron James was five-of-13 shooting for 18 points and 10 rebounds in the Los Angeles Lakers' 110-92 defeat at the Minnesota Timberwolves. Isaiah Thomas had 19 points in his second Lakers debut as Karl-Anthony Towns inspired the Timberwolves with 28 points and 10 rebounds.

Not even a career-high 40 points from Jrue Holiday could lift defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks, who went down 116-112 to the New Orleans Pelicans after overtime in the absence of stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton.

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  • Kyrie Irving seeks Brooklyn Nets trade before NBA deadline Kyrie Irving seeks Brooklyn Nets trade before NBA deadline

    Eight-time All-Star Kyrie Irving wants to be traded by the Brooklyn Nets before the February 9 deadline, it was reported on Friday.

    The 30-year-old point guard has told the Nets of his intentions, with Irving looking for a change after four years with the team.

    According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, Irving has told the Nets he wants to leave now in a trade, otherwise he will depart in free agency in July.

    The Nets were destroyed 139-96 by the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, with Irving on the team, and they sit fourth in the Eastern Conference with a 31-20 record.

    They have lost seven of their last 11 games during Kevin Durant's injury absence.

    Irving has averaged 27.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 5.3 assists this season, in keeping with his form from recent campaigns.

    Reports have said the Nets have seen no need to rush talks over a contract extension for Irving, who scored a season-high 48 points in a win over the Utah Jazz on January 20.

    The first overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft spent his formative years with the Cleveland Cavaliers, winning a championship in 2016 and becoming a near lock-in for All-Star recognition.

    He then spent two years with the Celtics before arriving in Brooklyn in free agency in July 2019, signing a four-year contract.

    Now it remains to be seen whether teams are in a position to move for Irving, and whether those that are keen figure in Irving's own plans, with time at a premium.

    The Nets are next in action on Saturday when they face the 24-26 Washington Wizards.

  • Antetokounmpo plans to celebrate with '50 cheeseburgers' after latest 50-point showing Antetokounmpo plans to celebrate with '50 cheeseburgers' after latest 50-point showing

    Giannis Antetokounmpo joked he will celebrate with "50 cheeseburgers" after his latest 50-point showing in the Milwaukee Bucks' 106-105 win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

    The two-time MVP scored 20 of his 54 points in the fourth quarter of Thursday's contest as the Bucks recovered from a 21-point deficit to win for a sixth game in a row.

    He has now reached the 50-point mark three times in his last 11 games, having hit a career-high 55 against the Washington Wizards and 50 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

    Antetokounmpo was filmed ordering 50 chicken nuggets when the Bucks landed their first title in 50 years in 2021, and he now plans on doing something similar.

    "I think I'm going to go to Culver's tomorrow," he said. "I'll go get 50 cheeseburgers and try to eat as many as I can. The rest, I'll have my son eat them or I give them to my dog."

     

    Antetokounmpo also had 18 rebounds against the Clippers as he continued his remarkable form since returning from injury last month.

    The 28-year-old has helped the Bucks to a 6-0 record in that period, averaging 40.2 points per game, 14.7 rebounds per game and four assists per game.

    He is the first NBA player to average 40/12/4 while going undefeated over a six-game span since Wilt Chamberlain did so in January 1964.

    And Antetokounmpo has also joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the only players in Bucks' history to have at least three 50-point games in a single season.

    "It's a great compliment to be up there with Kareem," Antetokounmpo said. "I never thought I was going to score 50 in the NBA when I got drafted. It's an insane, crazy journey."

    Antetokounmpo has now averaged 32.3 points per game across 41 appearances this season, a tally bettered only by Luka Doncic (33.4) and Joel Embiid (33.5).

    "He's relentless," Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said after his side's comeback win over the Clippers. 

    "He's going to put himself in position to help us win. Whatever it takes for us to win, he's going to do it. He's fearless and relentless. That's what you saw going down the stretch."

  • Lakers do not discuss LeBron's record chase, claims Ham Lakers do not discuss LeBron's record chase, claims Ham

    The Los Angeles Lakers "hardly ever discuss" LeBron James' hunt for the NBA points record, according to coach Darvin Ham.

    James scored 26 points, added seven rebounds and provided seven assists as the Lakers fought back to beat the Pacers 112-111 on Thursday.

    That haul moved James onto 38,325 points across his illustrious career, 62 short of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's all-time record.

    It means James is likely to break the record against the Oklahoma City Thunder next week.

    Ham, however, says the Lakers do not treat it as too big of a deal.

    "I think it's an amazing feat," Lakers coach Darvin Ham told reporters.

    "When it happens, kudos to Bron for all his longevity and not just longevity, but longevity at the top of the list at an elite level.

    "But our day-to-day, we hardly ever discuss it unless we're asked about it. For us, it's just, how can we get our team in the best position to make a run?"

    James, though, did not look to downplay the importance of the record.

    "I think it's one of the greatest records in sports, in general. It's like the home run record in baseball," he said.

    "It's one of those records that you don't ever see or think will be broken.

    "You see guys like Hank Aaron, who had [baseball's home run record] for so long. You see guys like Sammy [Sosa] and Mark McGwire and you start climbing it and it's like, 'Oh, this could really happen.'

    "It's a fun thing as a sports person. It was fun watching those guys chasing it."

    Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 31 points and 14 rebounds, and it was his 11-foot shot with 35 seconds left put Los Angeles ahead, before he made a crucial block from Tyrese Haliburton.

    Davis missed out on selection for the All-Star Game, though that was of little concern.

    "I'm here to win, to try to compete for championships, not to get into All-Star Games," Davis said.

    "My wife is ecstatic. She already texted me, 'So, where we going [during All-Star break]?'"

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