NBA

LeBron helps Lakers return to .500 with Timberwolves win, Giddey makes history with triple-double

By Sports Desk January 03, 2022

LeBron James led the way as the Los Angeles Lakers returned to .500 with a hard-fought 108-103 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday.

The four-time NBA MVP had 26 points, seven rebounds, five assists and three steals for the Lakers, who have won three of their past four games.

The Lakers had endured a rough period, losing six out of seven games, but are beginning to re-discover some form.

Russell Westbrook contributed 20 points with three rebounds and five assists but had nine turnovers, while Malik Monk added 22 points.

James also shot nine of 12 from the stripe, moving up to fourth on the all-time NBA free throws made list with 7,695, going past Oscar Robertson. Karl Malone, Moses Malone and Kobe Bryant are the players ahead of the 37-year-old.

 

Giddey breaks LaMelo's mark for youngest NBA triple-double

Oklahoma City Thunder's 19-year-old rookie Josh Giddey returned from COVID-19 protocols with a bang, becoming the youngest player in NBA history to record a triple-double, breaking LaMelo Ball's mark. Giddey had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 14 assists but OKC were beaten 95-86 by the Dallas Mavericks, who had Luka Doncic return from protocols with a near-triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.

Jaylen Brown scored a career-high 50 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, in the Boston Celtics' 116-111 over-time win over the Orlando Magic. Brown also had 11 rebounds, four assists and two blocks.

Devin Booker scored 24 points with seven rebounds and three assists as the Phoenix Suns improved to 28-8 after beating the Charlotte Hornets 133-99.

 

Wayward Heat burnt by Kings

Jimmy Butler shot nine of 22 from the field and only one of six from beyond the arc the Miami Heat were beaten by the Sacramento Kings 115-113. Tyler Herro was also eight of 23 from the field.

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    Jaylen Brown had 30 points and eight assists and Kristaps Porzingis added 22 points to lead the Boston Celtics to their eighth straight win, 116-102 over the New York Knicks on Saturday.

    Jayson Tatum scored 19 points and Derrick White contributed 13 for the league-leading Celtics, winners of 10 of 11.

    Jalen Brunson scored 34 points and Josh Hart was next with 16 for the Knicks, who were swept in the four-game season series by Boston.

    Porzingis ignited a 10-0 run with a 3-pointer and Brown closed it with a layup to give the Celtics an 88-71 lead with 3:53 left in the third quarter.

    New York got the deficit down to 99-90 with 9:17 to play, but the Celtics took advantage of three turnovers and six missed shots to go on a 10-0 run for a 19-point cushion.

     

    Banchero’s last-second 3-point play lifts Magic

    Paolo Benchero converted a 3-point play with 0.8 seconds remaining to snap a tie and give the Orlando Magic a 112-109 win over the Detroit Pistons.

    Banchero made an 18-foot jumper and the ensuing free throw for the winning points before Cade Cunningham hit the rim on a 70-plus-foot shot at the buzzer.

    Banchero finished with 15 points as each Orlando starter scored in double digits in the Magic’s third straight win.

    Cunnigham led NBA-worst Detroit with 26 points.

     

    Timberwolves pull away from reeling Nets

    Anthony Edwards scored 11 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and the Minnesota Timberwolves assumed sole possession of first place in the Western Conference with a 101-86 victory over the reeling Brooklyn Nets.

    Karl-Anthony Towns had 28 points and nine rebounds as Minnesota bounced back from Friday’s loss to Milwaukee with its fifth win in six games.

    Cam Thomas scored 18 points for Brooklyn, which fell to 0-2 under interim coach Kevin Ollie and dropped to 1-7 in its past eight games.

  • Warriors win after 'incredible' Kerr contract extension Warriors win after 'incredible' Kerr contract extension

    Draymond Green welcomed the news that Steve Kerr has agreed a contract extension with the Golden State Warriors, calling the development "incredible".

    Golden State defeated the Charlotte Hornets 97-84 at home on Friday after reports had emerged that Kerr has agreed to a two-year, $35 million contract extension that will make him the highest-paid coach in NBA history.

    The new deal, which is not yet formally signed, will reportedly pay Kerr, who has guided the Warriors to four NBA championships, $17.5 million a year.

    His current deal was set to expire at the end of this season but Warriors forward Green was not worried about the prospect of Kerr leaving, as he was always confident an agreement would be struck.

    "No [I was not worried], because I know [owner] Joe [Lacob] is going to do the right thing," Green said, per ESPN.

    "He has done nothing but build that trust with us that he is going to do the right thing and take care of those who take care of this organization."

    San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is reported to make more annually than Kerr, but he also serves as the team’s president.

    Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra signed an eight-year extension that pays him approximately $15m a season.

    Kerr, 58, is in his 10th season as coach of the Warriors and holds a career regular season record of 501-264 and is 99-41 in the playoffs. 

    He won his 500th game last week to become the fifth-fastest coach to do so in history.

    "I think it's incredible," added Green. "I wouldn't want to finish my time here with any other coach. 

    "What he has meant to this franchise and the winning ways that he brought here – you can't replace that. He got what he deserved."

    Kerr will also coach Team USA in the 2024 Olympics in Paris. He said he felt "really good" about the team's future but could not comment on the deal until it was officially signed and announced.

    The victory means Golden State (29-26) has now won 10 of its last 12 games in the NBA, while Charlotte (14-42) had a four-game winning streak snapped.

    Stephen Curry had 15 points and five assists in a game that saw him take on his younger brother Seth, with their father Dell on commentary to make it a special night for the family.

    The Warriors' Curry (23,160 points) moved past Elgin Baylor (23,149) into 33rd place on the NBA's all-time scoring list. 

    Hornets forward Miles Bridges had 19 points and 11 rebounds but was involved in a scuffle that saw Lester Quinones and Grant Williams ejected in garbage time. 

    An argument had ensued after Quinones drove to the basket and attempted a layup with 10.9 seconds remaining, with Bridges called for goaltending.

    "I don’t really understand why people get so mad at somebody scoring at the end of the game," added Green.

    "It’s like this dumb, unofficial, unwritten rule. If you all were winning by 13 points would you get mad if he laid a ball up? I doubt it. So it's kind of like a sore loser type thing."

    The Warriors will next host the Denver Nuggets in a big Sunday game.

  • Individual feats 'secondary' to wins for Wembanyama Individual feats 'secondary' to wins for Wembanyama

    Victor Wembanyama wants victories, not individual feats, after he joined Michael Jordan in the NBA record books.

    Wembanyama became just the second NBA rookie, after Jamaal Tinsley in 2001, to post at least five points, five rebounds, five assists, five steals and five blocks in a single game. He is just the second player to have five blocks and as many steals in successive games, after the great Jordan.

    However, his efforts proved fruitless for the San Antonio Spurs, who lost 113-108 to the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday.

    Wembanyama finished with 27 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists, five steals and five blocks. He is just the 15th player in the NBA to record a 5x5.

    But for the overall number one draft pick, wins are the priority.

    "To me, it's secondary," Wembanyama said. "Hopefully in the future, and think this is a good performance, but as of today, I can't be satisfied with a loss."

    LeBron James returned from injury to score 30 points for the Lakers, while Anthony Davis had 28 points and 13 rebounds.

    "Of course it was challenging [going against] one of the best duos in the league," Wembanyama said of facing two of the NBA's star players.

    "But still, I think it's a lot of teams we beat if we play this way.

    "But I think it came down to maturity at the end because each and every one of us was making a mistake each of the times.

    "Little mistakes, missing a layup, turning the ball over. We went down, we went back to down four, down seven multiple times and that's when we did mistakes. So yeah, it's maturity."

    Even though the Spurs have lost 10 of their last 11 games, James believes the sky truly is the limit for Wembanyama.

    "He doesn't have a ceiling," James said.

    "He can do whatever he wants to do with his career. It seems like he enjoys the game. It seems like he puts in the work. Just from the outside looking in, I'm not with him on a day-to-day basis, but I said a long time ago how special he was, and it's literally that simple.

    "There are guys in our league that you have to account for any time you get around the rim or around the perimeter in our league history, and he sits right at the top of it, [if not] around the top, with all the greats.

    "He's one of them to have like a stellar rookie season. Guys that have come in and [dominated]. But, it's, can you sustain it? We've had guys that have come in and [have] just been really damn [good]."

    The Lakers returned to winning ways following their loss to the Golden State Warriors, but coach Darvin Ham was not entirely satisfied with the performance.

    "You want your team to constantly look within and try to make plays and force the other team to put you in uncomfortable positions," Ham said.

    "Not you put yourself in those uncomfortable positions, whether it's not sprinting back in transition or allowing teams to get two or three offensive rebounds. Or, you know, fouling because we're not in position because we're not doing our work early. And then going down the other end and not trusting the execution.

    "We've got a bunch of weapons, but they're useless if we don't do the little things, sprinting hard when we get the ball in transition, not turning it over, maintaining spacing, making sure we get hits on screens to create an advantage and making the simple, easy play."

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